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 We collected stories from former and current ski-resort employees as well as others in the industry about how VIP tourists spend their money on the slopes. Some of their requests are quite appropriate, while others are rather extraordinary.
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For example, some skiers will spend a lot on a butler to help them try different types of skis and boots without having to buy a particular pair. That’s fine. “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 also did some outrageous things for his clients. One woman was 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 pay a lot to be able to ski on unspoiled snow or take lessons from 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. Onefinestay, a luxury vacation rental company, offers full-day sessions starting at $2,800 per person and half-day sessions starting at $1,700.
Some people spend huge sums on expensive 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 some of the more outlandish requests have been turned down. One regular requested pink snow to be blown out of snowmakers at the Stein Eriksen Lodge, Deer Valley. This was while he was riding a chairlift to a private dinner on the mountaintop and a ski session. It’s important to draw the line somewhere.