Looking for a legendary way to ring in the New Year?
How about celebrating it in good company in the gorgeous French Alps?
Whether you fancy a quiet NYE watching the fireworks from your balcony while sharing a bottle of champers with someone special then cosying up by your chalet fireplace, or letting your hair down with toffee vodka-fuelled tabletop dancing, Erna Low can help you arrange the perfect getaway!
With a wide range of accommodation from five-star luxury hotels to comfy and affordable self-catering apartments in renowned snow-sure resorts across the French Alps, you can count on us to create a tailor-made New Year’s ski break that combines magical celebrations on the big night with some of the world’s best skiing and snowboarding for the rest of your trip. This is a popular time for a ski break, so the most popular resorts and accommodation options tend to sell out quickly ̶ if you want to know what’s available right now, please call us on 020 7584 2841 to discuss your options. Every Alpine ski resort celebrates the turning of the year slightly differently, although most tend to host torchlight parades on the pistes and fireworks courtesy of the local tourist office and ski school staff.
There are plenty of quieter resorts with traditional chalet-style accommodation and rustic town centres to stroll around if you fancy a more serene, romantic break, or busier resorts with a range of accommodation types where there’s ample apres-ski for party-loving adults and lots of entertainment for kids too, therefore there are lots of outstanding options for solo skiers, couples or families. When you want a magical New Year to remember, head for the French Alps and hit the slopes!
Why celebrate New Year in a French Ski Resort?
There are many reasons you should swap your usual New Year celebrations for a blissful skiing break in the French Alps. An escape from the usual routine with eclectic entertainment, charming traditions and warm hospitality, here’s why visiting the Alps at this time is a breath of mountain-fresh air:
If you want to extend that festive feeling, many French ski resorts are still decked out in their Christmassy décor at New Year, so there’s a lovely atmosphere with yuletide markets selling local crafts, seasonal souvenirs and stalls serving vin chaud and sweet treats. After New Year’s Day in the UK it can sometimes feel like you’re fast forwarded into a long, drawn-out January, whereas spending a few fabulous days in the Alps and enjoying plush accommodation, fine food, fresh powder and family bonding is a much more positive way to start your year.
New Year sees some of the best snow conditions in the French Alps and we specialise in high-quality accommodation in high-altitude snow-sure resorts, many of which benefit from their own microclimates. You’ll find skiable glaciers, shaded north facing slopes with perfect powder, sunny south-facing pistes and tree-lined runs with plenty of twists and turns. Plus, holiday in a lift-linked ski area like Paradiski, The Three Valleys, Espace Killy or Portes du Soleil, and you’ve got convenient access to hundreds of kilometres of on- and off-piste terrain to explore, with blue, red, black and ungroomed areas where you can improve your technique, challenge yourself and, most importantly, have fantastic fun!
Instead of taking a traditional stroll in the countryside on New Year’s Day (if the changeable British weather permits!), or zoning out in front of the TV, what better way to blow away the cobwebs and welcome in the energy of new beginnings than getting your gear on and heading off to carve up the slopes? With those healthy endorphins flooding your system, you’ll start the year on a superb natural high which will set a positive tone for all your endeavours at home and away. Many of our accommodation options also have well-equipped onsite spas where you can relax after your sessions at the slopes and snowparks, steam out those impurities in the sauna, refresh yourself with a sensory shower and gently stretch your muscles with a few gentle lengths in the pool.
Pick a self-catering accommodation option and stock up on delicious fare from the local supermarkets, delicatessens and patisseries and you can dine independently for the duration of your break if it makes you more comfortable. However, if you want to occasionally venture out to sample the culinary delights of the local cafes and restaurants, most resorts have a range of gastronomical choices ̶ from chic cafes selling crepes and paninis to comfortable eateries serving traditional mountain dishes and haute cuisine restaurants offering high end meals. Lots of resorts have takeaway and delivery services too, so you can order anything from fresh baked croissants and pain au chocolat to delicious oven-baked pizza. No matter how pernickety your food preferences, French Alps ski resorts offer something to satisfy every palate.
As you can see, a year end break in the Alps is the ideal cathartic break to catapult you into the New Year feeling cool, calm and confident.
French Alps New Year traditions
In France, New Year’s Eve is known by its saint’s title, La Saint-Sylvestre, and as well as the fireworks, torchlight processions and pub and club parties you’ll find in most resorts, there are a number of time-honoured traditions you might want to observe too. Here’s the lowdown on what the French get up to on this special soiree:
Most families and groups of friends have a cosy and convivial meal on New Year’s Eve known as Le Réveillon du Nouvel An which lasts for several hours and many courses. It can include delicacies like oysters, caviar and stuffed goose, all washed down with liberal amounts of wine and champagne ̶ divine!
If you want to celebrate in your chalet, apartment or hotel on New Year’s Eve instead of heading out to an organised party, you’ll be in good company, because house parties are a fine French tradition. Some creative households have costume parties based on various themes, but there’s always music and dancing and (usually once guests are suitably refreshed) a public declaration of New Year’s resolutions ̶ so if you partake in this particular convention, remember that your self-improvement promises will be a matter of record!
If your families are sticklers for tradition who insist on watching The Queen’s message to the nation on New Year’s Day, you’ll be glad to know that the French equivalent is the Presidential Message and you can tune into this at 8pm on New Year’s Eve. Plan ahead and you’ll find a subtitled version online, but failing that it’s a great opportunity to brush up on your French.
When the clock strikes midnight, it’s the custom in France to make as much celebratory noise as possible, so you and your guests will be shouting ‘bonne année’ at the top of your lungs while fireworks erupt outside, lighting up the mountainous snowscape in a dazzling display of chameleonic colours. If you aren’t planning on attending a ticketed club party to let your hair down until the wee small hours you can still take a stroll in the streets of your resort and soak up the festival atmosphere.
There’s much more of a tradition of New Year’s cards than Christmas cards in France and these are usually written and exchanged on January 1st as good luck tokens. Buy some authentic cards locally to observe this tradition and you’ll have some lovely sentimental tokens of a special holiday together.
The French are very strict about kissing under the mistletoe and tradition dictates that this can only occur on La Saint-Sylvestre at midnight. So if you’ve got amorous intentions towards a fellow guest, stay in close proximity and be sure to have a spring of this seasonal plant up your sleeve when the bells ring!
Small presents called étrennes are also traditionally gifted to children on New Year’s Day and these usually comprise pocket money or sweets, but this term is also commonly used to refer to seasonal year end tips for service workers ̶ so bear this in mind if your resort team members have been particularly friendly and helpful.
A French New Year has a family-focused ambience that will feel familiar, enhanced by a dash of Gallic charm and flair that’s a pleasure to embrace.
New Year self-drive options
Self-drive, self-catering skie holidays are becoming increasingly popular with our customers and if you prefer a private holiday where you spend all of your time in your own family group, it’s perfectly possible to organise this option for a New Year ski break.
A Flexiplus Le Shuttle Eurotunnel ticket includes priority boarding and check-in, exclusive access to a lounge serving complimentary snacks and soft drinks (with the option of remaining in your vehicle) and a crossing that takes just 35 minutes.
On the other side, most of our French ski resorts can be reached in 10 hours or under from Calais and with pre-booked ski passes (and equipment if you need it), you can remain in your bubble at the resort, moving between your self-catering apartment and the slopes and only venturing into communal environments if you feel comfortable.
If this option provides the reassurance you’ve been yearning for, booking is easy ̶ click the ‘self-drive’ tab on our search form, enter your dates and details and we’ll calculate the cost of your deal in the blink of an eye.
For an affordable option that makes some customers feel calm and comfortable, self-drive and self-catering New Year ski holidays are worth looking into.
Best French ski resorts at New Year
Every French Alps ski resort makes an extra effort to ensure you’re feeling totally taken care of and completely entertained at New Year ̶ here are a few diverse examples of particularly delightful destinations:
Val d’Isère is located in the Haute Tarentaise Valley and it’s a time-tested favourite for British visitors. With a heady resort height of 1850m and vertiginous top slopes at 3400m under the Pointe du Montet summit, gorgeous scenery and glacier skiing is de rigueur. Kids are well catered for with the Val Kids programme that operates on the Solaise and Bellevarde areas and Jelly and Ice Cream provide CRB-checked nannies to care for children at your accommodation. This might be the most famous party resort in the whole of the Alps, so if you do want to have a lively time into the wee small hours, venues like La Folie Douce and Dick’s Tea Bar are usually bouncing. Part of the huge Espace Killy ski area, you’ll have access to 300km of slopes linked by 78 efficient lifts at peak season, so expect some spectacularly good powder!
Chalets Izia is a beautiful five-star accommodation in Val which offers doorstep skiing, ‘mountain chic’ décor that combines contemporary touches with traditional Savoyard wood, stone and slate, and a wellness centre replete with swimming pool, hammam, sauna, swimming pool and whirlpool bath. This family-friendly accommodation has Wi-Fi throughout and there’s a designated children’s area and a play and reading corner in the lobby, while the Kids Village is nearby, as is the Rond Point des Pistes (the site of the chairlifts, gondolas and ski school meeting point). Apartment configurations are available with 2-4 bedrooms sleeping 4-8 people, luxe suites have cosy fireplaces, and there’s a Customer Happiness Team to take care of your every need ̶ what’s not to love?
Avoriaz is a high-altitude snow-sure resort set on a sunny south-facing plateau above the Morzine Valley and it’s a family-friendly car-free resort with a traditional Alpine ambience which blends contemporaty convenience and old-world charm with ease. Part of the Portes du Soleil ski area which includes 12 resorts spanning France and Switzerland, there’s top-flight on- and off-piste action for skiers and snowboarders, as well as several freestyle parks. Off the slopes, kids can try laser quest and tag archery or splashing around at the Aquiraz water park, while the Avrizou nursery cares for children aged six months to five years old. New Year in Avoriaz usually includes a huge fireworks display which you can watch from the comfort of your balcony, while fab family activities include husky rides and tobogganing. Many accommodation options have onsite wellness facilities, but the plush 180 square metre Altiform Fitness centre has a sauna, hot tubs and various other amenities.
L’Amara is a premium chalet-style apartment residence in Avoriaz surrounded by the majestic mountains of the Morzine valley and its spacious suites blend traditional Savoyard charm with five-star convenience and luxury. A ski-in/ski-out accommodation, it also boasts the brilliant Deep Nature Spa, which has a fitness studio, indoor pool, sauna and hammam, while La Récré kids club keeps kids entertained, there’s a play area for smaller children in reception and the resort children’s village is also nearby. Catered options are available and a high-quality onsite restaurant never fails to satisfy with a range of local and international dishes. 1-5-bedroom configurations are available which sleep which sleep between 4-12 guests comfortably and comfy suites include Wi-Fi throughout and all the mod cons. If you’re looking for practical accommodation in one of the most famous ski resorts in the Alps, this is the ideal location for a legendary New Year skiing holiday.
When you want to escape a wet, windy, dull and dreary New Year at home, spending the celebrations in the Alps is an awesome alternative. With a prime choice of resorts across the region, we’re completely confident that we can customise your ideal getaway ̶ whether you’re prioritising partying or prefer a more serene romantic or family setup. Over the years we’ve visited over 100 Alpine resorts and each and every member of our team has also worked in the region for at least one winter season ̶ this means that, unlike some competitor ski travel agencies where staff have read about the resorts in their collection, we’ve experienced them first-hand and can therefore offer a peerless level of customer service and insider knowledge. The unique composition of your travel group means that certain accommodation options will be more suitable for your group as a whole and we leave no stone unturned delivering on all the small details that make a big difference.
This New Year, toast the future with the special people in your life in a fabulous Alpine playground with an excellent Erna Low ski break ̶ you deserve to spoil yourself!