Seasoned travellers seeking a new Summer escape may find luxurious adventures in an unlikely place – on the ski slopes. From the Alps to Argentina, these mountain destinations offer consistent snow conditions, lively culture and upscale accommodations. Here are our top 5 luxurious Summer ski destinations:
Almost unearthly in its beauty, Ski Portillo Resort is nestled amongst the towering peaks of the Andes and the shimmering Laguna del Inca. Portillo’s remote location and limited lodging options make for an exclusive atmosphere, with crowd-free slopes and empty lift lines. The resort enjoys fierce loyalty among repeat guests, many of whom return year after year for the familial atmosphere and all-inclusive reservation structure. Guests of Ski Portillo book week-long packages, which include accommodations, four communal meals a day, lift tickets and access to resort facilities, including the fitness center and spa facilities. The expansive Portillo Hotel features a slope-side swimming pool, theater, climbing wall and game room.
Las Lenas, Argentina
Like many of the best South American ski destinations, Las Lenas is remote, but the terrain quality, five-star lodging and stunning views make this popular Argentine resort worth the effort to get here. Inconsistent service may grate travellers accustomed to instant gratification at first, but the relaxed atmosphere will delight those who embrace the leisurely pace of Las Lenas. Luxury accommodations are available at the ski-in/ski-out Virgo Hotel & Spa, where staff will take your boots off for you and you’ll find a plasma screen TV in your room. For a gastronomic treat, try Malbec, an upscale restaurant in the Aries Hotel.
Queenstown, New Zealand
Lying just beyond The Remarkables, an aptly named mountain range rising dramatically behind Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown is an ideal retreat for all types of skiers. Groomer enthusiasts will appreciate the abundance of mellow terrain at all four area resorts, while devoted powder hounds can find plenty of steep slopes and excellent snow conditions. Popular resorts include The Remarkables Ski Area and Coronet Peak. Non-skiers will appreciate Queenstown’s upscale restaurants and thriving nightlife scene. Luxury accommodations range from the internationally reputable Sofitel Queenstown to the charming Dairy Private Luxury Hotel, a boutique bed and breakfast that began in the 1920s as a corner store.
Cerro Bayo, Argentina
This boutique family-owned resort likely isn’t the first destination to come to mind for a luxury ski vacation, but with a growing reputation earned by perfecting its small-mountain, familial niche and a multi-million pound lodging project currently in development, Cerro Bayo may soon earn greater international recognition. The awe-inspiring views of Lake Nahuel Huapi from the slopes are known to make skiers feel as if they might ski right into the water.
For the sheer novelty of skiing, hiking and golfing all in the same vacation, this world-renowned resort is worth exploring in the traditionally off-peak months of summer. Guests can ski or snowboard the Theodul Glacier (the only slopes in the world to remain open 365 days a year) in the morning, with afternoons free for adventures in fly fishing, paragliding and mountaineering. Summer travellers will find the same sumptuous accommodations and service they have come to expect at the upscale Zermatt, including five-star hotels and luxurious on-mountain chalets.
Tracie Heffernan is the Communications Director at Resorts West.
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