Christmas is the perfect time to enjoy an authentic winter with your family. It’s a fantastic time of the year to have some snow fun and the festive season is a great time to spend with family in this beautiful setting. There are many destinations to try when taking a family ski holiday at Christmas and as long as you are prepared even if you are new to this kind of holiday, you are sure to have a great time. Anywhere with a white covering of snow will feel more Christmassy but where are the best places to try to suit both families and those who love skiing? Here are a few places that offer an excellent ski holiday at Christmas time.
This large and popular Ski resort has everything you could ask for in a ski holiday destination. There are four villages Courchevel Le Praz, Courchevel Village, Courchevel Moriond and Courchevel 1850, ehich are all linked by ski lifts and pistes as well as a free bus service too.
The varied slopes and terrain make this a great choice for family skiing holidays and the snow is usually very good as the slopes here are north facing. There are kids’ clubs perfect for little beginners, where they can take ski lessons and enjoy some Christmas fun here too. Depending on where you stay, there are different activities and options to choose from during your stay. Some chalets and hotels put on some great entertainment and activities for their guests during the Christmas period.
Although the highest village of Courcheval 1850 is an expensive place to stay. The lower villages are more affordable and also amenable for families too. The lower resorts still have access to all the same slopes and lifts, but it just might take you a little longer to get to the top.
This village is especially designed for families and even more so at Christmas time. The streets are decorated for Christmas, and there’s a festive woodland walk to join on Christmas day. Swiss families usually go to church to attend Midnight Mass on Christmas eve and traditionally will gather to share hot chocolate and ringli or homemade doughnuts afterwards. You will really feel like you are joining in the Christmas spirit here.
Wengen is an excellent and pretty location to visit, whether it is the festive season or not. When it comes to Skiing the slopes are located under the north face of the Eiger and are covered by the Jungfrau lift pass. It’s a great place for beginners so children are very welcome. There are also a few exciting toboggan-runs, the main one being the run from Wengernalp which is 4.5 km.
Within the village, you’ll also find a snow playground curling and an outdoor ice skating rink too. So you know there will be plenty to do for the kids during your stay. Your hotels will put on some Christmas entertainment including excellent meals and activities for kids.
This place is an excellent choice for those with young families, as although it is a smaller resort than those found in the Alps, there are a wide range of activities to keep the family entertained. The snow here usually falls early and due to the high altitude, it usually stays. Skiing here is excellent for beginners; the Ski school is English speaking and there are plenty of gentle slopes.
Children and adults will love to try the snowmobiling on a purpose-built track, a place where you can slide down the slopes in a big inflatable boat, husky dog sledding, and a massive 300km plus of cross-country skiing trails.
Christmas celebrations offer festive activities for the whole family including a visit from Santa himself. Local hotels put on their own entertainment too, you might find Christmas tree decorating, making gingerbread men and carols on the agenda depending on where you are staying. Wherever you stay in Beitostølen, you are sure to have a magical time.
Val Thorens, France
If you are travelling as a mixed party then Val Thorens is a great choice. This purpose-built resort has terrain to suit everyone from beginner to expert. As the highest Ski resort in the ‘Trois Vallees’ and in Europe, it means you are almost guaranteed snow from November and beyond. If you love to stay in a Ski-in Ski-out chalet then this is a dream.
As well as the great skiing you’ll find here, at any time of the year you can enjoy Val Thorens wealth of bars, restaurants, nightclubs, cinemas, health and beauty centres and shops. But at Christmas time there are special events mostly put on by the resorts and hotels for their guests. This includes visits from Santa for the kids, extravagant dinners and lots of parties.
Not only can you enjoy Christmas here but stay to bring in the New year, the Val Tho Crazy Night. If you’re up for a party then this is definitely a way to see the New Year in style.
No list of Christmas Ski destinations would be complete without a mention of the famous picture-perfect Zermatt. The views of the Matterhorn, being surrounded by snow covered traditional chalets and the jingle of horse-drawn sleighs are right out of a Christmas fairy-tale.
The skiing here is top-notch too, offering a variety of slopes but mostly catering for intermediate to the more advanced skiers. You can also get off-piste with a variety of trails that are avalanche controlled.
Zermatt is not a cheap destination to visit, and this is even more apparent when visiting at Christmas time. One bonus however, is although the list passes are pricey under nines ski free, under 16s pay only half the price and there’s a 15% discount for under 20s.
As a car free resort, the atmosphere at Christmas is one of old time charm. For a truly festive time, visit the English church for a Christmas service, kids can enjoy sledging and snowy playgrounds and of course Santa is around, his sled being pulled by his trusty reindeer. It might be the best Ski destination for that exceptional Christmas feel.
Christmas at home versus away
Although it is lovely to spend Christmas at home it can be very stressful too. So much is expected as a family nowadays and sometimes you just want to get away from it all. A Ski break means you can still enjoy a festive family Christmas but without all the stress of organising things yourself.
Let someone else cook the Christmas dinner and do the cleaning and other housework. You can concentrate on enjoying the holidays with your family. Building snowmen, throwing snowballs, skiing tobogganing and taking a sleigh ride in the snow. Do all those things you hear about in the Christmas songs, bet you wouldn’t be doing that at home!
A family ski holiday at Christmas doesn’t come cheap so get ready to part with some cash when you book. But remember, the experience and the fun you get to have as a family is worth it and an experience you’ll treasure for years to come.