Best Resorts for Early Season Skiing

Skier skiing down powders pistes on a bluebird day with the sights of Tignes in the background

The long awaited start of the winter season is finally within reach. The countdown to the first lift openings have begun. We at Ultimate Luxury Chalets are entering one of our busiest periods. For many avid skiers, summers seem long and, to put it simply, snowless. Slipping back into that luxurious alpine lifestyle of gourmet mountain lunches, champagne après ski and revelling in luxury chalet wellness facilities, couldn’t come soon enough. What if we told you some of our resorts open for early season skiing? That you can enjoy quiet, snow-sure pistes and excellent value for luxury earlier than you think?

Consider making the most of the mountains by squeezing in an extra trip at the beginning of this winter. Take the time to reset before the festive season and warm up your ski legs. For early season ski holidays, we have put together a list of the best ski resorts in December to get your fix of that ultimate luxury mountain lifestyle…



Verbier is a great ski resort in December for an early season ski holiday. Its high altitude aspect means it has snow-sure pistes from November.

High-altitude resorts like Verbier have a distinct advantage when it comes to early season skiing. While other resorts might still be waiting for their first significant snowfall, Verbier ski resort is already draped in a white blanket, ready to welcome skiers. Due to its elevated terrain and consistent annual snowfall, you can take advantage of snow-sure terrain for an early season ski holiday. The far-reaching, picturesque mountain vistas are the backdrop for some of the top chocolate box chalets in Switzerland, helping set the scene of one of the best ski resorts in December.

Verbier in December also brings the advantage of quieter slopes. With many skiers biding their time, you have more space on the slopes, fewer queues, and a relaxed skiing experience. With the festive ambiance of the early season, you’ll be taking advantage of squeezing in an extra trip without question. The entire resort of Verbier comes alive in December with Christmas lights, festive markets, and a palpable holiday spirit. Imagine skiing down the slopes, twinkling lights surrounding you, and warming up in your cosy ski chalet… Festive heaven!

When it comes to chalets, Verbier is renowned for its luxury accommodation. After a day on the slopes, what could be better than retreating to a luxury chalet in Verbier? These chalets offer the perfect blend of comfort, luxury, and alpine charm, ensuring that your December ski trip is memorable in every way.


Tignes + Val d’Isère

Skiing in December in Tignes and Val d'Isere is a perfect way to enjoy an early season ski holiday and warm up your ski legs for the season

Often the first resort in the French Alps to open each season, Tignes, with its glacier on The Grande Motte, will be looking to start its progressive opening from the end of November. Towering up to 3,656m, the glacier offers a variety slopes that head all the way to Val Claret at 2,300m. The north-facing aspect ensures that any early snowfall will settle on the wide pistes and surrounding peaks. At this time of year, you can really sense the festive warmth in the air. As you ski between the the villages of Tignes, you will be enchanted with festive magic throughout the area.

Sharing the same ski area, is the glamourous resort of Val d’Isère, which is also set to open its lifts from the last weekend in November. The confidence in the early season snow in Tignes and Val d’Isère means it is the host of the Criterium de la Premier Neige, the iconic ski race at the beginning of December. With the Criterium, establishments in the village open their doors. You can’t escape the pre-festive buzz around one of the best ski resorts for Christmas and New Year.

When it comes to skiing, the formerly known Espace Killy ski area is well suited to intermediate and advanced skiers. However, it is worth noting that there are some superb areas for beginners to really thrive. Two such areas are ‘The Borsat Loup’ and ‘Madeleine’. These areas feature historically reliable snow conditions from the moment that the lifts open up until they close in April. With something for all abilities to ski early season, as well as an excellent choice of luxury chalets in Tignes and Val d’Isère, it’s no surprise these are amongst the top ski resorts in December.


Zermatt + Cervinia

Cervinia is a great ski resort in December to take an early season ski holiday. Featuring skiing in the Italian Alps with stunning mountain views.

Top of the list for many, the Matterhorn Ski Paradise is a wonderful destination for an early season ski holiday. Easily accessible from airports, Zermatt and Cervinia are two of the best ski resorts in December for a winter getaway. Nestled high along the Swiss-Italian border, both resorts feature beautiful mountains and luxurious chalets. On either side of that border you will be sure to access incredible skiing, regional charm and extraordinary luxury chalets.

The elegant Swiss charm in Zermatt captures the true essence of a pre-festive ski holiday. Exuding warmth and sparking joy from the streets lined with inviting bars, Michelin restaurants and high-end boutiques. Take in the scenes of one of the most picturesque resorts in the Alps from the comfort of a horse-drawn carriage whilst indulging in regional wine and fondue! You can also be a part of warming up the town’s buzz for the season, with some great après ski in Zermatt.

On the other side of the border, beneath the watchful eye of Monte Cervino, is the luxury ski resort of Cervinia. The cobbled streets are home to incredible authentic restaurants, serving some of the best traditional dishes in the region. You’ll also find enticing shop windows displaying stylish mountain fashion and one-of-a-kind gifts. With a gear change, you can take on an ice kart, or whizz through the trees on a husky-sled.

Both Zermatt and Cervinia, offer the chance of incredible early season skiing in December. The dramatic terrain of the Matterhorn Ski Paradise at full operation boasts 322km of piste skiing with staggering altitudes up to 3,899m. It’s a winter wonderland well worth exploring. Due to the Matterhorn glacier, it is even possible to ski in Zermatt 365 days a year. You can see why it is a top choice for avid skiers to warm up their ski legs for the new season.


Val Thorens

An early season ski holiday doesn't get much better than a trip to the high altitude resort of Val Thorens in December. Shown is the charming town of Val Thorens.

Skiing early in the season in Val Thorens is a thrilling experience that sets the stage for a winter wonderland adventure. In the heart of the French Alps, Val Thorens stands as the highest ski resort in Europe at over 3200m. It ensures a reliable snow cover even in the early months of winter. Historically, snowfall tends to start as early as November! As the first snowflakes blanket the Three Valleys, skiers and snowboarders eagerly hit the slopes. With over 600km of freshly groomed runs to explore, there’s no end to the thrilling mountain exploration.

The crisp air, dazzling landscapes, and promise of untouched powder create an incredible atmosphere for a luxury ski holiday in December. To experience the festive season in the Alps is an enchanting experience, especially in Val Thorens. See the streets illuminated at the start of December, and stroll through the markets with a cup of vin chaud. For luxury ski holidays at Christmas, you can take advantage of a unique Christmas Day experience in Val Thorens with a day skiing, feasting and feet up by the fireplace in your luxury chalet.

The quieter slopes and the surrounding cosy mountain villages offer a serene escape for those seeking a more intimate alpine experience. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a novice, early season skiing in Val Thorens offers a captivating blend of natural beauty and winter sports excitement. This is further enhanced by the luxury Chalet La Datcha which takes prime ski-in/ski-out position in this wonderful resort. When it comes to finding the best ski resorts in December, Val Thorens is a firm choice for those eager to hit the slopes before the crowds.


Courchevel 1850 

Early season skiing in Courchevel 1850 has so much to offer. This image at night, shows Courchevel lit up and ready for the festive season.

From the moment you arrive in Courchevel 1850, you are enveloped by opulence and style. With fewer crowds in an uncompromised ambience, early season ski holidays in Courchevel offer added exclusivity. This infamous resort is an idyllic mountain wellness retreat, a skier’s paradise, a shopper’s dream, a gourmand’s heaven, and a party goer’s delight.

The north facing slopes of Courchevel offer snow-sure pistes from early December with terrains suited to all abilities. Warm up your ski legs on gentle, wide pistes before heading to well-groomed blues and reds across the Three Valleys. Days on the slopes are of course not complete without indulging in one of Courchevel’s many Michelin Star restaurants. Not forgetting to mention taking it up a notch at one of the best après bars. It’s a world class resort, with a world class atmosphere, and most importantly world class luxury chalets. Reset in the luxury and grandeur of your chalet’s wellness services just in time for the festivities.

December in Courchevel is a time for true jubilation. With the promise of Christmas and New Year, a magical feeling ripples through the resort. With events such as the torchlit descent, a visit from Père Noël and New Year fireworks, you won’t be short of entertainment in Courchevel in December. At the end of a day revelling in the wonders of one of the best ski resorts in the French Alps, you can treat yourself to an evening round a cosy fireplace in a luxury ski chalet with family and friends.



Snow laden roofs of luxury chalets in Lech for the picture perfect early season ski holiday. It is one of the best resorts for skiing in December

Tempt that festive spirit with the picturesque alpine village of Lech. Its traditional chocolate box style architecture, laden in snow, is the picture-perfect scene to begin a magical season. Snuggle up in a horse-drawn carriage, don snowshoes or clip into cross country skis. Indulge in this opportunity to explore the winter wonderlands like no other.

When it comes to skiing, Lech is perfectly positioned. The local runs are ideal for breaking in the boots and reminding your ski legs of the motions. In addition, access to the altitudes of the Arlberg provide added snow-sure terrains for all abilities. It’s high-altitude peaks reaching over 2,300m are perfect for the early season. Lech is also ideally located for access to the neighbouring ski area of St. Anton. Given the festive nature of December in the Austrian Alps, Lech is the perfect place to be. Throughout December, windows of the town light up to form a giant advent calendar, offering true alpine charm as you wander through the Christmas markets in Lech.

An early season ski holiday in Lech is an opportunity to romance in alpine charm without compromising on ski access. Of course, there is also a wide selection of luxury chalets in Lech featuring exceptional wellness, ski-in/ski-out locations and unrivalled services. Make your luxury ski holiday in December one to remember with a trip to Lech.

Ultimate Luxury Chalets. The leading luxury travel agency with a portfolio of the top 100 luxury ski chalets in the Alps.

Tempted by the snow sure pistes of some of these resorts for early season skiing? Our Ski Specialists will guide you with expertise to help plan your first trip of the season. These top ski resorts in December offer some of the finest ultimate luxury chalets to complete your stay. Send an email or give us a call on +44 1202 203653 to start planning today.


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Blue Skies Lifestyle Ltd, established in 2005, is an online luxury ski holiday agent that specialises in finding clients the perfect luxury ski chalet in France, Switzerland, Austria and Italy. We feature an extensive portfolio of luxury chalet accommodation and luxury ski hotels that are ideal for group and family luxury ski holidays.