skiing at christmas

Best Ski Resorts For Skiing at Christmas

Don’t be scared mountain lovers, skiing at Christmas doesn’t have to mean little snow, hectic crowds and kids running around. We’re here to change your perception and make sure skiing at Christmas can still be magical. So, weary riders, keep reading for the best ski resorts to visit during the festive season to ensure your nightmares become dreams of a white Christmas.

We know nothing quite sparks the start of the festive season than the hearing of the first snow falling in the mountains. Whilst, a regular person will start to plan all their Christmas parties, what to cook on the big day and what to get the mother so she smiles for once. The snow enthusiasts will be booking their days off work and finding the best location for early season riding. How about combining both?

Best Ski Resorts For Skiing at Christmas

Hear us out – a festive trip can be an incredible experience for the whole family, you can truly experience a white Christmas, as you walk through bustling snowy streets, take sleigh rides and maybe even a trip to see Santa Claus, if you’ve been good. Plus, there is always the added bonus of not having to cook your big Christmas feast or do the washing up. Sounds like a Christmas miracle to us! So take a read of our 10 best options for Christmas ski breaks, that are snowsure, well equipped for busy periods and put on festive entertainment to please all ages. And if you are still on the lookout for presents for your loved ones, make sure to check out our newest ski jackets and ski pants to bring on the trip!

Austria

Zell am See

kaprun zell am see

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Where:  State of Salzburg, Zell am See- Kaprun, Austria

Getting there: The closest and easiest airport is Salzburg and you can drive, get a bus or a scenic train straight to the village. 

Ski-Able Terrain: 138km

Elevation: 768 m – 3029 m

Zell Am See is ideal for Christmas skiing because of its dizzying elevation and snowsure pistes thanks to the Kitzsteinhorn Glacier. The town itself is of course incredibly picturesque, answering all your Christmas prayers, with one of the best Alpine festive markets you will come across and a magical atmosphere throughout the resort. Zell Am See is a vibrant resort anyway but around the 25th, it really comes to life. Make sure to save some energy for the apres-ski bars that will dance you into the festive spirit. 

Ridestore Recommends:

If the head is sore after the big day, switch the skis and take a walk on boxing day along the sparkling Lake Zell at the base of the town.

Mayrhofen

Mayrhofen

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Where: Mayrhofen- Hippach Holiday Region, Zillertal Valley, Tyrol, Austria 

Getting there: Fly into Innsbruck for quickest transfer either by car, coach or train in under 2 hours. 

Ski-Able Terrain: 142km 

Elevation: 630 and 2,500 m.

Mayrhofen is a top-class ski resort and possibly one of Austria’s most popular, known for its epic terrain and even more epic apres-ski scene. Although at Christmas, still expect the crowds and the party atmosphere but combined with a very traditional festive spirit. If you can tear yourself away from the slopes, you must make time to explore the village centre and immerse yourself in the market, sing along with the choir and listen to the brass band as you sip on gluhwein. 

Ridestore Recommends:

If the teenagers get bored of singing carols, there are 6 snow parks in resort to keep them occupied whilst you hit the bars.

Italy

Cortina d’Ampezzo

Cortina d’Ampezzo

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Where: Dolomites, Veneto, Itay 

Getting there: Venice 2.5hrs, Verona 3hrs

Ski-Able Terrain: 120km

Elevation: 1217 m – 2828 m

The Italians do Christmas well, from their traditionally Catholic practices to their dedication for all things focused around food and wine. Cortina embodies all the best parts of a traditional Christmas in Italy with an Alpine luxury twist. The architecture of the town is old and grand and very alpine chic, so oozes festive charm, but with added fairy lights brightening up the huts and a beautifully decorated tree adorning the main piazza. Whilst on the slopes, you will be part of the epic Dolomiti Superski area which feels like an unlimited amount of terrain to go after, which is the best present any rider will receive. 

Ridestore Recommends:

Traditionally Italy has their main Christmas meal on the 24th, so make sure to book yourself in for a lavish dinner the night before the big day.

Cervinia

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Where: Aosta Valley, Italy 

Getting there: Close to many of the major Italian airports such as Turin 1.5 hrs, Milan 2hrs and Geneva within 2 and half hours. 

Ski-Able Terrain: 322km 

Elevation: 1,562 and 3,899 m.

Under the guard of the majestic Matterhorn, Cervinia stands as the world-famous resort and Zermatt’s relaxed and reasonably priced sibling. Just like Zermatt, the snow is consistently epic to ensure your Christmas will be nothing but snowy and white. Down in the very pretty and chic town, the main street becomes a magical hub of festivities with street parties and concerts, to get you and the whole family involved. In true Italian style, there are many cosy bars with open fires for you to warm up and drink a full-bodied local red or an amaretto hot chocolate. 

Ridestore Recommends:

Attend mass with the whole village at the beautiful church at the end of the town for a special Christmas Eve service.

France

Megeve

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Where: Pays Du Mont Blanc, Haute- Savoie, France 

Getting there: Ideally located only 52.4km from Geneva so very easy to hire a car and be there with 1 hour or prebook one of the many transfer companies straight to resort. 

Ski-Able Terrain: 263km 

Elevation: 850 and 2,353 m

Megeve is in this list as one of the best resorts for at skiing at Christmas, because it is a truly magical resort that oozes traditional festive spirit but in a charming, classy and romantic way. This would be ideal for a couples Christmas getaway, as you can walk hand in hand down the sparkling cobbled streets which are picture-postcard any day of the year, but particularly at Christmas. There is an abundance of fine dining restaurants for you to choose from for the big day and you can guarantee there will not be any lumpy gravy and cold potatoes in sight! The Mont Blanc makes for an impressive backdrop to the hardcore skiing, across multiple mountains- you can really earn your glass of fine Savoy wine at dinner.

Ridestore Recommends:

Don’t just stand at the bottom of the piste and watch the Christmas Eve torch-lit descent, you can actually sign up and participate yourself!

Courchevel (1850)

Photo credit to chaletspacollection.com

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Where: Tarentaise, Rhones-Alpes, Savoie, Trois Vallees, France 

Getting there: Chambery is your nearest airport, but Geneva has the most international flights and only 2 and a half hours from the resort.

Ski-Able Terrain: 600km 

Elevation: 1100 m – 3230 m

Skiing at Christmas is always more expensive than any other point in the season and Courchevel 1850 will probably be one of your most expensive options. But if you are lucky to be able to afford it, or even if you stay further down the valley, it is a truly magical place during the festive period. The main part of town is glitzy, glamorous and sparkly with all its designer stores and plush chalets. There are horse-drawn carriages to explore the village and Santa can be seen during their Christmas Eve parade. Of course, once you have celebrated all you can, the slopes will provide endless entertainment with 600km of piste to tackle. 

Ridestore Recommends:

Head out onto the base of the lifts on the evening of the 25th for a torchlit descent and fireworks.

Val D’Isere

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Where: Tarentaise, Savoie, France

Getting there: Chambery is your nearest airport, but Geneva has the most international flights and only 2 and a half hours from the resort. You can get the train to Bourg Saint Maurice from most major cities in Europe and then get a short bus or taxi to resort. 

Ski-Able Terrain: 300km 

Elevation: 550 m – 3456 m 

If you and the family are heading to France for a Christmas trip, then Val D’isere will make all your Christmas wishes come true. The resort has a certain magic, with twinkling lights along the streets and an exciting atmosphere. They pedestrianise the street to make way for a big production with lots of music and shows, which will be entertaining for everyone and the whole resort gets involved. After all the festive fun, you can head back to the catered chalet for a big traditional Christmas dinner with wine flowing, without you having to lift a finger.

Ridestore Recommends: 

The apres bars such as Folie Douce and Cocoriccos will put on a big party on boxing day, so make sure to save some energy to have a dance on the tables. 

Switzerland

Zermatt

Zermatt

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Where: Lemanic Region, Valais, Switzerland

Getting there: The nearest airport is Geneva which is 230 km away (2 hours and 40 minutes away by road. By train, you’ll take about 3 hours and 50m minutes.

Ski-Able Terrain: 322km 

Elevation: 1,562 and 3,899 m

Zermatt is the ideal resort for Christmas skiing because it is one of the most snow-sure resorts in the Alps. You can reach epic heights and ski on the famous Theodul Glacier which basically provides year-round skiing. Down in resort, you will be immersed in a chocolate box, Christmas card haven, with snowy streets and traditional wooden Alpine chalets. The resort is already car-free with horse-drawn carriage being the typical mode of transportation, but this is of course extra festive at Christmas.

Ridestore Recommends:

Ski down into the neighbouring resort of Cervinia and experience some of the Italian Christmas spirit too.

Finland

Levi

levi

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Where: Lapland, Northern Finland 

Getting there: There is a small local airport Kittilä 15 mins drive away and there are daily flights to here from Helsinki 

Ski-Able Terrain: 38.4km 

Elevation: 206 and 531 m.

No destination could be more perfect for a Christmas ski trip, than Lapland, the home of Santa and his reindeer. Santa resides in a remote part of the Arctic Circle, where you bet on its snowsure conditions from October onwards. Levi is also one of Finlands largest and most vibrant resorts with plenty of terrain for the whole family. Off the mountain, as you can imagine there is an abundance of activities to get into the Christmas spirit, such as a visit to see the man himself and reindeer rides for the kids. It feels like it is always the festive season in Levi and so you can guarantee a Christmas miracle will take place here. 

Ridestore Recommends:

Make sure to look out for the Northern Lights or book a guided tour as a great present idea.

Wrapping Up

So, there we have it- convinced? Yes, we thought so! This sounds like it’s going to be a very merry Christmas after all. These top 10 resorts for skiing at Christmas, will ensure everyone from the kids to the grandparents will get into the festive spirit and enjoy the camaraderie and delight. If these resorts were not magical enough, they really come alive at Christmas and will get even the biggest of Grinches to feel warm and fuzzy inside. Plus Santa can give you the best gift of them all, being able to ride fresh, fluffy white powder on Christmas day. 

Best Ski Resorts For Skiing at Christmas

PS

Hey Riders, note from your gal Angelica here. All information was correct at the time of writing through research and extensive knowledge and experience. However, things change during different periods in the season and some websites offer out of date information and links may change.

Maybe you have some better information to offer or any addendum or changes to make, in which case, feel free to email me on angelica@ridestore.com, and we can consider adding them in! Let me know. . .

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