<p>Discover the best resorts for a luxury ski holiday in December.</p>
Photo: Pascal Gertschen

Top 5 Resorts for Skiing in December

Discover the best resorts for a luxury ski holiday in December.

Resort Guides
Published at: 19 Jul 2021
Last updated at: 9 Nov 2023

If, like us, you can’t wait to get back on the slopes, then you’ll be itching to find out the best resorts for early season snow. December is a fantastic time to hit the slopes, with quieter pistes and off-peak prices early on leading into the festivities and celebrations over Christmas and New Year. If that sounds appealing then read on to find out our top picks for where to ski in December.

Serena Norton
Serena Norton

1. Val Thorens, France - for high altitude skiing

Luxury Chalets in Val Thorens
Skiing in December in Val ThorensPhoto: C. Cattin/OT Val Thorens

If you are looking to hit the slopes for a luxury ski holiday in December then our advice would be to aim high; and you don’t get much higher than Europe’s highest resort, Val Thorens. Standing at 2,300m with the ski area reaching the heady heights of 3,200m, you are pretty much guaranteed snow from the end of November through to the beginning of May.

Situated at the highest point in the 3 Valleys with 99% of the ski area above 2,000 metres, skiers have access to over 600 km of beautifully groomed runs, breathtaking views and plenty of backcountry terrain to keep expert skiers entertained.

2. Val d’Isere, France - for beginners

Luxury Chalets in Val d'Isere
Beginner skiing in December in Val d'IserePhoto: Andy Parant/ Val d'Isere Tourisme

Another favourite resort offering some of the best high-altitude skiing around is Val d’Isere. Linked to the neighbouring resort of Tignes, skiers can enjoy over 300 km of marked pistes and plenty of spectacular off-piste skiing too. Even if the snowfall has not been abundant, you can be reassured that the resort is home to La Snow Factory, the largest artificial snowmaking facility in Europe. With terrain for all abilities, Val d’Isere is a great choice for beginners with numerous ski schools and a fantastic village nursery ski area with two free lifts at the foot of the slopes and free skiing for children below the age of five.

As the festive season gains momentum, Val d’Isere has plenty of seasonal activities to enjoy from ice carving and torchlight descents to concerts, pageants and the arrival of Father Christmas on Christmas Eve.

3. Zermatt, Switzerland - for stunning scenery

Luxury Chalets in Zermatt
View of Zermatt and MatterhornPhoto: Michael Portmann

With skiing all year round on the glacier and lifts reaching a towering height of 3,820m, Zermatt is one of the most reliable resorts for snow cover in Europe. Home to the iconic Matterhorn, Zermatt has some of the finest panoramas in the world. From the summit of Gornergrat it is possible to view 29 mountains above 4,000m.

The car-free village has a fun, festive atmosphere with lively bars and over 100 restaurants to choose from. Our favourites include Fluhalp found below the Rothorn and Chez Vrony in the small hamlet of Findelin. There are also two restaurants with Michelin-stars - After Seven with its open kitchen and modern creative cuisine and Alpine Gourmet Prato Borni offering ‘Home’ and ‘Wanderlust’ menus.

4. Verbier, Switzerland - for party-goers

Luxury Chalets in Verbier
New Year's eve party in VerbierPhoto: Alp Images

Fantastic early snowfall last year meant that Verbier opened its facilities on October 31st so you can be reasonably confident of good snow cover at the top of the resort (3,330m). Linked to the 4 Valleys, skiers can explore 400 km of pistes and enjoy numerous winter activities too from dog sledding to ice climbing.

With gourmet dining options and an infamous party scene, Verbier is the perfect place to celebrate Christmas and New Year. At the beginning of December, the Christmas lights are switched on, authentic Christmas markets appear and traditional carol services take place. New Year's Eve is one of the biggest celebrations of the year. As the countdown to midnight begins, Place Centrale comes alive with revellers in the square dancing to DJs, flying champagne corks and fireworks.

5. Lech Zurs am Arlberg, Austria - for festive ambiance

Luxury Chalets in Lech
Horse & carriage ride around LechPhoto: Lech Zuers Tourismus/Christoph Schoech

Whilst not one of the highest resorts in the Alps, the area has a reputation for exceptional snowfall with averages of well over 7 metres a season whilst the linked resort of Zurs sees around 10 metres. This picture-perfect Austrian village offers a beautiful setting for a luxury ski holiday in December with quaint Christmas markets taking place throughout the month. Enjoy a glass of gluhwein as you peruse traditional handicrafts and local specialities accompanied by music from the choir.

Perfect for family ski holidays, Lech has a host of memorable experiences for you to try during your stay. Explore the illuminated streets and snow-covered landscape on a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the village, take to the ice at the covered ice rink or enjoy racing down the slopes on toboggan at night.