Pre-Christmas is a great time to take a ski trip - prices tend to be low and the skiing can be great if you know the right resorts to choose from.
When travelling early in the season the main things to look out for are high altitude, whether the resort has a glacier, and also the provision for snow-making. To help you on your way, here are Winter is around the corner and you may be thinking of taking a winter ski break before the Christmas festivities.
We've selected a sample of resorts renowned for their snow assuredness pre-Christmas travel:
Les Deux Alpes - France
Snow-sure Les Deux Alpes has a top altitude of 3600m with over 220km of pistes, and is one of the most famous resorts in Europe. A big advantage to Les Deux Alpes is its glacier, but additionally the fact that there are many easier pistes located on the glacier area, so if your pre-Christmas ski group has lots of beginner skiers, this could be the resort for you. The resort has 225+ snow cannons for your added security. Off the slopes après-ski is plentiful, with ice-skating rink, outdoor and indoor pools, and night skiing.
Zell-am-See – Kaprun - Austria
The ski season in Zell am See-Kaprun extends fora staggering ten months of the year - running from early autumn into summer. This is all down to the Kitzsteinhorn glacier located in the Kaprun area, but there are also around 90% snow-making facilities for your added peace of mind. The highest lift is 3029 metres and the slopes are diverse with a range of skiing for all abilities. This is a great choice if you are intermediate or advanced skier as there are many challenging slopes on the Kitzsteinhorn glacier. Make sure you book a lift pass that covers you for the full Zell am See - Kaprun area though for early snow-sure skiing!
Passo Tonale - Italy
Passo Tonale is one of the highest resorts in Italy with the highest lift at a a rather breath-taking 3069m. The resort has a rather fantastic snow record, but with the Presena Glacier snow-sure skiing is guaranteed plus there is 100% snow-making coverage. The ski season here typically runs from November until late in April so a great option for pre-Christmas or Easter holiday travel if your budget allows a little more. One thing to note however is that the glacier itself is more suitable for intermediates and advanced skiers so if you have a high amount of beginners, Les Deux Alpes in France may suit you better. The best terrain for beginners is located in the Tonale-Sud area - there are plenty of easy slopes there and you'll also find a practice area at the base in Pontedilegno.
St Anton am Arlberg
The high altitude skiing of St Anton (up to 2810m) has ensured a great snow record for the resort. St Anton is rated in the top five ski resorts in the Alps and is a resort full of traditional Austrian charm which is very popular with regular skiers. Accommodation can be fairly expensive in St Anton, so to take advantage of the great skiing, schools can book accommodation a little out of resort and travel by coach. The whole of Arlberg is known for the reliability of its snowfall and during the winter an average of 7 metres ensures the best conditions (there are also snow cannons for additional support).
Killington – Vermont, USA
Killington is a great choice as it has fantastic snow making facilities covering 600 acres. Killington boasts the longest snow season in the East of USA. With roughly a third of trails suitable for each level of ability, this resort is perfect for groups with a range of skiers. There is plenty of après ski to keep your group entertained, with ice skating, ice hockey matches and bowling. City stopover options are available for New York or Boston, which if you're travelling pre-Christmas could be a real draw for students considering whether to go - although travel can be expensive to this area in December so consider later in the season as an alternative if your budget doesn't permit.