Where are the best ski resorts to spend Christmas? With a guaranteed white Christmas, skiing is magical during the festive period. You can spend all day in the snow before cosying up by a blazing fire with a glass of red or hot chocolate. These ski resorts have twinkling trees, children can meet Santa and you can sing-along at après in town or in church. Whether it’s the least crowded ski resorts at Christmas or lively festive fun, we have the best destinations. Here are the best ski resorts for Christmas.
Les Gets, France
One of the best child-friendly ski resorts, Les Gets pulls out all the stops at Christmas. Turning into a snowy winter wonderland, it’s one of the best ski resorts for Christmas. Children love the guided tours of the enchanted forest where Father Christmas lives with his elves. Here he tells magical stories and children can join in elf workshops that include face painting and chocolate making.
Father Christmas is often spotted skiing around the village, so children should always be on the lookout. On Christmas Eve in Les Gets there is a torchlit ski descent with fireworks that is a great spectacle for the whole family. As you walk around town, see how many intricately carved ice sculptures you can spot – another highlight for the kids.
Zell am See, Austria
Lit up like a nativity play, Zell am See is alive with Christmas festivity. Running from the end of November, the Zell am See Christmas market is laden with woodwork made by local craftsmen, baked Austrian sweets and plenty of Glühwein. Surrounded by towering mountains, you can burn off the mince pies skiing the 138km of slopes, Nordic skiing or ice skating. Parents can leave the oven gloves at home and relish a stress-free Christmas meal at one of the fabulous restaurants.
Situated by Lake Zell, you can walk around the lake provides an alternative to skiing after your indulgent Christmas meal. You don’t want to miss the lowering of the Christmas tree into the lake on Christmas Day. As a result, you can watch the divers from the Water Rescue Association then retrieve them together. As they dive in, a torch-lit circle is made to festive music as the tree is brought to the shore.
The glamorous French ski resort of Megève looks like a Christmas card. The ice sculpted nativity set, Christmas lights illuminating the streets and the jingle from horse-drawn sleighs add to the charm. The village was built around a medieval church, where there is an enormous Christmas tree adorned with Swarovski crystals. Even Father Christmas makes an appearance as he knows it has the best Christmas skiing!
Megève has particularly scenic ski runs past wooden chalets and cosy mountain restaurants. Non-skiers can peruse the boutique shops, indulge in a spa treatment or learn how to pirouette stylishly across the ice-skating rink. Renowned for its fine dining, choose from over 80 restaurants for your Christmas meal – and make sure you’ve booked it in advance. It’s also one of the least crowded ski resorts at Christmas.
If there’s one thing our friends over the pond do well, it’s Christmas. For those who find it charming rather than overwhelming, Aspen ski resort in North America becomes a chic winter wonderland. Wreaths with red ribbons hang from lampposts, lights twinkle in the trees and boutique windows show off their festivity.
Why not ice skate across the outdoor rink before a warming hot chocolate or mulled wine? Those travelling with children can take a sleigh ride or try gingerbread house design and cookie decorating together. This should be followed by a trip to Santa’s Village for some carol singing. It’s one of the least crowded ski resorts at Christmas.
Les Arcs, France
As one of the higher resorts in the French Alps, Les Arcs is a snow-sure choice for Christmas in the Alps. On Christmas Eve, the torchlight descent and firework display see crowds of cheering spectators warming their hands on a cup of vin chaud. Wake up on Christmas Day to a white Christmas and a day on the slopes in Europe’s third largest ski area.
The Christmas Village is where Father Christmas and his elves are diligently working away over the holidays. Get your kids into the festive spirit with hot chocolate laden with marshmallows while they meet Santa and get a quick photo!
Those with Wham’s Last Christmas video on repeat every year will recognise Saas-Fee as the ski resort. You’ll notice the magical town has retained its Christmas sparkle. While the hairstyles, skiwear and gondolas have thankfully been upgraded and modernized, you can still organise a ski holiday here with your friends and family.
This car-free chocolate box village has plenty of charming chalets and hotels to spend Christmas in the Alps at. The glacier provides great skiing conditions, followed by a lively après-ski scene at Nestis Ski Bar and Poison. Don’t miss the carol singing accompanied by a brass band in the run-up to Christmas.
Val d’Isère, France
A favourite with families and groups, Val-d’Isère is particularly popular over Christmas and New Year. Enchanted Christmas runs from the 23rd to 29th December and includes giant snow sculptures, fun family-friendly activities, live shows and a visit from Santa himself. Walkthrough the lit-up town centre enjoying the magical Christmas feel.
If you’re there on Christmas Day itself, be sure to catch the French National Ski School’s Christmas Spectacular, complete with a stunning fireworks display. Even the most stubborn of Scrooge’s will find themselves feeling festive! As the Tignes-Val d’Isère ski area has two glaciers, you can expect snow sure Christmas skiing.
Val Gardena, Italy
Nothing spells out Christmas more than the open-armed Italian hospitality and plenty of festive cheer. Val Gardena is part of the Sella Ronda circuit and is made up of charming wooden chalets blanketed in snow. Dubbed the Christmas Valley in the Dolomites, Val Gardena’s Christmas market runs between 1st-30th December.
Peruse the stalls for delicate baubles, crafted wooden carvings and gastronomic specialities, all making fantastic presents. You can’t turn down a sugary treat as the wafts of sweet, spicy Christmas baking linger, we recommend the local honey and biscuits with a warm glass of mulled wine. Val Gardena has to be one of the best ski resorts for Christmas.
St. Anton, Austria
Kicking off the Christmas traditions with Krampus – where locals dress up and parade in 100-year-old devil costumes – celebrate the traditional Austrian way in St. Anton. Peruse the markets to the sound of Christmas songs and with a glühwein in hand. Trinkets from the markets make perfect little gifts for your family, and children will love having a white Christmas.
Welcome, Christmas and the New Year at the infamous MooserWirt and Krazy Kanguruh après-ski bars with a couple of steins and live music. Don’t miss the Arlberg ski school’s show with impressive jumps and stunts as well as an encapsulating firework display.
Alpe d’Huez, France
Our final recommendation for the best ski resorts to spend Christmas in is Alpe d’Huez. The celebrations start at the beginning of December. You can catch the Christmas lights being turned on amid carols, hot chocolate and vin chaud. At an altitude of 1,860m, the resorts 250km of slopes offer great skiing for learners, intermediates and advanced skiers.
Even though the resort is snow-sure, snow cannons keep the south-facing slopes topped up with fresh snow when the suns out. Over the holidays, you can expect a busy programme of events in Alpe d’Huez such as Christmas walks, ice shows and Christmas carols.
To find out more about the best ski resorts for Christmas, start your ski holiday search online or speak to one of our ski experts on 0207 471 7700.