Winter is around the corner and you may be thinking of taking a winter ski break before the Christmas festivities. It’s a great time to travel as prices tend to be low at this time of year, but it’s important to make the right choice of resort – you could be wasting your money if you find yourself without snow! When travelling early in the season the main things to look out for are high altitude, whether the resort has a glacier, and also the provision for snow-making. To help you on your way, here are some resorts, renowned for their snow assuredness for pre-Christmas travel:
Les Deux Alpes – France
Snow-sure Les Deux Alpes has a top altitude of 3600m with over 220km of pistes, and is one of the most famous resorts in Europe. A big advantage to Les Deux Alpes is its glacier, but additionally is the fact that there are many easier pistes located on the glacier area, so if you are a beginner skier, this could be the resort for you. Off the slopes après-ski is plentiful, with much to do in resort including many restaurants, bars, an ice-skating rink, outdoor and indoor pools, and night skiing.
Alpe D’Huez – France
The glacial resort of Alpe D’Huez has an excellent snow record and offers high altitude skiing to 3330m. Alpe D’Huez is a sought after favourite and renowned for its excellent skiing for the range of abilities. To go with its great snow record, Alpe D’Huez also boasts 300 days of sunshine a year. Off the slopes après-ski is plentiful, with an ice-skating rink, outdoor and indoor pools, discos and night skiing.
Zell-am-See – Kaprun – Austria
The ski season in Zell am See-Kaprun extends for ten months of the year, running from early autumn into summer with the Kitzsteinhorn glacier. The highest lift in the area is 3029 metres and the slopes are diverse covering 138km of pistes with a wide range of skiing for all abilities. This is a great choice if you are intermediate or advanced skier as there are many challenging slopes on the Kitzsteinhorn glacier. Make sure you book a lift pass that covers you for the full Zell am See-Kaprun area.
Obertauern – Austria
Although Obertauern doesn’t have a glacier, it is one of Austria’s highest resorts. Its location close to the top of the Radstädter Tauern Pass and top altitude of 2313m means that it benefits from the most snow in Salzburgerland. The resort is renowned for having an excellent snow record and the season in Obertauern starts in November and continues until May. Skiing is varied with over 100km to explore – there are a range of reds for intermediates and some great nursery slopes for novices.
Claviere – Milky Way – Italy
Claviere is a resort renowned for its great snow coverage, and has a good top altitude of 2823m. The resort is on the border with France and connects to the Milky Way ski region. There are plenty of high runs and slopes are usually quiet with short lift queues. This is an excellent choice for families and school groups that are able to get away prior to Christmas. If you are a teacher thinking of taking a school group around this time of year, you could view more information from companies that go to this destination such as Select School Skiing. Claviere has many tree-lined pistes and is a great choice for beginners and intermediates. The French village of Montgenevre neighbours Claviere and is easily reached.
Sunday River – USA
Sunday River is in Maine and its snow-making system is legendary (the most powerful in the world!). The resort opens yearly as early as they can – sometimes even as soon as October, making it a superb choice for early season skiing. It is one of the largest ski areas in New England and there are eight connected mountain peaks, an impressive 870 acres of terrain and 97 trails. It is well balanced for all abilities with around a third of trails suitable for beginners, intermediates and experts respectively.
Lake Louise – Canada
Part of the Big 3, Lake Louise is located in the west of Canada. Lake Louise has stunning scenery being in a national park of the Canadian Rocky Mountains – you may even see roaming elk! The resort has enviable record snowfalls making it a reliable choice for early on in the ski season. The ski schools are renowned for being super friendly and all abilities are extremely well catered for with gentle slopes for beginners, a huge variety for intermediates and the challenging infamous Back-Bowls for advanced skiers. If you are a group of mixed-ability skiers travelling pre-Christmas and are looking for something different to what Europe offers, then Lake Louise could definitely be the place for you.
Why not see if you can pick up a late deal to one of these top resorts for early season skiing, or plan ahead for the 2016/17 ski season and get your first choice of these top pre-Christmas resorts!