It’s time to start planning your glamorous spring skiing vacation for 2015. For those that think that skiing is a sport merely for the winter, well, they probably just haven’t had the luxury of hitting the slopes when the temps are a little higher.
Victoria and David Beckman, George Clooney, Giorgio Armani, the King of Morocco, and Prince William and Kate Middleton can all be found skiing in Courchevel, France. With three magnificent, interlocking mountains, it is now the largest ski area in the world. Serious gourmands and sports enthusiasts have been migrating here since 1955. The opulently wealthy and beautiful people that one would find at Club 55 in St Tropez are here basking in the sun. They eat at Eric Tournier’s hotspots La Casserole and Le Cap Horn. Don’t miss the truffled pizza and the sole meuniere; you’ll be in culinary heaven and the music is jamming.
You’ll run into Nicole Miller, Laurence Graff and a host of Europeans you know or want to know. This Alpine retreat, that sees snow from Christmas to Easter, has 10 Michelin-starred restaurants. One of the best is Le 1947. Owned by LVMH’s Bernard Arnault and designed by Sybille de Margerie, it’s tucked away in the Hotel Cheval Blanc. Other prestigious addresses include K2 and Les Airelles where the bellhops lay out your skis everyday and help you in and out of your boots.
If you want to go clubbing, head to the Christina Aguilera-favored hot spots Les Caves, and La Grange. Have dinner at La Mangeoire and dance on the banquettes or around the bottles of Krug that decorate your table. The planet’s top polo players compete on the snow-covered runway of Courchevel Altiport, which is perched on the mountain so that you can literally ski home from your private jet. Chalets in this Alpine paradise, where money, style and charm converge, range from $50 to $100 million. The village of Courchevel 1850 is now the 6th most expensive place in the world to build a house with new construction ringing in at over 10k per sq. ft. This price tag however doesn’t faze the Saudi Royal Family, Roman Abramovich or Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, who entertains Vladimir Putin at his spectacular chalet.
Gstaad is the playground of the super rich and royals that prefer the understated chic of this traditional Swiss village to the splashier slopes of St. Moritz. One of the grandest chalets belongs to Maison Valentino. His houseguests have included Anne Hathaway and Madonna. The pretty young things convene nightly at the Palace Hotel, which serves up an indecent amount of Cristal and beluga caviar until the well into the next morning. Look for the teenage Princess Olympia of Greece and her parents HRH Crown Prince Pavlos and Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece, Mercedes Benz heir Mick Flick and director Roman Polanski.
The Palace Hotel
The legendary Palace Hotel always kicks off the season with a party in their notorious GreenGo Club. Envision Le Cave in St Tropez and you’ll get the right picture. Thirty-something hotelier Andrea Scherz, whose family owns the hotel, hosts the party. The party hosts an impossibly attractive mix from the local boarding school of the rich and royal, Le Rosey. The next King of Bhutan is currently enrolled. John Lennon’s son Sean attended classes here and Julian Casablancas and Albert Hammond Jr. of The Strokes met at this elite prep school. The exclusive and very private Eagle Club is still the only place to have lunch. New Yorkers who enjoyed these Alpine views this Christmas were Marchesa’s Georgina Chapman and her husband Harvey Weinstein. Other regulars include Yoko Ono and Diana Ross. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton also had a chalet here. The Palace Hotel, with its luxurious living and dining rooms and wondrous state of the art spa, provides the timeless fairytale setting for the jet set. Don’t miss the cheese fondue with truffles at the Palace’s Fromagerie.
You’ll find the chicest snow bunnies gathered around the fireplace for après ski aperitifs at The Little Nell, Aspen’s top slope side hotel where you’ll bump into the jet set. Interior designer Holly Hunt has elegantly appointed the 105 rooms that boast gas burning fireplaces and views of the mountains. The members only Caribou Club is still the center of the action for dining and dancing. Look for Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Kate Hudson and a slew of 20-somethings. Check out Richard Edward’s Baldwin Gallery for edgy art and photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe and David La Chapelle. The privileged pack that flies between the Hamptons, Palm Beach and Aspen’s golden triangle also includes Julia and David Koch, art collectors Samantha and Aby Rosen and Suzanne and Woody Johnson, who owns the New York Jets. Popular meeting places include Ajax (the only peak to ski and be seen on) and the private Aspen Mountain Club to rub shoulders with cosmetic moguls William and Leonard Lauder. For people watching, score a table at Matsuhisa, Cache Cache or Casa Tua, where you’ll trade air kisses with Mariah Carey and Natalie Cole. Hollywood stars from Jack Nicolson to Cher can be found in the J-Bar at the Hotel Jerome. This iconic hotel, built in 1889, has 93 rooms and has been stylishly refurbished by Zoe Compton.