The change in restrictions introduced by the government this year has impacted on the winter holiday scene for a season season in a row, with many people who would have hit the slopes across Europe over Christmas electing to stay back here in the UK.
There’s no doubting the fact that there is something special about a ski holiday during the festive period, and a day enjoying the snow before returning to your accommodation to relax in front of a roaring fire is even more magical around Christmas.
With plenty of ski fans already looking ahead to next winter, we thought we’d put together a list of some of five top options if you want to book a 2022 trip that includes Christmas in a winter wonderland…
If you’re planning a ski holiday to cover the Christmas period then there is one destination that really should stand head and shoulders above the rest…
Levi is the biggest ski resort in Finland and is located in Lapland which means you’ll be able to go skiing on Santa’s doorstep. It’s a fantastic option as a result for anyone who will have the children in tow, particularly as you’ll find a range of activities off the slopes to enjoy - including sleigh rides, the chance to meet reindeer and - of course - to pay a visit to the big man himself.
That doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy it any less if you’re not travelling with youngsters excited by the magic of Christmas, with Levi offering top class skiing and plenty of snow. The majority of runs are suited to the less experienced skier but there is off-piste offerings for those who want to explore a bit more, and the après-ski is good enough to keep you entertained on an evening.
As an added bonus, if the night sky is clear enough, you may even get treated to a spectacular show from the Northern Lights.
Ask most people to name their top resorts in Europe and there is a good chance that Val d’Isere will feature on the list - and it’s no exception when you are looking at options for a Christmas break.
The French resort opens up in November and by the time Christmas comes around, the ski season is in full flow meaning you’ll be able to make the most of the fantastic snow that is to be found given the altitude at which you will find yourself.
With Val d’Isere having the visual appearance of an old mountain village, the scenic surroundings will be picture perfect once Christmas lights have been put up around the streets, whilst you can expect to see a range of snow and ice sculptures around the resort that have been created for the festive period.
With a special lights show and fireworks on Christmas Day itself, a festive break in Val d’Isere will be an extra special experience.
There are plenty of options for a winter break in the Austrian Alps and Ischgl is near the top of the list regardless of the time of year. During the festive period however, things are taken to a new level.
Part of the appeal of a Christmas break in Ischgl - at least before the onset of COVID-19 - is that the resort knows how to throw a party and the celebratory concerts that start and end the Christmas celebrations are legendary.
An annual event in the run up to Christmas is the Ischgl Krampus Run, featuring people dressed as a Krampus - a horned figure from Austrian folklore who would scare children who have misbehaved. The special show sees the Krampusses trek through the village before putting on a special display that, despite the history, is aimed at adults and children alike.
After the big day itself, Boxing Day sees a special event where people come together to sing carols, which is the highlight of your festive break.
Add into the mix great skiing both on and off-piste and fantastic nightlife and it isn’t hard to see why Ischgl should be in contention for a Christmas trip.
One thing you can’t do without when looking for a Christmas ski holiday is snow - and you’ll get plenty of that if you choose Zermatt for a festive getaway.
The famous Swiss resort sits in the shadow of the Matterhorn so as well as sure-snow conditions, you’ll also be treated to some of the best winter views imaginable anywhere in Europe.
Expect to see special festive markets and horse drawn sleighs travelling down the streets, whilst skating on Zermatt’s ice rinks or on a frozen lake is a fantastic winter experience.
A key part of the festivities for anyone is Christmas Dinner, and in this regard, Zermatt really excels. With a raft of top quality restaurants across the resort, you’ll have no shortage of options when it comes to where to sit down for lunch, including Michelin-starred dining unlike anything you’d have created yourself.
Fantastic skiing for all levels of skier - which could even see you take a trip over the border to Italy - mean you’ll have a festive break that will live long in the memory.
If you want to go long haul for a Christmas ski break then heading for Aspen in Colorado is a great option - and one that will be somewhat quieter than many of the top European resorts.
The family friendly Christmas vibe include the ’12 Days of Aspen’ which kicks off on December 20th and runs through to New Years Eve with various activities that include ice skating, meeting Santa and making Christmas cookies. For adults, there are plenty of opportunities to relax with a glass of mulled wine whilst the children are entertained.
Carol singing around Aspen’s huge Christmas tree is one of the big events of the festive period but of course, you’ll also want to ski whilst you are away and Aspen delivers on that score as much as any European resort.
From the beginner slopes of Buttermilk right through to the more challenging slopes of Aspen Mountain itself, there is something to cater for skiers of all levels.