A ‘Peak’ Into the World’s Most Exclusive Ski Resorts

December 27, 2022
A ski lift at sunset.

As the year comes to a close, we find ourselves in the heart of the international ski season. Whether you prefer the slopes or staying warm by the fireplace, a trip to a ski resort is a classic winter tradition for many families around the world. Engel & Völkers is proud to represent listings in the world’s most exclusive ski markets, providing a lifestyle centered in nature and a crisis-proof investment.

Ski properties are excellent long-term investment opportunities, especially when financial markets are volatile, as an effective hedge against inflation.

Florian Hofer, Managing Director, Engel & Völkers Kitzbühel
A graph listing the top ski markets in the world, including Aspen, Vail, Gstaad/St. Moritz, Kitzbühel, and Whistler.

Aspen, Colorado

Ski lifts in Aspen Colorado.

Want to live in one of the most exclusive ski properties in the world? Look no further than Aspen, Colorado, home of our highest-priced market. In premium locations, apartments and chalets can sell for upward of $8,000 USD per square foot. While the center of Aspen has always drawn luxury buyers, skiers are increasingly purchasing properties in nearby resort towns such as Snowmass Village, Basalt, and Carbondale. National buyers account for about 95 percent of demand, with only five percent attributed to foreign buyers, who mainly come from Great Britain, Germany, France, Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico.

The Listing

The large living room of a luxury home in Aspen, with views of the surrounding mountains.

Currently listed in Aspen for $18,000,000 USD, this five-bedroom, six-bathroom luxury ski chalet boasts a 5,300-square-foot living area comprised of an oversized living and dining area (with a large stone fireplace), as well as an open kitchen. Uniquely located on a spacious lot lined with birch and pine trees, the home has panoramic views of the surrounding mountain landscape, direct access to the slopes, and a Jacuzzi.

Vail, Colorado

An aerial view of Vail, Colorado.

With top prices per square foot of $7,650 USD, Vail is currently the second most expensive location for ski real estate worldwide. Like Aspen, the local real estate market is strongly dominated by national demand, which accounts for around 80 percent of purchase activity. Buyers here originate mainly from the East Coast, Texas, and California. Foreign buyers, mainly from México and Germany, account for just 20 percent of transactions.

Only accept the best of the best? Premium neighborhoods in Vail include Vail Village and Beaver Creek Village.

Gstaad/St. Moritz, Switzerland

The village of St. Moritz.

Leaving the United States, Europe’s most exclusive ski markets are in St. Moritz and Gstaad. These Swiss ski resorts command prices of up to $6,370 USD per square foot. St. Moritz has a predominantly national clientele, with domestic buyers accounting for around 70 percent of activity, while only 30 percent of transactions involve buyers based abroad. Most of these clients originate from Germany, Italy, and other European countries.

In Gstaad, on the other hand, around 60 percent of buyers are international clients, mainly from Germany, the UK, and France. Besides the center of Gstaad, the best locations here include Saanen, Rougemont, and Lauenen.

“Large detached chalets raised on a hillside plot or with a mountain panorama are especially sought after. It is very rare for such premium homes to come onto the market, however.”

Marie Di Carlo, Managing Partner, Engel & Völkers Gstaad

Kitzbühel, Austria

The slopes in Kitzbühel, Austria.

St. Moritz and Gstaad are followed by Kitzbühel, Austria, where the price per square foot can reach $2,760 USD. Approximately half of the property acquisitions here are made by native Austrians, with the other half comprised of buyers from nearby countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, and Great Britain. Top locations here include the center of Kitzbühel, Lebenberg, Bichlalm, and locations in the “Sonnenseite” area and on the Hahnenkamm mountainside.

The Listing

The modern interior of a ski home in Kitzbühel, Austria.

Located at the foot of the Hahnenkamm (within walking distance of Kitzbühel’s town center), this traditional chalet is listed for approximately $26,000,000 USD. With a living space of over 11,700 square feet, the home boasts seven bedrooms and eight bathrooms, which are divided between the main house and a guest house. The rooms are characterized by Tyrolean craftsmanship: hand-planed, antique floors, Belgian bluestone, antique marble, clay floors, and heraldic bricks give the rooms a quaint yet refined character. Luxurious amenities include an antique stone pine parlor library, a wellness area with an indoor pool and stone pine sauna, and a wine cellar with its own tasting room.

Whistler, British Columbia

The newly built P2P Gondola connecting Whistler and Blackcomb mountains.

Canada’s most exclusive ski resort is in Whistler, British Columbia. Ranking fifth on our list, market prices per square foot can reach up to $2,600 USD for homes in prime locations. Foreign buyers—largely from the United States and Hong Kong—make up just 15 percent of buyers.

“The proportion of buyers relocating their primary place of residence to Whistler is increasing all the time as people look for a main home where they can work remotely and enjoy the unique natural surroundings all year round.”

Maggi Thornhill, Licence Partner, Engel & Völkers Whistler

The Listing

The snowy exterior of a large, luxury home in Whistler, British Columbia.

Exceptionally well-located at the base of Blackcomb Mountain, this phenomenal residence embodies everything that makes Whistler special. The stunning home boasts classic mountain architecture complemented by contemporary details, giving the house an understated, calming ambiance. It offers six bedrooms, five-and-a-half bathrooms, and an expansive recreation room, complete with a wet bar, stunning walk-in wine cellar, hot tub deck, and steam shower.

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