New destinations for ski nirvana
Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.
Every little Alps
In Switzerland, Vaud’s 402km of slopes are once again fully open, spanning mint territory from Jura up into the Alps. The resort town of Villars is only an hour and a half by car from Geneva; it caters to all types of traveller, from families with young kids to daredevils keen to carve.
The Villars Palace (anno 1912) spent many decades under the aegis of Club Med, before being acquired by two private investors with exactly zero hospitality experience between them, who also snapped up two other hotels, all of them now assembled as the Villars Alpine Resort. On the 10th of this month, the Palace re-emerges post a comprehensive renovation. The 125 rooms are bright and contemporary, likewise the restaurant, bar and expansive Kaea spa; and the skiing and train station are both within walking distance. villarspalace.ch, from SFr559 (about £497)
“Slope to sea” in Greenland
Here’s one next April for the heli-skiers with some time (and cash) on their hands: a “slope-to-sea” expedition along the west coast of Greenland, aboard EYOS Expeditions’ MV Nansen Explorer, led by the most medalled men’s skier in US history, Bode Miller. Individual cabins can be booked for the week-long expedition, which moves from Maniitsoq (considered one of the most remote heliskiing destinations on Earth) north to Disko Bay.
Miller will be joined by World Extreme Skiing champ Chris Davenport and Doug Stoup, a polar guide who’s pioneered skiing in Antarctica. Some of the runs stretch to over a mile; 80 per cent of the territory the Nansen Explorer will visit has never been skied. The bucket-list nature of that terrain, along with the calibre of the guiding, goes a way toward justification of the admittedly eye-watering cost. eyos-expeditions.com, from €60,000 per cabin for seven nights, all-inclusive
Cool-off in Colorado
Onefinestay began around a decade ago as a clutch of very lovely houses and flats in London, which gave their guests all the privacy of a holiday let with hospitality staff and a concierge. Over the years it’s expanded to points further-flung, both urban (Los Angeles, Rome) and holiday (Barbados, Mykonos).
This winter Onefinestay debuts a new tranche of chalets across Colorado’s most desirable ski towns: there’s the contemporary five-bedroom, three-level Poma Lodge North, just outside Steamboat Springs, which sleeps 10 comfortably (and 12 at a pinch). In Breckenridge are the Bear’s Den, which is equipped with rec room, gym and a cover-worthy chef’s kitchen; and the timber-clad, rather brotastically named Epic Retreat – just six bedrooms versus the Den’s eight, but a ski-in, ski-out proposition, with its own rec rooms and huge en suites. If Vail or Beaver Creek is where it’s at for you, they’ve got addresses there too. onefinestay.com, from £2,410 per night
Enjoy an Alpine reset
And if spa, not slope, is your winter goal, you might look to Clinique Nescens, semi-hidden away in the low Alps between Lausanne and Geneva. Michel Reybier (he of the brilliant La Réserve hotels) has outfitted his 29-suite clinic with state-of-the-art preventive and non-invasive medicine technologies, from hyperbaric chambers to infrared saunas.
The Cure Reset is this winter’s big offering, a seven-day programme that harnesses all of it, along with nutritional consultations and one-on-one supervised movement. But you want to ski too, you say? Reybier has you covered, at Crans Ambassador, his Alpine ski resort, which hosts three-day ski and fitness boot camps throughout the winter, with personal “muscular awakening” sessions, stretching, yoga, massages and scrubs alongside some very solid Crans-Montana runs. michelreybierhospitality.com; Cure Reset from about £7,019; Crans Ambassador boot camp from about £3,100