For downhill enthusiasts with bundles of cash to burn, over-the-top private chalet experiences are de rigueur.
It's a snow-white world where anything goes, and no luxury is too indulgent. From the French Alps to the Grand Tetons, slopeside settings have become prime playgrounds for taking the concept of the good life to the umpteenth degree.
Wondering what comes standard with a week in an anything-goes winter wonderland? Think live-in professional chefs, in-house masseuses, chauffeurs, nannies, housekeepers and personal ski instructors. And the perks go far beyond those 5-star services.
Whether you fancy a lobster bake in a serene setting accessed by snowmobile, a private sled-dog safari with your entourage or some fireside aromatherapy to wind down at the end of the day, the private chalet experience is about decadence from every direction.
Here's a peek at a few of the extravagant chalet experiences on offer to those with serious purchasing power.
Few chalets seduce like Chalet Septieme Ciel, and no wonder -- the property's French name translates to Seventh Heaven. Nestled high on the Savoleyres side of Verbier -- 1 of Switzerland's prime ski resorts -- the home is flashy enough to have attracted the attention of none other than David and Victoria Beckham (the couple tried in vain to buy the chalet for a cool 10 million pounds in 2004). The chalet's ultra-private domain promises total escape. Amenities include a private chef, in-house cinema, fully stocked wine cellar, massage room, steam and sauna rooms, and a game room. A private chauffeur stands constantly at the ready, and you can be in town or at the main ski lift in a matter of minutes.
Deer Valley, Utah
If Versailles were reincarnated in modern times and given a contemporary ski slant, chances are it would look a lot like this most extravagant private home, perched high atop Little Baldy Peak in Utah's most exclusive ski resort. The 14,000-square-foot SKI Dream Home was dreamed up by some of the ski world's top minds in search of the most fabulous mountain property imaginable. In addition to the home's 6 bedrooms, 10 baths and 15 fireplaces, there's a 550-gallon aquarium teeming with river trout, a golf simulator and a dedicated après-ski lounge complete with a DJ booth, wet bar and plasma screens.
Deer Valley, Utah
The Wild West experience doesn't get any more refined than within the cushy confines of this premiere Jackson Hole hideaway. The North Colter Lodge, a 6,300-square-foot home built in 2001, is clad in upscale Wild West décor -- huge log trusses, Native American artwork and antler chandeliers abound. And rest assured that the modern bells and whistles are standard, too -- a gourmet kitchen, bathrooms the size of bedrooms and jetted tubs. If privacy is paramount, you'll relish the 5-bedroom home's discreet locale, abutting a mountainside at the end of an exclusive street. Don't be surprised if you spot a moose off the deck while luxuriating in the outdoor hot tub. And access to Jackson Hole's legendary powder via the Union Pass lift is just a short stroll away.
What was once the famed Tyrolean Restaurant has been reincarnated as 1 of Vail's most over-the-top private properties. Book your stay and enter the echelon of Middle Eastern royalty and A-list starlets who make the Tyrolean Chalet's sublime ski scene their own. Situated in a private locale skirting Vail Village, the home looks onto Gore Creek and Vail Mountain. You'll feel blissfully removed from the bustle of Vail Village, even though its restaurants, spas and nightlife are just a short stroll out the front door. The price of the chalet also includes a personal concierge service which will handles tasks such as picking up lift tickets, arranging ski rentals and even personal shopping.