By Laura Itzkowitz
Contemplating where to jet off to for an invigorating ski vacation this winter? From the French Alps to a former host of the Winter Olympics in Japan, some of the world’s most luxurious ski resorts are unveiling large-scale renovations and brand-new amenities. Michelin-starred cuisine? Heli-safaris? It’s all here, and we’ve got the lowdown on the exciting offerings worth packing your snow gear and traveling for.
Tucked away in the southwest of France under the shadow of Mont Blanc, this under-the-radar ski resort has been favored by the rich and famous since the 1920s. The opening of the 55-room Four Seasons Megève this month—a collaboration with Baroness Ariane de Rothschild, whose aristocratic family was among the village’s original admirers—is sure to put it on the map. If the town’s antique painted wagons are too quaint for your taste, take the resort’s helicopter for a spin. The Ski Concierge is tasked with finding the best powder each day, whether it’s in nearby Chamonix, Courchevel, or Val d’Isère. The sunset return ride will have you back in time for après-ski at the new home for the Rothschilds’ two-Michelin-starred Le 1920.
Rooms from $997 per night; fourseasons.com
East Coasters needn’t look far for a top-notch ski destination. A 75-minute flight from New York will get you to Burlington, just an hour west of this quaint mountain town, which means you can leave after work on Friday and arrive in time for dinner. Check into the Stowe Mountain Lodge and book a treatment at its luxurious 2,100 square-foot spa or snatch up one of the condo-style ski-in/ski-out Club Residences. New perks include a $90 million adventure center complete with a rock wall at the base of the mountain, a posh speakeasy-style pub, gourmet dining, members-only club, and retail by Ralph Lauren.
Rooms from $219 per night to $699 on holiday and peak weekends; sprucepeak.com
(Photo: Hoshina Resorts)
Powder hounds wax poetic about Nagano in winter, and, at just three hours by train from Tokyo, it’s easy to combine an urban excursion with a ski getaway for a yin-yang balance of city and country. Nestled in the gateway to the Japanese Alps, the intimate 48-room KAI Alps by Hoshino Resorts—a collection of ryokans founded in 1914—reopens this month after a nearly two-year renovation. Traditional, yet clean-lined and modern, the resort exudes a Zen vibe. After a morning on the slopes of the Hakuba Valley, which hosted the 1998 Nagano Olympics, bliss out at the onsen, fed by natural hot springs, and indulge in a classic kaiseki meal.
Rooms from 23,000 JPY/ (approx. $200) per night, which includes two meals, taxes, and service charges; kai-ryokan.jp
Aspen loyalists are buzzing about beloved five-star hotel the Little Nell’s renovation, completed this summer. Alexandra Champalimaud—the creative force behind New York’s Carlyle and Plaza Hotels, among others—brought her signature classic-meets-modern style to the revamp. “The Little Nell’s new design recalls in texture, tone, and attitude Aspen’s soul and its distinctiveness as a silver-mining town,” she said. “The particular realness of the place was a grounding quality that we respected and integrated into our work.” Also new this season: a partnership with Sentient Jet, expanded adventure programming, a guest-chef dinner series at Element 47, and the Little Nell Wine Club, which will grant members event invitations, benefits on purchases, and a place to store your stash of Dom Pérignon.
Rooms from $1,000 per night; thelittlenell.com
Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
Calling all gourmands! Why not brush up on your Italian and join well-to-do Milanese and Romans for an epicurean adventure in the Dolomites this winter? Check into the historic Cristallo—family-run since 1901—which recently joined the Luxury Collection. Having hosted the Winter Olympics, Hollywood film crews, and such celebrities as Frank Sinatra, this iconic property is set to reveal a top-to-bottom renovation this month. The hotel may not be directly on the slopes, but it’s hard to complain when après-ski means an aperitivo with panoramic views of northern Italy’s snowy peaks and dinner is local cheese and house-made pasta served in a cozy wood-paneled room heated by an antique majolica stove. Let the Barolo flow!
Rooms from $358 per night; cristallo.com