9 of the world’s best private ski resorts

CNN  — 

Imagine a ski destination with no lift lines where you can plunder pristine powder all day long. You could splash out on remote heli-ski adventure, but that’s not for everyone.

So the smart travel alternative is to become a member at an exclusive private ski resort, much like joining a golf club.

For a fee (not generally small), you can avoid the usual frenzy and bag fresh tracks with barely a soul around. If your pockets are deep and you’ve chosen well, you can retire to your own luxury slopeside lodge and do it all over again the next day.

Here are nine of the best private ski resorts and semi-private ski destinations in the USA and beyond:

Yellowstone Club, Montana, USA

Who for: M. Moneybags esq., celeb spotters, Bill Gates

This is skiing the uber-rich way. Becoming a member at the Yellowstone Club in the Rockies of Montana means potentially riding the lifts with just Bill Gates or Justin Timberlake for company.

The limited-membership club charges an initial fee of $400,000 and an annual fee of $41,500, but that’s just the small change.

To become a member you have to own property, which ranges from condos starting at $3 million to ranches north of $25 million.

But once you’ve splashed the cash, the skiing’s epic, with 18 lifts, more than 100 runs and 2,700 vertical feet of downhill action centered on Pioneer Mountain. Plus, there’s 300 inches annually of the white stuff.

There’s everything in the 2,700 skiable acres from gentle beginner slopes to steep expert chutes. If that’s not enough, Yellowstone Club backs onto the vast Big Sky Resort. All that, and you can bag some runs with extreme ski legend Scot Schmidt, who is the club’s resident ski pro.

Getting there: Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport is only an hour’s drive from Yellowstone Club with daily flights from across the United States. Transfers to and from the airport can be arranged by car or helicopter

Yellowstone Club, 1 Yellowstone Club Trail, Big Sky, MT 59716, USA; +1 406-995-4900

Extreme ski movie legend Scot Schmidt is the resident pro at Yellowstone Club.

Cimarron Mountain Club, Colorado, USA

Who for: Those who REALLY hate lift lines

Cimarron Mountain Club could just be the most exclusive resort-based ski experience in the world when it opens in December 2018.

The 1,750-acre property in the San Juan Mountains between Telluride and Crested Butte will be available to just 13 home-owning families and their guests.

The initial buy-in is likely to be about $2.3 million, with annual dues of $62,000.

Members are then deeded a site on which to build a cabin, although they may prefer to stay in the six-bedroom lodge or one of four club cabins.

The ski area encompasses 1,000 acres along the club’s two-and-a-half miles of the Cimarron Ridge, with access to another 950 acres of public land. The 60 runs will be reached by snowcat, with six distinct areas offering a variety of terrain from leisurely groomed runs to glades, chutes and bowls.

Each member is guaranteed 115 days of cat-skiing a year on an area the club claims is bigger than Aspen Mountain. And with a limit in the current accommodation of just 36 guests, that’s a lot of skiable acreage per person.

Getting there: Cimarron Club is 45 minutes by car or 10 minutes by helicopter from Montrose airport, which offers private jet services and seasonal non-stop flights from a range of national hubs.

Cimarron Mountain Club is set to offer ultra-exclusive skiing when it opens in December 2018.