Choose a Christmas ski holiday and you'll experience a Christmas like no other. Forget falling asleep after Christmas lunch or staring out at a drizzly back garden, while another family row brews in the kitchen. With snow-covered slopes, roaring log fires and gorgeous views, a Christmas ski holiday can bring you everything you need for a magical time on and off the slopes.
Just being on holiday at Christmas is a festive treat - ski resorts tend to pull out all the stops - and then some - to turn their destinations into a festive winter wonderland, with masses of fairy lights, decorations and Christmas events. And if it's a white Christmas you're looking for, where better to find it than a ski resort - though our tip if you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, is to aim high! High-altitude resorts tend to get the most snow – after all, the weather’s colder higher up so the early season flakes are more likely to be deep, crisp and even.
As for where to stay at Christmas, hotels can give you a party atmosphere with other guests, while a Christmas ski chalet holiday can mean you get to relax completely, while someone else does all the cooking and washing up. and if you're self-catering in a holiday apartment you can choose to spend Christmas the way you like it or go out to a great restaurant. And, of course, you can even go skiing on Christmas Day - the lifts will still be turning and even many of the ski schools will still offer lessons. If you experience Christmas in Santa's snowy Lapland home, for example, you can go for a reindeer sleigh ride, hit the frozen landscapes on a skidoo, or maybe even get to meet Santa himself!
And throughout Alpine areas there are traditional festive markets to explore, while enjoying a glass of mulled wine or a hot chocolate. Many European countries actually have their main celebrations on Christmas Eve, so you can double up on a festive feast after the lifts close on 24 December and then do it all over again on Christmas Day.
Seven of the best Christmas ski resorts
From the Alps to the Rockies, from the Pyrenees to the Arctic Circle, Inghams offer some of the best destinations for Christmas ski holidays. Here are seven of the best:
St Anton, Austria
As well as being one of the world's leading high-altitude ski resorts, with easy access to the vast Arlberg ski area, covering the exclusive resorts of Lech, Zürs, Stuben and St. Christoph, St Anton is a great resort to visit in December, with a kids Christmas trail, crafting workshops, brass bands and a magical Christmas market.
It’s also known for its legendary apres-ski scene - perfect for a New Years celebration. The centre of the main town is pedestrianised, has plenty of traditional Alpine character, and is bustling with activity throughout the day and late into the night.
Go to inghams.co.uk to book your St. Anton ski holiday
Wengen in December is a magical place to be. An idyllic, mostly pedestrianised village, save for a a few electric vehicles, Wengen lies high up on a sunny, sheltered terrace with spectacular views, dominated by the magnificent trio of peaks – the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, and reached by mountain railway. It has all the ingredients for a fairytale Christmas.
Enjoy skiing, walking or simply take in the wonderful winter atmosphere at one of the many mountain restaurants. You can also ski down to the neighbouring Grindelwald resort, which is bristling with fun winter activities, including tobogganing, or take the mountain railway up through the Eiger mountain to the Jungfraujoch, Europe's highest railway station at 3,454m above sea level.
Go to inghams.co.uk to book your ski holiday in Wengen
Les Arcs, France
One of Europe's biggest and best lift-linked ski areas, Les Arcs is a brilliant choice for a family Christmas ski holiday. There's a Christmas market, visits from Santa Claus, and a children's torchlit descent. The resort also hosts a New Year's Eve celebration with a DJ, torch lit descent, and fireworks display. Les Arcs combines a great snow record with impressive, north-facing snow fields, with cable car access to a further 225km of pistes in neighbouring La Plagne.
Inghams clients can choose between three villages: Arc 1800, which has an aquatic centre, toboggan runs, fun trail, beginner's area and children's practice area; Arc 1950, which is a pretty car-free village with excellent restaurants, bars, shops and a spa, plus good access to the slopes;. or Arc 2000 with its proximity to the Aiguille Rouge glacier and fantastic doorstep skiing.
Go to inghams.co.uk to find your perfect ski holiday in Les Arcs
This tiny principality high up in the Pyrenees is a great value destination for a Christmas ski holiday, and is especially popular with beginners. Pas de la Casa, the highest of the Andorran resorts, has a great snow record and is a great place to ski for families, as the nursery slopes are right in the traffic-free resort centre.
The resort welcomes Father Christmas as he makes his way from the Granvalira Platform on a sleigh to the Pas community hall, greeting children on Christmas Eve. Arinsal is another great place for families to ski in December. Santa makes an appearance in his grotto and at Arinsal gondola station. On New Years Eve, everyone gathers in the resort centre for a magical countdown and celebration.
Go to inghams.co.uk to book your ski holiday in Andorra
Sharing 350km of pistes with its Swiss cross-border neighbour Zermatt, Cervinia is a high-altitude Italian superstar. Great snow conditions and wonderful views of the Matterhorn are just part of the appeal. An almost an endless network of runs means there is plenty of variety and places to explore.
Being based on the Italian side of the mountain definitely has its benefits, such as great food, Italian flair, and cheaper prices, but if you make it over to Zermatt you’ll find the village there also lit up like a Christmas tree, with decorations and organised events for the whole family to enjoy. Cervinia's Christmas market is not to be missed, with local products and handicrafts on sale. The resort celebrates New Year with a torch light procession and firework display, and the main square is full of live music.
Go to inghams.co.uk to book your ski holiday to Cervinia
Rated again and again the most outstanding north American ski resort, Whistler really delivers the goods at Christmas, with twinkling lights, a snow globe-inspired village and special holiday events and activities to entertain the entire family, like snow tubing, ice skating and snowmobiling. Both Whistler and Blackcomb mountains are open on Christmas and New Year's Days. You can also enjoy traditional festive dining in the Village or a holiday meal kit to go. As for the skiing, there are plenty of easy blue and green slopes for those finding their feet, and even more options for intermediates, plus the bowls and the extremely Canadian off-piste tours for those who fancy something a little more daring.
Go to inghams.co.uk to book your Whistler ski holiday
If you’re looking to create some really lasting Christmas memories for your family, then a Lapland holiday to Levi, or to the other Finnish resorts of Ylläs and Saariselkä is something really special. This winter, you could be lying in a thermal Glass Igloo as you watch the Northern Lights dance across a star-studded night sky.
These resorts are based well North of the Arctic Circle, with plenty of opportunities for fun activities and excursions, from reindeer sleigh rides, husky dog sled rides to skidoo outings across the frozen wastes and even and say hi to Santa, with your very own private meeting.
Go to inghams.co.uk to book your ski holiday in Levi
The company has been organising ski holidays for more than 85 years, so it knows what skiers are looking for. Its friendly and knowledgeable staff will help you to plan your holiday - from lift passes to accommodation and everything in between.
Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or expert skier, Inghams has a large selection of ski holidays to suit your needs and some great Christmas ski deals. You can relax knowing that your flight-inclusive holidays fly out of 14 local airports around the UK, and return airport transfers are included in the price.