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Gourmet ski chalets

Fine food and fine conditions are the hallmarks of any memorable ski trip – but why stray from your cosy nook when the best meal is at yours? Gabrielle Sander gives her guide to Europe’s finest places to ski, eat, sleep and repeat

Kilco Penthouse Val D'Isère, France

Unclip your skis, step into a private lift then walk straight into this double-height penthouse chalet, where you can warm yourself by the roaring fire and soak up uninterrupted views of the slopes scaled just moments before. Sooth aching calves in its basement swimming pool and Moroccan-tiled hammam, then head back upstairs for a gin tasting, or one of the other epicurean activities your host has laid on for the evening. The meal that follows – a reflection of Italian chef Giacomo’s experience working in Michelin-starred restaurants – will be equally top class, and guaranteed to please thanks to a menu consultation before you arrive for likes and dislikes. Asian and Mediterranean influences are combined in dishes such as tiger prawn patties with baby fennel, halibut with pistachio crumb, and sweet potato and ginger cake with freshly churned maple syrup ice cream. It’s a well-balanced and delicious offering even Jamie Oliver (who learnt to ski in Val d’Isère) would approve of. Situated a mere 100m from the main Bellevarde and Solaise lifts, at Kilco you really are in the heart of the action. All within strollable reach are the village’s boutiques and bars. Live music is particularly popular here and well worth checking out. There’s over 300km of skiing on offer (not to mention the off-piste opportunities), which is more than enough to keep you entertained for a week. To make it easy – and give you optimum time on the slopes– Kilco has a Land Rover and chauffeur on hand to whisk you different parts of the resort and further afield.

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Travel Details

EAT ON THE PISTE
Hop off the Fornet cable car and ski halfway down the blue Mangard run to reach L’Edelweiss restaurant for just the sort of dish one craves after a morning on the slopes: Royan ravioli with creamy Beaufort cheese. restaurantedelweissvaldisere.com

THE DETAIL
Sleeps ten guests across five rooms. Exclusive use from £14,000 per week, catered. https://www.hiphideouts.com/">hiphideouts.cohttps://www.hiphideouts.com/">m

Chalet 1936 Verbier, Switzerland

A welcome bear hug after a day traversing some of the best skiing in the Swiss Alps, this vast Verbier abode even has its own lift to whisk you from one splendid floor to the next. Dotted with pieces of pop art, it has a sprawling cinema and games room, an indoor pool and glass hammam, and a glorious master suite equipped with a copper roll-top tub. There’s a fully kitted-out gym too, but it’s unlikely to be required: a swift jaunt to the village centre and you can access the lift to ski across the incredible 4 Vallées area. At 3,330m, Mont Fort is the highest point in the resort and a popular spot with freeriders. Keep your eyes peeled for Verbier’s celebrity regulars – Leonardo DiCaprio, Richard Branson and the Beckhams all like to ski here. And get a taste the good life over supper picked from the chef’s menu du jour: venison carpaccio with pickled blueberry, risotto nero topped with crispy squid and Pecorino, and apple and maple syrup cheesecake. Dial the frivolity up an extra notch with the chalet’s Acoustic Après Ski experience. You’ll be helicoptered to a remote mountaintop location, to dine on a lavish seafood feast at a table carved out of ice, while sipping spiced pear and gin cocktails and listening to a live acoustic band. We’ll say santé to that!

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Travel Details

EAT ON THE PISTE
At an altitude of 2,457m, situated off Les Gentianes or La Chaux runs, Cabane du Mont-Fort isn’t short of picture-perfect views. For a hearty classic, order the croûte au fromage – it’s the perfect lunch before tackling the descent back to town. cabanemontfort.ch

THE DETAIL
Sleeps 14 guests across seven rooms. Exclusive use from £47,200 per week, catered. hautemontagne.com

Chalet Cateline St Martin de Belleville, France

Sure, St Martin de Belleville may not be as well known as its peers, and Chalet Cateline may not be as conspicuously luxurious as some of the others on this list, but the elevated position provides it with arguably some of the best alpine views, stretching across to the neighbouring hamlet of Le Châtelard. If you live for the après-ski, you’ll be much happier in nearby Méribel; if you don’t, this quiet village may be just the ticket. It’s easy to see why founders James and Ruth Downey swapped city life for the slower pace of this area, two hours’ drive from Geneva Airport. Great skiing is a given – check out the 28km cross-country track running between St Martin and Les Menuires. For something different, hit the snowshoe tracks or book a ride on the dog sleigh. When it comes to the food, provenance is key. Bread hails from nearby bakeries, while meat and cheese from local producers are championed in dishes such as pistachio, thyme and Beaufort-stuffed guinea fowl, and ham hock terrine with cider-braised apples.

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Travel Details

EAT ON THE PISTE
You’ll find great piste-side restaurants serving typical mountain fare, but serious bon vivants should head to the neighbouring village of St Marcel, for La Bouitte. Expect Savoie fare spun into memorable morsels worthy of the three Michelin stars held since 2015. labouitte.com

THE DETAIL
Sleeps ten guests (single-room rental available). From £700pp per week, catered. whitemountainchalets.com

Chalet Merlo Saint Foy, France

You’ll dine out on the memory of your host lowering bottles of champagne to you by bucket as you soak in the steamy outdoor hot tub long after you return from a week at Chalet Merlo.
So too, the panoramic views of Mont Pourri spied from said tub and through the windows of this lofty four-storey abode. They’ll have you up and out for the first lifts, while the daily feasts served up by your personal chef will be enough to tear you away from the slopes afterwards. Think pancetta and
pea purée to start, tender côte de boeuf for main, a chocolate fondant for dessert, then a platter of superb local cheeses, such as Tomme de Savoie and Persillé de Tignes. Fit for a family of 12, this homely bolthole is nestled in the pretty hamlet of Le Miroir, a 20-minute drive from Bourg St Maurice railway station and its direct Eurostar service from London. Popular with snowboarders and fresh-powder seekers, Sainte Foy is among a handful of world-class resorts in the upper Tarentaise Valley, and can be reached from the chalet via a challenging off-piste route. The likes of Tignes, Val d’Isère and Les Arcs are all around 30 minutes away, offering fantastic skiing for all levels – and the chauffeur’s twice-daily drop-offs mean you can tick the lot off in one week. A helipad 500m from your door provides the option of heli-skiing forays over the border and into Italy.

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Travel Details

EAT ON THE PISTE
An off-piste track runs straight to rustic, family-run Chez Mérie, serving chestnut soup and huge cuts of meat cooked on an open fire. Book ahead. 00 33 479 069 016

THE DETAIL
Sleeps 12 guests across six rooms. Exclusive use from £10,000 per week, catered. premiereneige.com

Pine Lodge Dolomites Selva Gardena, Italy

There’s nothing quite like the warmth of a bubbling hot tub to welcome you in from the biting cold – add ridiculously good views of the Dolomites and a glass of something chilled to enjoy while immersed in bubbles, and life gets a little better. Unesco World Heritage Sites aside, the main draw at the impeccably presented, four-bedroom Pine Lodge, is its proximity to so much good skiing. If you’re channelling Alberto Tomba, you should join the hordes tackling the Sellaronda circuit of the Sella Massif: 40km of uninterrupted pistes across four Dolomite passes, and part of the Dolomiti Superski – one of the world’s biggest ski areas (1,200km of slopes, 450 lifts and 50 towns). There’s a starting point for this escapade, as well as more leisurely slopes and the nursery runs of the vast Alta Badia, which is just 300m from your front door. Wind down afterwards in the lodge’s indoor subterranean pool and sauna, or while away time on the consoles in the games snug, before filling up on some prosecco, oysters and chateaubriand, with a side of Sella Massif vistas.

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Travel Details

EAT ON THE PISTE
Exceptional views and a 300-strong wine list make Sofie Hütte a super mountain stop, moments from the Seceda chairlift (get there via the Col Raiser gondola). The freshly made spinach ravioli will not disappoint. seceda.com

THE DETAIL
Sleeps eight guests across four rooms. Exclusive use from £16,630 per week, catered. pinelodgedolomites.com

Chalet Cerf Rouge Meribel, France

Any skier will know just how good it feels to score the first tracks on a freshly groomed piste. At Cerf Rouge you can beat the crowds to do just that. It’s 350m (or private shuttle) to the Golf chairlift, which drops you at the top of the blue Lapin run. From here, the Three Valleys and its network of over 160 lifts is your oyster. Hop back on the Lapin for a speedy return to your Méribel Village abode in time for the rocky road brownies that’ll await you at afternoon tea. Resist the urge to crawl back into your super-king Hypnos bed, and make it up to the first-floor balcony in time for a sunset gin and tonic when the valley is at its most ethereal. You’ll have prime views of the seasonal firework displays from here, too. Food and drink matches the mountain location: wines are solely French (bien sûr), and so too the laden boards of cheese rolled out at the end of each evening’s meal. Bread hails from a village bakery considered the best in the Three Valleys.

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http://www.fishandpips.co.uk/">EAT ON THE PISTE
Le Clos Bernard is a relatively new kid on the Méribel block, and with its magical forest location, sun-baked terrace and wood fire-cooked courses, it’s steadily becoming the most popular. Book ahead, and you can be taken by Ski-Doo to the front foor, saving precious time for navigating the Savoyard set menus. restaurantleclosbernard.com

THE DETAIL
Sleeps ten guests across five rooms. Exclusive use from £6,450 per week, catered.

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Chalet Shalimar Zermatt, Switzerland

Fitting 20 people comfortably across ten bedrooms under its timber-framed wings, Chalet Shalimar is one for a big group holiday. Its sleepy location in the heart of Winkelmatten, a 15-minute scenic walk from the charming town of Zermatt, makes it a top choice for a winter escape, where the remit is equal parts ski, après-ski and relishing in doing absolutely nothing at all. An indoor pool faces the mighty Matterhorn, which juts above its alpine siblings like the tip of a wizard’s hat. The summit may be the preserve of experienced climbers but you can get a decent way up on the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise cable car. The 40-minute trip takes you to the highest viewing platform in the Alps, a breathtaking panorama across 38 peaks. It’ll wink at you through the windows while you’re eyeing up the day’s equally majestic selection of food and drink: pastries from the local bakery for breakfast, afternoon cakes, flutes of champagne come evening, and meals finished with Swiss cheeses. Zermatt is car-free, but the Sunnegga funicular is a stroll away, and the railway station has links to Zurich Airport.

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Travel Details

EAT ON THE PISTE
Take a ride on the funicular and over to Findlerhof, a sweet mountain lodge serving such comforting delights as five-hour-cooked lamb shank, with excellent reds from owner Franz’s carefully curated wine list. findlerhof.ch

THE DETAIL
Sleeps 20 guests across ten rooms. Exclusive use from £23,660 per week, catered. brambleski.com

Severin's - The Alpine Retreat Lech AM Arlberg, Austria

This Small Luxury Hotels of the World member is as lovely as they come. The only hotel on our list with nine bedrooms and a four-bedroom Residence, the boutique address in Lech am Arlberg is off the beaten track, a short drive from lifts serving the Lech and St Anton regions, renowned for their marshmallow off-piste and slopes to ease beginners in. Plump beds mingle with modern tech, while the Residence is two floors of excess involving a piano, cinema and Jacuzzi. There’s a bounteous wine cellar offering tutored tastings of Austrian wines, while the restaurant serves a delicious modern takes on traditional fare, using organic ingredients sourced from all across Vorarlberg. Tuck into the likes of ‘Deer and Moss’ – tender rounds of venison melded with artichoke, wild mushrooms and stone pine. Severin*s – The Alpine Retreat is a three-hour train ride from Zurich Airport to Langen am Arlberg station, followed by a short shuttle to reach the hotel.

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Travel Details

EAT ON THE PISTE
Right next to Zugerbergbahn station in the heart of Lech, (accessed via the cable car), Balmalp is a good mountain choice. Feast on the Balmalp Giant Pizza. balmalp.at

THE DETAIL
Junior Suites sleep three, from £610 per night; Residence sleeps eight from £4,407 per night. severinslech.at

Tivoli Lodge Davos, Switzerland

It may ooze chalet chic on the outside, but Tivoli Lodge feels every inch a stately manor within. Having sumptuous en-suite bedrooms with open fires, a pool, cinema and soft play area for children, you’ll be crossing your fingers for a white out, so you can linger in its lavishness for longer. Epicures will delight in a champagne reception, house mixologist and Master of Wine selection of local and rare bins. Skilled chefs prepare the likes of quail breast with maple Dijon-charred leek, beef fillet with confit garlic and truffled red wine jus, and gin lemon sorbet. When you’re ready to don the salopettes, Davos – one of Europe’s highest resorts – awaits with 300km of piste. This is a truly ski-in, ski-out chalet, so you can be at the Parsenn lift in seconds and arrive back at the lodge via a friendly black run. Keep an eye out for royal regulars the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, or the heads of state that flock to town for the World Economic Forum (some of whom have stayed at Tivoli).

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Travel Details

EAT ON THE PISTE
Head to unassuming Gemsli for hearty Swiss fare, from porcini pizza to rosemary lamb chops fit for royalty (Prince Charles is said to be a regular). gemslidavos.ch

THE DETAIL
Sleeps 12 adults and four children over seven rooms. Exclusive use from £46,160 per week, catered. tivolilodge.co.uk

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