It’s no secret the rich and the famous love to hit the slopes so if you fancy a ski trip that comes with the added entertainment of celeb-spotting, read on to discover the world’s most exclusive A-List snow spots.
1. YELLOWSTONE CLUB, Montana
Who to spot: Bill Gates, plus a host of high-profile bankers and CEOs
Yellowstone and its VIP members largely lived off the public radar until 2009, when the club was forced to publicly file for bankruptcy. Not to worry, the world’s only self-described “private ski and golf community” has reported positive cash flow since 2014. It now extends its uber-exclusive membership to around 500 of the planet’s richest households. On top of an initial membership fee, annual dues and a required multi-million dollar property purchase, aspiring members supposedly need at least US$3 million in liquid assets.
Apart from its prime location in the heart of Big Sky’s Rocky Mountains and just north of Yellowstone National Park, the resort lures the world’s elite by means of protection: it’s patrolled by US Secret Service agents at all times.
If you don’t have your own luxury snow lodge, Yellowstone Club’s private residencies offer jaw-dropping vistas and exclusive access to their “private powder”.
2. ASPEN, Colorado
Who to spot: The Obamas, Kate Hudson, Mariah Carey, Mel Gibson, anyone and everyone in Hollywood.
It’s a firm favourite amongst the US President and his family who enjoy taking Air Force One for weekends at the luxury resort. In fact, anyone who’s anyone should be spotted in Aspen at least once to solidify their status.
It’s definitely a place to see and be seen but the skiing’s not bad either. With four mountains within 12 miles of each other, 44 lifts and more than 2,000 hectares of slopes, there’s trails to suit any experience. Hang out at the Aspen Mountain gondola base if you want to rub shoulders with the stars – the most exclusive hotels and bars are found there. Or make like Mariah and shop!
The St Regis Resort boasts classic luxury, 24-hour fitness and a wellness spa and is within walking distance of everything. The Gant is a secluded two-hectare boutique located at the base of Aspen Mountain.
3. KLOSTERS, Switzerland
Who to spot: Prince Charles, William and Harry, Rupert Everett, British and
European politicians, The Bechkams
A place known for royal relaxation, Klosters is long-standing favourite of HRH Prince Charles and his family – the Prince of Wales even has a ski-lift named after him there. It’s also where William and Kate were first papped puckering up on-piste.
Sometimes dubbed the Aspen of Europe, the Swiss staple is spread over six different skiable areas.
The village itself is picturesque and sizeable with a relaxed and affluent alpine atmosphere. For après-ski fun, the Casa Antica nightclub is famous for its discretion – Princess Diana was said to be a fan. Naturally you’ll want to reserve a suite at the Prince’s favourite, the Walserhof hotel.
4. COURCHEVEL 1850, France
Who to spot: The Russian elite, The Beckhams, Robbie Williams, English Premier League Footballers, Formula One racers
Supposedly the sixth most expensive place in the world, Courchevel 1850 is the high-end, high-altitude resort of Les Trois Vallées. Courchevel 1850 is one of the very few ski resort in Europe that was purpose built for skiers. From luxury hotels to Michelin-starred fine dining, exclusive designer boutiques to some of the Alps’ very best slopes, you can rest assured you’ll be hanging with Europe’s ‘in-crowd’.
There are nine 5-star resorts in total, so you’ve got plenty of options. Le Kilimandjaro does private chalets that sleep 12 for upwards of €11,000 a night. The ski-in ski-out Chalet Edelweiss has eight bedrooms and six levels, including a dedicated spa floor. Prices start at €80,000. Why not book a private helicopter to ensure you arrive in style?
5. DEER VALLEY, Utah
Who to spot: Dustin Hoffman, Jane Fonda, Bruce Springsteen, John Travolta, Robert Redford, Tommy Hilfiger, Gwen Stefani
Deer Valley is Utah’s most exclusive ski spot, offering everything from free valets to heated pavements. Visitors are free from the overcrowding and inconvenience of less pricey resorts, as a limited amount of tickets are sold each day. Sadly for boarders, they’re currently not welcome.
Each December, this super exclusive ski resort opens in style with the Celebrity SkiFest then in January the Sundance Film Festival arrives, ensuring the presence of big names from across the globe.
The five-star Stein Eriksen Lodge has seven unique grand suites, all with working fireplaces, private decks and most have jetted hot tubs.
6. SUN VALLEY, Idaho
Who to spot: The Schwarzeneggers, Bruce Willis, Larry David, Demi Moore, Clint Eastwood, the Kennedys.
Did you know the Terminator skis? Cali’s former Governor loves to hit the slopes with his family in Idaho. America’s first luxury, purpose-built resort, the rich and famous flock to the luxury lodges nestled at the base of the mountains.
Bald and Dollar Mountains provide all your downhill ski needs while there are also a range of trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. It’s also a popular holiday spot in the warmer months, when people come to mountain bike, explore hiking trails and even bungee.
The Sun Valley Resort’s Dollar Cottage is a sprawling six-bed cottage with a wood-burning fireplace, a marble kitchen and a Jacuzzi, or for a smaller group View Cottage has the same amenities overlooking the mountains.
7. COURMAYEUR, Italy
Who to spot: Celeb chefs Heston Blumenthal and Danny Boome
A picturesque and traditional Italian village sits at the base of Mont Blanc. It’s known for its challenging off-piste terrain, gourmet restaurants and bustling nightlife. Its proximity to both Geneva and Turin airports makes it a popular destination for Europe’s elite weekenders.
Though the snow may not always be as fluffy as the cooler French side of Mont Blanc, during the winter months Courmayeur gets much more sunshine than chilly Chamonix. While it may seem overrun with immaculately-dressed Italians, the slopes are surprisingly peaceful as many of them come purely to dine and drink. The ski-lifts are now open until midnight meaning you’ll have plenty of time for après-drinks before heading down.
In the heart of Entrèves, the most characteristic village of Courmayeur, Auberge De La Maison is a charming stone and wood residence offering spacious junior suites in a traditional alpine setting. Romantik Hotel Villa Novecento is a cozy boutique hotel known for its food and spa with underwater massage.
8. ZERMATT, Switzerland
Who to spot: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Nicole Kidman, Madonna, Phil Collins
The Swiss village radiates Alpine elegance and has one of the world’s most stunning backdrops: The Matterhorn. Though sizeable, Zermatt retains its charm, largely because it’s strict no-car policy. The only transport options are electric cars or traditional horse-drawn carriages, which only adds to its magic. Take a cue from the stars and hire a private helicopter pick-up from Geneva, Zurich or Milan airports.
Food fanatics are spoilt for choice here – Zermatt has the highest density of fine-dining restaurants in the world. You can even take a gourmet ski tour of the mountains.
The Chalet Zermatt Peak is a privately catered cabin that often plays host to the rich and famous. Highlights include a walk-in wine cellar, three cinemas and a wellness centre.
9. TELLURIDE, Colorado
Who to spot: Tom Cruise, Oprah Winfrey, Jerry Seinfeld
Once a remote mining town, Telluride has become a jet-setters destination, partly due to the fact its easy for celebs to blend in. Whereas stars go to Aspen to see and be seen, Telluride is more discreet, allowing the A-List to keep their vacations out of the tabloids. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes used to own a home there, Oprah still does.
Artists, musicians and the generally-hip hang here, so its unsurprisingly home to a number of arts festivals too. Jazz, cinema, bluegrass, beer – you name it!
You can hire a penthouse suite at the Lumiere Telluride from upwards of US$1,000. A private chef comes is on hand to prepare meals as you admire the sunset from the comfort of your own hot tub.
10. ST. MORITZ, Switzerland
Who to spot: Liz Hurley, Ivana Trump and a plethora of Russian billionaires
Both an idyllic summer and winter destination, St Moritz is like Zermatt’s glamorous big sister slope. As well as hundreds of miles of downhill skiing in every direction, it plays home to sports enthusiasts throughout the year and also boasts its own mineral springs.
Socialise with the elite at the Cartier Polo Tournament or stock up on high-end designer goods at countless stylish boutiques. You can arrive in true elegance by taking the luxury Glacier Express from Zermatt. The five-star Kulm Hotel has rooms overlooking the lake, while the equally desirable Kempinski St Moritz has a presidential suite that sleeps up to six.