If you ever become rich and famous, there are certain rules in life you must adhere to—it’s not all diamonds and champagne sadly. You must, for example, buy an expensive car, probably a beach house, and maybe a private jet. Owning some non-practical exotic pet is also pretty much obligatory. You might also go skiing or, if you want to be “true to your roots and what really matters in life,” maybe even snowboarding.
But the difference between skiing and those other aforementioned things is that (unless you’re also a James Bond/Jason Bourne style super fir and talented type who probably goes freeriding on icebergs in the Antarctic) you usually have to go skiing on the same slopes as the rest of us.
Some resorts give you a better chance of mixing with A-list celebrities—Hollywood stars, sporting greats, royals and the like. They can be hard to spot though, thanks to ski helmets and full-body coverage of skiwear. Even their bodyguards in dark glasses are difficult to differentiate from everyone else skiing in dark glasses.
Here’s a quick lowdown on where to go for some celebrity sightings on the slopes:
1. St. Moritz, Switzerland
Everyone who’s anyone has probably stayed in one of Switzerland’s famous five-star hotels. After all, this is the place where winter sports holidays began 150 years ago. Charlie Chaplin was the first man to drive a car (with cat tracks on the back wheels) up to the Palace Hotel, where Alfred Hitchcock later had a regular suite. These days, it’s still drawing more European and Arabian royals than any other resort and Britain’s Prince Harry is reported to be a particular fan.
The secluded Suvretta House, with its Prada clad private ski school, is a particular favorite. King Carl Gustav of Sweden, know to be an excellent skier, is one of the regular visitors.
2. Sun Valley, Idaho, USA
Movie stars from the golden years of Hollywood were known to visit several resorts that are still going strong today. Sun Valley in Idaho, for example, saw many great names including Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe.
3. St Christoph, Austria
The village above the famed Austrian ski resort of St Anton is home to the Hospiz Hotel, another good bet for finding the famous. Harry’s Dad Charles himself, known to be a long time fan of the Swiss resort Klosters, brought Princes Diana here.
4. Banff and Lake Louise, Canada
The Canadian resorts have been long-standing draws for Hollywood stars but the exclusive backcountry Skoki Lodge was an escape for another British Prince, William and his new bride Kate during a post-wedding cape in 2011. You can stay where they did by taking an excursion if you’re staying at Lake Louise.
Chateau Lake Louise’s past guest list includes Jim Carrey, Dan Ackroyd and John Travolta. The Banff Springs has hosted the late Robin Williams and Bob Hope. Marilyn Monroe (who clearly liked her ski resorts) was also a guest when filming “The River of No Return” in 1953.
5. Baqueira Beret, Spain
In the Pyrenees, the Spanish Royals have their own resort village at Baqueira Beret known as La Pleta de Ley (or ‘the King´s hamlet’). The new king Felipe and his sisters, Princesses Elena and Cristina, are reported to be keen skiers.
Learn more about skiing at Baqueria Beret.
6. Shukolovo Ski Club, Russia
Although that may be a bit hard to believe, one of the world’s most-known politicians (though not most popular), President Putin is reputed to ski alongside local Muskovites at the Shukolovo Ski Club. He was, of course, the major driving force behind resort development at Sochi for the Olympics last winter.
7. Vail Valley, Colorado, USA
President Obama isn’t believed to be a skier, but First Lady Michelle has been to several ski resorts including Vail. The Ford family has left a lasting legacy here as well.
8. Obertauern, Austria
Fifty years ago, The Beatles filmed ‘Help!’ in the Austrian resort of Obertauern in the Alps. They stayed in the Hotel Edelweiss where you, too, can stay in the same rooms they did. George Michael stayed at the five-star Ferienart in Saas Fee in 1984 when he filmed the “Last Christmas” video.
9. Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
Not all Hollywood stars are good guests however. The story goes that upon arriving at the luxurious Cristallo Palace hotel in Italy’s most exclusive resort of Cortina d’Ampezzo, Frank Sinatra immediately ordered 200 fresh raw eggs. An egg fight ensured and by the end of the evening the entire suite needed refurbishing. On the upside for the hotel, the new rooms are now called the Frank Sinatra suite.