Royal ski resorts: Share a chair with royalty

Newsroom Ski destinations Royal ski resorts: Share a chair with royalty

Being a competent skier has been on the list of requirements for a fully-rounded royal for well over a century. Most British royal brides-to-be are traditionally taken on holiday to Royal ski resorts as part of the official process of bringing them into the family. This was the case for Fergie and Di – and Kate’s relationship with William was first publicised when she was invited to Klosters with the royals in 2005.

The relationship between the royals and us has changed a lot over the years. The most relaxed royals of northern Europe may even be happy to share a chairlift with you, if you happen to be in the right queue at the right time, and you can certainly book in to some of the same hotels they do.

Royal ski resorts

Find out where you’re most likely to rub shoulders with royalty on the slopes by reading our Royal ski resorts guide.

The British Royal Family

The British Royal Family are famous for hitting the slopes. Many column inches are filled in the press worldwide each winter covering their ski trips. Klosters is known to be Prince Charles’ resort of choice. But the younger generation (William and Kate) are equally likely to be seen on the slopes of Verbier. And most recently Meribel and Courchevel in the Three Vallees. Pippa Middleton is also fitting into royal life well; skiing at the Vasaloppet Cross Country Ski Race in Salen, Sweden.

Prince Charles, who has been a keen skier since 1963, has had to face a remarkable number of public and private issues on the slopes. This includes the tragic death of his friend Major Hugh Lindsay in 1988. This was when the party in which both were enjoying some off-piste skiing above Klosters was hit by an avalanche. Then in 1983 he and Princess Diana played cat-and-mouse with the media around the Alps. They tried to elude the press posse by staying first in Liechtenstein, where Diana had learned to ski, then in Laax and Lech.

Where did the British Royals stay?

Want to stay where the Royal Family has stayed? Prince Charles and Diana once stayed in the Arlberg Hospiz Hotel at St Christoph above St Anton. The manager tells us, they had their first public screaming match here.

But in more recent years Charles has favoured the five-star Walserhof hotel in Klosters. Prince Andrew prefers to splash out £65,000 on a private chalet with the same name as his daughter, Eugenia, in Davos.

The Duke first stayed at Chalet Eugenia for the Davos forum in 2009. He hosted a drinks party for guests including Business Secretary Lord Mandelson and Shadow Chancellor George Osborne.

The Swedish Royal Family

The Swedish Royal Family are, like most Swedes, prolific skiers. They are as happy on the Swedish slopes as they are in the Alps, where they’re regularly spotted at the top resorts.

Their resort of choice is often St Moritz where they’ve stayed in the exclusive Suvretta House Hotel. They take private guides from the hotel’s own Suvretta Snowsports School. Patrik Wiederkehr, the school’s director, recounts skiing with Swedish King Carl Gustav in deep powder in the Sunretta Valley. However they were hampered by the king’s bodyguards who could not keep up.

The Norwegian Royal Family

Being Scandinavian the Norwegian Royal Family are all keen skiers, particularly cross country skiers. The family’s greatest love is for ski jumping, cross-country and biathlon events at the spectacular Holmenkollen stadium above Oslo. Although they can also be seen on the country’s downhill ski slopes, with Oslo Ski Center one of the closest to the palace.

The whole family – King Harald, Queen Sonja and all the princes and princesses turn out for the big ski jumping World Cup events each March. They even bring the family’s dog with them. Princess Astrid is reported to have attended more than 70 of these events while Crown Prince Haakon is so keen he has even posted YouTube video clips of himself commenting on the events.

The Monaco Royal Family

The glamorous Royal Family of Monaco, headed by billionaire Prince Albert, owns a chalet in exclusive Zürs. This is next to Lech in the Austrian Arlberg, to which annual excursions are taken. Caroline, Princess of Hanover, is a particularly regular visitor to the chalet. She often comes with her youngest daughter, Princess Alexandra travelling with her.

The Spanish Royal Family

The Spanish Royal Family owns a chalet in Spain’s leading resort Baqueira Beret. While you cannot rent it, you can stay in La Pleta de Ley (‘the King´s hamlet’), the most up-market district in the resort. The resort’s best hotel, the five-star La Pleta, is complete with the Occitania spa. It is now part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group.

Off the slopes, Baqueira has plenty to appeal to royalty including an annual ‘Month of Caviar’.  Even without the annual celebration of fish eggs, the resort is famous for its seafood. This includes the king crab and king prawns from the nearby Galician coast.

The Danish Royal Family

The Danish Royal Family is one of a growing number that usually chooses Verbier as their ski destination of a choice.

The Danish Crown Prince Prince Frederik and his wife Princess Mary usually roll up with their four children. Princess Mary’s birthday is on February 5th so the family often make their trips down to Switzerland to coincide with the date.

The Japanese Royal Family

The Japanese Imperial Family is fairly reserved about its social life compared to some of the western royals. But is known to include keen skiers and there are 600 ski areas to choose from.

Crown Prince Naruhito, as head of Japan’s Olympic Committee, was crucial to bringing Winter Olympic Games to the country. Crown Princess Masako is known to be a long time fan of Minowa ski resort.

You can stay in accommodation built for the Imperial Family for use during the 1998 Nagano Olympics. The Ridge is located 2.5 hours by bullet train from Tokyo. It is within the prestigious Wadano area of Hakuba, at the base of the largest ski resort Happo. Its Penthouse has a designer bathroom, panoramic wrap-around balcony, designer furniture, a giant bed and much more.

The Serbian Royal Family

The Serbian royal family fled Yugoslavia in early 1941 as Hitler’s armies swept across Europe. They were then prevented from returning after the war by the new communist regime. They were greeted by vast cheering crowds when they finally did return 50 years later in 1991. The king at the time, and more recently the Crown Prince Alexander II, have never abdicated.

Crown Prince Alexander II joined the British Army and in 1972 became the army’s ski champion. And despite being exiled, the Crown Prince is known to be a strong supporter of skiing in the countries of the former Yugoslavia and has spoken out in favour of international support for the 1980 Winter Olympic venue of Sarajevo in Bosnia.

Royal ski resorts: Share a chair with royalty

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