THE TOP LUXURY SKI DESTINATIONS Pack the Prada and Gucci for These Four Resorts

“But I don’t ski!”

It doesn’t matter when you visit the best in the world—it’s virtually impossible to not have a blast at these luxurious and powder-rich destinations. There is so much to do in Colorado, Whistler, Italy and Utah both on the slopes and off. There’s shopping, nightlife, gondola rides, ice skating and sightseeing, to name a few. And it’s a great opportunity to test out the North Face and Patagonia gear as the daily highs typically hover around freezing with the lows below freezing.

Vail, Colorado | United States
Home to the Colorado ski museum, but more importantly 350-plus inches of fluffy Colorado powder—there are plenty of green runs on the front side and a lot of back bowls. Other things to love about Vail are the public fire places on sidewalks and the free shuttle to get around. The German architecture is a nice touch—Vail definitely has a Europe village feel. Be sure to eat at The Little Diner and Mountain Standard while in Vail—the foodie and craft beer scene is as strong as the skiing and snowboarding (almost).

Stay: Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch

Whistler Blackcomb | British Columbia, Canada
There’s always something happening at Whistler, which is the biggest resort in North America—its seasons starts in November and goes to the end of May. It was an easy addition to our list. There are too many events and activities to include (take a look at their calendar when planning your trip) but make sure to check out the weekly Fire & Ice show where the area's best skiers and riders hit big air and jump through blazing rings of fire. It’s Canada and the drink of choice is The Caesar, which is like a Bloody Mary. The 2010 Winter Olympics were there—so the slopes are quality. Also, check the zip-lines, museums and the Scandinave Spa.

Stay: Fairmont Chateau Whistler

Gstaad Europe | Switzerland
To be arguably the best “Swiss village” in Switzerland is a truly incredible accomplishment. Wooden shutters and peaked roofs are common—a horse drawn sleigh ride is a nice way to see the town. And this is Switzerland—the selection of cheeses is to die for—be sure to visit a cheese grotto. The Restaurant Eggli should be on the dining schedule; the views there are some of the best in the world. The skiing is as good as anywhere on the planet. For breathtaking views there is a 107-meter bridge walk from one peak to another with views of Mont Blanc and Matterhorn. Near the mountain-peak bridge is an alpine coaster and dogsled rides. However, there is only one way to visit the Alps, which is a week rental in an all-inclusive chalet. Rates start at around $100,000 for up to 12 guests.

Stay: Gstaad Palace

Cortina d'Ampezzo | Italy
Different from Gstaad, there is vibrant nightlife here in Italy. There are plenty of grappa bars that serve Italy's version of tequila—always a good way to start the party or for après-ski. The Winter Olympics were here in 1956—the skiing is literally world class. At the heart of the Corso is a central piazza, a church with towering campanile, and the interesting Regole Museum. And don’t forget: this is Italy and the shopping here might be more intense than the skiing (Gucci, Prada and Armani are all there). For drinks, Molo Pub or Bar Sports are always a good time. The best part about Cortina is that it is pure Italy—unlike other Italian ski resorts with German influence—Cortina is 100-percent Italian. Buona!

Stay: Europa Hotel (and visit the VIP Club there)

Perhaps none of these these spark your interest—this will. Remember the “Danbury Hotel” from Dumb & Dumber? Well, it’s the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. Enjoy!

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