Some of the world’s most visually stunning and luxurious ski resorts are located in the heart of Europe, thousands of meters above sea level, deep within the Alps. To see what life is like up there, we packed our camera and set off with CÎROC Ultra-Premium Vodka to sample some of these incredible places for Highsnobiety & CÎROC’s Guide to the Alps. Our final touch down was in Kitzbühel, Austria, during the fastest downhill ski race in the world: the Hahnenkamm Race.
The small and unassuming medieval town of Kitzbühel in the Austrian alps is one of the most important places in the world for skiing. From the sport itself to the culture, the fashion and the lifestyle, the town is significant and all purely down to one thing: the Hahnenkamm race course.
Every year in mid-January, the entire town transforms from the sleepy alpine village into a full-on white knuckle ski carnival for the annual world cup race that takes place on the Hahnenkamm slope. The course itself looms over the town from the south, with a solitary chalet, known as the Ganslern Alm, dug into the mountainside and dividing the course’s homestretch in two. Already famous for its unique vibe – which it says combines a 'mountain soul' with an 'urban heart' – the Ganslern Alm was transformed with CÎROC on the opening night of the Hahnenkamm into a club to celebrate the weekend.
While Kitzbühel is no stranger to these kind of winter soirees, a combination of the Ganslern’s new owners and their creation of a whole new vibe for the place, together with the well stocked bar, and the Ganslern’s enviably unique location meant the CÎROC party was one of the most talked about events during the whole weekend. It was also the place that gave us some of the best views of the race the next day on Saturday, with skiers careering down the mountainside right in front of us.
After a day on the slope and as evening descended, we hit up the Hotel Schwarzer Adler Kitzbühel – the village’s first and only four-star superior hotel. The hotel’s bar is managed by experienced mixologist and host Bernd Staber who has been closely working with CÎROC for around two years. With a spa in its basement and a roof-top pool that overlooks the sleepy medieval town, the hotel is the perfect place for some après-ski R ’n’ R, particularly when the Hahnenkamm festivities out on the street can reach fever pitch.
According to Bernd, this year is the busiest, but sat from our vantage point inside the Schwarzer Adler, the hedonism outside was calmed by the cozy and laid back luxury of the hotel’s bar. The bar is the only place in Kitzbühel that has live music played every night which means that the bar is mostly filled with people who aren't actually hotel guests, such as members of the Swarovski family who once seen at the bar singing karaoke (according to Bernd). It's also the place where we sampled one of the bar's specialities: a CÎROC vodka French Martini.
That evening, we ventured into the streets to check out one of Kitzbühel’s more established and legendary bars, Jimmy’s. The place is deceptively big, with plush black furnishings enveloping a huge bar that runs along the side and welcomes you. CÎROC bottles greet you as you walk in, illuminated by ample doses of mood lighting while assorted gear (posters, pictures, and a Cuban flag) from the travels of bar manager and owner, Hannes, line the walls. Yet the best part of Jimmy’s lies round the back, where a CÎROC VIP lounge and club secretly lets people party and celebrate away from the main street.
However, one of undisputed hotspots in Kitzbühel technically doesn’t even sit in Kitzbühel at all. Lying high up and overlooking the town is the Rosi’s Sonnbergstuben, owned by the buxom Austrian maitre-d’ that is Rosi. Complete in traditional Austrian dress, her labythine chalet on top of the mountain, top-notch Austrian food and legendary hospitality has helped her become a genuine national (and international) celebrity. Favored by Hollywood stars and former governors of California, as well as Austrian household names, Rosi’s even has its own app to help you book a table and see what seasonal events Rosi’s is putting on. High above Kitzbühel, we celebrated the end of the road.