Go get high and escape the crowds in the world’s best - and most remote - mountain lodges and refuges, from which you can ski and board up a storm in untouched backcountry.
If you're thinking of booking your next ski holiday why not aim for something a little different? From cheap mountain refuges in France to ultra luxury celebrity chalets in Switzerland, the one thing all these have in common is that the accommodation is as much a star of the show as the mountains themselves.
The Sheldon Chalet, USA
It doesn’t get more remote, or much more luxurious, than Alaska’s Sheldon Chalet, which is accessible only by helicopter and sits perched on a ridge just 10 miles from the summit of Denali, North America’s tallest and toughest mountain peak. Inside is plush and cosy, with gourmet meals on tap. Outside, you can go ski touring on untrodden snow by day and spot the northern lights by night. A remote mountain bothy on the property is also available to book if you’re an experienced backcountry skier.
Price: Price on request, including meals and helicopter transfers. Sleeps 10.
Hidden Dragon Chalet, Switzerland
If you like your secret ski retreats to be very stylish indeed, this is the insanely posh chalet for you. Half-hidden, as its name suggests, in forest above the village of Veysonnaz, Hidden Dragon is only accessible via a private road. The vibe inside this huge lodge is a mix of Asian antiques and cosy Swiss chalet stye, which weirdly works perfectly. When you aren’t out exploring the Four Valleys ski area there’s also a soundproof cinema, wine cellar, hammam, hot tub and yoga deck to keep you occupied.
Price: From £42,285 per week, including meals. Sleeps 12
Whare Kea Chalet, New Zealand
Explore New Zealand’s glorious Southern Alps on skis from this delightful eco chalet, which is so remote that everything needed to build this luxurious lodge had to be flown in by helicopter from the town of Wanaka, a 20-minute flight away. The A-frame chalet sits at 1,750 metres on the edge of Mount Aspiring National Park, with panoramic windows looking out on Mount Cook and the glaciers of Mount Aspiring. Inside the eco-friendly chalet there’s a feel of staying in a remote bunkhouse - albeit a very fancy one. Strap on your skis to tour Cardrona Alpine Resort and Treble Cone or splash out and go heli-skiing right from the chalet with a local guide.
Price: From £563 per person per night, including helicopter transfers and half board. Sleeps 6.
Fairy Meadows Hut, Canada
Fairy Meadows is as idyllic as it sounds, a charmingly remote wooden cabin hidden in the woods of the Selkirk Mountains in British Columbia and run by the Alpine Club of Canada. This may be a communal hut, but it’s an extremely nice one, with a huge kitchen, comfy bunks and even a wood-fired sauna to warm up in after a day out in the snow. Outside the door is world-famous backcountry powder and more tree runs and glaciers than you can shake your poles at. Fairy Meadows is rightly popular - so book in spring if you want to stay the following winter. A week’s stay includes heli flights.
Price: £826 per week
La Petite Marmotte, France
The search is over – this is the ultimate tiny home from home in the mountains. This small but perfectly formed ski-in, ski-out cabin above Courchevel sleeps just two people, but it does so in real style, with traditional but luxurious cabin décor inside and a bubbling hot tub outside – there’s even a tiny ski room. La Petite Marmotte is quite possibly the most romantic winter getaway in the Alps, and the slopes and the trails of the Vanoise National Park are literally a few metres from your front door.
Price: Price on request. Sleeps 2.
Grand Mulets Refuge, France
Surely one of the most precariously perched places you can bed down in in the Alps? The refuge of Grand Mulets sits at 3,051 metres as if on thin air in the Mont Blanc Massif and is much-loved by ambitious skiers keen to shred their way down Europe’s highest mountain each spring. This futuristic-looking lodge may appear to float from some angles, but is actually built onto a pyramidical rock base. It has a long history of offering shelter to adventurous types - the first cabin was built here in 1853, with the latest refuge put in place in the 1960s. Open between March and July and offering access to the north face of Mont Blanc, the hut is accessed from Chamonix via the Aiguille du Midi cable car, and operated by the Club Alpin Francais. The refuge is here for a good time, not a long time, so book one of the 68 beds early. The inside is pretty basic, but who cares when you’re waking up in such a spectacular landscape?
Price: £24 per person per night.
Monte Rosa Hut, Switzerland
This eco-friendly hut may look like a baddie’s lair from James Bond, but it’s actually a friendly refuge loved by mountaineers in summer and ski tourers in spring. Stay on a sunny day at this 2,883 metre-high hut, nicknamed the ‘rock crystal’, to watch Monte Rosa’s aluminium facade reflect the white peaks all around it. 120 beds are available from March to September via the Swiss Alpine Club. If you’re hiking up from Zermatt, be aware that it’s a demanding glacier trek, and a guide is recommended.
Price: £25.50 per person per night.
Ferdi Mountain Base, Austria
This shiny-new and rather slick mountain chalet is the perfect base for exploring North Austria’s Dachstein mountains. Hit the pistes of the wide-ranging Ski Amade region and then look out at the peaks you conquered from the glass-fronted sauna or the alfresco yoga terrace. Cross-country ski trails start right from the chalet door, and Dachstein is also the perfect place to give ski touring a try, with 16 mapped routes to follow. Inside the Ferdi Mountain Base there’s plentiful space and an ultra-modern, open-plan design, making this lodge ideal for extended families, parties and big groups of friends. Or if you’re just here to ski hard, there are plenty of amenities, including a boot room and dedicated ski prep room.
Price: From £375 a night. Sleeps 8-12.
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