Winter is coming indeed and it will bring along all of its uncomfortable features: cold, annoying clothes, short and dark days. But don’t despair because, thank God, we can go skiing.
Luckily celebrities like to spend their winter breaks just like the rest of us. Skiing. So if you think it's dreamy to read about Kate Middleton buying the newest bonnet for young Prince George, wait until you see the royal family racing down the hill for a nice and warm cup of chocolate (or in their case, probably tea). Here are 10 European ski resorts with a history of celebrity sightings.
1. VERBIER (SWITZERLAND)
Verbier, where mountains are high but prices are even higher. If you have a couple of thousand euros to spare, this is the place to be. Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson owns an incredible hotel here called “The Lodge – Sir Richard Bransons Mountain Retreat“. If you get hungry you can always grab a bite to eat at James Blunt’s restaurant “La Vache” that, despite the name, is apparently really good. Many celebrities love this place. The Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson adores this place. She and her ex-husband Prince Andrew bought a luxurious chalet for the reasonable price of £13m. Many other celebrities (such as Hugh Grant and Les Ferdinand) were spotted by the paparazzi at the wonderful après ski parties.
2. ST. MORITZ (SWITZERLAND)
We are aware that: St. Moritz means chic and glamour. Celebrities know that too. For this reason, if you have ever been to St. Moritz, you will probably remember private jets landing every hour and rich Russians enjoying the European Belle Vie. The most beloved chancellor of all times Angela Merkel comes to St. Moritz every year. But not only her, the Swedish and Dutch Royal Families too. Singers seem to like the refreshing atmosphere of St. Moritz: Robbie Williams and Madonna, for instance, had spent some days here. They sleep in exclusive chalets and eat in exclusive restaurants as “king’s club at badrutt’s palace” or “Mathis Food Affairs” of the star-cook Reto Mathis.
3. KLOSTERS (SWITZERLAND)
If you normally go skiing to Klosters, you have definitely seen Prince Charles. He has stated that Klosters is his preferred ski resort. He is certainly not lying because he has been returning here for more than 30 years. Prince William and Harry learnt how to ski here. Moreover, Prince William and Kate are also known to have spent many winter holidays in Klosters. They are so popular that one of the one cable cars of the mountain Gotschnagrat has been named “Prince of Wales”. Other notable skiers have contributed to the eminence of Klosters: Paul Newman, Irwin Shaw, Greta Garbo and Gene Kelly. If you are, however, hoping to sit at a bar next to your favourite star you will be probably disappointed: this is a place to “hide” from paparazzi and from the annoying curiosity of fans.
4. ZERMATT (SWITZERLAND)
Brangelina and their kids come here. The 'couple of all couples' love Zermatt and they usually book a chalet for the whole family (so I suppose large enough) when they need to escape from their daily routines in LA.
5. GSTAAD (SWITZERLAND)
Great names from the past contribute to make Gstaad so popular: Roger Moore, Sophia Loren, Julie Andrews, Richard Burton, Liz Taylor. Nowadays, Princess Madeleine of Sweden and Bernie Ecclestone (the boss of Formula 1) come here. Ecclestone is even the co-owner of the “Hotel Olden”! But Gstaad is not a place for show-offs. People choose this place for its tranquillity and privacy: either they own a private chalet or they book a room at hotels like “Gstaad Palace” or “Grand Hotel Bellevue”.
6. KITZBÜHEL (AUSTRIA)
This Austrian paradise has seen many celebrities come and go over the years. Amongst some of them are; Uschi Glas, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Hansi Hinterseer, Ireen Sheer, Prince Albert of Monaco and Stephanie Countess of Pfuel. Why do they come here? Well because of Kitzbühel's incredible slopes, the parties and the annual race “Hahnenkamm” that attracts a swarm of VIPs like bees to honey.
7. LECH (AUSTRIA)
This wonderful ski resort is surely well-known amongst the royal houses of Europe. Princess Victoria of Sweden and the Spanish King Juan with his wife have visited the resort. However, it is also sadly remembered by the Dutch royal family. The Dutch Queen Beatrix had been a regular here in Lech for decades until her son Prince Friso was buried under an avalanche in 2012 and died from the injuries 18 months after. Sports-stars like Niki Lauda and Sebastian Vettel and famous actors Tom Cruise and Renee Zellweger enjoy skiing here as well.
8. ISCHGL (AUSTRIA)
The most famous heiress of the world Paris Hilton celebrated her 26th birthday in Ischgl. It's success is due to its amazing “Après ski events”. They are almost legendary. Just consider the annual “Top of the Mountain” concerts, for example, where the artists perform their best hits (such as Elton John, Katy Perry, Scorpions, Deep Purple, Kylie Minogue, Alicia Keys and MANY others). The afternoon après-ski locations are also the best places to look out for celebrities.
9. COURCHEVEL (FRANCE)
If you are planning to go to Courchevel this winter, you will most probably see the enchanted smile of Victoria Beckham (yes, that’s ironic). She and the whole Beckham’s family are loyal clients of Courchevel 1850. It is often said that Roman Abramovich, the Russian billionaire and owner of Chelsea Football Club, comes back every now and then to ski here. Moreover, Courchevel is Pippa Middleton’s favourite ski resort as she announced recently in Vanity Fair describing it as the "preferred place of mine". Either that or Niseko in Japan. Well one is easier to reach than the other.
10. MÉRIBEL (FRANCE)
For her 18th Birthday the Harry Potter star Emma Watson made herself a wonderful present: a £1m chalet in the French resort. Natalie Imbruglia, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and William and Kate (when they are not with the rest of the family in Klosters) are amongst the many A-listers that have fallen in love with Meribel.
11. CORTINA D’AMEPEZZO (ITALY)
Finally, we could not forget Italy and its most glamourous place: Cortina d'Ampezzo or, more simply, how the locals call it 'Cortina'. This small village, which is situated in the very heart of Dolomiti, has been praised by singers, politicians and actors of different nationalities. In the past, top-ranked celebrities like Brigitte Bardot, Sophia Loren and Audrey Hepburn enjoyed the cool and classical environment of Cortina in the years of la Dolce Vita. For this reason, Cortina was given a curious nickname: “the celebrities’ living room.” In the living room, you could have found guests likes Frank Sinatra and Peter Sellers. A famous story from Sinatra’s stay is when he checked in at the majestic Hotel Cristallo, he promptly asked 200 fresh raw eggs. For what reason? Well, for an egg fight of course. Today, Cortina still attracts celebrities: Sting and George Clooney have also been sighted here.