These three great ski resorts have much more to offer than downhill thrills.
“Those looking for après-ski that doesn’t involve DJ Ötzi, shot skis or Jägerbombs should look to Andermatt” in Switzerland, says Tom Robbins in the Financial Times. “In June, it opened a stunning new concert hall with a performance by the Berlin Philharmonic.” The glass facade “leaves it awash with natural light” – perfect for a year-round programme that is geared towards promoting rising stars, ranging from opera and chamber music to jazz.
In little more than a decade Andermatt has transformed from being a garrison town with a few ageing ski lifts to becoming an upmarket resort. The five-star The Chedi hotel opened in 2013 and a new lift will extend the ski area to the neighbouring historic village of Disentis. If you make it there, but find you don’t have the legs to make it back, the Après-Ski train is on hand, with a bar serving cheese and dried meats, beer and schnapps.
From CHF510, thechediandermatt.com
Food, glorious food
As part of Les Trois Vallées, the world’s largest ski area, Val Thorens, in France, has access to hundreds of kilometres of ski runs, says Ben Ross in The Daily Telegraph. But it also has access to 19 Michelin stars shared by 11 restaurants. If that sounds like too much of a stretch, you can still eat well, if not exactly cheaply. “Our finest stop came at La Ferme de la Choumette, low on the mountain above St Martin de Belleville, where entrecôte and tangy cheese burgers were served in a peculiar shed that was half restaurant, half cow barn.” “But a glorious meal at Chalet de la Marine, off the Peclet lift above Val Thorens, showed that even extortionate pot au feu (€30) can be worth it when delivered well: rich, hearty and full of marrow.” Stay at Langley Hotel Tango, located in “a busy, but not uproarious hub” for après-ski.
From £80, langleyhotels.eu
Hot springs in Colorado
Steamboat Springs in Colorado “strikes the balance between a younger ski-town population and older, laid-back ranchers, with a cultural scene built around both”, says Kevin Max in Barron’s Penta. Its natural hot springs and supposed therapeutic powers continue to attract visitors. Legend has it that early settlers mistook the noise coming from the springs for that of a steamboat. While the “massive” Steamboat ski resort is the village’s main attraction, it is still less crowded than Vail and Breckenridge. Even so, there are also surprisingly few luxury places to stay. The luxury penthouses and condos at the Steamboat Grand at the ski resort are an exception, offering heated pools, hot tubs, a spa and views of the iconic ski area.
From $295 for three nights, steamboatgrand.com