‘Tis the season to be jolly but it is also the season to treat yourself to that ski trip somewhere special. It may be early December, but if you target high altitude resorts and hotels near glaciers, you can guarantee snow-sure skiing before Christmas.
The stunning resorts that I have outlined below already have snow and if you plan to ski from a luxury hotel, it is worth checking to see what benefits our luxury travel concierge can offer including complimentary upgrades, breakfasts and more.
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Lech is always my favourite. Princess Diana loved it, I love it. It is chocolate box beautiful and is high enough to glisten with snow even in early December. You can actually ski here 2 December until 23 April and with an altitude of 1,444m, it is a brilliant choice for the luxury traveller.
With cloaked in snow, see the Lech webcam you can already ski right down to the village and even the lower runs are ski-able.
Stay at the hotel Aurelio in Lech. This Aman style ski hotel in the Alps offers everything you could possibly want from a ski hotel. Every room faces into the valley and across the slopes and each balcony is bathed in sunshine throughout the day. The rooms themselves are uber-modern ski chalet style, with amazing and generous marble bathrooms (with yummy Hermes Paris Un Jardin Sur Le Nil toiletries) A million little touches make this place special such as chocolates and hankie packs in your ski locker, high-end lotions at your bedside to fight the mountain dryness, breakfast anytime you like and the swish pool area also hosts fruit, water, teas and nuts, just to keep you going between the bowls of delicious Swiss chocolates dotted around this magnificent chalet. Ski hotels do not come better than this.
It would be wrong to write about the best ski resorts in the world and not to include a resort beyond the Alps. One of the most snow-sure resorts in North America is Whistler with 3,300 skiable hectares to explore and yes, it is already snowy here too if you look at the Whistler webcam. Whistler’s village is only 675m in altitude so when the snow is falling on the slopes it can turn to rain in the resort. The top lifts here reach 2,285m and the two mountains of Whistler and Blackcomb have gondola access at their bases and are linked by a further gondola at mid-mountain.
Stay at the Four Seasons Whistler which offers everything you would expect from a Four Seasons including a fun outdoor pool and hot tub area which you can swim in while it snows.
My third choice for early season snow is Sölden which again has plenty of snow as shown by the Solden webcam. The town of Sölden is not nearly as pretty as Lech but once you get out of the main street, you will discover mountain streams and pretty fields which look like they are straight out of “Heidi”. The higher slopes and are just a short gondola ride away from the centre of Solden on one of Austria’s largest glacier areas. Rettenbach Glacier and Tiefenbach Glacier feature perfectly groomed slopes surrounded by the stunning Alpine scenery and reaching up to an incredible 3340 metres above sea level. The season here begins as early as September and extends all the way through until May.
The only place to stay in Solden is the 5 star Das Central hotel which sits up a side street from the main drag and is a large and beautifully refurbished luxury hotel. Our tip is to request one of their refurbished rooms which face the front of the hotel. These rooms are south facing and offer sunshine which streams in through the floor to ceiling windows throughout the day. The decor is modern pine with swish bathrooms and superbly comfortable beds. The hotel also has a great pool area with lots of bubble features, and best of all, there is a gondola shuttle which takes guests directly to and from the bottom of the main gondolas every 5 minutes or so, which means no waiting around. Our tip here is to pay a small supplement and take your evening meals at the amazing Ötztaler Stube which offers some of the best food in the Alps. Das Central is a surprisingly affordable 5-star ski hotel (book outside the main season for excellent rates).
Stubai Glacier, Austria
Our fourth choice is the Stubai Glacier in Austria. With snow guaranteed almost year around, Austria’s largest glacier ski resort, Stubai, sits at an astonishing 1,750 m to 3,210 m above sea level and yes, check out the Stubai webcam to see the snow. The only downside to this Glacier is that there isn’t a good luxury ski hotel at the base of the Gondola, which means you will need to take a minibus ride to get to and from the base.
That said, we wholeheartedly recommend the very special Jagdhof hotel, which is 20 minutes complimentary shuttle from the Glacier and usefully also only 25 minutes from the airport at Innsbruck. This makes the Jagdhof a brilliant place to come for a weekend of skiing.
This family-run Relais & Chateaux property is sat on wonderful of a beautiful Austrian village and offers amazing food, a bar with a wondeful atmosphere and live music every night, a very good spa and a superb indoor-outdoor pool which opens up to extensive lawns where you can sunbathe after a day on the glacier. The free glacier transfers offered by the Jagdhof make getting to the glacier surprisingly stress-free.
Disclosure: Our property, service and product reviews are sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own and are in no way influenced by the sponsor.