The Alps hotels that every freerider (or off-piste dreamer) must stay in at least once
Ski season is officially upon us, and we’re pretty pleased about it. And while we love a leisurely afternoon ski followed by a warming vin chaud (in a hot tub, perhaps?), we also love the heady thrill that comes with taking things off-piste, literally. We’ve partnered with FATMAP, the essential mapping app for any self-respecting outdoors-person, to get the lowdown on the best off-piste and freeriding spots in the Alps – and, of course, where to stay when you’re there.
Verbier is serious about off-piste – so much so that it plays host to Freeride Week annually in January, where skiers from all over the world come to tackle some incredible powder. Stay in the Experimental Chalet (of Experimental Cocktail Club fame) – rooms are cozy but modern, and the famous Farm Club will literally be on your doorstep. Plus, apres-ski cocktails are obviously covered.
Chamonix is said to be one of the world’s best ski areas for adventurous off-pisters. Give the Vallée Blanc a go – with a guide if necessary – for incredible views of Mont Blanc. For a cheeky, affordable and well-located hotel, try the brilliantly-named Rockypop in Les Houches: think fun decor, basic but hip rooms, and an on-site ski shop.
Along with neighboring Tinges, Val D’Isère is in the Vanoise National Park, meaning it has some of the most impressive natural landscape around so freeriders can trail the valleys and slopes with views aplenty. Hotel Avenue Lodge is our shout for a place to get your well-earned rest. It’s smack bang in the middle of Val D’Isère and rooms are chic and cool without being overly traditional.
The best thing about the Three Valleys is that there’s actually four of them (fun fact). Courcheval and Val Thorens alone offer an extensive ski area, and while VT is the highest at 2300m, Courcheval is where you want to stay. Incredible dining options and access to trails and peaks perfect for freeride powder, and there’s also some incredible hotels. Our pick: Hôtel Barrière Les Neiges. Rooms are miles away from traditional, cheesy alpine lodge vibes and views are second-to-none. Oh, and it’s ski-in ski-out, of course.
We also dig Austria, you know. Ischgl is Europe’s biggest freeride regions, and while there are slopes abound for all levels, the Piz Val Gronda especially great for slightly less-experienced off-pisters (breathtaking views included). While not smack bang in the middle of Ischgl, Hotel Zhero is our pick for sleep time. But trust us, it’s not just for sleeping: set up shop by the roaring fires in beautifully-designed rooms with exposed brick walls and soft fabrics and enjoy a drink before dinner at the Zhero Open Grill, the area’s first à la carte restaurant.