Where to ski – Great resorts to go to early in the season
There is a lot to consider when planning an early season ski trip. The main worry is always going to be the snow and the amount of terrain that is open for you to play on. Fortunately there are lots of options to choose from so that you can have great early season ski trip. Each year many members of our team head out for an early season trip, so we asked them for their recommendations.
Les Arcs – Will
If you’re looking for some early season snow, look no further than Les Arcs. The highest village is set at 2000m and with the Glacier within a couple of lifts there is plenty of guaranteed snow to keep you happy. Les Arcs has had a good start to the snowy season, and is all set to open in the next couple of weeks. With 200km of pistes just in Les Arcs there is plenty of terrain to keep your ski legs working! Prices for the early season are great, starting at around £399 for your flights, transfers and catered accommodation of 15th December, so why not log off the snowheads forum about what skis are best for carving a blue run and get your wallet out!
Courchevel – Marisa
Courchevel is an excellent choice for an early season ski holiday. With the top village, Courchevel (formerly Courchevel 1850) at 1750m, the only way is up! It’s consistent early snowfall has seen it as a favourite amongst those who like a great expanse of well maintained slopes and some of the best off piste in the Three Valleys. The snow has already started falling and the season is set to be as good if not better than last year. Even if the snow hasn’t fallen as thickly as it could, there are snow cannons covering the majority of pistes. There are some fantastic last minute deals to be had starting from as little as £399 it’s hard to find a reason not to get on the slopes.
Selva, Val Gardena – Adele
If you’re looking at going somewhere slightly different than the usual French resorts then why not try Selva, also known as Val Gardena to the Ski Sunday fans out there! This is part of the Dolomites ski area in Italy which is home to 500km of interconnecting slopes. The resort opens from 6th December this year which just proves how much snow they’re due to expect in the early stages of the season; if the snow’s a little late then not to worry as 90% of the area is covered by snow cannons so you’ll always have the best possible skiing conditions. Selva is particularly appealing to mixed ability groups or families due to its great range of runs for beginners, intermediates and experts. The transfer time is only 1 ¾ hours from Innsbruck which is relatively short in comparison to other resorts! So why not book your December trip now and enjoy this fantastic Italian snow sanctuary!
Verbier – Alex
Home to over 400kms of piste, some of the best lift served off-piste in Europe and a buzzing nightlife – Verbier has a reputation for being quite expensive but if you can get away before Christmas you can experience the best of this stunning resort for much less than a trip at the end of February! Verbier has great early season conditions with its glacier and often has excellent powder in the first week of December – queues are totally non-existent outside of the school holidays and tables at some of the best mountain restaurants in the Alps are easy to secure.
Perfect for advanced and intermediate skiers who want to test themselves on the infamous itineraries, you can also enjoy some equally infamous après ski at the Farinet bar and the Farm Club as well as the up and coming Le Rouge bar and restaurant.
Val d’Isere – Lucy P
Val d’Isere is a fantastic choice for your ski holiday if you’re looking to set off early in the season! The resort itself is set at the dizzying height of 1850 metres and with the Le Fornet glacier, snow is a guarantee! For those days when you would rather not hit the slopes the busy village centre has plenty to keep everyone amused. Tignes makes up the other half of the Espace Killy region and offers an equally huge selection of pistes for you to tackle. The resort’s picturesque, traditional architecture make it a fabulous place for a pre-Christmas trip – getting into the festive spirit whilst skiing in one of Europe’s best resorts.
Les 2 Alpes – Jim
If you’re looking for a early season trip with some friends a great place to go is Deux Apes. This is a resort where you can still go skiing in the middle of June so early December up at the glacier at 3288m so no problem with snow. With packages starting at £515.00 per person with buy one get one free lift passes this is a perfect place for a good value early season break. It’s world famous snow park is ready, even for the start of the season and is always very well maintained.
Obergurgl – Max
For early season skiing it is tough to beat Obergurgl’s combination of high altitude and quiet slopes. Set amongst the mountains of Austria’s highest district, heavy flurries typically kick in from November coating the entire landscape in a thick layer of sweet, sweet powder. Forget pathetic glaciers; Obergurgl is the real deal. With mile upon mile of pistes and Hochgurgl offering a more sheltered bowl should the weather close in; you can rest assured that at 3080m this resort will have some of the best December conditions going. Families in particular will value the small, intimate nature of the village and largely queue-free lifts.
Mayrhofen – Nick
You might think a resort situated at 630 metres is an odd choice for early season jaunt. However, the slopes above Mayrhofen are at a very respectable height and the towns low altitude mean they are relatively crowd free during the early part of the season. The whole valley ski pass covers a whopping 170 lifts and just features just under 650km of piste, with the Hintertux glacier situated at one end providing year round skiing then you realise this is a resort that means to be taken seriously when it comes to early season snow time.
Whether you are a young family on one of your first trips or a group of young adults looking for a party the resort somehow manages to keep you both happy. For some Tyrolean fun this December don’t ignore Mayrhofen.
Solden – Steve
If you want a low price early season winter break with guaranteed snow, then there is nowhere better than Solden in Austria with 150km of pistes and a short bus link to the excellent resort of Obergugl with a further 110km . At just a short transfer from Innsbruck, the slopes have been open since the 1st November this year with keen skiers hitting early season powder up on the Rettenbach and Tiefenbach Glacier with skiing up to 3250m. The resort will give you everything you want from low priced Tyroler huts to early evening après ski continuing into the early hours with affordable accommodation. Get yourself to Solden this year to make the most of early season snow and quiet pistes.
La Plagne – Claire
If it’s a great deal you’re looking for in the early season, La Plagne could well be the resort to choose. Fantastic, high altitude skiing, a glacier at 3417m with almost guaranteed snow, and villages located at up to 2100m to ensure good conditions right to your doorstep. Although the Vanoise Express link over to Les Arcs doesn’t open until 22nd December, there are over 220km of pistes just on the La Plagne side of the mountain, so for holidays departing before then there will still be more than enough to keep you busy. On 15th December prices start at just £339pp for a catered chalet with Gatwick flights and transfers included; you’ll be hard pushed to find a better deal anywhere else!
Whistler – Jonny
Always wanted to ski in North America – why not book an early season ski trip to Whistler? The resort is benefitting from some excellent early season snow with 40cm of fresh falling in the past week; the snow levels on the lower piste are already at 98cm. The resort opened on the 22nd November and there are some great last minute deals to be grabbed, so break the Europe mould and try something different this winter.
Tignes – Phil
If your last ski holiday seems like a distant memory, why not beat the crowds and get out for an early season trip? As one of Europe’s highest resorts, Tignes is one of the most snow-sure resorts, and most of the slopes are well above 2000m. The Grande Motte Glacier in Tignes is already in great shape, and has in fact been open since October. With just weeks to go until the main lifts open, grab a bargain today and treat yourself and a loved one to an early Christmas present.