Interiors & Design

Top 10 Must-Have Amenities in Luxury Ski Chalets

Experts share their insights about the most sought-after features of winter resorts

The amenities available in today’s finest ski chalets could convince even a devoted tropical beach-goer to embrace the adventures of a luxury winter resort. Indoor spas and pools, wine cellars and gourmet kitchens, home theaters, and heated ski rooms give contemporary chalets the best of both worlds: traditional charm plus every imaginable creature comfort. Real estate professionals with expertise in the luxury mountain resort regions across the globe have identified a number of growing trends in recent years. “As a buyer,” says T.D. Smith of Telluride Real Estate Corp., “imagine how different your ski vacation would be with the convenience of skiing right to your back door, storing your gear in a ski room equipped with heaters and boot warmers, and slipping into the hot tub to warm up before enjoying games with family and friends, or watching a movie in your theater.” Similarly, Michael Blaser of Wüst und Wüst AG says, “Many very affluent buyers who tend to own multiple homes in various international locations want to feel that they make the right investment choice.” He adds that buyers looking for these homes “want various facilities and services as part of their “real estate experience.” The following 10 amenities are those that property experts list as the most desirable features to seek out in a luxury chalet.

1. “Ski-In, Ski-Out”
An estate with “ski-in, ski-out” access is essentially the winter equivalent of an oceanfront property: a chalet is perched right next to a prime slope, and residents need only put on their skis to embark on a trail, no driving or packing required. One reason these estates are especially prized is that many major winter resorts are situated in national forests, thus private homes cannot be built close enough to give homes “ski-in, ski-out” convenience. According to Jess Reid, founder of Jess Reid Real Estate, a Christie’s International Real Estate affiliate, certain regions—like Park City, Utah, where he’s based—are ideal places to find “ski-in, ski-out” chalets, because there are numerous outstanding ski areas on private lands—many with easy access to metropolitan areas and international airports, too.

2. Heated Ski Room
Skiing requires a fair amount of equipment, and it’s always more fun to get ready for a day on the slopes when gloves, boots, and poles are in good order. A dedicated, heated ski room with efficient drainage for melting snow is one of the most popular features of contemporary chalets. Carol Linton, Associate Broker at Jackson Hole Real Estate says the perfect ski room is accessible from outside and equipped with spacious cubbies to keep ski gear organized. “When you remove your ski gear in one spot, you don’t have to worry about finding it the next morning when you’re trying to catch the first tram.” 

3. Fitness Center
Avid skiers and snowboarders know how important it is to maintain one’s physical condition. Fortunately, the designs of luxury chalets have increasingly begun to incorporate state-of-the-art fitness centers. A contemporary five-bedroom estate on Polecat Lane in Telluride, Colorado, has a spacious gym with clerestory windows and treetop views, rustic wood panels, and natural stone walls, allowing it to blend seamlessly with the design of the home’s overall interior.

4. Billiards Room
For winter sports enthusiasts who take their games seriously, billiards rooms are becoming a popular indoor amenity. In addition to its fitness center, this Telluride mountain home (pictured above) consists of three major living space ”anchors” connected via bridges to create interest and reduce scale – a wonderful home for entertaining or simply relaxing with family.

5. Spa
When it comes to relaxing after the challenges of a day’s skiing (or an indoor workout), a full spa provides the ultimate chalet sanctuary. The Pink Elephant, an exquisite chalet with views of Mont Blanc in Verbier, Switzerland, includes a traditional hammam, sauna, and master bathroom, plus an outdoor Jacuzzi and an indoor pool. 

6. “Après Ski” Bar
The time-honored tradition of an “après ski” cocktail or glass of wine is alive and well, inspiring some designers to include full bars in the living spaces of contemporary chalets. The hand-hewn posts, beams and de-barked roof poles of an English Bank Style barn have been structurally integrated into the saloon room of this exquisite and timeless residence.

7. Bunk Room
For extra room, especially when kids invite their friends to ski, bunk rooms provide a cozy addition to a luxury chalet. In addition to its six standard bedrooms, this Telluride home has a “bunk suite” that sleeps two.

8. Wine Cellar
With today’s luxury chalets boasting chef’s kitchens and their very own bars, it follows that many also include wine cellars. Great vintages can be stored in the proper conditions at estates like High Country Chateau in Telluride, Colorado.
High Country Chateau captures the essence of the rugged American West combined with Colorado mountain luxury. Floor to ceiling windows frame the extraordinary mountain views and infuse the interior with warmth and light.9. Home Theater
One of the best aspects of ski chalets is their relative seclusion, which means that music and movies are best enjoyed on site. Sound-proofed home theaters with ultra-wide screens and luxurious seating offer a perfect way to bring the fun of movie night to the slopes.

10. Heated Driveway
A wonderful feature appearing in many luxury ski homes involves heated driveways, walkways, and garages, according to Jess Reid. This clever design innovation helps melt snow and ice without the need for salt. Michael Blazer at Wüst und Wüst AG adds, “Top-level property owners of prime ski estates will often need to park their 4 to 5 cars in an underground car parking garage, where it will be essential to have some heating in place.”