If there’s one takeaway from this year’s World’s Ski Awards, it’s that Europe is the premier skiing destination in the world.
This year marks the sixth for the awards, given at a glitzy ceremony in Austria, at the legendary Kitzbühel resort, this past weekend. Ski representatives from Europe, Asia, North America, South America and Australasia gathered in Austria for three days of alpine events, capped off with the awards ceremony. Voting was done online by both ski professionals and the general public.
Nearly all of the top honors went to European resorts, hotels and operators.
For the third consecutive year, Val Thorens in the French Alps was named best ski resort in the world. Europe’s highest resort, Val Thorens is part of the 3 Vallees ski area (Courchevel and Meribel are the other two), with ski offerings for all levels and much on offer off the mountain too.
Europe dominated in the hotel and chalet category, with many of 2018’s winners the same as last year’s. W Verbier in Switzerland was once again named World’s Best Ski Hotel, and World’s Best Green Ski Hotel went to Rocksresort (its stone buildings are heated with renewable biomass energy), also in Switzerland.
°Fahrenheit Seven Courchevel won World’s Best New Ski Hotel, and °Fahrenheit Seven Val Thoren took home an award for France’s best ski hotel. °Fahrenheit Communication Manager Chloé Vidoni, whose parents started the hotel brand, is proud of the recognition and says that they “are all very thankful that people understood our philosophy on hospitality and voted for us.”
Austria’s own Aurelio Lech won World’s Best Boutique Hotel. Its minimalist, spare decor results in clean lines and a polished feel. Aprés- ski opportunities abound and non-skiing activities – such as alpaca trekking – are on offer here as well.
Chalet Les Anges claimed World’s Best Chalet again, and newcomer Chalet des Cascades, also in France, took home World’s Best New Chalet. The catered chalet, which sleeps up to 14, includes hot breakfast, afternoon tea and cakes, and a four-course evening meal with wine pairings.
Regional “best of” awards also honored hotels, chalets, resorts and boutique hotels, so all is not completely lost for destinations outside of Europe.
There were several repeats in these categories as well, with Hokkaido’s Rusutsu once again winning Japan’s best resort and upmarket, no-snowboarders-allowed Deer Valley in Utah taking home a win for Best Ski Resort in the United States.
In China, Vanke Lake Songhua Resort, located at the foot of Daqingshan mountain, was named best ski resort, and Thredbo, which lays claim to the longest runs in Australia, won best resort.
Ski Dubai in the UAE was named World’s Best Indoor Ski Resort, demonstrating that there’s more than one way to enjoy the slopes and living in a desert doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy alpine activities.
Sion Rapson, managing director of World Ski Awards, called the awards ceremony “a magnificent evening of triumph for the winter sports hospitality industry,” and commented on the privilege of recognizing the leading organizations from across the world.
One individual was also recognized this year. For his Outstanding Contribution to Ski Tourism, Argentina’s Juan Cruz Adrogué was the only person, not organization, to receive an accolade. Adrogué was given the award because of his decade-long pioneering work at the Argentine ski resort of Chapelco. The ski resort, located in the country’s lakes district, won Argentina’s Best Ski Resort for the fourth consecutive year.
Your favorite ski spot not get mentioned? Be a part of the voting public next year and choose your top spots.