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(Bloomberg) -- This year, some of the world’s best ski resorts are introducing a flurry of on-mountain improvements and luxurious slope-side retreats. We’ve rounded up the most exciting offerings for the 2017-2018 season and broken them down into personality-based recommendations, with input from Bloomberg’s enthusiastic ski experts and Ski.com executive Dan Sherman. The goal? To make sure you can maximize whatever time you’re planning to spend on the slopes—by heading to the destination that’s perfect for you. 

If you still need help deciding where to book, take our ski quiz to find the trip that’s right for you.

—With assistance from Esmé E. Deprez and David Rocks

Best for Luxury Seekers: Megève, France

The French resort has always been a bastion of Old World luxury, laden with fur coats and hand-painted, horse-drawn carriages in the shadow of Mont Blanc. On the heels of a 300 million euro ($354 million) investment, the town is getting a 21st century update. High-speed gondolas will now connect its disparate peaks, making a day-long adventure all the more thrilling. And the longest toboggan run in the Haute-Savoie has just opened, along with two dedicated “fun zones” for kids and the largest indoor wellness complex in the Alps—with therapeutic pools to help you recover from a day on the slopes. December will mark the debut of the 69-room Four Seasons, built in collaboration with Benjamin and Ariane de Rothschild, whose family helped establish Megève as a tony winter playground. The hotel has big ambitions: It has imported the general manager from the Hotel George V in Paris, along with the two-Michelin-starred restaurant, Le 1920, formerly on the Rothschild estate. Can’t get in? Among the clusters of independently owned châteaux on the mountain is one design-centric gem, Les Fermes de Marie, where traditional alpine woodworking gets updated with white shag pillows, eccentrically upholstered headboards, and a Japanese-style spa. 

Who you’ll see: Old money and French aristocrats Where to eat: Le Hibou Blanc, a new brasserie from Saint Tropez’s beloved Sénéquier team Cost of a lift ticket: 46.50 euros per day

Stuck stateside? Try Deer Valley, Utah, at which resort staff will dispatch strapping young men to carry your skis to the lift, or a private mountain in Vermont, where you’ll share the slopes only with your 99 closest friends.

Best for Family Skiers: Lech, Austria


Given the unpredictability of snowfall in recent winters, the greater Lech area has a considerable advantage: The resort in western Austria consistently ranks among the snowiest places in Europe. And now that a panoramic tram system is connecting Lech with six neighboring Arlberg peaks, including St. Anton and Zürs, its contiguous skiable terrain is among the largest in the world. 

For families, it offers serious advantages. Ski-in, ski-out chalets make it easy to get on and off the mountain without schlepping multiple sets of equipment; the ski school is considered among the most kid-friendly in the world, with lessons for riders as young as three years old; and the sprawling runs are gentle and well-groomed.  

Skiers up for a challenge can try their hand at the Run of Fame, a newly minted path that cuts across the entire mountain valley, linking trails that stretch 53 miles, with a cumulative vertical drop of 11 miles. Start to finish, this can take an entire day without leaving time for leisurely meals. (Send off your teens!) Be sure to stop at the Scandi-chic Der Wolf, one of three new on-mountain restaurants: It’s the place to go for hearty beef goulash and stunning Alpine views.

Whom you’ll see: European royalty and legions of intrepid powder chasers Where to stay: The Almhof Schneider, Lech’s grand dame and a onetime favorite of Princess Diana Cost of a lift ticket: 53 euros per day

Don’t want to go to Europe? Try Snowmass, which has a 25,000-square-foot Treehouse Kids’ Adventure center at the base of one of its main lifts, or Waterville Valley, N.H., a little-known (but just-expanded) New England resort with a real community feel.

Best For Adventure Junkies: Taos, New Mexico

The Rockies meet Pueblo culture in this crowd-free sliver of northern New Mexico, which has long been on the adventurer’s bucket list for its challenging slopes and epic backcountry. Now Taos is better than ever, following a $300 million cash injection courtesy of billionaire conservationist Louis Bacon. While the indie Southwestern vibe and challenging terrain remain, the Blake, an 80-room hotel with American Indian-inspired details and direct slope-side access, provides a nice place to rest your head. And if you’re traveling with less-daring company, a new gondola goes straight from a beginner-friendly area into the heart of town—a game-changer for a destination that has traditionally attracted adventurers keen on hiking up the slopes before zooming down. Bonus: The new ownership has gone to great lengths to turn this into a beacon of energy efficiency, making it the world’s first B Corporation-certified ski resort.

Whom you’ll see: Die-hards in speed suits Where to ride: The chutes and bowls off the new Kachina triple chair are reliably full of deep stuff Cost of a lift ticket: $105 per day

Don’t want to head out West? Chamonix, in France, is revered for the technical runs off the Aiguille du Midi, which is said to have one of the highest altitudes and steepest gradients anywhere in the world. In Vermont, Mad River Glen is consistently rated the most challenging mountain in New England; a single-chair lift takes you up to terrain that’s as gloriously rugged and ungroomed as Mother Nature intended.

Best for Powder Hounds: Jackson Hole, Wyoming

This famous Wyoming resort has always made its name on extremes, whether it’s the steep terrain, six-star hotels, or record-setting snowfalls. None of that is going away. In fact, more powder is coming, thanks to increased snow-making capacities. But this year, the mountain’s appeal will broaden considerably with the addition of several chic (and affordable) boutique hotels in town. The Anvil is leader of the pack, with a dude ranch-meets-midcentury look done by Studio Tack of Brooklyn, N.Y. Then there’s Mountain Modern, a thoroughly reimagined motel that goes heavy on natural wood grains and flannel throws. It also has bunk beds for families, increasingly catered to on the slopes; this season will see significant enhancements to a beginner- and family-friendly ski area, with a large ski school coming next year.

Whom you’ll see: Adrenaline-fueled bros—and, if you’re lucky, Harrison Ford Where to après-ski: The Handle Bar, which serves elk-chili nachos and 50 types of whiskey on its sprawling patio Cost of a lift ticket: $111 per day

Don’t want to go out West? Niseko, in Japan, is legendary for its powder-filled bowls; In British Columbia, Revelstoke annually offers more than 50 feet of snow, which you can navigate by helicopter, cat, or traditional lift. The former Soviet republic Georgia has best-in-class skiing at Gudauri, where you can descend 6,000 feet on untracked powder; this particularly attracts intrepid heli-skiers keen to beat the crowds to the next big thing.

Best for Conservative Intermediates: Cortina, Italy

It takes only a two-hour drive to swap Venice’s canal-bound gondolas for ones that climb up staggering, craggy peaks. Intimidating? Only at first glance. Half the mountain is made up of easy terrain; an additional 35 percent is intermediate, and just 15 percent of the runs are considered expert territory. And if you’re feeling confident, there are ample ways to stretch your skills: You can learn to ski the backwoods with an instructor, tackle a 25-mile, lift-serviced loop circling the craggy Sella massif, or pop over to the neighboring Marmolada glacier.

No matter how much you’re willing to conquer, the rewards here are especially tempting. A newly refurbished, rebranded Luxury Collection resort called Cristallo Resort & Spa can arrange overnights in glass domes under the stars (if you’re not content with its 73 spacious, country-chic rooms). A bobsled track provides an out-of-the-box adrenaline rush, and regional dishes such as canederli—dumplings filled with parmesan and speck and then poached in broth—offer delicious reminders that there’s always a bonus to being in Italy. That you’re smack in the middle of the prosecco-producing Veneto area is icing on the cake.

Whom you’ll see: Cinecittà A-listers; foodies with an adventurous spiritWhat to do on your day off: Book a ride down the local bobsled track, a feature few mountains can offerCost of a lift ticket: From 47 euros per day

Don’t want to go to Europe? Vermont’s Stowe has recently been acquired by Vail, meaning you can now access its long, tree-lined trails with the EpicPass; out West, Beaver Creek has a whopping 805 acres of groomers that are famously manicured to perfection.

Best for Après-skiers: Aspen, Colorado

Aspen’s among the few mountain resorts that’s as well known for its scene as its slopes, and that’s for good reason: People start popping corks here at lunchtime. Yet Aspen knows how to have fun and keep its class. This year, the epicenter of the mountain’s posh party culture, the Little Nell, is fresh off renovation. The crisp interiors, rethought by design maven Alexandra Champalimaud, are all new—as is a space for (relatively tame) wine tastings and cellar dinners. But Chair 9, the hotel’s perennial hotspot for “private chair” bottle-service packages, is just as regulars remember it—uproarious. Throw in an afternoon drinking al fresco at Cloud Nine, where dance parties break out in full ski gear, and a nightcap at Woody Creek Tavern, a celeb-favorite dive bar just out of town, and you’ll see why it’s imperative to schedule days off from skiing in this ultimate alpine playground.

Whom you’ll see: Pretty young things in Moncler snowsuitsWhere to see and be seen: Matsuhisa has all the polish you’d expect from the sushi empire—but not the crazily inflated prices. (Tasting menus start at $125 per person.) Cost of a lift ticket: $155

Don’t want to head out West? St. Anton, in Austria, has for decades been a global party capital without losing its luster. Repeat visitors to Killington, Vt., know that the Wobbly Barn Steakhouse is the place to let your hair down; after a night of live music, the place will send you home (gratis) in its signature Wobbly Wagon.


To contact the author of this story: Nikki Ekstein in New York at nekstein@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Justin Ocean at jocean1@bloomberg.net.

©2017 Bloomberg L.P.

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