If your summer is spent counting down the days until you are back in the mountains, then we know that as soon as the season starts in December you will want to waste no time in getting yourself to the slopes. That’s why we have put together a handy guide outlining the best places to ski in December, which offer the finest early season snow, alongside all of the festivities that will be taking place in resort.
The mountains are a magical place to spend Christmas or New Year – there is nothing quite like an early ski on Christmas morning, or New Year’s Eve spent cosied up watching the fireworks. Read on to find out more about our experts’ top picks for where to ski in December.
If you are looking to take advantage of the school holidays and ski in December, then the family-friendly resort of Kitzbuhel will be the perfect option. The festive period is when this ski town comes to life, its car-free streets filled with twinkling lights and Christmas markets selling decorations, roasted almonds and glühwein. Highlights include the annual visit from St. Nicholas himself, and the festive carol services, attended by the whole town. Feast on hearty mountain fayre in traditional Alpine huts, many of which will serve up traditional local dishes such as Tiroler Gröstl (roast potatoes with bacon, onion and egg). Not only is Kitzbuhel a haven for Alpine festivities, it is also one of the best places to ski in December, with its north-facing slopes welcoming plenty of snow as early as October most years, plus a skiable high-altitude glacier that is usually the first to open in Austria. What’s more, Kitzbuhel have invested in excellent snowmaking facilities to offer top ups when needed, so skiers are covered whatever the weather.
Stay at: The family-run Sporthotel Austria for a central location, wonderful sun terrace and spa facilities.
If your priority for where to ski in December is plenty of fresh powder, then look no further than Europe’s highest ski resort, Val Thorens, standing tall at an impressive 2,300m, with the highest slopes reaching all the way up to 3,230m. These high-altitude slopes are typically covered in snow from late November until May, making skiing in early December a prime time to visit and take advantage of the first big dumpings. The resort is so confident in its snow record, that it even offers a unique ‘Snow Guarantee’, which assures skiers they can book without worrying about snow cover. Skiers will be spoiled for choice when head up the mountain, with the whole Three Valleys ski area available to explore, spanning some 600km of terrain. This makes Val Thorens not only one of the best places to go skiing in December, but arguably all season long, with masses of pistes and backcountry terrain to entertain skiers of all abilities.
Stay at: Hotel Koh-I Nor, one of our favourite luxury hotels made up of 63 rooms and three wonderful restaurants.
This cosy Italian ski town is one of the best places to ski in December if you are looking for the ultimate, traditional Alpine festive experience. The main square in Cortina is adorned with a towering sparkly tree, whilst the surrounding streets are filled with horse-drawn carriages, wooden market stalls selling handmade toys, and fairy-lit bars serving welcome plates of hearty mountain delicacies. The whole experience is made even more magical by the backdrop of the Dolomite mountains, where iconic jagged peaks define the landscape and make for some incredible sunsets as the rock turns bright pink and is lit up for the whole town to admire. When it comes to an early morning ski on Christmas day, you can make your way up to nearly 3,000m to enjoy high-altitude, snow-sure skiing across a choice of wide-open pistes. Why not try the exhilarating 3.7 mile long descent towards Armentarola on the Alta Badia circuit, which is best finished with a relaxing espresso or aperitif in a cosy mountain hut.
Stay at: Hotel Ambra Cortina, a traditional historic hotel within easy distance of the lifts.
Verbier is one of the best places to go skiing in December if you are looking for a resort that combines high-altitude skiing with one of the most renowned Swiss ski towns in the world. Its gourmet dining scene and infamous parties guarantee to bring in each New Year in style. Every year as the clock counts down to midnight, Place Centrale come to life with DJs, fireworks and plenty of champagne showers, which can be enjoyed from either the streets or the comfort of your chalet or hotel. Take your pick from a choice of exclusive properties, including the W Hotel, Sir Richard Branson’s own ski chalet or one of the luxurious ski-in ski-out apartments that are dotted around the Medran. December is undoubtedly one of Verbier’s most popular and iconic months of the season, and it won’t take long to understand why once you experience the magical festive atmosphere that welcomes families, groups and couples alike.
Stay at: W Hotel Verbier, perfectly situated for easy access to the slopes and offering a host of five-star amenities.
If you are wondering where to ski in December on a holiday with the whole family in tow, then Morzine might be the ideal resort for you. Situated just 90 minutes from the airport, the resort’s short transfer time makes it an ever-popular choice for families and groups who are looking for hassle-free travel and easy access to the snow. Morzine puts on a show for its December visitors, with firework displays, Santa visits and carol singers all going on in the twinkling town, as well as plenty of blissful tree-lined slopes offering sheltered routes that gather up plenty of early season snow. Skiers can have their fill of the epic Portes du Soleil ski area, which serves up 600km of terrain – enough to keep you busy in between stop-offs at cosy mountain slopeside huts for cheese fondue and vin chaud. As one of the best places to go skiing in December for families, Morzine can offer a huge choice of accommodation to suit all budgets and preferences, ranging from convenient self-catered apartments to the most opulent of hotels.
Stay at: Chalet Matine Apartments, which sit on the side of the piste and offer well-equipped kitchens for guests who would prefer to self-cater.
To find our more about the best place to ski in December, please call our ski experts or click here