The Powder and The Glory: Escape With Elite Skiing and Snowboarding Vacations
Hit the slopes with exclusive ski trips that include private chopper rides, ice cave dining and insane wildlife tours.
An off-piste ski trip should properly blow one’s mind, revealing a subtler truth in the vertical Valhalla, the inner what-am-I-truly-made-of monologue seminal to all ski devotees.
Aspen Snowmass has manifested this fantasy for generations of alpha skiers, a beacon to aficionados drawn to America’s elite alpine sports heritage. Celebrating Snowmass’s 75th anniversary in consummate style befitting such storied slopes, this season The Gant resort unveils a new excursion in its partnership with Nomad Inc. And like all high-octane powder hunts, The Gant’s tribute to the majestic mountains involves a helicopter to make it that much more thrilling.
From Aspen Airport, an exhilarating 20-minute chopper ride whisks you up to Crested Butte. After a snowcat ride into the pristine wilderness, float atop the most postcard-worthy runs of your life at liberty. Aspen reigns as a high-society catwalk of cutting-edge ski gear; rock your Rossignol Blackops Sender Ti skis for a wicked ride anywhere the snow takes you. Cruise, charge, or shred at will. A gourmet après-feast awaits in a luxury snowcat barn stocked with savory and sweet recovery proteins.
Life’s simply too short to ski in slush. Crested Butte offers some of the freshest bowls and chutes, sunlight sparkling on a sedate spruce woodland. Indeed, your ski holiday shouldn’t start with forking over a fortune to a soulless, high-density operation. The Gant invokes the intimate spirit of pioneer ski chalets, elevated by contemporary styling.
A weekend here feels like Vanity Fair on ice, with their 75th Anniversary Diamond Pop-Up Lounge debuting exclusively for this auspicious jubilee season. Tuck into chef-driven food and festive cocktails reserved for The Gant guests; pull up a chair and take over Diamond’s chic interior, enjoying rotating pop-ups by local makers. The resort will also offer Aspen’s only rooftop bubble on its terrace for private après-ski session—talk about a proposal-worthy backdrop.
Of all the itineraries primed for posh couples looking to go gigantic in 2022, Shangri-La Vancouver nailed the brief with their new Ice Caves Heli Adventure. It doesn’t get any more once-in-a-lifetime than a hotel that brings you to an arctic frontier’s hypnotic, aqua blue ice chambers.
Prepare to fly over British Columbia’s cathartic caves via helicopter, drinking in bird-of-prey views of glistening ice fields framed by ancient volcanic peaks. Lose sight of civilian stress with this three-night experience, inclusive of a swoon-worthy Shangri-La suite, a private guided expedition through a frozen fortress, five-course dining in an ice cave, a mixology lesson using 12,000-year-old glacier ice, and an ice-inspired afternoon tea followed by an obscenely long and indulgent spa treatment.
The art of après ski has clearly come a long way from steaming cups of spiked cocoa. Alpha exertion in an ice cave calls for Shangri-La’s coy take on crème-de-la-crème glacial gastronomy. Stick a fork in us, we’re done.
Not everyone wants to stay in the Whistler snafu; Shangri-La’s new offering is a whole new way to heli-venture by day and CHI, The Spa by dusk. A romantic getaway here knows no bounds. Shangri-La Vancouver brims with an intoxicating whimsy and wonder that inspires stolen kisses in hushed corners. Colonizing 15 floors of the tallest tower in the city, this haute hideaway is a haven for high-rollers.
Hestra heli mitts taken over your carry-on? An impromptu dressy invite to Yaletown is a snap with Shangri-La’s partnership with “luxury row” brands such as Burberry, Hermès, and Saint Laurent delivering a selection of the latest trends directly to your suite.
Southern hemisphere skiing is the sporting man of leisure’s true fetish. Enter Eleven Experience’s Rio Palena Lodge in Chile, where A-List skiers looking to elevate their game meet their match.
A primeval landscape punctuated by ancient glaciers embraces you on arrival to sublime off-season snow-capped peaks. Nothing quite like flying in hot from LAX in flip-flops to carve the line of your alpine dreams. This slice of Patagonia has long served as a proving ground for seasoned ski legends. The lodge’s heli service offers unmatched access to the region’s most remote stashes of champagne snow.
No other luxury host boasts this particular powder-flex capacity. Think wide-open backcountry and bronco steep chutes in an awe-inspiring enclave of the Andes—skilled skiers need only apply. After a bombastic day of chasing beyond-black-diamond glory, return to the riverfront Rio Palena oasis to relax and refuel. Tiptoe in barely-there swimwear into the hedonistic, wood-fired hot tub, then kick back with a pisco sour beside a native stone fireplace.
All of Eleven’s off-the-grid hideouts are intimate, remote, and remarkable, and available for full property buyouts. One of their most beloved experiences is Deplar Farm, in northern Iceland’s Troll Peninsula, within the Fljót Valley. Maritime weather makes for buttery slopes beckoning adrenaline junkies; the region’s midnight sun gives you ample cinematic daylight to keep charging until 10 pm.
What’s more contemporary chic than a converted sheep farm-turned-sporting lodge? Deplar Farm seamlessly emerges from the natural landscape with its living roof, floor-to-ceiling windows celebrating the surrounding peaks. Two helipads on property give guests on-demand rotor delivery to crazy steep couloirs; it’s a rather impressive logistical outfit for a converted sheep farm. No-fly weather? No problem.
A white-out day isn’t a write-off. Top notch guides easily switch gears to cat skiing or hot mineral spring hopping. Eleven excels at both hard-charging ski days, or charge and chill ski/wellness blended itineraries.
As Jon Donaldson, Eleven’s Director of Guide Operations elaborates, “Spontaneous costume parties, blowout dinner celebrations, staying nimble and adapting with adventurous down-day activities, and taking advantage of prime weather windows to nail sunset turns above the North Atlantic, are all examples of what we can customize based on group goals.”
Case in point, Deplar’s Viking Sauna is place-based bonding of the highest order. This collective experience calls upon ancient modalities such as hot/cold contrast therapy and meditation. Led by an inhouse practitioner, engage in energizing chants, cold plunges, and restorative group soaks in the geothermal indoor/outdoor pool. Defined by contrast, this Norse ritual is at once an introspective journey and a shared experience, an ideal chaser to a day of hardcore heli-skiing.
From extreme big line missions to snowcat shred sessions, these 2022 itineraries were clearly designed for those that are never not sending. Gravity first. Altitude always.