Legendary French ski destination Val Thorens has taken the title of World’s Best Ski Resort at the 2016 World Ski Awards.
The fourth instalment of the red-carpet event took place at the five-star A-ROSA Kitzbühel this evening, welcoming the elite of the ski hospitality industry to Austria. Also among the winners were W Verbier, walking away with the title of World's Best Ski Hotel, and LAAX, recognised by voters as the World's Best Freestyle Resort. Chalet Pont Du Cam was also honoured during the glittering ceremony, taking the title of World's Best New Ski Chalet, while The Westin Rusutsu Resort took the trophy for World's Best New Ski Hotel, Bergbahn AG Kitzbuhel was recognised as the World's Best Ski Resort Company, and Ski-Lifts was awarded the title of World's Best Ski Transfer Operator. In a first for World Ski Awards, Hokkaido Backcountry Club took the title of World's Best Heli-Ski Operator. An extensive programme of events is taking place over the weekend, seeing guests invited to engage in three days of exclusive networking events, private skiing, sight-seeing tours and a host of other activities.
World Ski Awards Managing Director Sion Rapson said: “The 2016 World Ski Awards has been our most successful to date, firmly cementing our position as the global benchmark for ski hospitality. “It has been a pleasure to recognise so many industry leaders here this evening and I hope their recognition, both by their peers and members of public ski community, will inspire them to aim ever higher in the pursuit of excellence.”
In a unique presentation, the World Ski Awards Academy honoured Pierre Josserand, pioneer of the Val Thorens ski resort in France, with the title of World's Outstanding Contribution to Ski Tourism. Voting for the 2016 Gala Ceremony closed at the end of September, with a record number of ballots cast by leading ski tourism professionals. These were tallied alongside the votes of hundreds of thousands of ski consumers from around the world, with the winners revealed earlier this evening at A-ROSA Kitzbühel. The event saw industry leaders from around the world gather in Austria, with delegates from the Chinese ski community attending for the first time. On a night of high drama, Switzerland-based tour operator Leo Trippi successfully defended the title of World's Best Ski Travel Agent, while Bighorn claimed the title of World's Best Ski Chalet and The Vale Niseko was honoured with the prize for World's Best Ski Boutique Hotel. During the event Ski Dubai was also honoured with the title of World's Best Indoor Ski Resort, while Sunweb walked away with the trophy for the World's Best Ski Tour Operator.
The World Ski Awards programme has categories for the Best Ski Resort, Best Ski Hotel, Best Ski Boutique Hotel and Best Ski Chalet for each of the world’s top 25 ski tourism nations. The individual country level winner with the most overall votes will not only win the national award but also the world level award in the respective category.
A number of categories exist on a world level only; World’s Best Ski Tour Operator, World’s Best Ski Travel Agent, World’s Best Ski Transfer Operator, World’s Best Ski Resort Company, World’s Best Freestyle Resort, World’s Best Indoor Ski Resort, World’s Best Heli-Ski Operator, World’s Best New Ski Hotel, World’s Best New Ski Chalet, and the special World Ski Awards Academy Award for Outstanding Contribution to Ski Tourism.