It takes more than a snowy slope to create a world-class ski resort that attracts the rich and famous. Roll in spa treatments, upscale shopping and exclusive experiences and you’ve got the recipe for enticing the world’s wealthiest skiers to visit.
From swanky, billionaire-only ski resorts to uncrowded getaways that are accessible to all, here are 15 of the world’s best places to ski and get pampered right here in the U.S. Find the one that fits your lifestyle and budget.
Cimarron Mountain Club
Where: Cimarron, Colo.
Lift ticket price: $50,000 to $90,000 annually (includes dues)
Skiing doesn’t get much more exclusive than at the Cimarron Mountain Club. Located in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains between Crested Butte and Telluride, the club caters to 12 member families and their guests. Each member must buy a ranch that ranges in size from 35 to 204 acres. Prices for the land start at $2.7 million.
Future plans for the place include a clubhouse with a spa, pool, gym and restaurant, but the real draw is the outdoors. The ski mountain is bigger than Aspen Mountain, and members are entitled to unlimited skiing on the untracked powder that blanket’s the resort’s more than 60 runs.
The club has a car-free community policy: Owners park in covered garages at Black Bear Meadow near Cimarron’s entry gate and get chauffeured to their residences by snowcat — or they can charter a helicopter in Montrose.
Where: Big Sky, Mont.
Lift ticket price: $39,500 annually (includes dues)
You’ll have the slopes to yourself here because this private, world-class resort caters to the uber-wealthy who own property at the Yellowstone Club. Meaning, when you do see someone on the notably uncrowded slopes, it might be someone famous.
Uncrowded slopes don’t mean deserted: More than 60 runs roll through resort’s 2,200 skiable acres, accessed by 15 chairlifts and ski-in, ski-out access to your home. You also have exclusive access to the luxury ski resort’s restaurants, lodges, clubhouse, golf course and fitness center.
Before you decided to pay those $39,500 yearly club dues, be aware that you’ll have to dig deeper into your pocket. Condos start at $6.3 million and bare homesites run at least $2.3 million for approximately two acres. There’s also a one-time membership fee of $300,000.
Where: Wilmington, Vt.
Lift ticket price: $10,000 per week for four
You don’t have to own real estate to enjoy the private slopes at the Hermitage Club in Wilmington, Vermont. However, many do in order to take advantage of the resort’s four-season mountain activities and roster of members-only events.
An initiation fee of $85,000 in addition to an annual fee of $8,500 opens — plus tax — buys you a year-round pass to amenities like a 90,000-foot clubhouse, family-friendly activities and uncrowded slopes. Or just spend a week living it up at the resort for $10,000 for up to four people.
Set on 1,400 acres, the resort offers plenty to do when you want a break from the slopes. Enjoy snowmobiling on Haystack Mountain after ski operations end at 4:30 p.m., head for the tubing hill or take a few turns around the ice-skating rink.
Where: Vail, Colo.
Lift ticket price: $189
If you’re trying to keep up with the Kardashians, Vail’s the place to do it. The resort town’s been their family getaway spot for many years, and they’re only a few of the celebrities you might see around town.
Game Creek Club’s membership roster is a who’s who list of Vail notables. It’s open exclusively to members during the day and is accessible only by the club’s snowcat or skis. Your $50,000 membership fee gets you into daily, members-only luncheons and earns you a private ski instructor for your snow adventures in addition to other perks.
Surround yourself in AAA Four Diamond luxury accommodations at The Arrabelle at Vail Square and enjoy the spectacular views of Vail Mountain from the rooftop hot tubs or lap pool. Pamper yourself at the 10,000-square-foot RockResorts Spa and enjoy the convenience of slope-side storage for your gear.
Where: Avon, Colo.
Lift ticket price: $189
Enjoy the ultimate luxury ski experience with Beaver Creek’s White Glove Winter Package: The $50,000, all-inclusive vacation takes care of all the details so you can relax and enjoy your time on the slopes. The package includes first-class airfare to Eagle Airport, a private helicopter ride to Beaver Creek Mountain via private helicopter and private car transportation to the secluded Trapper’s Cabin.
You’ll be greeted with a champagne toast and ski apparel from Smartwool and Helly Hansen. During your four-day stay, you’ll also your own personal chef. Other perks include time on the slopes before the resort opens to the public, private ski lessons, spa treatments and a private snowshoe tour.
Breckenridge Ski Resort
Where: Breckenridge, Colo.
Lift ticket price: $171
Like many of Colorado’s ski areas, Breckenridge had its roots in the mining boom during the 1800s. The base camp where miners discovered gold no longer exists, but 350 historic structures in the city make Breckinridge the state’s largest historic district.
Today, gold comes to the city in the pockets of the wealthy visitors who come to the resort to ski and enjoy some pampering. Although there’s no shortage of spas in the city, you won’t want to miss Soothe, the elegant establishment in Grand Lodge on Peak 7.
The vast resort has 155 ski runs serviced by 30 lifts that span five peaks. Ride the highest lift on the continent on Peak 8: The Imperial Express lies 12,840 feet above sea level.
Where: Steamboat Springs, Colo.
Lift ticket price: $130 and up
Check out the lights of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, as you zip down five trails after dark. The resort maintains one advanced, two intermediate and two beginner trails for the night events and provides cutting- edge Ultra-Tech lighting that illuminates your path as you navigate 1,100 vertical feet.
Treat yourself to a Scandinavian dinner at Ragnar’s. You’ll take a ride in the Steamboat gondola and a snowcat sleigh to get to the restaurant, which offers delicious fare and live entertainment.
The Steamboat Grand Spa is ready to help you relax with hot stone, Swedish and Ashiatsu massages. Or you might opt for a facial or body treatment. If you want to relax in nature, take a dip in the natural hot mineral pools at Strawberry Park Hot Springs.
Where: Truckee, Calif.
Lift ticket price: $150
Completely renovated by Vail Resorts in 2010, Northstar California was reborn as one of California’s toniest resorts. High-end restaurants and boutiques dot its village, which surrounds a year-round ice-skating rink and open fire pits.
Add extra-special touches to your Northstar ski vacation with Platinum Experience upgrades. The Platinum Access Pass lets you ditch the lift lines for $150 per day or $2,500 for the season. Buy the Platinum Primo Private and get a private instructor for your group, or choose the Platinum Töst, which includes a champagne toast right on the mountain.
At day’s end, surround yourself in luxury with a stay at the Ritz-Carlton. For the ultimate experience, book your stay on the Ritz-Carlton Club Level. You’ll be in digs that offer stunning mountain views and luxurious appointments and enjoy club level perks like continuous culinary offerings and a personal concierge.
Where: Aspen, Colo.
Lift ticket price: $145
Aspen is known as a ski resort for the rich and famous. A trip to the town’s shopping district leaves no doubt why: Stores from Gucci to Prada sell upscale merchandise year-round. In addition, you can visit during Aspen Fashion Week in March to see the latest outdoor wear presented on a catwalk.
Aspen’s skiing is the big draw in winter. You can buy a lift ticket and decide which of the four ski areas and runs you feel up to that day. Aspen offers runs geared toward advanced and intermediate skiers as well beginners, and there’s a terrain park for snowboarding. Experts won’t want to miss skiing the bowls of Aspen Highlands.
Enjoy AAA Five Diamond luxury at The Little Nell, Aspen’s only ski-in, ski-out hotel. The hotel has a long list of awards to its credit, including Travel + Leisure’s “World’s Best Hotel” for 11 straight years.
Savor world-class dining at the members-only Caribou Club. You can bring an unlimited number of guests to dinner — although you’ll have to pay a door charge for each guest on busy nights — for $3,000 per year. If you just plan on popping in over the holidays, you can opt for the Christmas through New Year’s package at half that price.
Aspen is where the rich and famous often go to see and be seen. Michelle Obama and Elton John are just two famous faces you might see during your travels.
Where: Teton Village, Wyo.
Lift ticket price: $130
The rugged beauty of Yellowstone Park and Grand Teton National Park is legendary. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, located just south of the parks, is a third natural wonder in the area.
Jackson Hole isn’t actually a hole — it’s a valley tucked into the extensive mountain ranges surrounding the ski area. The resort is a special use permittee of Bridger-Teton National Forest, and it features 2,500 skiable acres.
Gorgeous scenery is just one reason celebrities like Orlando Bloom, Katy Perry and Sandra Bullock frequent Jackson Hole. The other is Jackson Hole’s first-class amenities.
The Four Seasons Resort offers the pinnacle of luxury at Jackson Hole. It features an 11,685-square-foot spa with private suites that include soaking tubs, fireplaces and a Swiss shower. Enjoy direct access to the slopes and rooms, which include a presidential suite and penthouses with up to five bedrooms.
Telluride Ski Resort
Where: Telluride, Colo.
Lift ticket price: $119
Old West charm meets upscale ski resort at Telluride, a historic town that served as the location of Butch Cassidy’s first bank heist in 1889 at what is now the Mahr Building on Colorado Avenue. If Cassidy was around today, he might be tempted to plunk down the $20,750 he stole — which is equivalent to about a $1.5 million today– to enjoy the ski amenities.
Cassidy wouldn’t have to shell out a penny of his loot to hop on the free gondola that travels between Telluride and Mountain Village, which is home to some of the most exclusive ski resort accommodations in the country. The 13-minute gondola ride offers views as far as Moab on a clear day.
Cassidy might have liked to hole up in the secluded Tempter House, which sits perched above the 2,000-foot Tempter Chute and features amenities including fireplaces, featherbeds, and a Jacuzzi tub and steam shower. An evening here includes dinner for two at a village restaurant and a $300 wine credit, plus transportation to and from the village on Telluride Ski Patrol snowmobiles.
Although Cassidy isn’t around to enjoy the glamorous ski resort, other celebrities are. You might see Tom Cruise, Sandra Bullock, Robert Redford or Jerry Seinfeld around — they all have homes in the area.
Where: Alta, Utah
Lift ticket price: $128
The interconnected luxury ski resorts of Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort and Alta Ski Area offer 4,700 acres of the “greatest snow on earth.”
Enjoy watching the snow come down as you relax in heated outdoor pools and spas at Snowbird’s Cliff Lodge and Alta’s Rustler Lodge. Snowbird’s Cliff Spa offers a menu of 30 treatments in addition to a rooftop pool and hot tub. Indulge yourself with the 150-minute Nordic Retreat at Alta’s Rustler Spa and revel in a hot stone massage, facial and ski boot soother.
Deer Valley Ski Resort
Where: Park City, Utah
Lift ticket price: $128
Although Deer Valley Ski Resort is one of the largest in the U.S., and it really offers something for everyone. The beginner runs enable newbies to head up to the resort’s tallest peak and enjoy views of the Heber Valley and Mount Timpanogos as they take the Homeward Bound trail.
If you’re an intermediate or better skier, you can take a complimentary tour of the ski area with a red-jacketed Mountain Host. You’ll hit all five peaks in about two hours and your host will point out trails that suit your ability level and give you a short history lesson about the place.
Among its 183 lodges, there are 13 properties with ski-in, ski-out access at Deer Valley. Most notably, Stein Eriksen Lodge Deer Valley, which received the World Ski Awards’ “World’s Best Ski Hotel” accolades in 2014 and 2015.
The resort sells a limited number of tickets each day that gain visitors access to 2,000 skiable acres and 21 chair lifts, so you don’t have to worry about super-crowded slopes. You might even bump into a couple of celebrities along the way, such as Gwen Stefani or Jimmy Osmond, who are Deer Valley devotees.
Where: Sun Valley, Idaho
Lift ticket price: $100 and up
Sun Valley was the first ski destination in the United States, built during the heyday of continental train travel in the 1930s. Count Felix Schaffgotsch rode the rails to find a suitable resort site, rejecting several destinations that are now top ski areas in Colorado, Wyoming and other states. Ketchum, Idaho, was the site that he settled on because of its lush scenery.
The chairlift debuted at Sun Valley in 1936, which attracted celebrities including Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable and Errol Flynn. Ernest Hemingway stayed at the lodge for several months writing “For Whom The Bell Tolls.” The resort has been a celebrity magnet ever since, with recent sightings including Oprah Winfrey, Clint Eastwood, Justin Timberlake and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Sun Valley’s two mountains include Dollar, which is historically ranked as one of the best places to learn to ski because of its treeless face and progressive terrain. Bald Mountain features a full terrain menu with trails ranging from easy to expert.
Stay in the remodeled Sun Valley Lodge, which offers spacious suites that pay homage to notables of yesteryear who frequented the place. Choose from suites dedicated to Clint Eastwood, Marilyn Monroe, Ernest Hemingway, Sonia Henie and Averell Harriman, the resort’s founding father. The upgraded rooms come with modern amenities that include a parlor with fireplace, flat-screen TVs, granite entryways and an in-suite spa bathroom.
Whitefish Mountain Resort
Where: Whitefish, Mont.
Lift ticket price: $76
Whitefish Mountain Resort’s white “snow ghost” trees and above-the-clouds ambiance give it an otherworldly feel, and it’s a great getaway for those more focused on family-friendly fun than the glitz and glam of larger resorts.
Ski into the sunset on Friday and Saturday nights at Whitefish Mountain Resort from December to March and watch the snow-carved peaks of nearby Glacier National Park turn rosy as the lights of the Flathead Valley sparkle in the distance. Or reserve the Moonlight Dine & Ski experience to have dinner on the summit of Big Mountain and ski down in the moonlight.
Book a cabin at The Lodge at Whitefish Lake. The two- and four-bedroom Viking Creek luxury cabins are next to the Viking Creek Wetland Preserve, which provides views and privacy.
Savor a gourmet dinner at Tupelo Grille. Start your meal with shrimp and crawfish cakes or pistachio hummus before you tuck into a rack of lamb or elk meatloaf. Enjoy views of Whitefish Lake as you pamper yourself at the spa or spend a Friday or Saturday evening skating on it during a bonfire and marshmallow roast.