Val Thorens, Europe’s highest ski resort, officially opened last weekend. Snow has been falling in droves for the past couple of weeks. And skiers and boarders are eagerly preparing for their holiday. It definitely looks like winter has arrived.
From exciting early season festivals, to being the first to lay tracks on the mountains and avoiding the hectic Christmas rush back home, there are many reasons to enjoy an early season ski holiday. These are just a few of our favourite destinations that we head to for our fix of early season snow.
Les Deux Alpes, France
Les Deux Alpes is one of the liveliest resorts in the Alps, and the party is at its peak in the lead up to Christmas. The highlight is Rise, one of the most exciting electronic dance music festivals on the mountain. The festival takes place this year from the 16 – 23 December with music performances in massive outdoor arenas, and secret, invite-only parties in the mountains.
The glacier in Les Deux Alpes remains skiable throughout the year, meaning it’s a great choice for somewhere to make sure you see snow during your ski holiday.
The high-altitude ski resort of Zermatt is an excellent choice for an early season ski holiday. The resort has an excellent snow-record, with pistes extending above 3,000m and glacier skiing. Recent snowfall in Zermatt turned the town into a winter wonderland – it’s a fantastic place to see snow in December.
Zermatt is renowned for the quality of its gourmet experiences. There are no fewer than four Michelin starred restaurants in the village. So if you’re a skier who loves their food then you should definitely head to Zermatt this winter.
One of the “joys” of visiting Austria in the lead-up to Christmas is witnessing the frightening Krampus tradition. Essentially a horned, evil version of Father Christmas who punishes naughty children, the Krampus is a terrifying figure from Austrian folklore.
On the 5 December in Ischgl, this mythical character will be celebrated in style. The 16th Ischgl Krampus run features 50 people dressed in terrifying wooden masks trekking through the village, before putting on a show at near the Silvrettabahn lift.
Whistler’s official opening weekend begins on Thursday, with plenty of events, live music, food and drink. This iconic resort in Canada has a reliable snow record and is a reliable destination for an early season ski holiday.
Whistler is consistently recognised as the number one all-round ski resort in North America. With zip-wiring, dog sledding, snowmobiling and many more activities it is a great choice for an active winter holiday.
Val d’Isere, France
Val d’Isere also has its official opening this Saturday 25 November. The Espace Killy is a fantastic destination for an early ski season holiday. On 9-17 December, there will be an air of excitement and anticipation in Val d’Isere. The Ski World Cup descends on the ski resort and famous athletes tackle the infamous Face run.
In early December, Val d’Isere and neighbouring Tignes are also a popular with students looking to take advantage of cheaper rates in a world-class, high altitude ski resort. The area is busy with lively après-goers frequenting the resorts popular and iconic bars, such as the Folie Douce.