Last updated in September 2019
Skiing over Christmas and New Year can be one of the best times to take to the slopes.
If you’ve never been over the festive period or would like to try something different this New Year, here’s what you can expect, along with some ideas for the best places to soak up the winter wonderland experience.
Things to consider
Christmas is a special experience for UK skiers and boarders as, for most of us, it’ll be the only true white Christmas we’re likely to experience. Ski resorts are buzzing in the build up to Christmas week and many resorts organise lots of special events. Many hotels have Christmas gala dinners, bars host lively parties throughout the holidays and the ski instructors don fancy dress to take their ski lessons.
In many Alpine locations, thousands of snow-covered pine trees help to make resorts a picture-perfect backdrop for festive photos, along with the Christmas markets, torchlight descents and other events taking place. You’ll also find resorts go crazy with decorations, meaning you won’t miss out on your fair share of fairy lights or tinsel-covered Christmas trees.
Fireworks are also popular in many resorts, none better than the New Year extravaganza in Seefeld, Austria. Individual hotels have their own displays, which means that by standing in the middle of the resort, you’ll be surrounded by magical burst of light and colour.
Christmas week is often quieter than New Year’s week, which is quieter still than the February half-term holidays. This means you can explore the piste at your own pace and hop straight back on the lift to do it all again.
Where to go?
If you’re thinking of going away for Christmas or New Year, here are some of our top picks:
Hotel Le Viking is in a prominent spot above Morzine and at the top of the Pleney gondola, which runs into the evenings. And with excellent ski-in, ski-out location, you’ll be amongst the first on the slopes each day. When you’re not out skiing, the hotel’s heated outdoor pool, sunset bar and weekly entertainment are sure to keep the whole gang happy. There’s also a free hotel-run kids’ club too.
Hotel Tignes 2100 in Tignes has a relaxed ambiance and is ideal for groups and couples. It’s located in the heart of Tignes Le Lac and only 3 minutes’ walk to the Palafour ski lift so you’ll be on the slopes of the Tignes and Val d’Isère ski areas in no time.
Hotel La Terra Nova in La Plagne is right next to the chairlift and has superb ski-in, ski-out access. Relax in the cosy bar and lounge or unwind in the hotel’s wellness area before a tasty mix of international and local dishes served in the panoramic restaurant with fantastic views of the slopes.
Grand Hotel Paradiso is a stylish and modern hotel in Passo Tonale that’s virtually ski-in, ski-out and just 2 minutes’ walk to the gondola. There’s a wellness area with an indoor pool and hot tub, saunas, steam rooms and treatment rooms. And there’s on-site Crystal Childcare with excellent facilities to keep little ones happy.
Grande Albergo Claviere combines the space and comfort of a 3-star hotel with world-class skiing in the Milky Way ski area. It’s a short walk to the ski lifts and village centre and 6 minutes’ walk to ski school. The hotel’s ideal for families with Crystal Childcare on site, which makes for a stress-free stay when you’re travelling with the little ones.
Hotel Petit Palais in Cervinia is a great-value, slopeside hotel sitting at the end of the 8km-long Ventina run. Intermediates can ski almost to the door, and the Plan Maison cable car is only metres away. With fantastic views of the Matternhorn, you can relax in the friendly bar, which often hosts quiz nights. Or take a short walk to the resort centre with bars, shops and cafés.
Hotel Ferienwelt Kristall is a traditional Austrian hotel on the outskirts of Rauris. With the Kreuzboden chairlift right behind the hotel, it’s easy for getting on the mountain. And the resort centre is a gentle 5 minutes’ walk away too. At the hotel, there’s an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, whirlpools, saunas and steam rooms for relaxing and rejuvenating. Or sit back in the hotel bar and lounge.
Hotel Rubin, Söll is ideal for those wanting a lively après ski and nightlife as the hotel’s home to three of the best après and late-night bars in resort. The hotel is great for exploring the town and accessing the 284km of the SkiWelt ski area – it’s an 8-minute walk or hop on the ski bus outside the hotel and you’ll be there in no time.