Skiing at Christmas time in Europe

Christmas is a special time for many people around the world and the thought of spending the festive period, surrounded by snow, in cosy wooden chalets is a dream for many. For some Christmas is about spending time with the family, whilst for others, it’s about getting away and having some fun. Ski holidays can cater for both scenarios and there are an abundance of destinations to choose from, to suit everyone’s needs.

Finnish Christmas Tree and lights in snow

The skiing season in Europe really kicks off during the Christmas week. In 2010, Christmas day falls on a Saturday which does cause issues as it is the most common day to travel to and from the resorts. But the great thing about this is that, if you arrive on the 25th December, you will get straight into the Christmas mood that night and it will leave Boxing Day for the skiing. If you are there the week before and leave on the 25th, then you get the big Christmas Eve celebrations as your departing gift.

This is a busy time of the ski season and hotels, chalets and apartments do get booked up quickly. Saying that, this year there should be plenty of late bargains to be had if you’re prepared to take the risk.

The atmosphere at this time of the year is fantastic and you cannot escape the party fever that is going on in all the bars and clubs in the big resorts. There are also opportunities to get away from the hustle and bustle in some of the smaller, quieter resorts if that’s what you are looking for.

Although the resorts are busy at Christmas time you can often find the slopes are not too crowded, especially in the mornings when families and party goers are taking their time getting up. Make use of the early morning quietness, there is nothing better than blasting down empty ski runs first thing on boxing day.

Skiing at Christmas time is a special treat and one that you can enjoy as a single person, group of good friends, couple or family. If you have the funds to take over a complete chalet then you can enjoy an intimate Christmas with friends or family. Otherwise, just spend some time with people you have never met and you might make new best friends!

The great things about skiing at Christmas time:

1.    Festive atmosphere in the resort
2.    ‘Guaranteed’ White Christmas
3.    Special memories of a special Christmas
4.    Get away from the commercial side of Christmas at home
5.    Meet new friends

The ‘negative’* things about skiing at Christmas time:

1.    Skiing holidays tend to be more expensive
2.    Resorts can be more crowded (Better night life!)
3.    Snow conditions on the mountain might not be as good as Feb/March (But they might be better!)
4.    It gets dark at around 5pm (More Vin Chaud required!)
5.    You might eat and drink too much and skiing ability drops!

*Skiing at anytime of year really can’t be negative!

Here are some suggestions for some ski resorts, in Europe ,that will suit different needs at Christmas time:

Murren, Switzerland:
Great for families and traditional Alpine charm

Morzine, France:
A great combination for families, party goers and active skiers alike

Ischgl, Austria:
Treat yourself in this chic and pretty haven renowned for great skiing and party atmosphere

La Grave, France:
Get away from Christmas altogether and hide in this small resort with a wild mountain (expert skiers only)

Scottish Highlands:
Rent a house in the Highlands and join the Royal Family for a traditional Christmas with a bit skiing thrown in (Snow conditions permitting!)

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Robert Stewart

Ski Editor at Snow.Guide

Rob has extensive knowledge and experience of winter sports and has been qualified to instruct and teach Alpine Skiing for over 25 years. He is also an experienced off-piste and backcountry skier and has competed in freestyle and freeride events around the world. Now a full-time ski writer and Director of Ski Press, Rob is Snow.Guide’s Ski Editor and contributes to many other snowsports, national and lifestyle publications.

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3 thoughts on “Skiing at Christmas time in Europe”

  1. I went to Seefeld a couple of seasons ago for Christmas/New Year. I completely agree about the atmosphere in and around the resort and the skiing either side of the 25th and 1st was just fantastic.

    The fireworks display to bring in the New Year was one of the best I’ve seen. All the hotels had their own displays with the slopes lit up in the background!

    It’s a great time to go skiing!

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