All month long we celebrate Ireland. From the music, to the festivals, to its famous coastlines and castles. Book our sweeping castle tour and spend an afternoon at falconry school. To get you ready, our travel experts share some of their best packing essentials. We also welcome three new advisors to the team.
Erika Reategui and Fernando Gonzalez
What kind of ski adventure are you looking for this winter? We asked our team of experts to share a variety of favorites for the 2014-15 ski and snowboarding season. A well kept secret is that after January 6, Europe’s resorts typically slow down until mid-March, so take advantage now for the best selections during a period traditionally filled with plenty of sunshine and snow.
The Experiential Ski Adventure
For those dreaming of exploring Europe’s secret ski paths, experiential heli-ski safaris are the ticket. Imagine a fully guided, bespoke adventure the moment you step off the plane. Your hosts can offer everything from super sleek designer chalets to remote snow-laden tree-houses complete with helicopter landing, hot tub and private chef. It’s an unforgettable recipe for luxury, adventure and local discovery.
The Après-Ski Lover
Europeans not only invented skiing, they invented après-ski too. If you have the energy, you can bar hop til the wee hours in Swiss resort of Verbier, an F1S team favorite. But frankly, all of the main European resort towns have a vibrant party scene. In the U.S., glamorous Aspen is the hands-down favorite for slope-side celebrating with the mega rich and famous.
All Around + Family Friendly
Beaver Creek, Colorado is the total package for families, adventurers and après-ski enthusiasts alike. Against the stunning backdrop of the Rockies, all ages can spend the day skiing and snowboarding without ever coming off the slopes. Vail is 10 minutes away, and connected by bowls and slopes. Aspen is accessible in just over an hour. Visitors can be as flash and fabulous as they choose, or may opt for a chill time, while still being completely challenged by the slopes and dazzled by the après-ski possibilities.
The kid-friendly Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch is smack dab in the village center. Family activities include dog sledding, a Bernese mountain dog on site, ice skating, and nighttime nature walks in the snow with an astrologer. Luxury accommodations include brand new three-bedroom penthouse suites.
With 400 miles of trails linked by 170 lifts, France’s renowned ski region, Les 3 Vallées, claims to be larger than the five biggest ski areas in North American combined. Of the area’s eight resorts, Courchevel is by far the most exclusive playground. Catering to skiers of all levels, the resort packs the fun on and off the slopes, from the outdoor afternoon dance party known as Folie Douce, to designer shopping, fine dining, and celeb spotting. First class accommodations abound including Le Mélézin, Hotel Des Trois Vallées, and Le Chabichou. Also worth considering a private chalet.
Off the Beaten Path
Many lesser known, but satisfying ski options are emerging on the global radar. Niseko in Hokkaido is Japan’s largest resort. It is best known for constant snow and seemingly endless powder. Often referred to as Korea’s Alps, spectacular Pyeongchang is home to the 2018 Winter Olympics. And just 40 miles from Anchorage, elegant Alyeska resort boasts breathtaking views and a mountain experience for all levels of skiers in Alaska.
Old World Classic
Historic Zermatt in the Swiss Alps is one of the world’s most stunning ski resorts. The skyline of this alpine crown jewel is dominated by the iconic, pyramid-shaped Matterhorn. Next year marks the 150th anniversary of the peak’s ascent with plenty of activities (including a possible climb by Prince William or Harry). Cars are not permitted in the classic village which leaves the cobblestone streets yours to explore. As the gourmet capital of the Alps, the resort has no shortage of Michelin-starred restaurants. We recommend Hotel Monte Rosa, Riffelalp and The Omnia for a very posh stay.