Best Ski Resorts for Early Snow
Not sure you can hold out until Christmas to kick off your ski season? Neither can we!
Thankfully, not all skiing destinations are created equal. Thanks to higher elevations and unique weather systems, some of the greatest ski resorts around the world are blessed with earlier snowfall than the rest and are open a lot sooner than you may realise.
Nowhere is guaranteed a good early snow, but getting away sooner is a great way of beating the queues at the lifts and for getting to carve first tracks.
We know you are dying to zip up in your Oneskee all in one ski suit and hit the powder, so here is our list of the top early opening ski resorts for your consideration this season.
Beat the crowds – start your season early
Thanks to its two glaciers, Sölden opens in October and even been known to open as early as late September. When the conditions are right its slopes are typically not far behind, opening mid to late November.
The aprés ski in Sölden is second to none. With its main strip filled with bars, clubs and restaurants between 3pm and 7pm the village turns into one big party. With skiers and snowboarders converging on the streets enjoying all of the open air bars.
At a height of 2300m, Val Thorens is Europe’s highest resort and is typically guaranteed a decent level of snow cover by the last week of November. It also boasts the longest ski season in Europe, so it’s easy to see why it is so popular.
Book your ticket early to take advantage of it fantastic runs and amazing scenery.
Opening a little later than the rest, generally at around early December, Les 2 Alpes boasts the largest skiable glacier in Europe, which it opens in early October, and France’s highest pistes. Lending it to have some fantastic early snow at its higher runs.
One of our favourite destinations, Les 2 Alpes is known for its world-class snow-park and lively party scene – be sure to check out the Rise Festival on your next visit.
Thanks to its north facing position and the majority of its runs being above 2000m, when Ischgl gets early snow it tends to stay. Open towards the end of November, Ischgl offers the best chance of early skiing in Austria.
Ischgl is also well known for its Top of the Mountain concerts held at the beginning and end of the season.
Boasting the largest man-made snow systems in Europe and with two skiable glaciers, Val d’Isère and Tignes are arguably the best resorts for those looking for an early ski season.
Val d’Isère has something for everyone, featuring fantastic off-piste opportunities and a number of green runs high up the mountain, it is a great spot for beginners and pros alike.
Hintertux’s glaciers are open 365 days a year, and thanks to their high runs, it is a safe bet for those looking for a guaranteed early start to the season.
With a height of 3250 and dedicated access to both glaciers, you will find plenty of opportunities for skiing.
Thanks to its height, Cervinia is often open as early as the last week in October. With slopes as high as 3480m, when the snow starts to fall it sticks with cover guaranteed for December.
Based on the side of the legendary Matterhorn, Cervinia has 350km of pistes and 59 lifts, meaning there are plenty of opportunities to find some amazing runs early in the season.
It may not have the greatest terrain, but it more than makes up for it with reliable levels of snow cover. Boasting 99% artificial snow coverage, Obergurgl is open for business as early as mid-November with a season that ends in May.
Obergurgl is a laid back resort and is a great destination for those looking for a relaxing vibe rather than a week of raving.
Opening for glacier skiing from mid-July, Saas Fee is known to have good cover as early as late September. “Known as the Pearl of the Alps”, Saas Fee is a safe bet if you are looking for an early break in a low-key resort.
There are also a number of fantastic aprés-ski bars to be found in the village.
Although not as high as the others on the list (max height 2450), Lech is prone to some serious snow dumps. Providing excellent opportunities for pre-Christmas skiing. Conditions permitting, Lech tends to open late November to early December.
Opening Late October, Sunday River spans across 8 individual peaks and has the benefit of having 95% artificial snow cover. With a top height of 960m, this is a great destination for those that hate a hike!
We have to admit when we think of Cali the last thing we think of is skiing and snowboarding. However, Mammoth mountain is a great destination and is generally open the first week of November.
What’s more, it has an incredibly long season, currently the last day it is open this year is the 4th of July! A great resort for early and late season action.
With reliable snow-making capabilities, Keystone is the first of Colorado’s resorts to open its doors. Opening at the end of October or the beginning of November, Keystone has some fantastic terrain and parks.
Offering a diverse choice of terrain Big White has the most ski-in/ski-out accommodation based in Canada. Scheduled to open mid-late November, Big White is renowned for its light, dry powder.
Being based high in the Rockies, Lake Louise is subject to some great early snow fall. Hosting world cup alpine races, you can find this destination open early to mid-November.
Known for its great snowfall and challenging terrain, Alta is open for skiing mid-November. Where you’ll find more than enough runs to keep you entertained with its 2200 acres of skiable terrain.
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