One of the best feelings is waking up on Christmas Day, opening the curtains to beautiful snowy mountain views before fuelling up with breakfast and bucks fizz and hitting the slopes in your Christmas onesie. It’s a truly magical experience staying in a ski resort over the festive period, especially when it’s freshly snowed for Christmas Day and you’re staying in a cosy chalet, sat by a roaring fire with the Christmas tree and its lights glistening in the corner. Isn't this just the quintessential Christmas card picture?
Have a read on our best resorts for a Christmas ski holiday to ensure you have the most magical snow-filled experience.
Of course, we had to include the hometown of Father Christmas, located in Finnish Lapland. Although Levi isn’t the largest ski resort with a range of challenging runs, it is the ideal resort for families as there are so many activities on offer that children will love. Visit Santa and his Elves in his workshop and arrange a private meeting with Santa himself! There are number of excursions such as husky and reindeer sleigh rides, snowmobiling, ice fishing, gingerbread baking and you might even get the chance to see the spectacle of the Northern Lights to make your Christmas holiday even more special.
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Val d'Isere, France
I’m sure many are aware of Val d’Isere’s top reputation for its slopes, snowfall and après ski in the Espace Killy ski area, but did you know it also provides a beautiful setting a ski holiday over Christmas. The seventeenth-century town has a mixture of traditional Savoyard architecture with some contemporary buildings but with the Christmas lights turned on and draping over every tree and building in sight it really creates a merry experience. The town is filled with giant snow and ice sculptures that are found in the village centre, Le Fornet and La Daille too to kick start the season. It isn’t until the 24th December that Father Christmas and his elves arrive in the village centre to meet the children. On Christmas Day, the Christmas show and torch lit descent starts in the early evening in which French National Ski School instructors ski in a long snaking line down La Face which makes the whole piste glow with yellow light. Afterwards, you can enjoy the firework display watch the pros do some tricks and sip on a cup of complimentary Vin Chaud or hot chocolate.
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Christmas skiing in Val d'Isere
This is the resort I have visited every year over Christmas since I was 12 and I will never get tired of it. Meribel captures the essence of Christmas joy in the 3 Valleys, officially starting when the Christmas lights are switched on at the beginning of December. The resort also has animal sculptures made out of tinsel and fairy lights scattered around resort which is a really special touch. Each year Meribel has a number of events and activities to make your Christmas holiday very special but the best are on the 24th in which Father Christmas on his sleigh will tour round the resort. Starting at La Chaudanne and finishing outside the tourism office, Christmas carols then commence here. On Christmas Day in the late afternoon after you come back from a jolly day of skiing, Father Christmas will be saying his goodbyes before the torchlit descent will light up the piste down into La Chaudanne by the ESF ski instructors.
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Meribel is a winter wonderland
Arguably Switzerland’s most famous resort, Zermatt not only provides snow sure slopes during the early season but it is a magical resort that will be sure to get you into the festive spirit with markets and horse drawn sleighs. St Nicholas and the Zermatt sheep mascot Wolli head round resort to stop and meet children but for adults Zermatt still is a great place for après ski festivities. The Church Square in resort is also the hub for most of the town’s events such as its Christmas markets you’ll have to go see if you visit!
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Christmas dinner in a luxury ski chalet
Although Lech sits at an altitude of 1,450m in the Arlberg ski area, each year the resort receives around double the amount of snow compared to its neighbours in France, so it’s a great resort to visit in December as well as over Christmas. Lech is known for its picturesque chocolate box chalets which makes the resort a perfect choice for over the festive period. Their Christmas market are one of the best in Tirol and is a must to try out the Lecher specialities such as hot punch or hot Whiskey Sour or buy some souvenirs for your loved ones. The atmospheric village also hosts music ensembles, brass bands and choirs which fill the resort with Christmas cheer.
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Ischgl kicks off the festive season with the Winter Opening Concert at the top of the mountain, followed by the annual Ischgl Krampus Run. This is where 50 Krampusses wearing traditional (actually quite freaky looking like horned beats) wooden masks and trek through the village at night (even more creepy) before finishing at the Silvretabahn car park where they put on a show (ok that sounds better). On Boxing Day, the Christmas in the Mountains events is hosted at the Silvretta Centre where you can hear a number of Christmas carols being sung from around the world. The festivities don’t stop there as on the 29th there is also a torch lit show by the ski school in which expert skiers and snowboarders perform their tricks. Throughout the Christmas period you can also join in on the fun activities on the slopes including tobogganing, horse drawn sleigh rides and ice skating at the local rink.
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Festive celebrations in Ischgl ski resort in Austria. Photo: Ischgl.com