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What's New in
Top & Emerging Ski Markets 2019

Christie’s International Real Estate looks at the ways in which classic and emerging ski destinations continue to evolve in order to retain or gain their high-altitude rankings. Some resorts are globally recognized while others will surprise.

Here you will find a top-of-the-lift view of what is new, the slopes, the lifestyle (spoiler alert, yurts – glammed up versions of circular tents used by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia – have become the gourmet après ski rage), the state of the real estate market and must-have amenities - private chefs, boot dryers, heated drives to melt the snow and remote workspaces are de rigueur, plus how to fly there.

All markets boast breathtaking locations and summer reincarnations when the snow melts. Get more ski market insights from our Affiliate network. Contact Us.

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Aspen and Snowmass, Colorado
Christie's International Real Estate Aspen and Aspen Snowmass

What’s New or Notable in Aspen and Snowmass
Just last month, Christie’s International Real Estate, the real estate arm of Christie’s art auction house, announced the opening of a corporate brokerage in Aspen, Colorado. This new venture is led by Alex and Laren Jansen, principals of a network Affiliate who recently relocated to Aspen with their family. The Jansen’s built their Florida brokerage from the ground up and achieved over $3 billion in sales in just six years.

The Slopes
Aspen Mountain, or Ajax in the local vernacular, is not for the faint of heart. Black diamond runs dominate this world-renowned ski destination with glorious views of the town to enchant the entire way down. The Dumps, an unglamorous name for this most glamorous destination, are runs created by the former mining town’s excavation of debris to create VW Bug-sized moguls hugged by aspen trees. S1, the steepest of The Dumps, is famed for being almost entirely vertical with pitches up to 42 degrees and a Hail Mary leap into thin air to begin the descent. While there are a few blue runs thrown in for good measure on Ajax, they are more blackish blue.

Snowmass, some 15 minutes down the road from Aspen, is not only massive it is a mountain for the masses: Black diamonds, groomers, bumps, steeps, drops, bowls, chutes, acres of terrain parks, and a half-pipe with some 50% of the mountain’s runs designated blue for intermediate skiers and greenies galore. Off-ski activities include sleigh rides, dog sledding, and snowmobiling.

The Experience
Aspen and Snowmass achieve the near impossible by being at once glamorous and charming. Aspen’s historic Victorian architecture and limestone buildings harken back to its silver mining roots. The quaint outdoor rink in the center of town imbues the town with a sense of community. On the food front, Aspen’s famed Little Nell is a five-star destination of international renown. At the other end of the spectrum is Woody Creek Tavern, a few miles down the road from Snowmass, and a favorite of former Aspen resident and Gonzo journalist, Hunter S. Thompson. Gourmet Magazine once crowned this the finest dive bar in the country. Foodies can enjoy everything in between, including exquisite farm-to-table dining.

Culture and art in Aspen and Snowmass abound. The Aspen Institute think tank has welcomed luminaries, such as Condoleezza Rice, Madeleine Albright, Steve Jobs, Deepak Chopra, and George H.W. Bush. Both communities offer regular art walks in the summer. Down the road in Carbondale, former Aspen resident John G. Powers, a president of printing giant Prentice Hall, built a minimalist architectural wonder tucked off the grid to house his private collection of lithographs on paper by Jasper Johns, now open to the public.

Take Me Here
Driving by the Aspen airport is always an indication of what is happening in town. For the majority of last summer, rows of private jets were parked three-deep on the tarmac. Located just three miles from downtown, Delta, United, and American Airlines provide daily nonstop service from major hubs such as Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Dallas.

Read more about Aspen in Great Locations

Read more about Snowmass in Great Locations

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Big Sky, Montana
Christie’s International Real Estate Affiliate: PureWest Real Estate

What’s New or Notable in Big Sky
The former rap against Big Sky was that there was no downtown in town: The first full-service grocery store opened just four years ago. Change is coming at downhill-racer speeds. The resort is in the midst of a US$150 million refresh through 2025, which has already created a commercial district with shops, restaurants, an ice-skating rink, and even a medical facility, with more to come. On the slopes, dine at the new topflight restaurant or ride the bubble chair, with wind shields and heated seats.

The Slopes
Big Sky is … well, big. With almost 6,000 acres of skiable terrain, the resort only has only some 500,000 ski visits per year. Compared to other resorts in the Western United States, which post one or two million visits, Big Sky is indeed far from the maddening crowds. While offering the full gamut of runs—from the black diamond precipice plunges to the green groomers and everything in between (including terrain parks)—the lack of crowds and wide-open space is a rush for all level of skiers in the know about this soon to be discovered gem.

The Experience
Big Sky remains a well-kept secret. The exclusive Yellowstone Club is Big Sky’s neighbor, meaning celebrating sightings galore as world’s glitterati venture from the club’s private slopes to enjoy Big Sky’s terrain and low-key vibe. But word is spreading about Big Sky, evidenced by its architectural evolution. Log homes have long been the prevailing style and still appeal to homeowners looking for rustic and traditional mountain home retreats. However, as vacationers look to make Big Sky a new and permanent residence, mixes of rustic and modern styles are cropping up. Without taking away from the “Montana feel.” New construction features clean lines, dramatic angles, and enormous windows because the views are simply too spectacular not to frame and enjoy while home.

Take Me Here
Travel into Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport on national carriers United, Delta, Frontier, Allegiant, Alaska Airlines, American, or newly added JetBlue. Private planes use the same runways to the Yellowstone Jet Center. The airport provides luxury shuttle services to Big Sky, only 58 miles away, or charter a chopper to the resort from Rocky Mountain Rotors.

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Blue Mountain, Ontario, Canada
Christie’s International Real Estate Affiliate: Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited

What’s New or Notable in Blue Mountain
International flair doesn’t get more international than Blue Mountain, a reflection of the Toronto region’s global diversity. The resort employs ski and snowboard instructors who speak—at last count—19 languages, including Dutch, Polish, Romanian, Greek, English, Hindi, and Mandarin.

The Slopes
Don’t be fooled by the mountain’s seemingly modest 720-foot-high rise: The resort boasts 42 runs on 364 acres, 44% of which are rated black and double-black diamond. Here’s why. In the Ice Age, glaciers moved across northern Canada like a giant snowplow. A great heap of rocky earth and snow ground to a halt here as the glaciers melted, to create the cliff-like escarpment of Blue Mountain. Its front is black-diamond heaven with a back slope offering gentle cruises of greens and blues. The entire area is served by snowmaking capabilities, making it almost climate-resistant.

The Experience
The pedestrian-only and cobblestoned streets of Blue Mountain Village set the tone for laid-back and quaint four-season living—with a dash of luxury boutiques and exquisite farm-to-table restaurant dining, for good measure. Add to this organic wineries, microbreweries, and nearby farms which produce the rich local bounty, and what an elixir. In addition to ski chalets, Blue Mountain also offers waterfront homes and cottages on Georgian Bay. This magnificent expanse of water—frequently likened to the Caribbean come summer because it is that clear and blue—is only some five minutes away from the slopes.


Take Me Here
Fly into Toronto Pearson International Airport and drive one hour and 40 minutes along scenic Airport Road or fly direct to Collingwood Airport, the local private jet airport. Collingwood Airport is accessible via Victor, a charter operation to Collingwood.

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Charlevoix, Quebec, Canada
Christie’s International Real Estate Affiliate: Profusion Realty Inc.

What’s New or Notable in Charlevoix
Last summer, the quiet burg of Charlevoix made global headlines as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s choice to host to the 44th annual G7 Summit, welcoming world leaders from the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, and Japan. Club Med also announced earlier this year the opening of its only Canadian resort at Charlevoix for 2020, driving further international awareness for the town.

The Slopes
Canada was quite the geological and astral epicenter a few millenniums ago. First Blue Mountain (see above) with its glaciers. Charlevoix’s ski terrain is the result of a body check by a massive meteorite, creating a 33-mile-wide crater. The resulting massif is the highest vertical rise east of the Canadian Rockies at 2,526 feet. Average annual snowfall is 200-plus inches, supported by snowmaking capacity over 70% of the runs. Skill level at the resort is reported to be: Easy, 15%; Intermediate, 30%; Difficult, 20%; and Very Difficult, 35%.

The Experience
The Canadian Prime Minister got it just right to showcase Canada’s beauty when he trained the world spotlight on Charlevoix. Home of the famed Cirque du Soleil, the town’s art scene is resplendent, with galleries in century-old houses every few feet along Saint-Jean-Baptiste Street. The area also boasts the aptly named Flavour Trail, with more than 40 farms and microbreweries, open for tastings and tours. Agro-tourists flock here to drive the rolling hills and sample grain-fed Charlevoix lamb, pâtes, artisanal cheeses (including the creamy Migneron de Charlevoix), chocolates, white ales, and Omerto, a Charlevoix aperitif made from tomatoes.

Take Me Here
The Charlevoix Airport is small and can close in winter. The nearest international airport is Quebec City, some 90 miles away, with the option to drive, charter or chopper to the resort. The quaintest option is to board the Train de le Massif de Charlevoix for a one-day journey with stopovers and fine dining in eight refurbished railcars.

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La Clusaz, France
Christie’s International Real Estate Affiliate: Agence Clerc

What’s New or Notable in La Clusaz
The Confins Nordic Area opens a new 13 km cross-country forested loop through Saint Jean-de-Sixt and Le Grand-Bornand this season.

The Slopes
By the numbers, La Clusaz's maintained terrain is predominately beginner or intermediate—a good 80%, to be exact, so ideal for family fun. Then there is off-piste (with lift access, by the way) and also hike-in runs to the rugged faces of the resort. Freeriding is said to have originated here and still thrives. The area also boasts a terrain park and a freestyle mogul course—and also something you don’t see every day—a ski jump fitted with bungee cords so riders can launch into space on a toboggan in winter or a bike in summer. The total ski terrain spans five mountains—Beauregard, La Croix, Fry-Manigod-Merdassier, L'Etale, L'Aiguille and Balme—linked by lifts or a hop on the bus shuttle with all mountains accessed by the same day ski pass.

The Experience
There is quaint and then there is La Clusaz. The charming Alpine village appears frozen in the 15th century and was a tourist destination long before it was a ski resort. Defined by its picture-postcard backdrop of the Aravis range and Pointe Percée, historic town square, and Savoyard church, the village does not lack for modern luxury. The Cristal Spa at the Coeur du Village, a five-star hotel at the center of the village, pampers. Bustling narrow streets emanate out from the square and are now lined with a full array of shops, everything from bakeries to bistros to boutiques and bars. At last count, there were some 68 restaurants in the hamlet and near surrounds. The main menu attraction is, of course, Reblochon cheese, which is famously produced locally and used in fondues, raclettes, or simple cheese boards. Like Champagne, the Reblochon name is fiercely protected and can only be used for cheeses made in this region as it has been for a century.

Take Me Here
There are seven airports within a two-hour drive of La Clusaz; Geneva International is only a one-hour scenic drive away from the resort with flights from all across Europe and the world.

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Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Christie’s International Real Estate Affiliate: Jackson Hole Real Estate Associates

What’s New or Notable in Jackson Hole
Novice skiers who pale after a peek at Jackson’s nail-biting terrain, take note. New this year is Solitude Station, a 12,000-square-foot stone and wood lodge, just a short gondola ride from the main mountain to house the resort’s top-rated ski school with kid’s-only dining for the students, a separate lounge with roaring fireplace reserved for adults, and the ski rental shop. The surrounding terrain is gentle and welcoming.

The Slopes
There are steeps and then there are the really steeps in Jackson. The resort has the longest continuous vertical rise of any ski area in the US, a vertigo-inducing 4,139 feet from the valley floor to the top of Rendezvous Mountain. Corbet’s Couloir is perhaps the most infamous expert trail in the country, a finger-crossed plunge into the abyss of a mountain summit gully. Half the runs here are expert, 40% are intermediate and only 10% are beginner.

The Experience
Living here can certainly fatten your wallet. The tax bite is that of a gnat: No tax on the sale of real estate, no state income tax, no tax on out-of-state retirement income, no state gift tax, no inheritance or estate tax, low property taxes, and no excise tax. Jackson is also the gateway to two national parks: Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. This is a definite plus for homeowners as 97% of the surrounding land is protected, meaning that the majestic views will never change. The town’s National Museum of Wildlife Art is the Guggenheim of the West. A celebration of art—in this case, human respect and awe for nature—housed in an architectural wonder. Foodie’s take note: No less an authority than Wine Enthusiast named Jackson as a gastronomic destination.


Take Me Here
The plane approach to Jackson is nothing short of breathtaking. The airport is located at the base of the Tetons and the only one in the country located within a national park. Most residents come by private jet, but the area is served commercially with 11 nonstop flights each day from major US cities.

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Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada
Christie’s International Real Estate Affiliate: Oliver Luxury Real Estate

What’s New or Notable in Squaw Valley and Northstar
Weather predictions can change on a dime, however, El Niño seems to be building in the Pacific Ocean. Three years ago, Tahoe received an epic smothering of snow—768 inches to be exact. That's right, 64 feet, due in large part to the El Niño weather cycle, inspiring terms such as "Snowmageddon" and “Snowzilla.” Skiers are giddy at the prospect of a robust snowpack at Lake Tahoe this season.

The Slopes
When you think Squaw Valley, host of the 1960 Winter Olympic Games, the most celebrated skiing filmmaker Warren Miller must come to mind. His iconic films, capturing the gravity-defying exploits of super-extreme skiers launching off cliffs, were largely filmed in Squaw Valley and speak volumes about the super-extreme terrain. This said, the resort sprawls across six peaks on Lake Tahoe’s western shore, providing plenty of snow for all ski abilities.

Northstar was transformed from local outpost into global luxury destination after being acquired by Vail Resorts. Northstar is touted in publications worldwide for its family-friendly vibe and ski-out Ritz-Carlton hotel, upscale shopping, and refined dining, while providing plenty for the kids to do with an acclaimed ski school, tubing, and expansive terrain parks. Sixty percent of the trails at Northstar are rated intermediate.

The Experience
Two architectural styles define the area. The Tahoe Style is American Craftsman with a rustic bent using pine, fir, and river rock as design features, elaborate stone chimneys, decorative ironwork plus a gabled roof to slough off heavy accumulations of snow. Bauhaus Mountain Modern emerged in the mid-1990s with flat roofs, girders of steel framing walls of glass, and no eaves to obstruct the spectacular views. There is also no shortage of pampering here: Check out the Trilogy Spa at Squaw Valley and the Mountain Table Experience at Zephyr Lodge high atop Northstar, where each dinner is hosted by a winery, brewery, or spirits expert with a paired menu of locally sourced food.

Take Me Here
The closest international airport is the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, offering flights on nine airlines and more than 130 nonstop flights daily. This airport is only a one-hour drive away.

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Park City and Deer Valley, Utah
Christie’s International Real Estate Affiliate: Jess Reid Real Estate

What’s New or Notable in Park City and Deer Valley
Salt Lake City International Airport is in the midst of a major US$3.6 billion facelift, a huge boost for visitors and residents alike.

The Slopes
The Park City Mountain Resort (ski and snowboard), which is now owned by Vail Resorts, has a gondola connecting to the Canyons Resort and offering a combined 7,000 acres of skiing terrain, making it the largest resort in North America. Park City is included in the Epic Pass, giving access to 65 ski areas in the United States and around the world. Deer Valley (ski only), which has been internationally recognized for excellence in lodging, dinning, and most importantly skiing. Deer Valley—offering the Ikon pass with access to 36 other ski areas—also limits the number of skiers on the mountain during peak season, protecting its pristine ski experience. Speaking of snow, buzz-worthy runs at Park City include the hair-raising Daly Chute which begins by launching off a concave cornice onto the slopes which at first glance seems miles below. The 3 Kings Terrain Park is gigantic and technical, with obstacles appropriate for only the most advanced freestylers. Deer Valley boasts the Champion Run, considered by most “ski-arati” to be the steepest, longest, and bumpiest mogul run on the FIS World Cup Circuit.

The Experience
Park City is a historic mining town, over 130 years old. Main Street is lined with buildings largely modeled in the Victorian era of the mining days. A lift descends right into Old Town. There are over 170 places to dine, great nightlife, incredible shopping, including numerous art galleries, and a vibrant cultural scene. Deer Valley sets the gold standard and is chock-full of five-star resorts and fine dining. The area is filled with unusual dining and drinking experiences. Take the funicular to the tony St. Regis or the Veuve Clicquot Yurt at the Montage, an ancient Mongolian tent experience morphed into the truly deluxe and featuring exclusively the brand’s signature champagnes. Luxury spas abound with the largest being the 35,000-square-foot Montage Spa. Stay for the annual Sundance Film Festival beginning in late January when the global celebrities descend on the town to view the best of the year’s new independent movies and infuse the town with cinematic glamour.

Take Me Here
Fly into Salt Lake City International Airport by either private jet or commercial airline. The easy 45-minute drive to Park City through Parley’s Canyon is a breathtaking prelude to what awaits. The Heber Valley Airport is another option, just 20 minutes from both Park City and Deer Valley and also accessible by private jet.

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Sun Valley, Idaho
Christie’s International Real Estate Affiliate: Sun Valley Real Estate

What’s New or Notable in Sun Valley
So much new is brewing in Sun Valley that the resort recently opened a storefront installment in the town of Ketchum to showcase all of the improvements that are in the works and coming soon. Most notable are the Cold Springs Canyon Project, adding 380 acres of glades, bowls, trees, and deep chutes; improvements to the on-mountain lodge; a remodeled inn, and a new US$14 million 25,000-square-foot performing arts center is slated to open this Thanksgiving weekend.

The Slopes
Two mountains command the Sun Valley experience: Bald and Dollar. The larger, “Baldy,” is a downhill heaven. The Warm Springs run is a two-mile thigh-burner, said to be among the most exhilarating on the planet. Barreling through a natural gully while maintaining an average pitch of 35 degrees, the run has nary a flat or blind to slow the momentum. Baldy’s 100-plus runs also include greens and blues plus shredder terrain, all with a lift capacity that can accommodate over 20,000 skiers an hour; the resort averages some 3,500 skiers a day—giving new meaning to “no wait lines.” Dollar is the perfect mountain for the sport’s newly initiated.

The Experience
Ernest Hemingway famously completed For Whom the Bell Tolls here and ultimately built a home overlooking the Bigwood River, now owned by the Nature Conservancy and The Community Library as a historical site for writers in residence. The Pioneer Saloon, a renowned local hangout, also celebrates two other famous hometown heroes with memorabilia from Reggie Crist—who claimed X Games gold in Ski Cross —and Olympic gold medalists Picabo Street and Kaitlyn Farrington.

One last note: The International Dark-Sky Association recently awarded this corner of Idaho Gold Tier status for fighting light pollution. Head to Sun Valley Lake, just a short walk from Sun Valley Lodge, one can still view the Milky Way, an astral wonder no longer visible to some 80% of Americans.

Take Me Here
Sun Valley is served by Hailey's Friedman Memorial Airport, located only 14 miles from the resort and easily accessible on commercial flights from San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Denver, Portland, and Chicago. Private planes are welcome.

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Telluride, Colorado
Christie’s International Real Estate Affiliate: Telluride Real Estate Corp

What’s New or Notable in Telluride
Boutique Air just announced commercial service directly from Denver into the Telluride airport and the resort is investing US$1 million in a new bike park opening June 2019. Telluride is also a member of Vail Resorts’ industry-leading Epic Pass program, entitling lift holders access to 65 ski resorts worldwide

The Slopes
There is literally something for every skier or snowboarder in Telluride. Perhaps best known for its moguls, there are also bowls, backcountry, ridge hike-ins, a terrain park, and over 2,000 acres of snow heaven for every skill level, and best of all, almost no lift lines. What is truly unique is that while green runs at other resorts are typically relegated to the lowly and view-deprived base of the mountain, Telluride offers beginner runs that start at the peak, allowing the uninitiated to enjoy the breathtaking San Juan panorama, just like the seasoned carvers. Telluride also boasts Colorado’s oldest heli-ski service—an A-Star chopper ferries those who dare off-the-grid skiing in pristine powder.

The Experience
Telluride is a tiny town tucked away in a box canyon and a perfect symphony of old and new. In the original Town of Telluride—a National Historic Landmark District and where Butch Cassidy robbed his first bank in 1889—the style is an ode to period-perfect Victorian. Mountain Village, located further up the slope, is a luxury mecca with pampering high-end hotels, multi-million-dollar homes of cutting-edge mountain modern-style (think mining-inspired industrial), and timeless log homes in the ski-lodge style. Connecting these two worlds is Telluride’s famed gondola. Free of charge, the tram glides over the mountain ridge with views to make any jaw drop. Kids ride it to school (top-rated in the state), commuters take it to work, athletes board with skis, bikes, and even their dogs. Diners, check out Alpino Vino, a quaint European-style hütte specializing in Italian gourmet and, at an altitude of 11,966 feet, the highest-elevation fine-dining restaurant in North America.

Take Me Here
Fasten your seat belts for a fantastic landing. Telluride boasts the highest elevation commercial airport in the country with a runway ringed by majestic peaks. Boutique Air flies in from Denver; private planes are welcome. A 60-minute drive away is the Montrose airport, with direct flights from Denver, Dallas, Phoenix, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, and other major hubs.

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