A corporate ski trip, whether it’s to reward staff, entertain clients or woo new business, is a great opportunity to escape the office and forge new bonds. It’s also a growing market for ski tour operators, with an increasing number of specialists providing bespoke corporate ski trips.
But which ski resort is best for your group? We’ve picked 10 destinations, chosen for their proximity to an airport (so easy to access for time-poor companies looking for a weekend break), an abundance of extra special activities and events available (such as heli-skiing, fine dining or snow polo, for example), and their prestige.
For any successful firm, time is precious so make the most of it by staying at one of the most exclusive hotels in Switzerland, the Tschuggen Grand Hotel in Arosa. You’ll be on the slopes before you know it – the hotel has its own high tech funicular railway, giving you direct access to 70km of snowsure pistes. To challenge colleagues there are some interesting off-piste opportunities while beginners are catered for with easy slopes at mid-mountain. Off the slopes, entertain the group with horse racing on the frozen lake, hot-air balloon trips, paragliding and tobogganing.
For maximum extreme kudos among your colleagues and clients, look no further than booking a trip to Chamonix, mountaineering and freeride capital of the Alps. Less than an hour from Geneva, it’s completely feasible to have a full day in the office and be in one of Chamonix’s many bars for last orders and a full day on the slopes the following morning. For a real sense of achievement, the beautiful and world-renowned Vallee Blanche is a long off-piste run that even intermediates can tackle. Reward everyone’s accomplishement with a dinner of delicious locally sourced food and wine from Michelin-starred chef Mickey Bourdillat at Café de l’Arve. And for luxury hotel accommodation in Chamonix there’s nowhere better than the 5-star Hameau Albert 1er.
Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
With its glitz and glamour, a trip to Italy’s most fashionable resort Cortina d’Ampezzo is a suitably shiny place to impress potential clients or thank hardworking staff with. Sitting in a wide bowl surrounded by stunning pink-tinged Dolomites cliffs, whether you’re skiing down the quiet slopes or sipping coffee and watching the chichi Italian world go by, Cortina gives great views and wonderfully sunny nursery slopes to boost any novice’s confidence. Easily accessed from Venice, a weekend trip can include a night in the floating city, and extra activities to make an impression include ice driving and the chance for a small group to dine in the Faloria cable car suspended over the village with an exclusive menu from the five-star Cristallo hotel.
Courchevel 1850, France
The perfect destination for high-end entertaining, Courchevel 1850 is an exclusive world away from reality and ideal for impressing those you need to. Ten five-star hotels line the slopes, luxury chalets jostle for privacy and another Michelin-starred establishment has been added to the resort’s existing five, at the Strato. Not only are there the world-class 600km of slopes to explore in the Three Valleys network plus its chic nightlife, time your visit for either the Women’s FIS Alpine World Cup in December or the BMW Polo Masters in January and you’re in for a winning trip.
Want to really impress some potential clients? Take them heli-skiing. Want to really impress your company accountant? Save thousands of pounds on the typical cost of a day’s heli-sking by going to Courmayeur, Italy. Get a taster with a one-off heli drop or indulge with a full day, exploring untracked powder snow along the dramatic Mont Blanc range straddling the Italian/French border. Build strong bonds on your existing relationships as you tackle the remote backcountry then seal the deal in one of Courmayeur’s many cosy mountain restaurants – Maison Vielle would be our choice. A hard day’s work if ever there was one.
Work hard play hard has long been a mantra of many a large city firm, and there’s nowhere better to live this to its fullest than in Ischgl, Austria. The Tirolean village’s nightlife is legendary, starting with a bang with its opening season pop concert party and running through to May for the Top of the Mountain closing party. In between, there are endless enthusiastic nights out to be enjoyed, from dancing girls in Schatzi bar to crazy DJs in Niki’s Stadl and late nights in Pascha. And if the bars don’t distract you too much, there’s also 238km of fun slopes to play on – download the Ischgl app to make the most of them.
For any company youthful in its outlook, there is only one resort to take your clients, customers or team to and that’s Morzine in France. About an hour from Geneva, it’s perfectly placed for a short break and is home to lots of vibrant and enthusiastic chalet companies able to put together unique packages for your needs. The large town has a buzzing selection of bars and the extensive slopes that spread over the border into Switzerland and form part of the 650km Portes du Soleil are home to world-class terrain parks – the ideal playground to breakdown barriers and build bonds!
St Anton, Austria
St Anton has it all – challenging slopes, exhilarating off piste, lively nightlife and lots of specialist companies to help you plan your bespoke corporate trip. From daring extreme off-piste descents in the couloirs from the top of the Schindlergrat chairlift or the notorious “off the back of the Valluga” run to Zurs to heart-thumping tree runs above Stuben, there is an abundance of high-octane opportunities to let off some steam above St Anton. And don’t miss the Mooserwirt, one of the Alps’ busiest après bars where the crowds spill out onto the slopes, the beer flows and the music booms. If it’s a calmer impression you’re hoping to make, lunch or dinner at the charming Hospitz Alm restaurant in St Christoph is a must.
St Moritz, Switzerland
It doesn’t get more exclusive than St. Moritz, with its eight five-star hotels and a long-established pedigree among the rich and famous. While there are hotels aplenty to take care of your every whim (the Carlton is particularly well equipped), there are some unique diversions off the slopes to entertain your group, such as a daredevil slide down the Cresta Run, the Snow Polo World Cup, and luxurious spas. But don’t let yourself get too distracted – the high-altitude slopes are full of long, well-groomed slopes covering 350km, with options suiting intermediates and experts best. Take the Friday afternoon off and arrive in time for floodlit skiing on the Corvatsch, held every Friday evening.
For a foolproof weekend of adventurous skiing and great nightlife Verbier is a safe bet, having an abundance of both. The village has a cosmopolitan feel and a choice of nightlife, from raucous après bars to sophisticated cocktail bars and exclusive VIP tables at chic clubs, while the extensive itinerary routes and off piste tracks will be exhilarating enough to blow the cobwebs away the following morning. Located close to Geneva, it’s a classic weekend destination and is sure to leave your clients or colleagues wanting more.
Specialist Tour Operators for Corporate Ski Trips
All the resorts above are covered by at least one of the specialist operators mentioned below, so get planning your next corporate ski trip and reap the rewards that a corporate trip to the Alps will no doubt bring your colleagues, clients and prosperity. Pretty much anything you can imagine is possible to be included, from heli transfers and champagne-laden private jets to lunch at a picturesque ice table accessed by snow mobile and VIP treatment at exclusive nightclubs. Just speak to Momentum Ski, Kaluma Travel, Mountain Leap or the Corporate Ski Company, among others, to arrange everything.