Top 5 European Ski Resorts

As the ski season slowly creeps up on us, Xclusive explores the top 5 European destinations to travel to this winter.

1. Courchevel 1850, France


Why Courchevel? Situated in the heart of Les Trois Valles, Courchevel is home to some of the most luxurious resorts. It is quickly establishing itself to be the world's best and most glamorous ski resort. It enjoys one of the longest ski seasons along with some of the best snow coverage in the Alps. The ski area has 63 lifts, 117 downhill skiing runs with an accumulated length of 150km, with further access to the Three Valleys.

Where to Stay: L'Apogée is a new contemporary hotel that opened three years ago. With the offer of extreme luxury, guests can ski in and out at their own leisure with the hotel perfectly positioned directly on the slopes. Xclusive recommends the more traditional offerings at Le Lana. The resort boasts a heated indoor pool, well-equipped fitness centre and picturesque views of Courchevel village.

Where to Drink: La Foile Deuce is certainly not a place to be missed when visiting Courchevel. Lively aprés-ski, locally sourced and innovative food offerings along with a vast array of dance acts and DJ's, two thousand metres up a mountain, La Foile Deuce is an absolute gem!

Where to Eat: Set 2100m above the sea, take a helicopter or ski to Le Cap Horn, home to some of the best seafood and sushi dishes in the whole of France. It's a great location for a lunch stop after a morning on the slopes. If you find yourself staying in L'Apogee, you have the option of enjoying the Michelin-starred food prepared by Jean-Luc Lefrançois.

Nearest Airport: The nearest main airports are Geneva or Annecy, whereby transfers can be made via road, rail or air. Better still, Courchevel has it's own airport, Chambéry, which can accommodate private jets. Helicopter transfers can then be made to the resort meaning you can ski straight out of the heliport!

Fly with Xclusive: Citation II - £6,750 | Falcon 900B - £16,000 (price based on 6 pax from Farnborough Airport, UK).



2. Verbier, Switzerland


Why Verbier? Regarded as one of the best 'off-piste' resorts in the world, Verbier, famous for it's Four Valleys region, vibrant aprés-ski culture along with excellent ski cuisine, carves it's way into our top 5. With access to over 400km of downhill skiing, across 193 different pistes, Verbier provides a challenge even for the most elite skier.

Where to Stay: Conveniently located next to the Verbier cable car, sits the impressive W Verbier, a chic contemporary hotel in the centre of town. Slightly more under the radar, yet no less luxurious, is the Nevai Hotel. Excellent dining options, an in-house nightclub & a boutique spa to sit back and rest after a long day on the slopes.

Where to Drink: Located 2200m atop the slopes is Le Mouton Noir Bar, it's the place to be for aprés-ski. Picturesque mountain views, live entertainment & a fairly large menu, it's definitely worth the morning trek. For later in the evening, head to the Fairnet Hotel where you will find a number of bars, of which the majority will offer cocktails, warm log fires and delicious tapas style cuisine.

Where to Eat: Le Chalet d'Adrien Hotel offers a multiple selection of fine food throughout the day, however, Xclusive recommends a visit to Le Rosalp Hotel, to the award winning Pierroz restaurant which is run by one of Switzerland's most renowned chefs, Roland Pierroz.

Nearest Airport: Sion airport accommodates private jets and also offers helicopter transfers. Located only 50km away from the resort our expert concierge service can arrange a helicopter transfer in under half the time it would take to drive. 

Fly with Xclusive: Citation II - £6,800 | Falcon 900B - £16,500 (price based on 6 pax from Farnborough Airport, UK).


3. St Anton, Austria

Why St Anton? Described as the cradle of alpine skiing, set high in the Swiss Alps, St Anton am Ahlberg is the ski capital of Austria. This cosy little Swiss town maintains a genuine ambience and charming atmosphere for skiers to relax and unwind at an altitude of 1300m, where crisp, clean mountain air awaits.

Where to Stay: Xclusive recommends a stay in the Das Mooser Hotel. This 4-star mountain retreat is surrounded by breathtaking scenery. With ski in and ski out access, the hotel is ideally located right near the piste and is in the immediate vicinity of the Galzig cable car terminal. Lodgers here don't just wake up on the mountains, they wake up in the mountains. If you fancy something a little more central, the Galzig Ski Hotel is a modern, contemporary retreat with excellent spa facilities to help you relax and revitalise.

Where to Drink: Located virtually opposite each other on either side of the blue Galzig piste, Mooserwirt and the Krazy Kangaruh are two of the reasons why so many Europeans continue to flock to St Anton. They are both well known for their crazy aprés-ski scene, with live music, table-top dancing and copious amounts of alcohol on offer. For something a little more sophisticated, we recommend a trip to the St Antoner Hof bar for a fine selection of cocktails and wine.

Where to Eat: St Anton's Museum is located in the stunning Trier Villa, set in a glorious location just off the blue Galzig piste. Museum by day, restaurant by night, a gourmet experience awaits you. Enjoy a night time gondola ride and live piano music whilst you indulge your tastebuds at the sophisticated mountain restaurant, Verwallstude. Headed up by Head Chef Bernhard Neuhold, a culinary delight and certainly a place to enjoy a romantic candle lit dinner. 

Nearest Airport: St Anton is less than one hour away from Innsbruck Airport by road. Luxury limousine transfers can pick you up right at the airport doors and drive you straight to your accommodation.

Fly with Xclusive: Citation II - £7,400 | Falcon 900B - £17,800 (price based on 6 pax from Farnborough Airport, UK).


4. Zermatt, Switzerland

Why Zermatt? The car-free luxury resort, with stunning panoramic views of the Matterhorn Mountain, this unique Swiss resort really is something to behold. Sitting at an elevation of 1600m, Zermatt enjoys snow 365 days a year, meaning perfect skiing conditions.

Where to Stay: Xclusive recommends a stay at The Omnia Hotel. It is one of the most iconic buildings in Zermatt, with 5-star luxury waiting for you at every turn, from the second you enter the lodge. Alternatively, the CERVO Mountain Boutique Resort is one of the more recent additions to Zermatt's ever increasing list of luxury hotels and boasts some excellent dining options.

Where to Drink: The aprés-ski scene in Zermatt is pretty difficult to beat. There are hundreds of bars located in the village and plenty more in the mountains, including the Papperla Pub, which is popular with the tourists. Those night owls amongst us, can do no worse than to check out the night club Schneewittl, always open until the early hours if you can last that long!

Where to Eat: Zermatt boasts the highest density of gourmet restaurants in the world. Throw a snowball and chances are you'll hit a Michelin starred restaurant. If you chose to stay at The Omnia, this itself has it's own Michelin starred restaurant. Alternatively, for a real taste of Zermatt, head over to Le Mazot which offers traditional Swiss fine dining cuisine.

Nearest Airport: You may chose to fly into either Geneva, Milan or Zurich, although flying by private jet gets you into Sion Airport, where a short 20 minute helicopter ride can get you into Zermatt much quicker than any other route.

Fly with Xclusive: Citation II - £6,800 | Falcon 900B - £16,500 (price based on 6 pax from Farnborough Airport, UK).


5. Morzine, France

Why Morzine? Set in the picturesque Portes du Soleil region of the French Alps, Morzine is a busy alpine town which is very popular with skiers from all across Europe.

Where to Stay: The Pierre & Vacances Premium Les Terrasses d'Eso located in the mountains, is a traditional French hotel with the facility to ski in and ski out straight onto the slopes. Alternatively, a stay in the Champs Fleuris 4-star hotel combines style with space to produce some sought after super deluxe rooms with stunning views of the mountains. Upgrade your room to ensure magnificent views each and every morning.

Where to Drink: La Théière du Berger is the destination you must visit for a typical French style aprés-ski. Delicious homemade cakes, a selection of warm teas and of course the obligatory list of alcoholic beverages. The majority of bars in Morzine close around midnight, however the town's two nightclubs, L'Opera and Le Paradis, are both open well into the early hours.

Where to Eat: La Chaudanne restaurant not only offers exceptionally good tasting food, it also has an extensive wine list to cater for every palate. If it's a more civilised, formal evening you require, look no further than L'Atelier in the Hôtel Le Samoyède. Michelin starred food at it's finest.

Nearest Airport: Only 50 miles from Geneva Airport, Morzine is easily accessible by road, however you may decide to take the shorter route via helicopter, which will get you into the resort in roughly 20 minutes.

Fly with Xclusive: Citation II - £6,600 | Falcon 900B - £15,700 (price based on 6 pax from Farnborough Airport, UK).