Seven of the best skiing breaks for (and before) Christmas

If you are planning to go skiing over Christmas, then the best advice is to get organised now to ensure you secure the resort and dates of your choice. However, with many resorts opening early in December don’t forget there are at least two great-value weeks before Christmas week kicks in. A pre-Christmas skiing holiday offers the perfect opportunity to tie in a spot of shopping amidst the sights, sounds and smells of the festive period. Here are seven of the best skiing holidays, whether you want to combine your skiing with Christmas Markets, a spot of shopping or family time during Christmas week.


1.            Advent in Austria

The Austrian Tirol doesn’t have to work very hard to create that festive atmosphere. As soon as the snow starts falling the pretty villages are transformed into picture-perfect scenes taken straight from the front of a Christmas card. Spend a week in Obergurgl, a resort blessed with a high-alpine location and ensuring a season long blanket of white gold from November through to May. The resorts of Obergurgl-Hochgugl offer perfect conditions thanks to their 110km of slopes, comfortable intermediate skiing, door-to-door skiing and ultra-modern lift system. Amidst the snow-capped mountains, spend a night in Innsbruck and enjoy one of the most magical Christmas Markets in Europe. The city stages a total of five Christmas Markets each with a different take and unique appeal, from the traditional beneath the Golden Roof to the contemporary along Maria-Theresien Strasse.  


2.            Ski and Shop in New England

 Combining skiing in Stowe and shopping in Boston with 5* luxury is a sure way to succumb to that fuzzy festive feeling. Renowned as having the best skiing east of the Rockies, the resort of Stowe mixes New England country ambience and hospitality, with plenty of skiing and boarding to inspire everyone from beginner to expert. Stay five nights at the 5* Stowe Mountain Lodge, mixing high end luxury with an affection nod to “Vermont-Alpine” style. With two nights in Boston, take time to explore the so-called ‘walking city’, illuminated by Christmas lights and decorations. Home to over a hundred shops, head to Quincy Market and the Faneuil Hall Marketplace or discover the stores at The Prudential Center, and add a bit of sightseeing to the mix with a visit up the Skywalk Observatory.  Some of the best bargains can be found at the factory stores, such as the Manchester Designer Outlet. Once you are skied and shopped out, the contemporary Nine Zero Hotel is the perfect haven to relax before heading home.


3.            Peace on the Piste in Norway

If you really want to get away from it all then a festive escape to Trysil, Norway. Skiing in Trysil feels like a breath of fresh air, with crowd-free slopes, no lift queues and an excellent ski school with English speaking instructors. There’s a superb range of ski-in ski-out hotel, cabin and apartment options and a variety of terrain with spectacular views. Not only does Norway offer some great skiing but you’re treated to a serene setting for dreamy winter walks, horse-drawn sleigh rides, husky dog sledding and other winter activities. Trysil’s close the cosmopolitan capital Oslo. Explore the Open-Air Museum, choral concerts, folk dancing and even Santa’s workshops.


4.            Sparkling Sweden for Families

Put the magic and sparkle back into family yuletide, by guaranteeing a White Christmas of fun in the snow in Sweden’s world-class ski resort, Åre. So different from any other European skiing experience, this wonderful all-round family resort enjoys snow-sure slopes from early December and has a range of festive events going on. Supported by the excellent skiing instructors, children will progress soundly on the network of wide, welcoming and crowd-free slopes. Where this resort triumphs for families is with its off the slopes offering, from the usual activities like snowmobiling and tobogganing to ice-driving, zip-lining, snow-kiting and even moose kissing! Click here for a glimpse of Åre during the festive period.



5.            Swiss Bliss for a Family Christmas

Christmas in Villars offers a refreshing alternative to the better known Swiss ski areas, with fantastic views towards Mont Blanc and the impressive jagged peaks of the ‘Dents du Midi’. Villars is a magical spot to spend that special family holiday, with a short transfer from Geneva airport, plenty of ski-in, ski out accommodation and child offers, including free ski passes for under 9s all season. There’s gentle learning ground around the main ski area of Bretaye for beginners, whilst intermediates can stretch their legs on the expanse of well-groomed blue and red slopes on offer.  To maximise winter fun there are a host of non-ski activities that all the family can enjoy.



6.            Joie de Vivre on Canada’s East Coast

 A pre-Christmas holiday to Canada’s East Coast gives the best of both worlds, with skiing in Tremblant coupled with Christmas shopping in Montreal.  With a relatively short flight time of less than seven hours, followed by a swift transfer to resort and you can be on the slopes in no time. In the heart of the Laurentian Mountains, spend 4 nights in Tremblant exploring the perfectly groomed slopes, the compact and colourful town centre as well as the diverse range of off-the slope activities. Away from the mountains enjoy multicultural Montréal, which hosts a variety of Christmas-themed events, from special museum exhibits to carols, theatre and Christmas Market.


7.            Icelandic Magic and Colorado Sparkle

 Enhance your festive skiing holiday to North America by adding a city break and enjoy the magic of Christmas-time in Iceland. Reykjavik honours Icelandic folklore in this year’s ‘Christmas Creatures’ theme with concerts, markets, crafts and events taking place around the city. The city is like no other with a strong emphasis on the natural beauty and unique scenery, with its geysers, volcanoes, mighty waterfalls, glaciers, boiling mud pools and the Northern Lights. Over in Colorado and three hours from Denver airport is Copper Mountain, one of Colorado’s most modern and affordable resorts, following Intrawest’s investment and development. A favourite with the locals, Copper has an excellent snow record, superb terrain for all levels from easy cruisers to steeps and backcountry skiing on the wide open bowls. 

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