New Year ski holidays amongst the sparkling frost and snow-clad peaks are a magical way to start the New Year. Each of these five resorts has something unique to offer, though it pays to book early if you want to celebrate the start of 2017 with some exceptional skiing as it’s one of the busiest times of the year.
St Moritz, Switzerland
Throughout its history, St Moritz has attracted a host of famous visitors from athletes to royals. In the summer of 1864, hotelier Johannes Badrutt bet his guests they would thrive in the Swiss winter sunshine, beginning the fashion for a winter holiday. Today, St Moritz remains a stylish spot, with stores like the chic Trois Pommes offering an array of designer labels. New Year’s Eve in St Moritz is an equally glamorous affair, with parties galore. At Badrutt’s Palace Hotel, the glittering excess reaches a new level: at the hotel’s decadent party, go in search of the man in a cape holding a pig, which is said to bring you luck if you find it and touch it during the evening.
In both its architecture and its cuisine Tremblant is an intoxicating mix of French and North American style. For a refined New Year’s Eve go for a meal at the Windigo restaurant at Fairmont Tremblant, lauded for its gourmet buffets. Québec native and the resort’s executive chef Éric Beaupré prides himself on selecting the best of locally grown ingredients. After enjoying the spectacular fireworks in the crisp night air, warm up with a late evening drink at the Whisky Bar. This rustic retreat is a little off the beaten path and serves an impressive collection of single malts.
South Tyrol, Italy
South Tyrol is famous for its traditional New Year customs, and during your wintertime adventure you might hear carols sung in the old Ladin language, or horns from the local band. Children dress as the Three Kings and go from house to house, bringing presents, incense and good fortune with them. A unique way to spend your evening is on the illuminated slopes of Merano 2000. They open until 2am for skiing and sledging, creating a festive atmosphere to welcome in 2017.
Megève’s main square is an excellent spot to see the fireworks and join the rest of the townspeople in their celebrations. Make sure you drop by the outdoor Veuve Cliquot bar here, warmed by heat lamps and serving only crisp champagne or mulled wine. If you’re looking for a gourmet beginning to 2017, dine at the rustic restaurant of Les Fermes de Marie. Here you can expect signature dishes that make use of the best regional produce, like rich pâté with porcini mushrooms or baked Arctic char in creamy fresh butter.
Overlooked by the iconic crooked peak of the Matterhorn, Zermatt is an elegant yet welcoming ski destination. For something a little different, try the Snowboat Bar and Yacht Club, a restaurant known for its cocktails. Start 2017 with a taste explosion like the Manhattan at Night, a tangy blend of Bulleit bourbon, crème de cassis and blackberry purée. Meanwhile, locals often congregate in Church Square, where there’s music playing at the outdoor bars, to watch the snow change colour as fireworks arch overhead.