Wellness Retreats in Ski Resorts: The Best of Both Worlds

Indoor pool with glass walls overlooking a snowy forest

Restorative mountain landscapes and wellness are natural bedfellows. Clean air to improve lung function, heightened altitude to strengthen cardio function and incomparable views to soothe the soul have long been celebrated as being part of the natural healing offered by the mountains.

For this article we’ll take a look at why ski holidays lend themselves to wellness practice, what features to look for in a wellness retreat at a ski resort as well as some of the top destinations and how to get the most from your retreat.

The Appeal of Wellness Retreats in Ski Resorts

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The combination of exhilarating exercise, exceptional facilities and skilled practitioners mean the mountains are one the of the most effective places to immerse yourself in the journey to wellness. Mountains provide a naturally therapeutic environment that promotes wellness in various ways and all that clean, crisp mountain air is rich in oxygen and low in pollutants, which can improve respiratory health and boost overall well-being.

Mountain landscapes offer an abundance of outdoor activities. As well as the thrill of skiing or snowboarding, wellness seekers can enjoy mountain biking, hiking and simple forest walks. Time in the mountains offers opportunity to strengthen cardiovascular function, lung health and build muscle and whilst it’s true that these activities can be done in many other open spaces, choosing to do them at higher altitudes enhances vitamin D production (thanks to increased exposure to sunlight) which in turn improves bone health, immune function, and mood regulation.

Psychological Benefits

The sense of achievement and satisfaction gained from conquering a mountain peak or completing a challenging hike can boost self-esteem and confidence.

Even the simple act of looking up at the mountains is regarded as having a positive impact on mental health. According to a recent article in Psychology Today, the visual brain comprises distinct systems, with one specialised for the lower visual field and another for the area above the horizon. In his book "The Dopaminergic Mind in Human Evolution and History" neuroscientist Fred Previc discusses the fact that the second system seeks images that are beyond arm’s reach and that as our eyes seek these vistas, then our brains reach a more meditative state.

It seems being in the mountains is the perfect antidote to our screen focused existence and offers the perfect conditions for both brain and body to benefit from wellness activities.

Key Features of Wellness Retreats in Ski Resorts

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Many mountain resorts and accommodations now prioritise wellness offerings, recognizing that a winter holiday can provide relaxation for both body and soul.

Mountain resorts offer spas and wellness centres that cater to both muscle-sore skiers and those seeking a holistic health experience. From bubbling thermal springs to luxurious spa treatment centres, wellness retreats offer a sanctuary for relaxation and rejuvenation.

In many alpine resorts you’ll find saunas, fitness rooms and spa areas as a minimum, whether you’re based in a hotel or a resort style mountain residence. For those seeking a holistic wellness experience, dedicated wellness retreats are increasingly part of many ski resorts. These offer a focus on all wellness aspects including nutrition, with sublime field to fork food philosophies, therapies such as yoga, sound therapy and hydrotherapy, alongside superb spa treatments and sauna spaces.

Some resorts even offer Thalasso treatments, renowned for their stress-reducing, anti-aging, and pain-alleviating effects.

Top Destinations for Wellness Retreats in Ski Resorts

Wellness is an inherent part of many ski resorts, but there are some that really stand out. Here are five of our favourite destinations for wellness retreats in ski resorts.

Aspen Snowmass, Colorado, USA

Aspen is not only famous for its excellent skiing but also for its luxurious spas and wellness centres. You can find world-class yoga studios, massage therapies, and wellness retreats.

Aspen has a focus on whole body health and creativity, wellness and physical fitness are an intrinsic part of the resort philosophy. 

St. Moritz, Switzerland

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St. Moritz is synonymous with luxury and wellness and boasts a rich bathing tradition with roots stretching back over 3,500 years.

Centuries ago, the ancient Engadiners recognized the therapeutic properties of the ferruginous water from the Mauritius Fountain, a wisdom that continues to be embraced and utilized in modern times in numerous wellness centres and spas .

Arosa, Switzerland

Arosa is renowned for its wellness offerings, providing visitors with a serene and rejuvenating escape amidst the stunning alpine scenery. The resort features a variety of wellness centres, spas, and retreats where guests can benefit from a range of treatments tailored to promote relaxation, rejuvenation, and overall well-being.

Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia, Canada

Whistler is one of the largest ski resorts in North America and is renowned for its stunning scenery and its seamless integration of outdoor adventure with holistic health practices.

In Whistler, you'll find wellness experiences that are deeply rooted in the natural surroundings, allowing connection with the healing mountain environment and wellbeing practices such as yoga, meditation and spa inspired treatments.

Kitzbühel, Austria

Kitzbühel's wellness offerings ensure an immersive and rejuvenating experience built around integration of traditional Alpine remedies with modern spa techniques.

You’ll find yourself able to unwind in thermal baths fed by natural mineral springs, indulge in soothing massages using locally sourced ingredients like Alpine herbs, or participate in yoga sessions amidst the serene mountain backdrop.

Benefits of Combining Skiing with Wellness Activities

Combining skiing with wellness activities offers a comprehensive approach to enjoyment and well-being on the slopes. When you incorporate yoga, stretching, or meditation as part of your skiing, you enhance fitness, flexibility, and balance, reduce the risk of injuries and encourage muscle recovery.

Blending wellness activities with traditional physical exertion can reduce stress, improve mental clarity, and encourage relaxation. This holistic approach not only improves skiing performance but also enhances the overall enjoyment of the winter sports experience, allowing connection with nature, friends and family whilst enjoying the exhilaration that comes from physical activity.

Planning Your Wellness Retreat in a Ski Resort

The first step in planning your wellness retreat is to consider where your focus lies. If you crave an immersive wellness experience, then aspects such as proximity to ski lifts and the types of runs available may not be important. If the wellness aspect is of equal or secondary importance to the skiing, then you’ll want to be sure that the place you choose has good access to the types of skiing you enjoy as well as the kind of off slope atmosphere you seek as part of your holiday.

In terms of accommodation, you’ll need to consider things like whether you want to choose a hotel or residence that offers all the wellness facilities you need or whether you’re happy to mix and match different wellness venues. Both have their benefits, and the decision will be impacted by how much time you have in resort, as well as whether you have any specific wellness goals that may not be met by a single facility.

You may choose to book a wellness retreat that takes care of all aspects from accommodation to activities – this is undoubtedly a stress free way to ensure all your needs are met, and that you can gain maximum benefit from your wellness retreat.

Personal Stories and Testimonials

“Strolling amongst trees in silence while taking in our surroundings through sight, sound, touch and even taste, is trickier than it at first appears. My mind constantly wanders, from things going on back home to what we might be having for dinner - but when I do finally manage to still the chatter, I feel refreshingly present and grounded.

Next up, we take a dip in dazzling Lake Montriond … the deliciously cool water is a shock on my sun-soaked skin, but it feels wonderful to wash away the sweat and heat of the journey”

This extract from Amanda Statham’s article in Women’s Health embodies the reason that seeking wellness in the mountains is so effective. Forest bathing, natural surroundings and skilled practitioners combine to harness the magic of the mountain landscape and transform it into all-encompassing therapy for body and soul. 

This doesn’t just work for those with a wellbeing focus. Here’s what John, avid skier from Canada, has to say:

"I initially booked a wellness retreat in Whistler for the skiing, but it ended up being so much more than that. The mindfulness workshops and meditation sessions helped me overcome my fear of steep slopes, allowing me to ski with greater confidence and enjoyment."

However you choose to incorporate wellness into your ski break, you can be confident there will be benefits for your skiing prowess, your mental health and your physical health.

Embracing the Best of Both Worlds

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Wellness retreats in ski resorts offer a unique blend of relaxation and adventure, making them an enticing choice for your next mountain break. They provide an immersive experience where you can indulge in rejuvenating spa treatments, yoga sessions, and mindfulness practices amidst the stunning mountain scenery.

When you combine skiing with wellness activities, you not only enhance your physical well-being through improved flexibility but also promote mental clarity and stress reduction.

Whether it's unwinding in a hot tub after a day on the slopes or enjoying a massage to soothe tired muscles, wellness retreats offer the perfect balance of relaxation and adventure for a truly rejuvenating ski holiday that nourishes both body, mind, and spirit.