10 Great Ski Resorts for Shopaholics

STORY BY Patrick Thorne 24th February 2017

Ski resorts are trying to diversify as much as they can to try to attract more visitors and stay busy year round.

Lots of them are building flashy swimming pool complexes and adding attractions like mountain coasters – a kind of downhill roller coaster you take the ski lift up to, or fat biking or e-biking among dozens of other ideas.

But some resorts already have one big attraction for many people – shopping. This is also a good feature if you have a non-skier or two in your party as those resorts with lots of shops are also usually the ones with plenty of cafes, museums and other non-ski attractions already in place too.

Our list of 10 choices focuses on those resorts with a really wide selection of high quality shops with at least 100 stores to choose from.

 

Innsbruck, Tirol, Austria

There are several cities that are also ski towns and Innsbruck has its own ski pass with nine ski areas included along with transport from the city centre to each one of them. The city has every type of shop imaginable, mainly along the Maria-Theresia-Straáe. Kaufhaus Tirol is a good general department store with everything from groceries to clothing. Visitors seeking authentic handwork can visit Tiroler Heimatwerk in Meranerstraáe. A daily market in the Markthalle brings farmers with their homemade honey and schnaps and, on Saturdays, an array of outdoor flea market stalls.

 

St Moritz, Switzerland

Of course St Moritz is a mecca for luxurious goods shopping, as well as shops of all kinds with about 150 to choose from. All the famous names in fashion, jewellery and perfumes are to be found here and exhibitions and auctions are staged in the top hotels by companies like Cartier, Sotheby’s, Sabbadini and Christie’s.  There’s plenty of choice for those of us who are less well heeled too though. Some of the best selling products in the resort are the promotional posters which have been used to promote the resort for over a century, the oldest available dating from 1895.  About 50 designs are stocked by the tourist office and over 250,000 copies have been sold in recent years.

 

Megève, France

With over 200 shops in the village and area, Megève is a shopper’s mecca.  This is really high calibre stuff – not a modern shopping centre filled with chain stores but dozens of small private and unique shops in the pedestrianised historic centre of the village.  All of the top designer names are here however, either with their own outlets or on retail through the intimate fashion boutiques and jewellers.  Doin’t forget to visit the famous Aallard store, reputed to be where the first special trousers to be created especially for skiers were tailored in 1930. Add to this the antique shops, delis, chocolatiers and even some ski shops and you have a shopping wonder land.

 

Banff, Alberta, Canada

In common with most other famous ski towns, Banff has great shopping, with more than 200 speciality stores to choose from covering nearly everything you could want to buy.  For local artwork and crafts Canada House retails Inuit, Native, wildlife, landscape art and jewellery.  Additionally The Gallery at the Springs sells mountain art by Canadian artists, with an emphasis on works by artists living and working in the Bow Valley.

 

Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy

Anyone looking to purchase a new fur coat, some exclusive luxurious perfume or an item of haute couture or a watch from one of the world’s great names, is severely limited in their destination options, but Cortina would be a good first choice.

But despite being famous for its expensive boutiques, with over 250 shops Cortina can cater for all tastes.  There is a strong local crafts industry with over 200 artisans producing wood inlaid with silver and mother-of-pearl, stained glass, wooden toys, clocks and furniture.  Local consumables include a large choice of grappa, local liqueurs, breads and the smoked delicatessen, ‘speck’.

 

Park City, Utah, USA

Over 100 stores locally and the big city shopping of Salt Lake half an hour away make this a shopaholics’ paradise land.  There are around 20 sports and rental stores, a dozen on the mountain, the rest in town.  Shopping opportunities, as with the other top US resorts, range from local crafts, through sweatshirt stores and chain outlets to designer boutiques and art galleries.

 

 

Crans Montana, Valais, Switzerland

Crans Montana is a renowned shopping centre thanks to its superb boutiques where the greatest names in French and Italian couture rub shoulders.  The selection of around 200 shops is better than in many comparable ski centres (and over 300 nearby), with four antiques shops, three chocolateries, four art galleries as well as perfumeries and of course a wide range of fashion stores selling Chanel, Gucci, Hermès and a host of other famous names.

 

Whistler, BC, Canada

There are more than 200 shops in Whistler putting it among the world’s few dozen largest ski centres off-the-slopes as well as on.  This is a pedestrian only village – still rare in North America – so strolling through the cobbled streets is particularly pleasant.  Retail areas are located in the plazas of Whistler Village itself as well as Upper Village and Village North.  There are plenty of fascinating boutiques amongst the dozens of winter sports stores and the well known North American and international chain stores that you would expect.  Native Indian art and locally made jewellery are particularly popular purchases.

 

Courchevel, France

Courchevel is famous as a designer shopping mecca, again with its reputation centred on 1850 where there are two dozen designer boutiques, many of them in a covered mall.  Apart from haute couture, there is a good variety of other shops in this top station, including four specialist chil-drenswear stores, three jewellers, an antiques shop, two toy shops, a lingèrie shop, five art galleries, two chocolatiers and two parfumeries.  Altogether there are around 160 shops in the resort.

 

Livigno, Italy

A little different to our other shopping destinations, Livigno actually has more than 200 shops, but almost all are replicas of one another selling duty free goods at much lower prices than the ‘duty free’ you will find in airports around the world.  There are other boutiques selling consumer goods but this is the place to buy alcohol, cigarettes and cell phones and there are also fashion and jewellery stores.

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