Top 10 early season ski resorts in Europe
This is our pick of the most reliable European resorts for a pre-Christmas break.
In no particular order…
1. Val d’Isère/Tignes, France
With slope heights ranging from 1850 to 2100 meters above sea level, Val d’Isère and Tignes have perpetually been rated as few of the best ski resorts in the Alps for an early break. Even if it hasn’t snowed, each resort has its own glacier, so some action is certainly guaranteed during this part of the year too. We recommend that to get the most out of the ski area, one must opt for the Espace Killy with 300 km of pistes, 2 glaciers and the real icing on the cake is that you can move about quickly thanks to the high performance lifts. Espace Killy can be discovered and even fully covered in a single day where heights stretch between 1550 to 3450 meters. These slopes have always been the setting for great sporting achievements, be it for the Olympic Games or World Alpine Ski Championships. Yet this legendary skiing area is not exclusively for champions. Have a look for yourself:
2. Cervinia, Italy
With an impressive resort heigh of 2050 meters above sea level, Cervinia which has been bestowed with the title of “ Queen of the snow, sport, holdidays and fun”. The resort has also been rated as one of the most sought after resorts in the Aosta Valley. An infinite snowy area that begins at 1,524 metres, in Valtournenche, embraces Breuil-Cervinia, rises up to 3,480 metres of Plateau Rosà, touches the 4,000 m peak of Piccolo Cervino, climbes up to 4,478 m to the top of the Cervino. With 150 km of piste and slope heights ranging from 1500 to 3500 meters it can offer a great early season experience.
3. Ischgl, Austria
Elton John is one of the fans of this Austrian resort besides many other global stars in the entertainment and sports indusry. There is certainly some superb action-packed skiing waiting for you in the Alps this year. A village of 1500 souls; multi award-winning; much acclaimed – the Silvretta Arena, with 238 kilometres of pistes, this resort stands out as one of the most popular winter hot spots in Austria, indeed in the world. It’s no accident that this Tyrolean ski area is held in high regard internationally.
With pistes of 238 km and slope heights ranging from 1400 to 2900 meters one of the biggest interconnected ski areas in Tyrol, a lot of excellent winter offers could be on your platter. Allure and unforgettable surprises are the result – this skiing Mecca in the Alps is in top form for its guests every winter. From skiing in the Silvretta-Arena to concerts with global stars in the middle of the ski area, through to entertainment, shopping and top culinary performances – the famed Ischgl winter exhilarates with its exuberant holiday style since snow is assured from November untill May.
4. Hintertux, Austria
With slope heights ranging from 1500 to 3250 meters and 86 km of pistes, ski experts have mentioned that nowhere else is skiing in Austria as varied and enjoyable as in the Tyrolean Zillertal Valley: The Hintertux Glacier is Austria’s only year round ski resort and offers winter sports enthusiasts perfectly groomed, snow-sure runs 365 days of the year, great food and a fascinating experience of nature at altitudes of up to 3,250 m.
5. Obergurgl, Austria
With pistes of 110 km and slope heights ranging from 1795 to 3080 meters , this scenic ski resort of Obergurgl which nests amidst Tirol’s winter paradise with absolute snow guarantee, is also known as the “Diamond of the Alps”. The stylish winter resort at the southern end of the valley has 24 mountain lifts and 110 kilometers of immaculate ski slopes – connected with the neighboring hamlet of Hochgurgl. Both beginners and real experts will spend unique ski holidays here in Austria. Guests can take advantage of the convenient ski rental service and a number of certified ski and winter sport schools. Among the absolute must-sees during your ski vacation: Top Mountain Star panorama bar at 3,080 meters above sea level and Hohe Mut vantage mountain overlooking the upper Ötztal Valley and its abundant snow fields. Top infrastructures and resort amenities add to a memorable winter holiday in the Ötztal Alps. Obergurgl is probably the most snow-sure entirely non-glacial resort in the Alps and is an excellent early season choice.
6. Val Thorens, France
Open from the November 22nd 2014 to May 10th 2015. Val Thorens (France) is the highest altitude resort in Europe and the highest point in the 3 Vallées ski area, the largest ski area in the world with over 600 kilometres of runs. Situated in a vast natural cirque overlooked by 6 glaciers, the Val Thorens ski area offers a multitude of itineraries so you can ski in the sunshine all day long.. Renowned for the quality of its snow and up-to-the-minute ski lifts, welcome to snowsports paradise. Carving, off-piste, ski touring, snowpark, boardercross, télémark skiing, there’s something to suit everyone. With 99% of the ski area situated above 2,000 metres, Val Thorens offers excellent conditions so you can enjoy yourself to the max.
7. Lech / Zürs, Austria
With pistes of 122 km and slope heights anging from 1450 to 2450 meters, guaranteed snow, world-famous hospitality, tradition and sophisticated tranquillity have been attracting winter sports enthusiasts from all over the world for at least a century to Lech Zürs am Arlberg, the so called “Eldorado” of winter sport. It is one of the members of the distinguished circle called “Best of the Alps”. But it is not only sporting ambitions, because there is also enjoyment to be had for walkers, gourmets and culture lovers in the winter season which runs from 5 December 2014 to 26 April 2015.
8. Sölden, Austria
The ski seaosn hasnt even started yet and the lifts and slopes are are already open in this beautiful Austrian resort. With Pistes of 150 km and slope heights streaching from 1350 m to 3250 meters Solden is no doubt one of the best places to be for the early ski enthusiast. Solden may not boast the highest natural snowfall, but it does have 2 excellent glaciers which nearly always allow it to open in October
9. Obertauern, Austria
With 100 km of pistes, impressive slope heights ranging from 1630 to 2315 meters, Obertauern is a ski area which is extra special. The 100 well-tended kilometres of pistes await beginners, advanced and dare-devil skiers. State-of-the-art lift facilities take you quickly, safely and comfortably up to even the highest peaks. And all that for affordable, fair prices – making a winter holiday in Salzburger Land the utmost pleasure and an unforgettable experience. What could be nicer than spending an early winter holiday with your family, where there is fun for everyone ! You get all that ‘way up there’ – during a winter holiday in Salzburgerland.
10. Les 2 Alpes, France
The resort of Les Deux Alpes is situated in the Isère department of the French Alps at the point where the Northern and Southern Alps meet. The resort is part of the Serre Chevalier mountain range and lies at the heart of the Oisans region, renowned for its amazing scenery and boundless opportunities for both winter and summer sports. With the Ecrins National Park on its doorstep the flora, fauna and scenery of the Alps are all close to hand. With 205 km of pistes and slope heights of 1300 to 3570 meters, It is, undoubtedly, the classic skiing that gives Les Deux Alpes its international reputation. It is the largest ski resort in the Dauphine region and is the second oldest ski resort in France, after Chamonix in the Haute-Savoie. Les Deux Alpes makes up part of the Grande Galaxie ski area along with Alpe d’Huez, La Grave, Puy St Vincent and Vaujany.