As the wealthy turn the world’s great mountains into their playgrounds this time of year, they’re more than willing to splash out to ensure their winter getaway on the slopes is downright epic.
The Washington Post recently collected stories from current and former ski-resort employees, as well as those adjacent to the industry, about how VIP travelers spend their money on the slopes. Some of their requests seem somewhat appropriate, but others are pretty astonishing.
Some will splurge on a butler for their skis, for instance, which allows them to try out different types of gear without committing to a specific pair of skis or boots. Fair enough. “We go to their accommodations, whether it’s a vacation rental, a hotel, and fit them in the comfort of their living room by the fire,” Mike Cremano, the chief revenue officer of the rental service Ski Butlers, told the Post.
Cremano has also done some more outrageous things for his clients, though. One woman in Park City was so worried that her group’s ski passes hadn’t arrived in time, she had Cremano buy 13 duplicate passes for $10,000.
Others will shell out for the chance to ski on untouched snow, or to take lessons with Olympians. “We have operated ski lifts at the time zones of the guests so they can ski on their home time zone,” said Christian Gurtner, who has worked at ski resorts around the world. And if you want to shred alongside a gold-medal winner, the luxury vacation rental company Onefinestay arranges full-day sessions for $2,800 a person, or half-day ones for $1,700.
And still others drop cash on rather extravagant luxuries. Brian Pentek, the owner of LuxeLife Travel, shared how one of his clients at a European ski town didn’t love her hotel room, so she paid an estimated $100,000 to have her designer redecorate the digs. And years ago, a guest at Badrutt’s Palace in St. Moritz had a live elephant shipped in as a birthday gift for his wife, according to the Swiss town’s brand manager.
Unfortunately, money can’t buy everything, and many of the more outlandish requests have been turned down. At the Stein Eriksen Lodge in Deer Valley, one regular wanted to have pink snow blow out of snowmakers while on a nighttime chairlift ride to a mountaintop dinner and private evening ski session. Hey, you have to draw the line somewhere.