The Alps Is Leaning Into Luxury as Its Snowpack Shrinks

The Alps have always been one of the more elite places to ski. But now the region is becoming even more upscale.

In recent years, Alpine resorts have begun to offer luxe amenities above and beyond those that have become commonplace, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. Part of the change is due to the fact that skiing conditions themselves have become less predictable, thanks to warmer weather across the globe. As such, travelers can’t rely on the slopes for all their wintertime fun.

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The new offerings include ski butlers who will tend to your every need; high-altitude restaurants, bars, and stores; and the ability to ski off-piste at crowd-free mountains. While these options all cost more than your average ski trip, people are willing to spend on them, especially after the pent-up demand of the pandemic and the willingness to spend more after months or years of saving.

“All companies selling high-end services in the mountains have seen a surge over the past few years,” Michela Anastasio, the founder and owner of a trip planner in the Italian Dolomites, told the WSJ. This year, demand for her company’s most luxurious amenities has tripled when compared with 2023. One such offering: a $3,800 helicopter ride for five people from Venice to the Dolomites.

Ski butlers or concierges have also seen a surge in demand. These employees will show up on the slopes with extra gloves and boots, act as instructors, and help you determine the best place to have lunch or the most desirable mountain for a morning session. Rupert Longsdon, the CEO of Oxford Ski Company, said that just 5 percent of clients who rented luxury chalets five years ago would also book a ski butler. Nowadays, it’s more like 20 percent.

“The restaurants, the ski butlers, they’re all part of the progression of better service and more luxury, something clients are after,” Longsdon told The Wall Street Journal.

If you’re looking to plan an Alpine vacation yourself, longtime ski lovers argue about which resort is the best to visit. But the crème de la crème seem to be, according to the newspaper, Switzerland’s St. Moritz and Verbier; France’s Courchevel 1850, Chamonix, and Val d’Isère; Italy’s Cortina and Courmayeur; and Austria’s Lech. Leave it to the experts to decide what you’ll do once you’re there.

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