A Christmas Ski Holidays is perfect for those wanting to make 2016’s celebration extra special and memorable.
There’s nothing better than waking up on Christmas morning surrounded by breathtaking mountains and fresh snow. Christmas also marks the beginning of the ski season, so it’s an excellent time to get out on the slopes. This season’s early snow falls also mean that you can book with confidence as many experts predict the best beginning to a season for a decade!
If you’ve never been on Christmas ski holiday organizing a trip can be daunting – how do you pack presents? Which resorts are best for children? We’ve put together this guide which will help you book the best Christmas break ever!
Step 1: Choosing a Resort
Choosing where to go is the most important step, once you have a location and accommodation booked, your other plans should fall into place. Below you’ll find our Top 3 recommended resorts for a Christmas ski holiday.
Avoriaz is the perfect Christmas destination for families. This purpose-built resort has recently benefitted from massive investment, so facilities are modern and suited to all ages. You can choose to stay in contemporary apartments or more traditional hotels. During Christmas the village is decorated and provide a choice of seasonal activities for all ages – enjoy a spin on the ice rink and don’t forget to visit Santa.
Families with young children will appreciate the facilities in this location which include a ski school, nursery and crèche. The resort is also very safe as it is completely car free; you can get around the villages using your skis or by hopping on a horse drawn sleigh. All accommodation in Avoriaz benefits from Ski-in/Ski-out access to the massive Portes du Soleil area too.
Skiers and snowboarders of all abilities will enjoy this resort – there are 650 km of ski runs in the area, all suited to different abilities. The ski areas are split into 4 sections; so beginners, families and experts are all catered for.
Belle Plagne, France
Belle Plagne is an excellent choice for those looking for a modern, family-friendly option this Christmas. The resort sits at 2000m, so it’s perfect for those looking for guaranteed snow and a wide choice of self-catered accommodation. This resort is renowned for being one of the most attractive high altitude villages in La Plagne; the traditional Savoyard atmosphere will put you in the Christmas mood straight away! The ski resort benefits from lots of modern facilities and ‘après-ski’activities.
Set at high altitude, Belle Plagne is an excellent choice for snow-sure early season skiing. With an extensive selection of self-catered apartments and hotels available it easy to find the perfect Christmas trip to fit any budget. When you’re not on the slopes but still feeling adventurous try paragliding or heading out on a snowmobile.
Skiers and snowboarders will love the doorstep skiing here, it’s location helps provide the best snow conditions. Skiers of all abilities will enjoy the various ski areas and many kilometres of ski runs. There are plenty of easy blue runs for beginners of all ages, and more experienced skiers will enjoy challenging skiing on Roche de Mio. Getting around this resort is also easy thanks to its extensive lift system.
Val Thorens, France
Val Thorens is the highest and one of the most popular ski resorts in Europe. It’s the perfect destination for families looking for a Christmas ski holiday destination and provides options for all budgets. Val Thorens is famous as it is part of the largest ski area in the world: The 3 Valleys – it’s also surrounded by some impressive glaciers so you can guarantee great snow conditions.
Val Thorens has lots of facilities including two shopping centres, many bars and over fifty restaurants! It’s an entirely car-free resort, so it’s safe and has a relaxed, atmosphere. The village looks stunning during the Christmas season so why not enjoy a sleigh ride and enjoy a traditional waffle while doing this.
Skiers and snowboarders of all abilities will love this resort – it’s full of green and blue runs many of which pass through beautiful scenery. More advanced skiers can enjoy the range of red and black runs, there are also some great off-piste areas too. There are more than 600km of slopes in the area, so won’t get bored here.
Step 2: Travel Options
There are many ways to travel to a ski holiday in Europe. You can choose to drive, take the train or fly.
How you decide to travel is dependent on the location you wish to visit. If you opt to go to France, you have the option to self-drive, fly, or you can take the train.
Go by Car
Taking your own car can be the best way to ensure you can take your own decorations, lots of presents and you have the option to stop at a supermarket on route to pick up those essentials.
Take the Train
Train travel is a highly popular choice and every year more and more skiers choose this option when going to the Alps.
If you opt to travel by train, you can avoid hefty airline baggage charges and can arrive relaxed and well rested. Not all locations are reachable via train, for more information read more on our train travel page.
Choose to Fly
You can book flights to ski destinations across Europe with most budget airlines. Flights are perfect for those looking for quick travel options. Erna Low provides low-cost flights to destinations in Europe and BA flights to the US and Canada – head to our flight’s information page to learn more.
Step 3: What to Pack
If this is your first Christmas holiday you may be worried about missing out on family traditions because you’re not at home – but you don’t have to! We recommend you create a packing checklist – this will help ensure you don’t miss anything essential.
We’ve created a Christmas Ski Trip Packing Checklist which you can download and print. It’s perfect for the whole family and will help reduce stress levels!
If you decide to cook your own Christmas meal, just remember that not all apartments will have an oven big enough to cook a whole turkey. We would recommend “escalopes de dinde” which are turkey escalopes which will be readily available in French supermarkets.
If you prefer a particular brand of alcohol or food – you might want to pack this before you leave. Most modern French supermarkets now stock a wide selection of brands and options, but you might not find those British favourites like After Eight chocolates.
Most ski resorts are decorated during the Christmas months, but to add that special feel to your chalet you may want to pack some small decorations which remind you of home. Wrap delicate decorations in soft, woolly jumpers to avoid breakage and to save on space.