Ski December Deals
We have selected a few resorts which we believe are some of the best to visit in December and included a few details of the most important things to note when choosing a resort.
Why is December considered a great time to ski in Europe?
December can be a great time to visit the ski resorts in Europe however, it could also represent the opposite. It all depends on your taste and what you are looking for in a resort in December. If you are after a lively environment to enjoy the festivities with then it would be perfect a few days before christmas and the days leading up to new years. However, if you would like to enjoy the atmosphere of a winter wonderland without the crowds and fanfare then early in the month would be your best option of taking your short breaks in December. It all depends on what you prefer.
That being said, it is quite difficult to ignore the alpine spirit that is rife in the resorts over the entire Christmas season once the lights and decorations are hung up and the barrels of vin chaud are rolled out in barrels in the streets.
You may be into christmas or not really have a care for the festivities and just be all about your time on the slopes. Either way we have put together a few points on why December is considered a great time to ski.
Festive Spirit and the ‘Magic’ of Christmas
December in the alps, with the festive buzz is an unrivaled feeling. December is also arguably one of the most wonderful times of the year to experience a ski resort. There is always an upbeat feeling and hardly a shortage of good party vibes at the resorts from early December as it slowly builds up to christmas. One thing that cannot be denied about this time of the year and the resorts is the festive spirit and the lift that comes with it.
There is hardly anything better than being in a snowy wintery environment before, during and shortly after christmas especially in the alps. The resorts transform into winter wonderlands with amazing lights and decorations. There are themed festivals and parties that often take place (depending on the resort you select, the majority of resorts have Christmas events). It is also a fantastic time to visit if you have a family and/or young children as the resort decorations and festivities add to the magic of Christmas for young children when they get to see the resort's Père Noel (Father Christmas). The Italian night markets are another attraction at the Italian resorts.
Just imagine spending Christmas with your family in a rented chalet in the alps surrounded by snow and stunning mountains and enjoying a meal you did not have to prepare as it was prepared by a private chef (an additional service in most chalets recently). That would most certainly form an unforgettable memory that is bound to stay with the family over the years.
Cheaper Accommodation (Before Christmas)
Arriving early December or anytime before Christmas can go a great deal on saving on accommodation costs. Early december is not considered peak time so with schools still in session in the first and second weeks of december and there is pretty much a low influx of visitors to the resort. Contact us at Erna Low for any information on accommodation savings or any other December ski deals. We have built enduring relationships with the ski resorts dating back over 30 years and as such, we are best positioned to provide good value for money accommodation for your December ski holiday.
In addition to getting cheaper accommodation before the Christmas holidays kick in, the resorts also tend to be a lot less busy in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Taking into consideration how crowded it could be at peak times over the christmas period, early December would be an ideal time to visit the alps without the crowded slopes and long queues at the lifts.
If you are happy with what you have read so far about skiing in December, we are delighted to suggest a few resorts that could be worth considering for your ski retreat.
The Best places for skiing in December
Whether you are looking to get away early in December to enjoy some quiet time on the slopes or you may be looking to be part of the season's festivities, we have taken all these into consideration and more. Here are a few resorts that you should consider adding to your shortlist for visiting the alps in December.
What better place to start than in Europe's highest resort in Val Thorens. Sitting at an altitude of 2,300m Val Thorens ticks all the boxes as an ideal December ski resort. Its high altitude and very good snow record guarantees there will always be plenty of snow and its north facing slopes also guarantees that the snow on the slopes will keep in good condition;meaning all the early snow from October and November will form a good base for any December snow. So if the deciding factor on where to ski in December was fresh powder, then Val Thornes should be your best bet. With its slopes so high up, it is already covered in snow typically from late about late November.
As part of the Three Valleys, a ski area with over 600 km of pistes, there is more than enough ski area for anyone regardless of skill and ability level. If you plan on visiting, it might be worth booking your trip early to mid December to avoid the crowds and long queues.
The famed apres ski in Val Thorens also means that if you are visiting over christmas, you will be spending christmas in style. There is usually a line up of events in the resort in the days leading up to Christmas. If you are visiting as a family look out for the Magical Christmas week which tends to run from 21st December to up the 27th and features all kinds of activities including torchlight parades, live music and sets, children's entertainment and Father Christmas! There are also other traditional and cultural activities that happen across the village which visitors are welcomed to take part in if they want such as visiting the old church for a music concert a few days before christmas. The party does not stop in Val Thorens over christmas; with a well deserved reputation of being one of the liveliest apres ski resorts, you can very much still hit the set up terraces of the La Folie Douce and other party venues.
When the start of the ski season rolls around, Ischgl welcomes it with a massive free annual concert which has featured the likes of Rihanna, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie in the past, held in early December. Ischgl is very well known for its apres ski entertainment and in December the magic that christmas brings further accentuates the atmosphere in the resort. Ischgl also has one of the most attractive and most beautiful ski areas in Austria known as the ‘Silvretta Arena Ischgl-Samnaun’ which attracts skiers from across the world in December. A historically farming community, Ischgl still has the communal feel to it and visitors do not usually get that ‘packaged holiday’ feel at Ischgl especially in December.
Although the village sits at a modest 1,400m altitude, the pistes (the skiing actually happens) sit at up to 2,870m. There is usually a large dumping on snow on Iscghls pistes due to their high altitude and if there is ever a shortage, the resort has one of the worlds best snow making facilities.
Kitzbuhel is a truly picturesque resort and one of the most beautiful across Austria and France. For a quiet getaway to the alps, Kitzbuhel is the resort for yourself and your family, friends or travelling group. Visitors to the resort will find Kitzbuhel a lot less busy than other resorts in France; even for the off peak part of early December. Well renowned as a family friendly and family oriented resort, you may also plan to visit later in December and join in the christmas and new year festivities as this is when the resort truly comes to life.The little cobbled streets are full with christmas markets and twinkling lights and there's a gluhwein stand round every corner. It is particularly an amazing experience if you are visiting with the children, it is sure to be a memorable one for them. There is an annual visit from St Nicholas (Father Christmas), the Christmas carols are attended by all the locals in the town and you can enjoy your christmas dinner in an alpine ski chalet. There are non-ski attractions such as the Water World Aquarena and the Sportpark which also has games such as curing and ice skating.
Away from all the celebrations and festivities of the December season, Kitzbühel is also one of the best resorts in Austria to go skiing in December. Sitting at an altitude of 2,000m Kitzbuhel receives a very good amount of snowfall on its slopes and its north facing slopes help maintain lush snowy conditions on the ground. Just Ischgl, Kitzbuhel has excellent snowmaking facilities as well.
Sitting right in the heart of the Three Valleys, is Meribel. A picturesque yet large chalet-style resort. During its early days in the 1930’s direction of Colonel Peter Lindsay, the founder of Meribel, ensured by law that all buildings constructed must be in the traditional stone and wood savoyard style chalets. Fast forward years later and the outcome is pure beauty. The chalet-style architecture of the buildings is partially blanketed by the wooded trees against the background of the snowy mountains range; and in the month of December, when the Christmas lights come on and the decorations have been displayed all over the town, it looks straight out of a fairy tale. It is no wonder that Meribel was christened from the latin word ‘beautiful’. There are a host of free events over Christmas in Meribel. There is a night torchlit skiing event which attracts a lot of skiers. There is also an English carol service in the resort center and a visit from Father Christmas himself. Some of Meribels quality restaurants such as La Terrasse de Brasserie and Tsaretta host very large christmas menus and serve christmas dinners on reservation (these reservations are filled up very quickly so you will need to make them in advance). The Meribel village sits at 1,450m however the pistes rise up to 2,952m on the Mont du Vallon. With up to 600km of pistes, great snow record and an excellent ski lift system, Meribel is one of the best resorts to visit for your December ski retreat.
At the start of the ski season, one should be looking out for the resorts that promise the best snow at the time. As a result of the Grande Motte glacier above Tignes, the resort may open as early as late September.
Forming part of the L’Espace Killy with Val d'Isère, it can be argued that Tignes gets overlooked for its Val d’Isere as the latter is the more popular resort and has a much more visitors for the apres ski and others, however, when it comes down to skiing and being on those slopes in December, you cannot look further than Tignes. Sitting at 2,100m it is the highest resort in L’Espace Killy and has a fantastic snow record. It is a world renown high altitude ski resort that is also well known for its fantastic skiing conditions. It also has fantastic snow making equipment to supplement any shortages.
In early December on Tignes, the crowds may be calmer and it may be generally less busy on slopes and queues for the ski lifts. With a good number of the pistes generally better suited for intermediates and advanced skiers beginners do have a few gentle greens and open blues and a nursery slope to practise on.
If you are visiting with the kids, look out for the Father Christmas tour and his distribution of papillotes. The street decorations and Christmas lights of the streets and the Maison de Tignes with illuminations are quite simply stunning. There is also an amazing christmas eve event hosted in the village by the ESF ski school when they carry out a torchlight descent of the mountaineering which is followed by a theatrical parade in the village and lots of elaborate fireworks; an absolute favorite among young children.
Book your December Ski Holiday with Erna Low
With an established track record of success and wealth of experience in offering the very best skiing holidays, when it comes to booking your December ski retreat, look no further than Erna Low. We have built and sustained very good relationships with the ski resorts and operators going back over 50 years. We are perfectly positioned to provide you with the very best value for money ski holidays, accommodation, ski lessons and more.
We are always more than delighted to hear from you. Contact us now!