What could be more luxurious than having your own slice of ski heaven? Quiet slopes are just as important as perfect powder and first-class services, which is why we’ve put together our top five secret ski destinations in the world.
Pila has the sought-after combination of being both lively and intimate: its small size means that it attracts relatively low numbers of visitors, but it also has several excellent restaurants and bars. The setting is impressive, and skiers will be treated to views of the imposing Mont Blanc and Matterhorn mountains.
The resort is blessed with exceptional snowfall, and state-of-the-art snowmaking equipment ensures that the powder is always fresh. There is rarely a queue at the lifts so you can get to the tree-lined runs and high-altitude slopes without delay.
With just a handful of hotels, Rusutsu is more peaceful than its well-known neighbour Niseko. Frequently, there are no lift queues, and early risers will be treated to the luxury of being the first to tear up the resort’s 42km of scenic trails. The powder in this region is renowned worldwide, and for good reason – on average,12–14 metres of snowfall per season. For a secluded adventure, experienced skiers can try out Japan’s only heli-ski tour.
Accommodation here is suitably elegant – the lavish five-star Westin Rusutsu Resort was voted the world’s best new ski hotel in 2016 and has spacious duplex suites, thermal hot springs and striking mountain views.
Marmot Basin, Canada
Located in the Rocky Mountains, Marmot Basin delivers quintessentially Canadian laid-back luxury. Quieter than the more famous Banff, this resort is the locals’ best-kept secret. 1,675 acres of varied terrain provide meticulously maintained tree-lined trails, as well as powder bowls that are perfect for adventurous skiers and snowboarders. A state-of-the-art grooming fleet keeps the pistes in top condition at all times.
For après-ski, head to the superb Tekarra restaurant in the nearby town of Jasper, where you can experience locally sourced ingredients with an upscale twist – try elk loin in maple bourbon mustard or Arctic char with coconut quinoa and ginger cream sauce.
Warth-Schröcken is a small, sleepy village that belies its reputation as the snowiest destination in the Alps. Wake up early and, as you glide down silent, tree-lined slopes, savour being the first person to disturb last’s night’s powder. Now connected to the largest ski area in Austria, Ski Arlberg, Warth-Schröcken’s enviable snow record is now complemented by a near endless supply of slopes across five charming Tyrolean resorts.
Average snowfall here hits 11 metres each season – more than world-renowned Val d’Isère. For a unique experience, head to the Warth Ski School, which has an imaginative range of off-piste guided excursions. Relax at Hotel Walserburg’s delightful spa which provides a variety of treatments that are perfect for rejuvenating sore limbs. If you want to brave the cold, (then warm up again) head out to the outdoor sauna, situated in its very own log cabin.
Arapahoe Basin, USA
Located in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, Arapahoe Basin is known for its extended ski run that goes until mid-July. This resort is a haven for skiers looking for a challenge, with 45% of its 132 trails falling into the ‘very difficult’ camp. This means that its 1,428-acre terrain tends to be quiet, with beginners going elsewhere.
Arapahoe Basin is also known for its exclusive Moonlight Dinner series, which takes place annually at the Black Mountain Lodge. Guests are treated to international cuisine and live music, before taking the Black Mountain Express back to their hotel, guided by the full moon.
Craig Burton is Managing Director of Ski Solutions.