Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.

Top 10 Ski Resorts 2006


Because ski slopes and luxury hotels make cozy bedfellows, this list is always fun to compile. There is no better way to beat the winter blues than by fleeing to a sparkling mountain resort and schussing the slopes. In this snow-kissed collection of properties, spas and fine dining set up camp just a snowball's throw from bunny slopes and black diamond runs. Some are even known for the moguls who check in to hit the moguls on nearby pistes. If you're looking for a stylish place to test out that new pair of Rossignols, this diverse collection is for you.

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UNITED STATES

Aspen, Colorado
The Little Nell

www.thelittlenell.com

The Little Nell likes to tout its country inn atmosphere, but we actually appreciate this property for its sophisticated urbanity. It's the kind of stylish oasis you'd like to discover in a big city, and the fact that it's at the base of Aspen Mountain makes it even better. The Aspen/Snowmass resort area is appealing for a variety of reasons, from the fact that you can ski down to element 47 restaurant, to Elevator Shaft, the steepest section on the Silver Queen run. And if you need your boots warmed, snowboard tuned or lift tickets ordered, there is a full concierge team dedicated to ski needs. Although there's no full spa onsite, you can request deep tissue and sports massages.


Park City, Utah
Stein Eriksen Lodge
www.steinlodge.com


When seeking the ideal ski retreat, a lodge founded by an Olympic gold medalist seems a good choice. Stein Eriksen created this place in 1982 to bring full-service luxury slopeside. With its blond wood and mountain décor, the property has a Scandinavian feel. But while the look is rustic, the ambience is anything but. Ski-in/ski-out access is offered to Deer Valley Resort, and if you need skis, boots or other snow-friendly accoutrements, you can pick them up or rent them at the onsite Stein Eriksen Sport. Glitretind Restaurant pays tribute to alpine style, and the full-service spa includes treatments suited to a day spent on the slopes. For sun-damaged skin, try the Nordic Princess. And if you’re too sore to get out of bed, try the In-Room Massage to relieve those tired muscles.

Teton Village, Wyoming
Teton Mountain Lodge

www.tetonlodge.com

With 120 runs and one of the country's longest, steepest continuous vertical drops at 4,139 feet, Jackson Hole is a favorite for skiing and snowboarding. Situated slopeside at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, the Teton Mountain Lodge makes sure you're as close to the action as possible. It's just a few steps to the resort tram and Bridger Gondola, and when the slopes shut down, you can ski in. You can also satisfy the appetite you worked up with Prime New York Steak or native game dishes like Buffalo Filet, Molasses Seared Elk Medallions or Fork Trout at the Cascade Grill House & Spirits. If you're seeking an experience beyond the standard, give heli-skiing a shot, or book the Ultimate Teton Sports package at the spa. The homey lodge rooms with stone fireplaces and custom kitchens ensure you get your rustic-luxe fix.

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AUSTRIA

Tirol
Raffl’s St. Antoner Hof

www.antonerhof.at

History abounds at this location where the first ski club in the world was founded in 1901 and skiing legend Hannes Schneider developed the Arlberg techniques on the white slopes. It is a paradise for free-riders with 86 cableways and lifts, 260 kilometers of groomed paths and 180 kilometers of downhill runs. The family-operated Raffl’s St. Antoner Hof combines the modern with the traditional; rooms are decorated in an alpine style with carved furniture and a cozy open fireplace. After a day at the slopes, savour Tyrolean nibbles at the bar, Austrian delicacies at the main restaurant or enjoy a weekly welcome gala dinner accompanied by live music. A short walk through the old town of St. Anton takes you to the lifts at Intersport Arlberg where you can spend a new day hitting those moguls.

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CANADA

Whistler
Four Seasons Resort Whistler

www.fourseasons.com/whistler


There are a few things that can always be counted on to warm up a cold winter day: hot chocolate, warm gloves and a cozy Four Seasons resort. This luxurious outpost resides in the Whistler/Blackcomb ski area, site of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Guestrooms and suites go for a lodge look, but don't expect anything rustic here. At the full spa, you can try a treatment with clay harvested from British Columbia's glacial lakes, and at Fifty Two 80 Bistro, seafood is served fireside, against a backdrop of dramatic mountain views. Complimentary transportation is offered between the resort, the ski concierge (at the base of the Blackcomb Mountains) to the base of Whistler Mountains. Upon arrival at the concierge, guests are welcomed and presented with their dry boots, skis/snowboards, poles, helmets and other equipment.

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CHILE

Portillo
Hotel Portillo
www.skiportillo.com

Hot summer months north of the border mean it’s time to head for the slopes down south. In the Andes on the shores of Lake Inca, Portillo Resort attracts quite the crowd, from Fidel Castro to the U.S. and Austrian ski teams. It got its official start in the late 1940s, pulled in Stein Eriksen to run its ski school in the 1950s, and hosted the Alpine World Championships in 1966—needless to say, it has an impressive pedigree. As for the hotel, it’s hard to separate it from the resort, even though there are a few other lodgings in the area. It’s quite a sight, a bright yellow arc beaming in the snow. The 123 rooms are fairly simple, but there’s a nice “Old School” feel, and a great fostering of camaraderie, since most people skiing in the area stay here.

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FRANCE

Val d’Isère
Les Barmes del l’Ours
www.hotel-les-barmes.com

Tucked away at the foot of the Bellevarde Olympic downhill run is Les Barmes de l’Ours. Mere steps away from the après ski facilities and village shops, it is also the site for the 2009 World Alpine Skiing championships. The hotel’s luxurious rooms and suites are cocoons of convenience equipped with LCD screen, satellite TV and Internet connection. All suites include a Jacuzzi bath while the more exclusive suites boast a fireplace. Rooms are decorated in four styles: Scandinavian Spirit, Alpine Chalet, Great North American Lodge or Contemporary. There are many ways to unwind after a day on the slopes. Enjoy views of the Val d’Isère, dine at La Table de l’Ours which presents a menu based on regional products or sooth those fatigued muscles at the spa (one of the largest in the French Alps) which offers twelve treatment rooms.

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ITALY

Cortina d’Ampezzo
Cristallo
www.cristallo.it

Technically, the Cristallo isn’t a dedicated ski resort. But it is a fabulous historic hotel in one of Italy’s most popular ski destinations. Tucked into the Dolomites, Cortina was home to the 1956 Winter Olympics. It has eight ski areas with miles of slopes and dozens of cables cars—we recommend taking the Freccia nel Cielo (Arrow to the Sky) for the spectacular views. The Cristallo has a palatial feel, and its bedrooms are particularly beautiful, with hand-painted boiserie and frescoes and ceilings that feel like works of art. This is also a great après ski sanctuary, featuring the Monkey Club (a jet-setting hotspot in the 1960s and ‘70s), the glassed-in La Veranda with mountain views and a wellness center with Finnish sauna and Turkish bath.

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NEW ZEALAND

Queenstown
Remarkables Lodge

www.remarkables.co.nz


A former farm homestead that dates back to the 1860s, this Southern Hemisphere getaway features a contemporary, streamlined style that would make Frank Lloyd Wright proud. Hospitality is warm, casual and distinctly Kiwi (this is the sort of place where you while away the time playing billiards and sipping local wines), and the setting is great. The lodge sits in the foothills of the Remarkables mountain range and is within easy driving distance of Cardrona, Treble Cone and Coronet Peak. The latter features night skiing on weekends—hit floodlit slopes under the stars with beautiful views of Queenstown. If you need equipment, you can be fitted right at the lodge. Thrill-seekers can enjoy heli-skiing from the lodge’s own helipad where you can be flown to the southern side of the mountain.

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SWITZERLAND

St. Moritz
Badrutt's Palace Hotel

While St. Moritz arguably competes for world's most popular ski destination, Badrutt's Palace Hotel is the hands down winner for grande dame in this star-studded village. Royalty and celebrities are in love with this Swiss Alps darling, and when they're here, they stay at Badrutt's. Built in the late 1896, the landmark retains its classic style both in décor and attitude. To complement the nine surrounding ski areas—which feature downhill slopes and an Olympic ski-jumping hill—the hotel has a ski school and a shop for ski rentals. There's also a private ice rink and full beauty spa. Among seven dining venues are the signature Le Restaurant and an outpost of Nobu. Who says après ski has to be all about fondue. Sushi, anyone?


(Updated: 12/28/12 CT)


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