5 Luxury Ski Destinations Loved By Asia's Elite
December 7, 2017 | BY Hong Kong Tatler
Fancy hitting the slopes this season, but want to do it in style? Find out where Asia's movers and shakers go to get their ski on:
Patricia Tung-Gaw's Guide To Chamonix
As director of Fera Asia Pacific, a chic, high-performance snow and sports apparel business, Tatler 500 lister Patricia Tung-Gaw is no stranger to hitting the slopes. Her ski destination of choice is Chamonix in France's Mont Blanc region, which she says "has some of the best skiing in the world."
The Best Run: Chamonix is famous for the Vallée Blanche, a stunning off-piste ski route that is 20 kilometres long and has a vertical descent of 2,700 metres. Make sure to go with a guide because the initial descent is done wearing harnesses and there are crevasses in the glacier to avoid.
Where To Stay: If we’re travelling with family, we like to rent a private chalet in Chamonix. One we have enjoyed is La Ferme du Bois, an old farmhouse that has been modernised into a comfortable rustic retreat with a huge granite fireplace, plenty of big leather sofas and an outdoor hot tub.
Insider Tips: Aside from skiing, Chamonix has great paragliding with incredible views over the valley. Heli-skiing is not available at Chamonix but we heli-ski around Courmayeur, where the helicopter can land mid-mountain so you can go for a quick heli-run from the resort.
Paige Parker's Guide To Whistler
An avid philanthropist and familiar face on Singapore's social circuit, Paige Parker loves to travel—in 1999, she even set the Guinness World Record for most countries (111) visited during a continuous trip by car. Parker is a fan of spending ski season in Whistler, British Columbia for its wide selection of ski runs and its plethora of fine dining options.
The Best Run: Burnt Stew Trail is fairly easy and we can do it as a family, taking in extraordinary views of Garibaldi Park. The Dave Murray Downhill run has some steep areas but is challenging. The Zig Zag run on Blackcomb Mountain has unexpected bumps and hills, which make it a fun rollercoaster run.
Where To Stay: At the Four Seasons Whistler. The ski concierge there is the most amazing we've experienced. In the morning, we stroll over to the base of the mountain to find eager staff who help us nudge on tight boots that have been warmed overnight. Post-skiing, the same staff meet us at the base to collect our skis and offer hot chocolate to lift our spirits.
Places To Eat: We love Nagomi Sushi at the base of Blackcomb Mountain; also Pizzeria Antico for the caprese and pizza. For the best fine dining, we prefer Araxi Restaurant and Oyster Bar, where executive chef James Walt creates delicious regional cuisine with local ingredients.
Fanny Tsai's Guide To Mammoth Mountain
Fanny Tsai, the founder of lifestyle brand Weng Collection, spent many years living in the US where she fell in love with the country's ski and snowboarding resorts. She has been featured on Taiwan Tatler's Generation T List in 2016 and 2017.
Best Parks: The Wonderland Playground is my favourite to warm up on the slopes and to practise different moves before exploring the Unbound Terrain Parks. South Park is a great challenge; I may not master it like a pro, but it’s got to be the best spot on the mountain. It’s surrounded by trees and it’s so beautiful when the sun shines down through the forest.
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Favourite Run: The Eagle Express lift leads to some of my favourite runs. There are loads of options from the top. There are runs that lead to scenic views or runs that lead to challenging black diamonds.
Après Ski Tips: I often do day trips from my house in California, but sometimes I rent a cabin in the resort. If I do, then the best thing at the end of a long day is to have a couple of Advils and a bottle of Blue Moon beer in the hot tub.
Piyasvasti Amranand's Guide To Gressoney-la-Trinité
Piyavasti Amranand is the inaugural president of the Ski and Snowboard Association of Thailand, which supports Thai athletes training for the Winter Olympics. He began skiing in Europe at the age of 15. In his own words, "it was basically skiing on ice in corduroy trousers."
The Best Run: Gressoney is connected to two other skiing areas, Alagna Valsesia and Champoluc, so there are a vast number of runs. My favourite is an off-piste ski from Punta Indren, which is challenging but has beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. About three-quarters of the way down, there’s a very good restaurant called Orestes Hutte where you can stop for lunch.
Where To Stay: At Gressoney, I always stay at Hotel Jolanda Sport, a four-star hotel in the middle of the village. It’s a real ski-in, ski-out hotel because the chairlift is located just five steps from the door of the ski room. Gressoney is not crowded, so lift queues are short and you can squeeze a lot more skiing into the day.
Insider Tips: Gressoney is unique as there is a retreat for Buddhist monks in the mountains. An important activity is to give alms to the monks in the morning, who either come down to the hotel or we ski to their retreat. The monks also give sermons, but I leave that to my more pious relatives.
Varah Sucharitakul's Guide To Val d'Isère
Varah Sucharitakul, executive director of Finansa in Bangkok, loves Val d'Isère in the French Alps so much that he bought an apartment there. Skiing is a favourite pastime for the Sucharitakul family—his son skied for Thailand in the 2014 Winter Olympics and his daughter raced for Cambridge.
The Best Runs: It really depends on the mood you’re in. I like Madeleine and Grand Pre for warm-up runs. Then I like the grey run, Les Roches, on the Pissaillas side. If you want something more exciting, there’s La Face, the black run which goes back into town.
Places To Eat: On the mountain, I would say Brasserie de Solaise is my favourite. La Fruitière is also very good, but it’s in an area that gets a quite busy. Edelweiss is nice too. Le Panoramic on the Grande Motte glacier is very good, but it's a bit far from the Val d’Isère side.
Après Ski: Everyone makes a stop at Chez Jules (its official name is Le Coin des Amis) at the centre of the village. Jules, who runs it, used to be my son’s coach. There's also Dick’s Tea Bar, which is more of a nightclub. Lots of people go there, but I’m a little too old for clubbing.
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