When the holiday season draws near, we often find ourselves daydreaming about escapes to sunny climates. However, some of the best Christmas holidays are those that embrace the cold, hitting the slopes for a ski holiday and retreating back to a warm fire in the hotel or lodge afterwards.
If you fancy getting your ski on, you’ll need to pack some essentials such as winter waterproofs and snow boots, which you can pick up from e.g. Brantano. You’ll also need to buy or rent ski gear and head out to the top Christmas ski resorts in Europe.
One of the most famous ski resorts in the world, Chamonix is a ski-lovers town that features cosy pubs and mighty peaks. The town sits on the slopes of Mont Blanc and offers ski-lovers an array of routes, from beginner level all the way to the 20km Vallée Blanche Glacier run.
The town of Chamonix is a busy one, with 10,000 permanent residents. The stunning setting and busy atmosphere of the town makes it a lively Christmas retreat; a place to go for a mixture of skiing and socialising.
If you find yourself heading to Austria, hang around until January to be part of the 80,000 racing fans who come to Kitzbuhel to enjoy the world’s most prestigious downhill race, the word cup circuit. You’ll need to book in advance though – up to six months before you head there.
Aside from that, the area is often voted the best ski resort in Europe. It features an English-style pub called The Londoner that you can knock back a few pints in to bring on the festive cheer. The medieval town is largely car-free and has lots of up-market shops and cafes to explore.
When it’s time to ski, you’ll be spoiled for choice. For experts, the ‘Streif’ downhill course is a two mile track that features hairpin turns and big jumps.
For a cosier winter retreat, visit Saas-Fee. The Swiss village is set within undeniably beautiful land and is comprised of traditional chalets and cowsheds. It has a vibrant party scene if you’d like to celebrate with others. The resort sits under 4000m mountains that are truly spectacular – offering great skiing routes for budding downhill enthusiasts.
As a bonus, ‘Last Christmas’ by Wham was filmed here, so you can feel extra festive when you visit.
If you’re looking for a couples skiing holiday, Zermatt might be the answer. The resort offers more than 60 eateries on the slopes, with 153 miles of runs once you’re ready to burn the calories off. There’s a champagne bar in an old farmhouse, a five-star restaurant and live-music venues. It’s also situated within sight of the infamous Matterhorn.
Obergurgl is a safe bet for good skiing, with snow that reliably falls early and stays throughout the festive period and into the following year. It goes up to 3,080m and the village is at 1,950m – making it one of the highest in the Alps.
Obergurgl is best suited to intermediate skiers, offering some moderate to challenging routes. It’s also got a stellar mountain top restaurant named the Hohe Mut Alm, which you can reach via a lift then ski back down.