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EXPLORING THE 2015 WORLD SKI AWARDS WINNERS

THE SKI EDITION Honouring an Icon:

STEIN ERIKSEN

37 ISSUE 2016


CONTENTS THE SKI EDITION

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BULGARIA

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THE 2015 WORLD SKI AWARDS

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CZECH REPUBLIC 

56

FINLAND

58

FRANCE 

60

GERMANY

62

ITALY 

64

NORWAY

66

POLAND

68

RUSSIA

70

SLOVAKIA

74

SLOVENIA

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SPAIN

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SWEDEN 

80

SWITZERLAND

82

THE AMERICAS

86

CANADA

88

UNITED STATES

90

ARGENTINA

92

CHILE 

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WORLD SKI AWARD WINNERS: THE BEST OF THE BEST KITZBÜHEL STEIN ERIKSEN LODGE NIRA MONTANA THE VALE NISEKO BIGHORN, REVELSTOKE

20 22 24 26 28 30

SIROCCO BERGBAHN AG KITZBÜHEL

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SUNWEB LEO TRIPPI

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SKI-LIFTS STEIN ERIKSEN KITZBÜHEL WONDER TEAM

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EUROPE ANDORRA 

50 52

AUSTRIA

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CONTENTS

ASIA-PACIFIC 

96

AUSTRALIA

98

JAPAN 

100

NEW ZEALAND

102

SOUTH KOREA

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On the cover: Kitzb端hel, Austria This page: Whistler, Canada 3


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Introduction ~

The Ski Edition Every year, as the earth rotates around its axis and favours either a northern or southern tilt, winter descends upon the respective hemisphere and brings with it snow, glorious snow! Of course, that gives us an excuse to set out once more and find the very best ski experiences from around the world. Loosely divided into three regions, the Americas, Europe, and Asia-Pacific, each has its own, wonderful variety of countries that each in turn are home to countless, world-class ski resorts.

We start with Europe, arguably the world's luxury skiing capital. Across its many, many mountains are the world's finest establishments and most famous slopes. From the majestic Alps to the renowned Hemsedalsfjella, the continent has produced countless ski champions who honed their skills on their native slopes, and many more are sure to follow. Of course, it's not all daring downhills and breakneck runs because with almost 40,000km of skiable terrain the variety is almost endless. Off the slopes, Europe has an incomparable culture and myriad après-ski and entertainment options. As the Americas span both hemispheres, they offer the opportunity for enthusiasts to enjoy world-class skiing almost 365 days a year The vast Canadian landmass - home to The Rockies and several other impressive ranges across British Columbia, Alberta, and Quebec - provides some of the best skiing conditions to be found anywhere. Just to the south, the USA features numerous ski resorts spread from coast to coast. With a great variety of terrain and excellent snowfall during season, it's a surefire bet for a fun and and exciting ski holiday. We also visit South America and the mighty Andes Mountains. The continent is home to the most extensive skiing in the Southern Hemisphere, with world-class resorts to be found dotted across Argentina and Chile.

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The Ski Edition

Last, but far from least, is Asia-Pacific. Most often, the East is associated with tech and manufacturing, beach holidays, and exquisite diving. While all those are found in the region, there's also some superb skiing to be had. Japan's incredible mountains are home to some wonderful ski resorts with excellent facilities and even better slopes. Similarly, South Korea's Taebaek Mountains attract an increasing number of skiers with each passing season. Down in the south-eastern corner of the globe, Australia and New Zealand offer adrenaline and adventure. Both boast wonderfully diverse terrain, and are great destinations for families, friends, and any other enthusiasts.

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THE 2015 WORLD SKI AWARDS HIGHLIGHTS VIDEO

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The 2015 World Ski Awards

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GALA CEREMONY AT A-ROSA KITZBĂœHEL Over the weekend of 20-22 November 2015, titans of ski tourism returned to the exquisite A-ROSA KitzbĂźhel for the third annual World Ski Awards Gala Ceremony. The prestigious event, often referred to as the Oscars of ski tourism, is the only one of its kind to recognise, reward and celebrate excellence in the industry. A total of 25 ski nations were represented at the event which also acts as an unofficial forum for industry leaders to meet, exchange ideas, and learn from one another. 10

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The World Ski Awards comprises 12 main categories; Best Ski Resort, Best Ski Hotel, Best New Ski Hotel, Best Ski Boutique Hotel, Best Ski Chalet, Best New Ski Chalet, Best Ski Resort Company, Best Ski Tour Operator, Best Ski Travel Agent, Best Ski Transfer Operator, Oustanding Contribution to Ski Tourism, and the Ski Legend Award. The last is a new award introduced this year for the first time. It rewards an organisation, brand, or team that played an integral in laying the foundations of the fabulous, global ski tourism industry. The inaugural recipient was the the famed Kitzb端hel Wonder Team which dominated the world of elite skiing for a decade starting in 1950. The event is important not only for winners and nominees, but for the industry at large. It greatly increases awareness of skiing in general, and showcases many of the amazing destinations around the world. 12

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The 2015 World Ski Awards

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The 2015 World Ski Awards

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WORLD SKI AWARD WINNERS: THE BEST OF THE BEST

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World Ski Award Winners: The Best of the Best

Awards Ceremonies are never easy, and the World Ski Awards are no different. It seems with each passing year the competition gets stiffer and stiffer, with less and less separating the best from the very best. However, all of the awards must be handed over and 2015's winners were nothing short of exceptional. As is the case each year, there were multiple, equally deserving nominees in each of the World Ski Awards' 12 world-level categories, but there could be only one winner in each. Broken down by region, it played out as follows:

AS A REGION, EUROPE TOOK HOME THE MOST AWARDS, TOTALLING AT SIX: World's Best Ski Resort 2015: Kitzb端hel (Austria) World's Best Ski Resort Company 2015: Bergbahn AG Kitzb端hel World's Best New Ski Hotel 2015: Nira Montana (Italy) World's Best New Ski Chalet 2015: Sirocco (Switzerland) World's Best Ski Tour Operator 2015: Sunweb (Europe)

World's Best Ski Transfer Operator 2015: Ski-Lifts (Europe)

NORTH AMERICA WENT HOME WITH TWO: World's Best Ski Hotel 2015: Stein Eriksen Lodge (USA) World's Best Ski Chalet 2015: Bighorn, Revelstoke (Canada)

AND JAPAN REPRESENTED ASIA-PACIFIC: World's Best Ski Boutique Hotel 2015: The Vale Niseko ( Japan) Leo Trippi, which operates globally, won World's Best Ski Travel Agent 2015. Outstanding Contribution to Ski Tourism 2015 went to Stein Eriksen, who sadly passed away peacefully in his home later in the year. The Ski Legend Award 2015, a new award introduced at 2015's event, went to the Kitzb端hel Wonder Team. The rest of this issue is devoted to honouring these recipients as well as the individual country winners, enjoy!

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World's Best Ski Resort 2015

KITZBÜHEL

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Kitzbühel

Since Franz Reisch first skied down from Kitzbühel Horn in 1893, the region has become a snowy mecca for winter sport enthusiasts. With a guaranteed 155 days of snowfall per year, 170km of pristine, prepared slopes, and 54 cable cars to facilitate the journey to the various starting points, visitors will find themselves in a veritable winter wonderland. In fact, Kitzbühel's renown around the world is such that it is effectively synonymous with world-class skiing, so it follows that it was voted the World's Best Ski Resort at the 2015 World Ski Awards. Favourably located in the Kitzbühel Alps, under 100km from Innsbruck and Salzburg, and just over 100km from Munich, the resort of seemingly endless slopes hosts numerous prestigious events. Most notably, it is home to the Streif. The most famous ski-race in the world, it is an annual fixture on the Ski World Cup, and brings together the best of the best of the sport for a winner-takes-all event. Set on the equally famous Hahnenkamm mountain, it features jumps of up to 80m, gradients tilting to 85%, average speeds in excess of 100km/h, and top speeds reaching 140km/h. It is exhilarating and terrifying in equal measure, which is a large part of its immense appeal. Before and after the race, the Streif is open to the public - albeit with all sections clearly demarcated. Much like its winter (and summer) sports offering, Kitzbühel's accommodation, dining, leisure, and lifestyle options are of the highest order. In addition to numerous five-star hotels, adventurous guests can also opt for more alternative options including holiday apartments, farms and farm houses, and superb local inns. When it comes to gourmet restaurants per capita, it's almost impossible to beat Kitzbühel's spread. Similarly, its bars and nightlife cater to the most discerning visitors, and each presents a unique setting which is sure to encourage unforgettable nights. 21


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WORLD'S BEST SKI HOTEL 2015

STEIN ERIKSEN LODGE Unique and iconic, the Stein Eriksen Lodge has become a legend in the ski industry. Nestled mid-mountain in the picturesque Deer Valley Resort, it's Utah's only Forbes Five-Star Hotel and Spa, and has been voted United States' Best Ski Hotel and World's Best Ski Hotel for two years running. Offering guests an experience that is second to none, in a setting unlike any other, it has established itself as the pre-eminent ski hotel on the globe. 22

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Stein Eriksen Lodge

Located in scenic Park City, Utah, the hotel is the closest guests can come to an authentic European Lodge without actually visiting Europe. This is of course far more than coincidence - the lodge was named after the legendary Norwegian Olympic Gold Medal skier Stein Eriksen. An avid skier from a young age, Eriksen is often hailed as the "Father of Modern Skiing,” and pioneered and introduced the “Aerial Somersault” to America. Serving as the Director of Skiing at Deer Valley Resort for over 35 years, his legacy lives on through the prodigious lodge and its warm, welcoming staff. The lodge itself is ideally located, just a 45-minute drive from the popular Salt Lake City International Airport – close enough to be convenient, yet far enough to truly remove guests from the hustle and bustle of city living. Its 178 superbly appointed rooms and suites blend the best of traditional Norwegian style with contemporary American design, ensuring each room has its own, unique charm. The Forbes Four-Star Glitretind Restaurant offers excellent views of Deer Valley Resort and serves some of the finest fare to found anywhere – Sunday brunch is a must for all guests. Those wanting a more casual experience need look no further than Troll Hallen, and excellent in-room dining is available around clock. In addition to its excellent dining options and almost unparalleled offering of amenities, the Lodge's Spa is one of its defining features. Spread out across over 7,000 square meters and boasting 16 treatment rooms, it is a true mountain oasis and Utah's only Forbes Five-Star spa.

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WORLD'S BEST NEW SKI HOTEL 2015

NIRA MONTANA

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Nira Montana

Set in the heart of Europe's highest mountains, a new skiing Shangri-La awaits guests and visitors. As luxurious and comfortable inside as it is rough and rugged outside, Nira Montana was voted World's Best New Ski Hotel 2015 at the third annual World Ski Awards, beating out a sea of incredibly close candidates from around the globe. The elegant, mountain-side hotel is located at the edge of La Thuile, in the north-western part of the Aosta Valley, and has Mont Blanc as its backdrop. A sports-oriented ski resort, La Thuile is only a few hours drive from major transport hubs, and has kept its alpine village identity virtually unchanged over the course of several centuries. From the picturesque town visitors have access to some of the region's most famous sites including Mont Blanc, Europe's highest peak; Gran Paradiso National Reserve; Rutor waterfalls; the ancient PrĂŠ Saint Didier baths, and plenty more.

Not surprisingly though, the region's main attraction is its Kilometres of world-class ski slopes. La Thuile's offering includes something for skiers of every level across its 160km of slopes. Its lifts are modern and fast making queues a thing of the past, and such is their efficiency that the resort can proudly claim a total carrying capacity of 35,000 people per hour. Nearby La Rosière, in France, is linked to the resort via Espace San Bernardo. The former boasts equally impressive facilities, and its 38 lifts can carry up to 58,000 people per hour. Of off the slopes, there is no better place to be than the cozy confines of Nira Montana. The epitome of laidback luxury, the eco-chic rooms and suites reflect the outside beauty in their many fine finishes and intricate details. Sumptuous Italian cuisine is served throughout the day, as are delectable espressos. Nira Spa is a sanctuary from the harsh winter weather, and leaves guests feeling positively revitalised, refreshed, and rejuvenated.

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World's Best Ski Boutique Hotel 2015

THE VALE NISEKO

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The Vale Niseko

A ski-in, ski-out location that rivals the very best to be found anywhere, the Vale Niseko is dug right into the ski run and offers unparalleled luxury and service. Voted World's Best Boutique Ski Hotel at the annual World Ski Awards, the Japanese hotel is a sublime retreat for all who enter. Often dubbed "Asia's premier alpine destination", Niseko is surrounded by world�class ski resorts, golf courses, mountain bike trails, cultural excursions and numerous other activities. Located on the island of Hokkaido, in northern Japan, ski season kicks off in early December and runs through to late April. Perpetually covered in snow during this period, the Niseko region is renowned for the quality and quantity of its powder snow. Guests of the Vale have instant access to 2,100 acres of superb powder terrain. The boutique hotel comprises 49 accommodations, configured in one, two, and three bedroom variants. Each is a luxury apartment unto itself, kitted with all the modern fittings, and paired with the amenities of a five-star hotel. Staff offer each guest a personalised experience and deliver an exemplary level of service. The Vale is also home to a revitalising, natural hot spring, which is renowned for its nutritious waters - the ideal setting in which to recuperate after a day on the slopes. Refreshed, guests can indulge in dinner and cocktails at the Vale Bar & Grill, while planning runs for the following day. 27


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WORLD'S BEST SKI CHALET 2015

Bighorn, Revelstoke

Where luxury ski chalets are concerned, there simply is no better than Bighorn Revelstoke. Three time winner of World's Best Ski Chalet at the World Ski Awards, its setting is exquisite, its services unparalleled, and its offering unmatched. A unique blend of luxury and adventure, it is a retreat like no other. 28

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Bighorn, Revelstoke

Located at the base of the famous Revelstoke Mountain Resort, British Columbia, the dramatic timber-framed building was designed with an air of understated extravagance. Boasting eight spacious, luxury suites, each with a custom bathroom, guests will feel right at home from the moment they walk through the door. The impressive great room features a triple height ceiling and is the perfect retreat after hours on the snow, before settling into the elegant formal dining room, where guests will be served by their private chef. Undoubtedly one of Bighorn's most alluring factors is its private helipad. Located in the best heliski terrain in the world, guests have the privilege of flying off into the wilderness at a moment's notice and taking on some of the most exquisite runs to be found anywhere. Personal guides offer an added benefit and take guests to unique locations to ski powder bowls, glaciers and old-growth forests in perfect champagne powder. On the off chance that conditions are too unpleasant to indulge in outdoor activities, guests can make use of the of the house's high-tech cinema or relax in the world-class spa area which includes an indoor current pool, sauna, fully-equipped gym, massage rooms and a large outdoor hot tub. 29


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World's Best New Ski Chalet 2015

SIROCCO

Surrounded by breathtaking mountains and a scenic valley, Sirocco Luxury Ski Chalet is niched high into the side of the mountain. Located in the picturesque Sonalon area of Verbier, the spectacular new chalet was completed in the autumn of 2014 and soon rose to prominence, winning World's Best New Ski Chalet at the World Ski Awards just a year after opening.

The spacious ground floor is dedicated to its entertainment and spa facilities. The former includes a well-equipped cinema room, wine cave, relaxation area and a modest but wellstocked kitchen and bar. The wonderful spa comprises an indoor swimming pool, indoor hot tub, sauna, Hammam shower, and an intimate massage room.

Finished in the utmost luxury, the chalet exudes style and elegance. Spanning four floors and accommodating eight people across its four exquisite bedrooms, Sirocco is the ultimate alpine residence.

On the first floor guests will find the master bedroom, which can be arranged as either a twin or super king, and features an en-suite bathroom with separate shower. Also on this floor is another twin room with en-suite facilities. Both

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Sirocco

rooms are fitted with the latest entertainment systems, and have French windows opening onto impressive terraces which look out over the majestic scenery. The second floor, the living floor, comprises an open living space and a second kitchen, and its wrap-around terrace is the perfect place to take in the view from the cozy, fur-covered chairs. The top floor is the second sleep floor, with two bedrooms. The first can be configured as either a twin or a double, and the second is a double. Both feature en-suite bathrooms and intimate private balconies. From the ground up, Sirocco is one of the most immaculate and impressive chalets to be found anywhere, and will undoubtedly make future appearances at the World Ski Awards.

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World's Best Ski Resort Company 2015

BERGBAHN AG KITZBĂœHEL

A company seemingly as old as the mountains it was built on, Bergbahn AG KitzbĂźhel has been the premier ropeway company in Austria since its inception over 80 years ago in 1928. Over the years the company has gone from strength to strength, always remaining at the top of its game and leading the industry through innovation and ingenuity.

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Bergbahn AG Kitzbühel

It all began with Franz Reisch's first descent of Kitzbüheler Horn in 1892. The spectacular feat ignited the imagination and adventure-lust of snow lovers, and in 1924 a public inquiry was made to establish a ropeway project on the Hahnenkamm. Four years later Bergbahn AG Kitzbühel was founded and just a year later the first ropeway was inaugurated. Since then the company has blazed a trail, counting among its laudable achievements the world's first “ski circus” (interconnected ski areas) introduced in 1948, as well as the world's most impressive 3S loop ropeway (which connects Hahnenkamm/Pengelstein and Jochberg/ Resterhöhe) which opened in 2004. The company's well established network makes available 209km of pure skiing bliss. Of these, 173km comprise prepared slopes which can further be broken down into 91km of easy runs, 57km of medium runs, and 25km of difficult runs. Together, they make up 68 descents across 463 hectares of prepared slopes. With such extraordinary offerings, demand is understandably high. To cope with this, the company has 54 cable cars and lifts with a total carrying capacity of 93,000 people per hour. Bergbahn AG Kitzbühel has long been driven by its slogan of being the first to conquer the mountains, and last year was voted World's Best Ski Resort Company at the World Ski Awards. 33


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World's Best Ski Tour Operator 2015

SUNWEB

Born in Denmark in 2010, Sunweb has grown into one of the top tour operators in Europe and walked away with World's Best Ski Tour Operator at the 2015 World Ski Awards. Offering ski holidays to France, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, and Andorra, it caters to travellers across the financial and lifestyle spectrum, giving everyone the opportunity to enjoy more holidays.

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Sunweb

EVERY TYPE OF HOLIDAY + ALLINCLUSIVE PACKAGES

Sunweb's offers include holidays by plane, bus, and self-drive, and accommodation in hotels, apartments, chalets, and more. All-inclusive holidays are also available in France and Austria, eliminating travellers' occasional tendencies to worry. From the moment a traveller embarks on an all-inclusive holiday, everything's taken care of, that includes all food and catering, local alcoholic drinks, snacks, and a fully-packed entertainment program. Chalet stays provide travellers with their own space in the relaxing alpine atmosphere, and Sunweb's offering is unmatched. SKI-IN, SKI-OUT

Avid skiers will delight in Sunweb's selection of ski-in, ski-out options. These offer guests direct access to pristine slopes, meaning there's less transit time and more slope time. Sunweb's ski-in, ski-out offers are available in France, Austria, and Italy. WELLNESS OPTIONS

As exhilarating and exciting as hitting the slopes can be, there's often a need for some quality downtime. What better place to recuperate and rejuvenate than at one of Sunweb's wellness retreats. Available in France, Austria, and Italy, a few hours in a luxury spa can work wonders for both body and mind. With carefully structured offers to suit a range of travellers' needs, Sunweb have made it possible for more people to travel to more destinations more often.

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WORLD'S BEST SKI TRAVEL AGENT 2015

Leo Trippi What do Switzerland, France, Italy, Austria, Japan, USA, Canada, Finland, and Lapland have in common? Each offers some of the best skiing destinations in the world, and each is home to multiple luxury catered ski chalets run and managed by Leo Trippi. Two-time winner of World's Best Ski Travel Agent at the World Ski Awards, its selection of exclusive chalets is unrivalled. Leo Trippi's extensive offering truly has something for everyone. Adrenalin junkies, families, nightlife-lovers, gourmands, those that love the crowd, and those that crave solitude, every type of traveller has something to look forward to with Leo Trippi. Thanks to its intimate knowledge of each and every destination, resorts are selected based on personal preferences and take into account everything from architecture and dining to slope proximity and exclusivity.

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Leo Trippi

Underpinning all of Leo Trippi's products is a tireless devotion to detail. There are staff members who live and work in or nearby each of the destinations on its portfolio, allowing an unprecedented attention to detail and knowledge of product. On top of this, members of the company spend significant time in each location, gaining an intimate knowledge of the region, to ensure that guests get the best possible experience wherever they go. Recently, the company launched its state-ofthe-art website. Elegant and efficient, it allows guests to browse the full offering of available destinations from the comfort of their home, while at the office, or even while they're on the move via mobile devices - via an optimised mobile experience. Just another way Leo Trippi is streamlining and simplifying the experience for its guests.

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World's Best Ski Transfer Operator 2015

SKI-LIFTS

Whether it's France or Andorra, Germany or Slovenia, getting from the airport to a ski resort with a full haul of ski paraphernalia and winter gear is never an easy task. In addition to the cumbersome luggage, finding the resort often presents its own challenges, and can set a negative tone on what should otherwise a joyous occasion. Since 2003 though, there's been another, better option: Ski-Lifts. 40

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Ski-Lifts

The winner of World's Best Ski Transfer Operator at the 2015 World Travel Awards has come a long way since its humble beginnings. What started as a relatively small business providing transfers from Geneva Airport to Morzine, Avoriaz and Les Gets with its own fleet of minibuses, has grown into a company that transports around 50,000 passengers every winter season. Its network has expanded extensively and now includes trusted partners offering airport transfers to ski resorts in ten different countries. Ski-Lifts takes the business of ski transfers very seriously, and its incredible offer has been built on four core principles: reliability, safety, value for money, and customer satisfaction. These principles were gleaned from years of hands-on experience and close work with partners, determining which aspects matter the most to both the business and customers. Although it started with a modest fleet of minibuses, Ski-Lift's offering now includes coaches, executive cars, and limousines. Similarly, the business has answered the demand for bespoke transfer packages, ensuring that customers' every need is met. Staff are also available to assist 24/7, and are always happy to help in any way they can.

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OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO SKI TOURISM 2015

STEIN ERIKSEN Born in Norway in the winter of 1927, Stein Eriksen seemed destined for greatness in the ski industry. Before owning a ski factory in Norway, his father was an accomplished athlete, having competed in the 1912 Olympic Games as a gymnast, and his mother was the first president of the Ladies Ski Club. The blend of ambition, athleticism and legacy proved to be the perfect combination and produced one of the finest skiers ever to descend the slopes.

S T E I N E R I K S E N AC C E P TA N C E SPEECH VIDEO 42

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Stein Eriksen

In 1948, at just 21, Stein Eriksen headed to his first Olympic Games in St. Mortiz, Switzerland. Although he left empty-handed, it was far from his last appearance. Only a year later, he was the number one slalom racer in Norway and a year after that took home the bronze in that discipline at the 1950 World Championships in Aspen, Colorado. Two years after that, Eriksen competed at the 1952 Winter Olympics in his home town of Oslo, Norway. He walked away with the gold medal in the giant slalom as well as the silver in the slalom, the former making him the first male ski racer not native to the Alps to win an Olympic gold medal. He surpassed that impressive haul at the 1954 World Championships in Åre, Sweden, where he accrued three gold medals; one each for giant slalom, slalom, and combined. In addition to his achievements at the Olympics and the World Championships, Eriksen was awarded the Holmenkollen medal in 1952, Norwegian skiing's highest award for competitors. Over 40 years later, in 1997, he was knighted with the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit - the highest honour that the Norwegian government can give to persons living outside of the country.

ious Stein Eriksen Lodge in Deer Valley, Utah, is named after him. Often considered skiing's first true superstar, Eriksen remained modest and humble throughout his life and career. At the close of 2015 Stein Eriksen was honoured for his Oustanding Contribution to Ski Tourism at the World Ski Awards. He considered the award the “ultimate that can be given to anyone who has dedicated their life to the sport” and added that he had his family to thank for “giving me the privilege to discover this, such a love affair, and such good things for my soul and long lasting friendships.” On 27 December 2015, just weeks after turning 88, Stein Eriksen passed away peacefully in his home in Park City, Utah.

Eriksen's contributions to the skiing world extended much further than just the sport. He helped to revolutionise the world of Alpine skiing by introducing the “Aerial Somersault” to America, and is largely considered to be the “father of modern skiing.” After leaving competitive skiing and moving to the USA, he served as a ski instructor, ski school director, ski shop owner and consultant at a number of different schools, resorts, and companies. The prestig43


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Ski Legend Award 2015

KITZBÜHEL WONDER TEAM Since its inception in 1902, when it was still known as the Kitzbühel Ski Association, the Kitzbühel Ski Club (renamed in 1931) has produced innumerable champions, but few are widely recognised and highly lauded as Toni Sailer and the “Ski Wonder Team”. Of the club's 53 medals from the Olympic Games and World Championships, 27 were won by the era-defining team.

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Kitzbühel Wonder Team

Legendary in every sense, the team's role in the history of Kitzbühel cannot be stressed enough. Over the course of ten years, from 1950 to 1960, six friends from Kitzbühel absolutely dominated the world of skiing. All born and raised in Kitzbühel, Toni Sailer, Ernst Hinterseer, Hias Leitner, Anderl Molterer, Fritz Huber and Christian Pravda were legends in their own time, though none more so than Toni Sailer. A man of charisma and irrefutable natural charm, Sailer's success in skiing made him the sport's first global media star – once, on a trip to Tokyo, he was received by Crown Prince Akihito and over 250,000 frenzied fans at the airport. Over his short but incredible career he won 3 Olympic gold medals, 7 World Championship medals, and won races on every classic piste around the world. Even more impressive, he achieved all this before retiring from professional skiing at the age of 22.

The Kitzbühel Wonder Team's impact and influence on the skiing world is hard to quantify. Toni Sailer and his team were an inspiration to the skiing world, icons in their own time, and helped to cement Kitzbühel's reputation as the birthplace and home of champions and legends. At the 2015 World Ski Awards the Kitzbühel Wonder Team was honoured with the Ski Legend Award.

SKI LEGEND AWARD VIDEO

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EUROPE

Endless Slopes & Exquisite Atmosphere Although Europe is the world's second smallest continent, it is by far one of the most mountainous. Its high altitude ranges enjoy some of the highest levels of snowfall found anywhere and offer some of the best winter sports experiences. Paired with its deep cultural roots and wide variety of countries and regions to visit, it is one of the world's top ski holiday destinations. With close to 40,000km of slopes, and some ski resorts perched at almost 4,000m above sea level, travellers are absolutely spoilt for choice. From the Scandinavian reaches up north, through central Europe, and down to Italy, there is endless variety and ample adventure. Many of Europe's best resorts are dotted along the breath-taking Alps. Europe's highest and most extensive mountain range, it stretches for almost 1,200km across eight countries - Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Slovenia, and Switzerland. Due to their impressive height, they offer seemingly endless runs on pristine, snowy verticals – the majority of which are served by excellent, extensive ski lift systems. Covering such a large surface area, skiers can often ski from village to village and in some cases even from country to country.

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Europe

Further north lies the birthplace of modern skiing, Scandinavia. Comprising Norway, Sweden, and Finland, the region has a rich winter sport heritage and is home to countless Olympic Gold Medalists. Although its slopes are not always as long and challenging as those found on The Alps, it's nonetheless a world class skiing destination with a unique and unmatched atmosphere. In addition to the excellent skiing opportunities across the continent, Europe's cultural offerings and incredible après-ski activities give it an added edge. Each country's unique gastronomy presents an opportunity to experience something new and different, from classic beers in Germany and Austria, to vintage wines in France and Italy, hand-crafted chocolates in Switzerland and Sweden, and plenty more. Similarly, the world that exists in parallel to the ski resorts is filled with one-of-a-kind experiences and wonderful.

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ANDORRA ANYTHING BUT AVERAGE

Nestled in the Pyrenees between France and Spain, lies the small, unassuming independent state of of Andorra. Officially recognised as the Principality of Andorra, the mountainous microstate is home to countless high-altitude peaks with abundant snow and virtually year-round sunshine. Despite its small surface area – only 468 square kilometers – it punches well above its weight when it comes to its winter sport offering and boasts a considerable amount of world-class ski resorts and hotels. Crowned as Andorra's Best Ski Resort at the 2015 World Ski Awards, Grandvalira is the largest resort of its kind in the Pyrenees and one of the largest in all of Europe. Founded in 2003 when Pas de la Casa-Grau Roig and Soldeu-El Tarter merged, it features 210km of ski runs spread across 128 slopes of varying degrees of difficulty. With over €1 billion in investments spent on improving the grounds, increasing skiable territory and ski lift carrying capacity – now up to 100,000 people per hour – and other improvements, Grandvalira is truly a grand resort. 50

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Andorra

Perched 1,850m above sea level in the heart of the Pyrenees, Sport Hotel Hermitage & Spa is a five-star hotel that leads by example. Voted as Andorra's Best Ski Hotel at the 2015 World Ski Awards, the hotel's luxurious rooms, suites and leisure areas have an air of opulence and indulgence. All guests also have exclusive access to Sport Wellness Mountain Spa, an exquisite five-floor wellness retreat. Grau Roig Hotel was awarded Andorra's Best Ski Boutique Hotel at the 2015 World Ski Awards, and deservedly so. Its unique setting places it just 10m from the ski lifts of Grandvalira ski resort and offers spectacular views on all sides. Featuring 42 excellently appointed rooms decorated in specific themes, and a trio of restaurants serving up gastronomic delights, guests are left wanting for nothing. Rounding out the Andorran winners circle for 2015 is Els Llacs, voted Andorra's Best Ski Chalet at the 2015 World Travel Awards. Located in Soldeu, its charming, rustic chalets are perfect for families, small groups, and romantic getaways. With rentals for 2, 4, 8, and 10 guests, the scenic mountain getaway is the ideal winter retreat. 51


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EXCEPTIONAL AUSTRIA

Covered in snow, Austria's idyllic mountain villages, baroque city architecture, and rugged alpine terrain truly come into their own. The Central European nation is renowned for its excellent skiing, and counts the Arlberg, Kitzbßhel, Innsbruck & Stubai Glacier and the Montafon, among its more popular regions. With over 7,000km of slopes, some starting as high up as 3,440m, more than 2,500 ski lifts, and wide-ranging aprèsski, it is a skier's paradise.

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Austria

Winner of the World's Best out on the Hahnenkamm and Ski Resort, it follows that the Streif from its location on Kitzbühel would also be the Alps, the resort has an unvoted Austria's Best Ski Redeniable charm and an offering sort at the 2015 World Ski that few can match. Featuring a Awards. The home of countblend of international flair and less skiing legends including local lifestyle, A-ROSA KitzFranz Reisch, Toni Sailer, bühel is a destination where and Karl Koller, the resort's “everything is possible” and connection to the sport is nothing is out of reach. timeless and unbreakable. Boasting 170km of varied Austria's Best Ski Boutique ski slopes, which include the Hotel 2015 is hidden in plain world famous “Streif ”, served sight amongst the spectacular by 54 state-of-the-art ski lifts mountain scenery of the and cars, and 155 days of all Arlberg region. The exquisite but guaranteed snowfall, ski Aurelio Lech features rooms enthusiasts could hardly ask and suites that were all individfor more. ually designed, paying careful attention to region's heritage A-ROSA Kitzbühel, voted Aus- without compromising on style tria's Best Ski Hotel at the 2015 or luxury. Finely furnished World Ski Awards, introduces and well equipped, all rooms guests to the majesty of the are also fitted with the latest Tirolean mountains. Looking Internet technology and multi-

media entertainment systems. In addition to its elegant rooms and suites, there's also Aurelio Club Chalet - an exclusive getaway for up to 16 people, and the perfect choice for those wishing to create a one-of-akind experience. As one of Lech's most prestigious luxury properties available to rent, Überhaus presents an escape that few guests will ever get to experience. Voted Austria's Best Ski Chalet 2015 at the World Ski Awards, the ski-in, ski-out chalet is perched just off of piste in the exclusive Oberlech enclave. With accommodation spread over four floors and room enough for a up to ten adults and four children, Überhaus offers one of the finest living experiences to be had anywhere.

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BULGARIA

A Balkan Delight

A Balkan nation of diverse terrain, Bulgaria's mountainous interior makes for excellent ski slopes. Renowned for its exceptional value, home to numerous luxury hotels and resorts, and boasting highly reputed ski and snowboard schools, it presents visitors with an all too rare offering: quality and quantity in almost all things. Its welcoming slopes are particularly well-suited to intermediate skiers, and it's a great destination for those still starting out in the sport. It's nearly impossible to think of skiing in Bulgaria without also thinking of Bansko, Bulgaria's Best Ski Resort 2015 as voted at the World Ski Awards. The world-class resort has attracted countless visitors since its inceptions, and still today it draws scores of skiers and holidaymakers from around the world. With the majority of its ski runs aimed at beginner and intermediate skiers, the resort is the perfect destination for families or first-time skiers. 54

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Bulgaria

Bulgaria's Best Ski Hotel 2015 is none other than the impressive Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena Bansko. The luxury ski and spa hotel is set in the shadow of the breath-taking Pirin Mountain, and is surrounded by nature on all sides. The most modern winter resort in the Balkans, the five-star hotel features immaculately decorated rooms and suites that offer a comfortable, cozy retreat from the harsh conditions of winter. Boasting an extensive range of excellent amenities and facilities, Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena Bansko is the first choice for hotel accommodation in the region. An elegant blend of comfort and refined style, Borovet's Alpin Hotel was voted Bulgaria's Best Ski Boutique Hotel 2015 at the World Ski Awards. Quaint and cozy, the boutique hotel is located just meters from the piste and is a fantastic retreat for any visitors to the region. A favourite destination for travellers from around the world, the hotel's attentive, experienced staff ensure that every stay is a memorable one, and keep guests coming back year after year. A diamond in the rough, Villa Gella is set in the wilderness of the Rhodope Mountains and was awarded Bulgaria's Best Ski Chalet 2015 at the World Ski Awards. The restored six-bedroom villa is an authentic piece of Bulgarian history, and commands spectacular views of the breath-taking scenery and surrounding mountains. Located in close proximity to Pamporovo, Bulgaria's second largest ski resort, and featuring six spacious bedrooms, a luxuriously large living and dining room, a private chef, and a range of modern amenities and facilities, Villa Gella's distinctive offering puts it in a class of its own. 55


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CZECH REPUBLIC SNOWY SEDUCTION IN CENTRAL EUROPE The hidden star of Central Europe, the Czech Republic is famous for its variety of delicious beers, fairytale-like castles, and a history that stretches back hundreds upon hundreds of years. Yet, there is a side of it that all too few visitors ever get to experience: the Czech ski slopes. Although not always as dramatic or challenging as some of its neighbours, the country offers excellent skiing facilities, particularly for visitors who are still finding their snow legs. What it may lack in adrenalin-inducing runs, it makes up for with epic cross-country skiing routes. There are numerous hotels and resorts that cater to skiers of levels of capability, and all are within a reasonable distance from the capital, Prague.

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Czech Republic

Tucked in just below Czech Republic's northern border lies Skiareál Špindlerův Mlýn, winner of Czech Republic's Best Ski Resort 2015 at the World Ski Awards. Spread across four exquisite and diverse mountains, Medvědín, Front Planina, Hromovka and Mechovinec, it features slopes of varying difficulties, allowing each skier to find something suitable to their ability. The resort also boasts three snowparks: Funtrack Hromovka, Half Pipe Svatý Petr (the largest half pipe in the Czech Republic), and Snowpark Svatý Petr. Cross-country skiers too will find plenty to keep themselves busy with, with the resort's 16 routes ranging from 1.5km to 13km in length. High up on Špindlerův Mlýn, between altitudes of 715m – 1,310m above sea level, Harmony Club Hotel is set into the scenery adjacent to the main ski areas of Medvedin. Voted Czech Republic's Best Ski Hotel 2015 at the World Ski Awards, it features 104 luxuriously appointed rooms and suites, including four studios and one LUX suite. Its impressive offering, including an excellent ski school, the “magic carpet” ski lift for kids, and a snack bar right out on the slope, makes it well-suited to family holidays. Initially constructed in 1881, and re-opened by Asten Hotels in 2012, the iconic Hotel Savoy was awarded Czech Republic's Best Ski Boutique Hotel at the 2015 World Ski Awards. Ideally located in the center of Špindlerův Mlýn, many major slopes are within walking distance. Its 38 stylish, contemporary rooms include the luxurious Savoy Suite and a selection of Family Rooms – the full spectrum of accommodation satisfy all guests.

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FANTASTICAL FINLAND One of Europe's northernmost states, Finland is home to over 70 superb ski resorts. The most impressive of these though, are found in the country's idyllic Lapland region in the north. A snowy, white wilderness stretching to the horizon on all sides, its light conditions are exceptional, and its scenery unmatched. Its special atmosphere is one not found anywhere else and aptly termed “Lapin taika”, “the Magic of Lapland” by the locals. The region's varied terrain, which incorporates everything from cross-country routes to black slopes, snow parks, and kiddies runs, truly has something to offer for everyone. Since the first annual World Ski Awards in 2013, one Finnish resort has consistently beat the competition to claim the title of Finland's Best Ski Resort. So it came as no surprise when Ruka claimed its third consecutive title at the 2015 Awards. With a ski season that lasts over 200 days, immaculately groomed slopes, and a wide range of lappish activities, it is the home of ski sports in Finland. It offers activities suitable for all members of a family, and visitors of any age and ability. More than just a resort, Ruka is an experience.

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Set in the heart of the alluring Ruka ski resort is Finland's Best Ski Hotel of 2015, Rantasipi Rukahovi Hotel. The mountain hotel boasts a year-round itinerary of activities, but really comes to life during the winter months, when a blanket of pure white snow covers the terrain as far as the eye can see. The undisputed centre of night life in Ruka, the decades old hotel has earned a reputation as one of the most renowned and respected destinations in the country. Its considerable variety of rooms, tallying up to 180 in total with an additional 17 suites, offer some of the finest accommodation in Europe.


Finland

With spectacular views of untouched nature on all sides, and an exquisite selection of accommodation, Hotel Iso-Syöte has been awarded Finland's Best Ski Boutique Hotel for the third consecutive year at the World Ski Awards. Featuring a 30room hotel, 20 traditional-style Kelo cottages, and 16 modern, spacious Fjell Top cottages, guests are spoilt for choice. Each accommodation has its own unique charm, the hotel's views are unparalleled – especially from the luxurious Eagle View Suite – the cozy Kelo cottages, a perfect personal retreat, and the sumptuous Fjell Top cottages are ideal for families and small groups. Finland's Best Ski Chalet 2015, Rukan Salonki is a contemporary haven in the heart of Finland. The 14 rustic, rugged deadwood chalets are as much a part of nature as the scenery that surrounds them, but suffered no comprises when it came to comfort, style, and luxury. On the property guests will also find restaurant Kultala serving up all manner of specialities and gourmet dishes, and the hotel's wellness facilities which include a high-tech smoke sauna, BBQ hut, and a recently added Hot Spring outdoor pool.

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FRANCE

Culture Capital

A capital of culture and history, France is one of Europe's most visited countries. Known for its fashion, food, and art, it is also in contention as one of the world's best ski destinations; within its borders lie 7 of the world's top ten interconnected ski areas. Annually, the country spends in excess of €300 million to develop and improve its already impressive ski infrastructure, which features some of the world's most sophisticated ski lifts. Its excellent variety of resorts comprise the full gamut of skiing activities: high-altitude destinations and slopes, mid-mountain villages, cross-country routes, and everything in between. For ski enthusiasts, there is scarcely better than France. As the highest resort in Europe, and the highest point in the Trois Vallées ski area, it follows that Val Thorens would receive equally high recognition, and it doesn't come much higher than the World Ski Awards where it was voted France's Best Ski Resort 2015. Blending superb skiing with a magical atmosphere, Val Thorens is “a state of mind” and a destination sure to leave all guests with an unforgettable experience. Overlooking the majestic Val Thorens from its perch in the Three Valleys, Hotel Koh-I Nor***** is France's Best Ski Hotel 2015. The five-star hotel features 63 rooms and suites, 35 apartments, 2 restaurants, 2 pools, a lounge bar, and an 800m2 spa – more than enough of everything for any guest.

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France

Grandes Alpes Private Hotel & Spa, awarded as France's Best Ski Boutique Hotel 2015, comprises nine luxurious apartments, masterfully designed by Jean Marc Mouchet. Ranging in size from 150 to 300 m², fitted with state-of-the-art technology, and beautifully decorated and furnished, each present an idyllic retreat from the frenzy of daily life. France's Best Ski Chalet 2015 is situated in the expansive “Portes de Soleil” and offers guests a vast skiing experience in one of France's most beautiful regions. Chalet Grande Corniche is a fabulous recently built luxury chalet offering the utmost in style and technology. This luxury chalet accommodates up to 12 adults and 3 children in 7 en suite bedrooms. Each room enjoys stunning views across the valley and on a clear day you can see the world famous Mont Blanc from the open plan dining and living area. It is equipped with the full range of facilities and amenities expected of a destination of its calibre, and is perfect for luxury group trips. 61


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UBERSKI IN GERMANY

Home to over 1,400km of well-groomed, easily accessible, snowy white slopes, Germany has an impressive ski offering. Hosting several prestigious, international events, including Glacier skiing and World Cup Races, but also catering to casual and leisure skiers, the European state is a wonderful blend of all things alpine. Featuring ski resorts across the country, some as high as 2,720m above sea level, and served by over 1,300 ski lifts, it is one of Europe's most favoured winter sport destinations. 62

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Germany

A beautifully preserved historic town, Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a highly sought-after destination, especially in the colder months when the winter snow descends, signalling the start of the ski season. The winner of Germany's Best Ski Resort 2015, it is set in the midst of unspoilt nature and has an authentic Bavarian charm. Renowned as Germany's top spot for winter sports, and a member of “Best of Alps”, its ski heritage is undeniable. Standing alone at 1,000m above sea level in a 130,000m² alpine meadow, Das Kranzbach is an exclusive retreat epitomising tranquility and relaxation. Chosen as Germany's Best Ski Hotel 2015 at the

World Ski Awards, it caters to private guests only and does not allow children 10-years old or families. The quaint “English Country House” features five lounges, a spa house with five indoor and outdoor pools, nine saunas and steam rooms, two yoga rooms, and numerous other unique amenities.

intimate couples, and every other type of traveller, it's hard to imagine a guest would ever tire of Hotel Staudacherhof 's considerable offering.

Commanding an inspiring view of the Zugspitze and Alpspitze, the exclusive apartments of Country Home Pitzner are a rare treat for any Set in the long shadow of guests lucky enough to visit. Zugspitze, Germany's highLocated in the picturesque est peak at 2,962m, Hotel Garmisch-Partenkirchen Staudacherhof, is an exquisite region, the apartments boast getaway and Germany's Best unparalleled comfort and luxSki Boutique Hotel 2015. Just ury and allow guests to truly a ten-minute walk from the unwind and relax. Winner of centre of Garmisch, the hotel's Germany's Best Ski Chalet location is ideal and its staff en- 2015, it enjoys almost year courages guests to explore the round sunshine and is a superb renowned ski resort. Catering starting point for all excursions to adventurers, lounge lovers, in the area. 63


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ITALY

A Passion for the Piste Southern Europe's country that's shaped like a boot might be renowned for its food, wine, fashion, and football, but when winter rolls around there's another contender vying for visitors' attention: snow, and all that comes with it. Skiing in Italy is somewhat different to most of its European counterparts, with much of the emphasis being placed on holidaying and having fun. Of course, that doesn't mean it doesn't have its fair share of serious slopes as well. An excellent destination for families of all sizes, with a wonderful variety of après-ski, Italy offers ski experience like nowhere else. Located in north-eastern Italy's famed Dolomites, Val Gardena comprises the three villages of Ortisei, S. Cristina and Selva Gardena, and offers guests some of the most exquisite ski runs on the continent. Voted Italy's Best Ski Resort 2015, the resort is an annual meeting point of the world's elite and is connected to the expansive Dolomiti Superski. Boasting over 1,220km of pristine slopes, served by state-ofthe-art lifts, skiers, snowboarders and other snow athletes can look forward to non-stop runs throughout their stay.

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Italy

Cortina's only five-star hotel, the luxury Cristallo Hotel, Cortina D'Ampezzo was voted Italy's Best Ski Hotel 2015 at the World Ski Awards. Since opening in 1901, it has been a shining example to all hotels in the region, exuding opulence with an elegant charm. One of the finest holiday destinations in the Dolomites, its all-encompassing offering accounts for every type of indulgence any guest could dream of. Nestled at the foot of the Matterhorn, 2,000m above sea level in Breuil “the land of many water�, a lucky few will find Hotel Hermitage Spa & Beauty, winner of Italy's Best Ski Boutique Hotel 2015. For over 40 years the luxury hotel has ensured that each and every guest that passes through its doors have an experience they will never forget. Its rooms are adorned with precious wood and fine fabrics and feature timeless antique furniture and paintings, creating an unmistakably luxurious atmosphere. A truly unique and genuinely original destination, San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge was voted Italy's Best Ski Chalet 2015. A one-of-a-kind getaway that embraces the soul of a traveller, the lodge offers guests an unmistakably real experience. Formerly a sixteenth century hunting lodge, the immaculately restored property has an authentic atmosphere that simply can't be replicated.

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Norway

A FEAST FOR THE SENSES Stirring landscapes, dramatic fjords, gracious glaciers, awe-inspiring mountains, simply put Norway is one of the most beautiful places on earth. And, that inherent beauty is only enhanced when the snow begins to fall and travellers from around the world begin to descend on the Scandinavian state. Norway's incredible ski runs have been the proving ground for many legends of the sport, but have also given even more leisure skiers once-ina-lifetime experiences. Its numerous high-altitude mountain ski resorts and hotels open its wide open expanses to visitors from around the world, and make wonderful havens when the day's skiing's done. Boasting everything from enormous kids' areas to a range of ski routes, Norway's largest ski destination is also its best. Voted Norway's Best Ski Resort 2015 at the World 66

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Norway

Ski Awards, Trysil is a well thought-out, family-friendly resort that comprises four interconnected ski areas: Høgegga, Skihytta, Trysil Turistsenter and Trysil Høyfjellssenter. Each area has its own unique charm, but it's up to guests to discover and decide which best suits their abilities and desires. Although relatively new to the scene, opening in the Spring of 2009, it didn't take long for Quality Spa & Resort Norefjell to make its mark. At the 2015 World Ski Awards it walked away as Norway's Best Ski Hotel for the second year running, and undoubtedly has its sights set on another title. Inspired by the nature that surrounds it, the picturesque hotel comprises 244 luxury hotel rooms, including 123 suites and 161 apartments. With ski-in, ski-out facilities and a variety of entertainment and leisure options, it's a surefire booking every time. Overlooking the majestic Hemsedalsfjellene mountains from its 1,000m perch on the edge of a mountain shelf, Skarsnuten Hotel enthrals guests with its magnificent offering. Norway's Best Ski Boutique Hotel 2015, its modern Scandinavian design is perfectly complemented by its faultless, old-fashioned hospitality, and ensures guests always have a memorable experience. For centuries Geilo has been the premier destination for ski enthusiasts and mountaineers, and since it opened its doors Havsdalsgrenda has been the premier accommodation option of the region. Set high in the mountains, Norway's Best Ski Chalet 2015 offers guests great ski-in, ski-out options and is in close proximity to the slopes in Havsdalen, a cross country trail to Prestholtseter, and walking trails to Hallingskarvet and Budalen. World-class in all its offerings, Havsdalsgrenda has proven itself a superb choice time and time again. 67


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POLAND AN EASTERN EUROPEAN GEM

Known for its medieval architecture and long Jewish heritage, Poland is a country where old and new blend seamlessly. Where modern technology abounds, so too do ancient ways, and as vibrant and progressive as the state can be, it's equally traditional and set in its ways. Home to 460km of incredible slopes, some starting almost 2,000m above sea leave, the eastern European country's ski offering is considerable. Over 600 lifts carry skiers to snowy perches to take on the runs, after which they can retreat to any one of numerous luxury resorts and hotels. Czarna Góra, literally “Black Mountain” in Polish, is located in the scenic town of Sienna and first opened its doors in 1996. Connecting three magnificent resorts within the Śnieżnik Ski Region, it is consistently ranked among Poland's top ski resorts and was voted Poland's Best Ski Resort 2015 at the World Travel Awards. Enjoying considerable annual investments, the resort continues to push the envelope and improve its already stellar offering.

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Poland

Looking out over the Tatra Mountains, the Pieniny, and the Kotelnica slopes, Hotel Bania Thermal & Ski is the only hotel in Poland that is located at the base of Kotelnica, the country's biggest ski-lift complex. Combining the best of modern design with classic, highland-style, the luxury four-star hotel's philosophy is based on a firm connection to nature and tradition. It was voted Poland's Best Ski Hotel 2015 at the World Ski Awards. Located in the heart of Zakopane, a renowned resort town, the four-star Hotel ART&SPA Zakopane was awarded Poland's Best Ski Boutique Hotel 2015 at the World Ski Awards. Its combination of well-designed, unique interiors and impeccable guest service set it aside from the competition, and its opulent, spacious rooms and suites are among the finest accommodation in the region. It also boasts a full suite of modern amenities and facilities, including a modern Spa & Wellness area, conference rooms, and several dining options.

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RUSSIA

MORE IS MORE

Russia's immense terrain boasts incredible diversity, from tundra and forests to sunny beaches. As the world's largest country, it is unsurprisingly also home to the largest number of mountain ranges, counting among these the quaint hills of the Khibiny range, the mystic peaks of the renowned Caucasus, and the ever-alluring volcanoes of Kamchatka. Of course where there are mountains and low temperature there too is snow and, as established above, Russia has both in abundance. With almost 100 ski resorts within its national boundaries, and over 300km of slopes to explore and enjoy, Russia is a superb snow sports destination. A prestigious resort that caters to skiers and travellers from around the world, Sochi's Rosa Khutor was voted Russia's Best Ski Resort 2015 at the World Ski Awards. A world-class destination in every sense, it is perched right on the slopes and offers a total of 77km of ski trails with the capacity to serve 10 500 visitors per day. Equipped with advanced technology and adhering to the highest service and safety standards, Russia's most famous ski resort leads the industry by example. At the heart of Rosa Khutor in Krasnaya Polyana lies one of Russia's most exemplary hotels, the Radisson Hotel Rosa Khutor. The five-star hotel's entrance is just steps away from the resort's Olympia and Strela ski lifts, and is also close to nearby sites like the Khmelevsky Lakes. Boasting 181 rooms and suites, all fitted with upscale amenities and featuring the finest furnishings, the hotel is the ideal retreat after enjoying a long day on the slopes. Voted Russia's Best Ski Hotel 2015 at the World Ski Awards, it is the perfect destination for all travellers to Sochi and the surrounding region.

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Russia

Also in Krasnaya Polyana is Russia's Best Ski Boutique Hotel 2015, the highly renowned Peak Hotel. The hotel's luxurious interior beautifully complements and reflects the tranquility found in the stunning views of the surrounding mountains and expansive landscape. With 92 exceptionally comfortable rooms, villas, and chalets, the four-star hotel serves as a gateway to the impressive Caucasus. Following a recent renovation, the hotel has bolstered its offering which now includes a range of treatments at the Chandelle Blanche Medi SPA & Beauty, and the superb Shlyapa Kid's Club.

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Celebrating Excellence in Ski Tourism 4 T H A N N UA L

18th–20th November 2016 A-ROSA Kitzbßhel, Austria worldskiawards.com worldskiawards


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SLOVAKIA

Scenic and Serene Central Europe at its best, Slovakia is renowned for its stunning natural landscapes, countless ancient castles, and magnificent snow sports. With close to 500km of well-kept slopes to explore, the country's most popular ski regions are the Tatras Mountains, Donovaly, and Pieniny. The collective terrain offers something for skiers of every skill level, with the picturesque setting a welcome bonus. Across its territory, Slovakia is home to over 100 ski resorts with over 1,000 ski lifts and more than 30 cable ways, all paired with impressively high levels of service. All things taken into consideration, it's not difficult to surmise why it's such a popular ski destination. Located in the Low Tatras' NAPANT National Park, JasnĂĄ NĂ­zke Tatry is an ideal, snowy escape for groups of all sizes and skiing ability. The largest ski resort in Slovakia, it was awarded Slovakia's Best Ski Resort 2015 at the World Travel Awards, and continues to prove why the award was so well-deserved. Offering guests a seemingly inexhaustible list of activities to partake in, it also features 49km of immaculately groomed slopes served by 30 cable cars and lifts which give it an hourly capacity of over 30,000 persons. Thanks to modern, efficient snow-making machines, the resort can guarantee five full months snowfall per year.

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Slovakia

Nestled on the shores of Lake Strbske pleso in the folds of the majestic High Tatras Mountains, the Grand Hotel Kempinski comprises three, era-specific, interconnected buildings. Voted Slovakia's Best Ski Hotel 2015, the 98-room and suite hotel whisks guests away to the lap of luxury. Featuring an excellent wellness centre, the Zion Spa Luxury, as well as numerous dining options, and an impeccable concierge service, it is the darling of the Slovakian hospitality industry. After laying eyes on the Hotel Tri StudniÄ?ky for even a moment, it is easy to see why it was named after a local legend which emphasises extraordinary beauty. Located in the Low Tatras, the prestigious hotel was awarded Slovakia's Best Ski Boutique Hotel 2015 at the World Ski Awards. As the first officially certified Feng Shui hotel in Slovakia, the four-star establishment has a unique atmosphere of calm and relaxation that pervades throughout the property. Luxuriously appointed rooms and suites allow guests to forget about the stresses and concerns of contemporary living and appreciate the extraordinary beauty which surrounds them. 75


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SLOVENIA Delightfully Diverse

A country of incredible contrasts, Slovenia is Europe's only country that is home to the combination of the Alps, the Mediterranean, the Karst, and the Pannonian Planes. Renowned for its impressive outdoor recreation options, its mountains and ski resorts are some of the best for snow-based activities in the world. Its many fully-maintained ski resorts are spread across the country, with a high concentration in the corner of the Alps that extends into its borders. Despite some resorts of relatively smaller size, each has unique appeal and all comprise surprisingly diverse terrain. With easy access to and from the lowlands, travelling between resorts and cities is a breeze, and adds to the charm of the snowy state. 76

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Slovenia

Perfectly perched between Austria and Italy, Slovenia's Kranjska Gora's proximity to its international borders facilitates crossings between countries and makes it a superb base of operations. Voted Slovenia's Best Ski Resort 2015, its ski slopes cover an area of 120 hectares, some of which are also open for night skiing. The diversity of these slopes ensures that everyone from competing athletes to first-time skiers have an appropriately graded run to enjoy. Set in the heart of an alpine wonderland right next to the ski slope, Ramada Resort Kranjska Gora is ski paradise. Awarded Slovenia's Best Ski Hotel 2015 at the World Ski Awards, the 118room four-star hotel offers everything guests could need for an unforgettable stay. It also has several unique features including 400m2 of water surfaces, heated to different degrees, and the one-of-a-kind Snow Beach which starts anew with every winter and introduces guests to a world of culinary experiences. Tucked away at the north-western extreme of Slovenia, between the Karavanke mountains and the Julian Alps, lies the exquisite Upper Sava Valley, home of Slovenia's Best Ski Boutique Hotel 2015: Skipass Hotel. A labour of love, the hotel embodies “warmth, cordiality, and hospitality.” Modern and comfortable, it offers guests a tranquil getaway close to incredible natural scenery and magnificent ski slopes. Located at an altitude of over 1,500m, near the highest peak of Pohorje, Ribniška koča sits nestled below Jezerskim Black Summit. Offering excellent views of Lake Summit, the cottage is close to nearby ski resorts fitted with ski lifts, and is an ideal base for skiers who want to minimise the time between leaving the front door and hitting the slopes. It was voted Slovenia's Best Ski Chalet 2015 at the World Ski Awards. 77


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SPAIN SUN, SKI, FUN

Although initial thoughts of Spain may tend towards its sunny beaches and Mediterranean climate, there's another world that exists at higher altitudes. Europe's second most mountainous country, Spain is home to some 1,000km of ski runs and over 30 first-class resorts. The majority of resorts are dotted along the impressive Spanish Pyrenees which extend along 450km of peaks, some reaching up to 3,000m above sea level. As with all majorities though, there are always exceptions, and further south, almost on the coast lies Sierra Nevada – Europe's southernmost resort. With pristinely-groomed runs, excellent après-ski activities, high-quality ski schools, and more, Spain has grown into one of Europe's most favoured ski destinations. 78

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Spain

Set in the heart of the Benasque Valley, surrounded by lush pine forests and towering peaks, Aram贸n Cerler is the highest alpine ski resort in the Aragones Pyrenees. Boasting one of the largest ski slopes in the region, which ranges from 1,500m right up to 2,700m, the resort features 68 runs over 100km of powder snow, with 19 lifts to carry skiers to launch points. For the second year running it was awarded Spain's Best Ski Resort at the World Ski Awards. Located at the foot of Sierra Nevada's Plaza de Pradollano's ski slopes in southern Spain, Meli谩 Sol y Nieve is the perfect choice for visitors to the region. Voted Spain's Best Ski Hotel 2015, its extensive offering is enough to satisfy even the most discerning guests and features include the magnificent, 2,500m2 YHI Spa, a fully-equipped 24-hour gym, exquisite views, and exclusive, personalised service for all guests. Spain's Best Ski Boutique Hotel 2015, Hotel Chalet Val de Ruda is set in the midst of Baqueira's stunning natural offerings. The luxurious mountain hotel has a genuine, homey-feel and was designed to cater to guests of all inclinations, whether that be adventure, relaxation, or ski holidays. Its selection of unique rooms comprises individually decorated units, each of which are equipped with state-of-the-art amenities.

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SWEDEN SIMPLY STUNNING Northern Europe's largest country, Sweden is famed for many things – royal palaces, parkland and museums – but it's its excellent winter sports facilities that are of the most immediate concern. Its more than 200 ski resorts extend across the expanse of the country, from northern Riksgränsen in the Arctic Circle, down the north-west, and across to the county of Dalarna. Collectively, they account for over 1,000km of groomed slopes at altitudes of between 600m – 1,200m. Immensely diverse, there is a resort for everyone, regardless of age or ability. With almost guaranteed snowfall starting December through to April, it's a ski destination every enthusiast should visit at least once. A snowy, multicultural haven, Åre features a one-of-a-kind combination of skiing and entertainment. The cosmopolitan resort feels like a metropolis shrunk down to the size of a village, and is a very popular destination for foreign visitors. Voted Sweden's Best Ski Resort 2015, its offering is as diverse as that of the entire country and includes Europe's greatest vertical drop, long, rolling pistes, and an impressive variety of cosy mountain restaurants. 80

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Sweden

Perched on the tree line against the mountain, offering incomparable views, Copperhill Mountain Lodge is a magnificent alpine design hotel in Åre, Sweden. Winner of Sweden's Best Ski Hotel 2015, the 112-room hotel is much more than just accommodation, it's a destination, an experience, a feeling. Even so, it is also wonderfully pragmatic and enjoys ski-in/ski-out access to Åre’s large piste system as well as a hiking trail just outside its entrance. Celebrating its 100th year of operation, Hotel Granen has welcomed countless guests to its cosy confines. Its welcoming atmosphere has stood the test time, as has its attention to detail and faultless service. Awarded Sweden's Best Ski Boutique Hotel 2015, its staff are all ski enthusiasts eager to show guests some of the regions best kept skiing secrets. A log cabin of the more extravagant variety, The Villa - Copperhill Private Lodge was voted Sweden's Best Ski Chalet 2015. The private ski lodge can accommodate up to 16 guests in its 700 square metre design, and is the perfect base for families, friends, and other groups. World-class in design and execution, The Villa has seven bedrooms spread across its three floors and linked apartment. Each stay is tailored according to the needs and wishes of the guest, which allows ultimate customisation to the very last detail. 81


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SWITZERLAND Quintessential Skiing Every country has its stand-out features that immediately come to the fore, even just at the mention of its name. Hearing 'Switzerland' may conjure up difference images depending on the person, some might see bubbling vats of chocolate; others, a watchmaker hunched over a delicate timepiece; and others still, astute bankers doing business; but there is one image, one idea that always crops up, regardless of the person: a picture of exquisite alpine country, covered in pure white snow, set against incredible peaks. Located in the middle of the Alps, Switzerland is home to a a number of world-famous ski resorts, and at 57, it has more peaks over 4,000m than any other European nation. Some of its more notable mountains include the Matterhorn, the Eiger and Jungfrau, and there's also great skiing to be had on the glaciers and peaks around Saas Fee. In addition to its many physical characteristics, Switzerland's intangible traits also hold true: there exists an impeccably high standard of quality in all things. This can seen in its incredible resorts and hotels, and every aspect of its ski offering. With an ideal location in the district of Surselva, Graubünden, that can easily be reached from anywhere in Europe, Switzerland's LAAX offers guests “infinite winter pleasure”. The winner of Switzerland's Best Ski Resort 2015, its boasts 235km of pristine slopes; four well-equipped snowparks; the world's largest, continuous half pipe; and its unique Freestyle Academy – the first indoor, freestyle hall. LAAX also features over 100km of superb winter hiking trails, an expansive network of cross-country skiing, and excellent snow shoe tours. 82

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Switzerland

Initially built in 1913 and completely refurbished in the early 2000s, Carlton Hotel St Moritz is an exquisite destination that offers guests a once-in-alifetime experience. Its 60 Junior Suites and Suites all have spectacular views of Lake St. Moritz and the dramatic Upper Engadine beyond, and present a level personalised luxury that cannot be found anywhere else. Voted Switzerland's Best Ski Hotel for three years running, the iconic hotel is one of a kind. Designed by renowned Zurich architect Hermann Schneider, Romantik Hotel Chesa Grischuna has been welcoming guests since 1938. A favourite among A-listers from all industries, its a guestbook reads like a who's who of celebrities over the ages and includes Greta Garbo, Gene Kellly, Deborah Kerr, Renee Zellweger, and countless others. Winner of Switzerland's Best Ski Boutique Hotel 2015, the use of hand-crafted finishes throughout the property simply put it in class of its own. Located in the heart of Zermatt, Chalet Zermatt Peak is a premier destination for all snow enthusiasts, and was awarded Switzerland's Best Ski Chalet 2015 at the World Ski Awards. The five-star chalet features incredible views of its namesake village and the majestic Matterhorn, and is staffed by an award-winning team that will go to great lengths to ensure that all guests enjoy the “holiday of a lifetime�.

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THE AMERICAS

Year-Round Snow 86

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The Americas

From the northern tip of Canada, through the USA, to the southern tip of South America, the Americas offer snow lovers year-round, world-class skiing conditions. Across the two continents there are countless premier destinations which offer everything from basic and advanced slopes, to cross-country excursions, and heliskiing and catskiing. Each country's resorts are as impressive as the next, and boast some of the world's best lodging, skiing, and luxury service. Second only to Russia in total land area, Canada is a vast nation that is home to some of the world's most renowned skiing areas. A long-standing fixture on ski-loving travellers' annual destinations, its legendary ski resorts and majestic mountains offer incredible winter experiences. Its major ski regions, British Columbia, Alberta, and Quebec, are famous the world over for their unmatched slopes and the first is considered the heliskiing capital of the world. The country's naturally laidback atmosphere and warm, welcoming people make it a favourite getaway for snow sport enthusiasts from around the world.

In the world's most powerful country, bigger is almost always better, and winter sports are no exception. With ski resorts on both coasts, and several in the Midwest, the USA offers excellent slope and terrain variety, and some of the world's most impressive ski areas. It has some of the highest and most consistent snowfall in the world, and has an infrastructure that is second to none. Combined, these features make it one of the best ski destinations to be found anywhere. South America's Andes Mountains are the home of skiing and snowboarding on the continent. Running down the western side of South America, across Argentina and Chile, the range encompasses extraordinary diversity including glaciers, volcanoes, grassland, desert, lakes and forests. The vast, mountainous terrain offers some of the world's most exciting and challenging runs and in certain regions pushes the bar for heliskiing. Although it is home to fewer ski resorts than its northern cousin, South America's offering is nothing but superb and easily matches any international destination.

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CANADA

Unrestricted & Unsurpassed

Stretching from the icy Arctic Circle in the north to the USA in the south, Canada is the world's second largest country. Known the world around for the famous Rocky Mountains and the excellent snow sports that they make possible, the northern nation is also home to many other equally impressive ski sites, and it is actually possible to ski in all 10 of its provinces. Still, the best skiing is had across three distinct regions, British Columbia, Alberta, and Quebec. In addition to its substantial offering, British Columbia is also the heliskiing capital of the world. With over 250 world-class ski areas, featuring a wide variety of terrains, Canada welcomes hordes of ski enthusiasts to its borders every year. As Canadian as maple syrup and mounties, Lake Louise Ski Resort is located in the heart of the stunning Rocky Mountains and boasts an incredible 4,200 acres of skiable terrain. Renowned for its warm reception and welcoming staff, it was voted Canada's Best Ski Resort 2015 at the World Ski Awards, and is a pristine ski destination for enthusiasts of all abilities. With near endless chutes, glades and gullies, gentle slopes, cruising runs, remote bowls and some wonderfully challenging terrain in the Rockies, its issued a call to all travellers to come experience's its “accessible awesome�. 88

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Canada

Arguably Canada's most widely-recognised resort, Whistler is an icon of the ski industry and home to the luxurious Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside, winner of Canada's Best Ski Hotel 2015. A local landmark, it commands stunning views in all directions and is ideally located to facilitate a superb ski holiday. Offering one- and two-bedroom suites, all immaculately finished and fitted with exquisite furnishings, the hotel all but guarantees an unforgettable stay. Elsewhere on Whistler lies the exclusive Summit Lodge Boutique Hotel. A premier hotel just steps from Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, its location in the heart of Whistler Village cannot be bettered. Voted Canada's Best Ski Boutique Hotel 2015, its attention to detail sets it in a class of its own and its bespoke offerings ensures all travellers have an authentic experience. Whether travelling with the family, as a group, or with peers and colleagues, Summit Lodge Boutique Hotel's offering simply can't be beat. Making its second appearance in this issue is the iconic Bighorn, Revelstoke. Winner of World's Best Ski Chalet 2015, it also took home the honours for Canada's Best Ski Chalet 2015 – improving its record to three years in a row for both. The remarkable mountain home is set in the heart of the world's best heliskiing terrain, and features a private helipad exclusively available to guests. Beckoning a new standard in luxury accommodation, the full-service retreat takes care of every last detail for its guests, allowing them to indulge in the region's substantial offerings. 89


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UNITED STATES SNOW SPORTS FROM COAST TO COAST

The world's most powerful nation needs no introduction. Home to over 450 ski resorts, which comprise everything from high-altitude escapes, to long, winding slopes, the USA is a superb skiing destination with myriad offerings. Its West Coast features some of the country's steepest slopes and deepest snowfall, making for excellent winter sports. On the opposite end of the country, the East Coast boasts slightly smaller but equally challenging runs, and has an undeniable, down-to-earth charm about it. In between the two mighty coasts, the American Midwest's snowy offering incorporates all manner of weather and terrain, yet still attracts countless enthusiasts. Last, but certainly not least, the iconic Rocky Mountains. Spanning across several western states, the mountains feature some of America's finest resorts and most pristine ski runs. 90

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In 1981, when Deer Valley Resort welcomed its first visitors, it immediately raised the bar for ski resorts around the world. Founded by Edgar Stein, its fundamental concept was simple: combine first-class services, luxury accommodations and gourmet food of a fine hotel with skiing; and its execution exemplary. Voted United States' Best Ski Resort for the third consecutive year, Deer Valley has consistently innovated and pushed the industry forward and shows no signs of ever letting up. A multiple award winner at the World Ski Awards, Stein Eriksen Lodge is Utah's only Forbes Five-Star hotel and United States' Best Ski Hotel. Named after the famed Norwegian Olympic Gold Medal skier, the world-renowned hotel features incredible ski runs and a plethora of outdoor recreation. An authentic slice of Europe set in Deer Valley Resort, Park City, the lodge has ski-in, ski-out access to Deer Valley Resort and boasts 178 first-class rooms and suites and counts Forbes Four-Star dining, a Forbes Five-Star spa, and entertaining aprèsski among its offering. Staying in Deer Valley Resort, the Goldener Hirsch Inn is located mid-mountain in the Silver Lake region and presents guests with a superior experience and impeccable service. Voted United States' Best Ski Boutique Hotel – an award it also claimed in 2013 – it offers an unique, European environment in an exquisite natural setting. The inn's intricate interior is a functional work of art, and is matched by its superb, personalised five-star service.


United States

Casa Nova, Deer Valley rounds out the American winners party as the United States' Best Ski Chalet 2015. A sprawling yet cosy chateau of over 4,000 square meters, it features seven bedrooms and can accommodate up to 25 guests. Utterly luxurious in every respect, it commands breathtaking views over the Jordanelle reservoir and surrounding landscape. Its facilities and amenities are of the highest standard, and between its 15-seat cinema, pool table, fitness and massage rooms and more, guests have access to nearly endless entertainment. 91


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ARGENTINA

UNASSUMINGLY AWESOME

Known for tango, steak and football, Argentina is an enormous South American country with wonderfully diverse terrain which includes the awe-inspiring Andes mountains, serene glacial lakes, and expansive Pampas grassland. In the south of the nation the dry heat of the desert gives way to extremely low temperatures and wet environments – the perfect combination to create ideal skiing conditions. With an offering that is modest in comparison to its international counterparts, Argentina is home to less than 20 ski resorts, but each is as impressive as the next. Spread across the three major ski regions, Mendoza; the Lakes District and Patagonia; and Ushuaia, some of its resorts have runs as high as 4,000m above sea level and feature superb slopes. Although uncommon to the country, there is also excellent heliskiing available at the “end of the world” in Ushuaia, as well as Canadian-style cat-skiing.

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Argentina

Located in scenic Patagonia, situated almost 2,000m above sea level, Chapelco Ski Resort looks out over the beautiful San MartĂ­n de los Andes, and is synonymous with world-class skiing. Unlike some other regions, Chapelco has been spared from deforestation and is surrounded by lush forests of beech covered with Beard of the Devil lichen. Boasting 22 pristine trails, it was voted Argentina's Best Ski Resort 2015 and consistently draws scores of international visitors. A Patagonian pearl, Llao Llao Hotel & Resort is an exclusive Argentinian retreat that blends the highest levels of service with classic South American elegance. Divided into two wings, Ala Bustillo and Lago Moreno, the former was opened in 1940 and is the hotel's signature building, while Lago Moreno was added in 2007. Together they boast 205 luxurious rooms with incredible interiors inspired by magnificent natural surroundings. Voted Argentina's Best Ski Hotel 2015 at the World Ski Awards, it is a dream destination for ski holidaymakers. Argentina's Best Ski Boutique Hotel 2015 is the aptly named Charming Luxury Lodge & Private Spa. Located in San Carlos de Bariloche, in the south-western province of Black River, the hotel offers three accommodation options: suites, apartments, and residences. One of its stand-out features is its exclusive private spa offering, which sees professional therapists administering unique treatments to guests in the comfort of their rooms.

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CHILE UNTAMED BEAUTY

Stretching along more than half of South America's west coast, Chile encompasses an incredible amount of diverse terrain within its narrow borders. Home to the Andes and Chilean Coast Range mountains, it is one of the world's top international adventure hotspots. As winter sets in halfway through the year, Chile is transformed into a snow-lovers paradise. Set against the dramatic backdrop of smoking, snow-covered volcanoes and thermal springs, Chile's features large stretches of completely untouched backcountry skiing routes as well as wonderful alpine ski runs. With some ski resorts at elevations of over 3,000m, the views are simply epic, and the runs unforgettable.

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Chile

Portillo holds a special place in Chile's history. At over 60 years old, it is the oldest ski resort on the continent, and in 1966 hosted the first and only World Ski Championships in Latin America. Its rich history was wonderfully captured in resort founder, Henry Purcell's book The Spirit of the Andes. Dedicated to presenting skiing as it should be, it emphasises the communal aspect of sport in one of the world's most beautiful and uncrowded locations. Despite its age, much of the ski resort has remained unchanged over the years, save for improvements in infrastructure and technology. Winner of Chile's Best Ski Resort 2015, today it boasts 14 modern lifts, including the classic Va et Vient lifts designed by Jean Pomagalski in the 1960’s which carry some of the more adventurous skiers to the high avalanche chutes across the Roca Jack and the Condor slopes. The resort's “big, yellow hotel”, Hotel Portillo, accommodates 450 people and has 1:1 ratio of staff to guests, ensuing unparalleled personalised service. Its lodging comprises rooms, suites, apartments, lodges, and chalets, each equipped with a full suite of luxury amenities, and catering to travelling groups of all sizes. The hotel also features a modern fitness centre, excellent wellness facilities, and a fully loaded games room, and was voted Chile's Best Ski Hotel 2015. The captivating Hotel Antumalal was conceived in the 1940s and has a distinct Bauhaus influence. Its wood-panelled rooms are all fitted with panoramic windows which command stunning views of the beautiful surrounding landscape. In addition to central heating throughout the property, individual fireplaces in each room add that intangible atmosphere of cosiness. Also hidden within the gardens are three luxury chalets, each of a unique design. The beautiful mountain retreat was voted Chile's Best Ski Boutique Hotel 2015 at the World Ski Awards. 95


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ASIAPACIFIC

Over the last few decades, while many of the world's snow enthusiasts were heading to western destinations to satiate their skiing appetite, AsiaPacific was steadily on the rise, and has become one of the world's premier winter sport destinations. Across Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand travellers will find some of the world's finest ski resorts and most exciting, enjoyable slopes. Japan and South Korea are more or less on the same parallel, with the former extending slightly further into the north. With as many differences as they have commonalities, its their winter offering that put both in this issue. Japan is one of the most mountainous countries in the world, its land area encompassing more than 70% mountains. When winter rolls around, these mountains become spectacular skiing destinations – the country has twice hosted the Winter Olympics. Its “skijos” (ski resorts) are among the best in the world, and are spread across the length and breadth of the beautiful island nation. 96

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THE SKI WORLD'S BEST KEPT SECRET


Asia-Pacific

Home to the Taebaek Mountains – informally referred to as the Korean Alps – South Korea is a unique skiing destination that draws hundreds of visitors and enthusiasts each season. Most of the country's ski resorts are found on its eastern peninsula in the Gangwon-do region (where the Korean Alps stretch across the terrain), Which will also be the site of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics. Due to the country's relatively small size, in many places it is possible to spend a day skiing in the mountains and the evening immersed in the hustle and bustle of Seoul. Further south, Australia and New Zealand offer worlds of adventure for every type of skier. Australia's south-eastern states of New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania are where the best snowy spots are to be found. Offering a surprisingly vast amount of skiable terrain, there are ski resorts dotted at various altitudes from 1,250m above sea level and upwards. Its impressive verticals are a favourite among more advanced skiers, but it also offers plenty of variation for those still finding their feet. Considering its small size, New Zealand has a massive offering. All of its ski resorts boast an unmatched “skiwi” atmosphere which simply must be experienced to be fully appreciated. Across its two islands, New Zealand is home of unlimited adventure in all its forms including skiing on active volcanoes and superb heliskiing. 97


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AUSTRALIA

The Winter Wildcard A continent and a country, Australia is surrounded by the Pacific and Indian oceans and is home to an impressive variety of indigenous species. Renowned for its scorching heat and excellent surf conditions, it's understandable that many people don't associate it as a worldclass skiing destination, but it is exactly that. Across the country's south-eastern states of New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania, visitors will be pleasantly surprised by the extensive skiable terrain. Australia was also the birthplace of Malcolm Milne, the first non-European to win a World Cup, as well as several Winter Olympic medalists. With resorts at altitudes between 1,250m to 2,200m, it has numerous well-developed downhill runs and is home to a massive snow village which can accommodate up to 7,000 guests. The only place in the world where ski fields are dotted snow gum eucalyptus trees, Australia has a unique appeal that simply can't be found elsewhere. 98

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Australia

Located in a snowy playground midway between Sydney and Melbourne, at the heart of the Snowy Mountains high in the Kosciuszko National Park lies Thredbo, Australia's Best Ski Resort 2015. Across its 480 hectares of majestic, snowy terrain visitors will find a great mix of runs and slopes, ensuring there's something for every skier to enjoy. The village at the base of the range is a hub of entertainment and activity, and can accommodate more than 4,000 guests. Based at the foot of Mt Buller, Australia's Best Ski Hotel 2015 is located just 50m from the chairlifts and 100m from the class-leading ski school. A truly ski-in, ski-out destination, Hotel Pension Grimus gives guests immediate access to Mt Buller's 263 hectares of winter terrain, which incorporates 58 runs served by 25 lifts. Its impressive offering includes a licensed restaurant and intimate cocktail bar, wellness facilities, and all other expected luxury amenities. With unbroken views of the stunning Victorian landscape and unmatched access to the main ski runs of the Victorian Alps, QT Falls Creek is the region's most exquisite boutique hotel and Australia's Best Ski Boutique Hotel 2015. Comprising 42 designer apartments of varying sizes, the hotel offers an unprecedented level of luxury and comfort to the region. Thredbo Village's Rockpool Lodge was awarded Australia's Best Ski Chalet at the World Ski Awards for the third year running. Tucked away in a serenely beautiful setting in Woodridge, the two-bedroom and loft apartment is exceedingly well-appointed and comes fully-equipped with all modern amenities. With convenient access to all the best of Thredbo, the modern retreat is a firm favourite among visitors to the region. 99


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JAPAN

The Land of Perfect Powder

The home of sushi, cherry blossoms, and martial arts, Japan is also one of the world's premier skiing destinations. More than 70% of the island nation is made up of mountains, many of which make for superb skiing when the snow begins to fall. A two-time host of the Winter Olympics, and numerous other snow sport events, Japan enjoys consistent, heavy snowfall and excellent powder conditions across its varying terrain. From Hokkaido in the north to Kyushu in the south, it is home to countless “skijos”, as the local ski resorts are known, all across its many islands. Some so small they comprise only one or two lifts, and others big enough to rival international counterparts, Japan's skijos welcome thousands of visitors each year, and give them access to some of the most amazing ski slopes in the world. 100

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Comprising four world-class resorts on the majestic Niseko Annupuri mountain, Niseko United is Japan's Best Ski Resort for the third consecutive year and was a nominee for World's Best Ski Resort. Part of the Niseko-Shakotan-Otaru Kaigan Quasi-National Park, its slopes enjoy some of the driest, lightest powder in the world thanks to the unique climatic features of the area. The four resorts that make up Niseko United – Niseko Annupuri, Niseko Village, Niseko Grand Hirafu, and Niseko HANAZONO - offer unrivalled diversity and entertainment, and will keep snow sports enthusiasts enthralled for days on end! Based at the foot of Niseko Annupuri Mountain, Hilton Niseko Village offers incredibly scenic views from an exquisite vantage point.


Japan

The contemporary hotel was voted Japan's Best Ski Hotel 2015 at the World Ski Awards, and offers guests an impressive range of experiences. Its notable features include several great dining options, a modern fitness centre, the relaxing Wakka Spa, and first rate conference facilities. The Vale Niseko hardly needs an introduction. After winning Japan's Best Ski Boutique Hotel and World's Best Ski Boutique Hotel in 2014, the luxury hotel took home both honours again at the 2015 World Ski Awards. The ski-in, ski-out destination is set right on the slope and offers guests over 2,000 acres of unmatched skiing bliss. Boasting 49 luxury apartments, its amenities are nothing but first class as is its magnificent, personalised service. Sekka Kan is one of Niseko’s most sought after properties. Hirafu’s world-reknowned restaurants are on the doorstep and the lifts are only a short walk away but despite this, the location is secluded enough to offer maximum privacy. Sekka Kan combines the best of Western luxury living and contemporary Japanese design. All units in this boutique building come with the latest appliances, including Nespresso machines and outdoor Jacuzzi with a stunning view of Mount Yotei – or “Little Fuji” as it is known. The apartments are spread over two floors with light permeating throughout due to the stunning 4 metre high floor to ceiling windows facing a tranquil silver birch forest. All bedrooms have en-suite bathrooms and the kitchen and living area allow families and friends to share their tales of Niseko’s epic snow. 101


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NEW ZEALAND SKIWI GOLD

Over the last decade New Zealand has become synonymous with J.R.R. Tolkein's The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, specifically their film adaptations. Through these a vast new audience was introduced to the island nation and its incredible landscapes, which include some wonderfully diverse, snowy terrain. Depending on where visitors go, there's something for everyone, from skiing on active volcanoes on the North Island to heliskiing on the South Island. Across the two islands, New Zealand is home to some wonderful ski resorts all of which offer an authentic “skiwi” experience; classic kiwi hospitality and unlimited adventure. On-mountain accommodation is not as common in New Zealand as it is on other continents, but this simply gives visitors more opportunity to explore and enjoy the magnificent country and its wonderful people. Offering ample adventure for families, friends, and travellers from all ports, New Zealand is a ski destination that is still relatively uncommericalised – and should be visited before that changes.

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New Zealand

With 356 hectares of lush, skiable terrain, a superb 2km international-level run, four freestyle parks, and average snowfall of 4m, the South Island's Mt Hutt offers the quintessential Kiwi snow experience and was voted New Zealand's Best Ski Resort 2015. Its wide, open terrain is varied enough to accommodate skiers and snowboarders of all levels, and features 14 ski lifts to carry guests to various points on the mountain. Set on the shores of tranquil Lake Wakatipu in Kawarau Village, Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa is one of New Zealand's most luxurious properties. Voted New Zealand's Best Ski Hotel 2015, the premier hotel boasts stunning views of the surrounding mountains and unspoilt scenery. It features a variety of rooms, suites, and lakeside apartments, and radiates elegance and warmth. Guests can also look forward to dining at the excellent Wakatipu Grill, or indulging in some pampering and relaxation at the eforea spa. Enjoying a premier lakefront location, Eichardt's Private Hotel is New Zealand's most awarded private hotel and was voted New Zealand's Best Ski Boutique Hotel 2015 at the World Ski Awards. The exquisite Queenstown hotel's accommodation offering comprises five luxury suites, four lakefront apartments, and The Residence, an exclusive villa with an elevated position. The home of unmatched opulence in the country, it is paradise for discerning travellers. New Zealand's Best Ski Chalet 2015 boasts oneof-a-kind hand-crafted accommodation and is set on 500 acres of riverside property that offers breath-taking mountain views. Riverrun is a stone's throw from the renowned Lake Wanaka resort and features luxury lodging and exceptional service. It's a laidback getaway that's off the beaten track yet still in close proximity to excellent local amenities, and the perfect skiing retreat.

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SNOW-KISSED

SOUTH KOREA

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South Korea

Unbeknownst to many, one of the world's biggest tech and manufacturing hubs is also one of its greatest winter sports destinations. South Korea's biggest skiing areas are found in the Taekbaek Mountains – also known as the Korean Alps. The range is part of the Gangwon-do region and stretches down from the country's north-eastern border along its eastern peninsula. With peaks reaching up to 1,708m, the high altitude ensures high levels of snowfall which make excellent powder for skiing and snowboarding, and it is here where the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics will be held. The region is also home to numerous ski resorts, many of which are just outside of the city limits of Seoul, and give guests the best of both worlds: superb skiing during the day time, and the glittering lights of the city at night. Resorts across the country are well-equipped and efficiently run, giving visitors a wide variety of quality options to choose from. Whatever a traveller's snowy persuasion – be it adrenaline-surging runs, family outings, or simply some wintery indulgence – South Korea's ski resorts will provide it all and more.

Established over 40 years ago in 1975, “Korea's Ski Mecca” is on a 4,300 acre property, 700m above sea level. Voted South Korea's Best Ski Resort 2015, YongPyong is the absolute best of the country's impressive offering. Located 200km from Seoul in the renowned Gangwon-do region, it is surrounded by picturesque scenery on all sides, and was the first modern facility of its kind on local shores. The resort offers visitors the complete package; 31 ski slopes, numerous premier accommodation options, wonderful dining outlets, and a host of leisure and entertainment facilities. Nestled in the scenic Taebaek Mountains of the Gangwon-do region, InterContinental Alpensia Pyeongchang Resort stands apart from the competition with its award-winning offering. Voted South Korea's Best Ski Hotel 2015, the Alpine-style hotel features 238 luxury rooms and an exquisite spa. It also gives guests unrivalled access to some of the region's best winter sport areas including two Olympic-class ski slopes.

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SHAPING THE FUTURE OF

TOURISM

Since its inception in 2007, HNA Tourism Group has grown into a veritable giant of the tourism industry. To be architects of

the future of tourism, we are committed to enhancing collaboration, improving connectivity and sharing value. Our more than 20 travel subsidiaries across aviation, hospitality management, tour operators, online travel, finance and investment deliver seamless travel experiences for over 50 million customers each year. Already the largest integrated tourism business of China, our global network comprises Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Americas. We give access to 450 hotels, 144 aircraft, 1100 cars for rent, 73 travel outlets and more.


The new Business-Class at the ski resort. It’s not a car. It’s not a plane. It’s better. It’s the most comfortable ride from the bottom to the top ever. It’s the cosiness of supple, genuine leather padding that tells passengers they’ve chosen the right ski resort. It’s the deep warmth of the heated seats on the body that tells the skier that the next run is the best. It’s the option of having a bubble you can operate yourself to choose whether to be protected from or experience the weather up close. And this is precisely what the LEITNER Premium Chair offers.

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INNOVATION SINCE 1888

Best In Travel Magazine Issue 37 // 2016 // The Ski Edition  

From the Americas, through Europe, and across Asia-Pacific, this Ski Edition showcases the best of best in ski tourism from around the world...

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