Summer is now just a distant memory, so British travellers are turning their thoughts to snow – and where to find it as early as possible. Experts in the white stuff, Ski Solutions (www.skisolutions.com) recommend the top five resorts for guaranteed early snow in November and December.
1. Tignes, France: With its high altitude base at 2,100m, Tignes is one of the most dependable snow sure destinations in France and often the first resort to open for the season, usually in late September. It benefits from excellent early season conditions for those wishing to ski L’Espace Killy before Val d'Isère kicks off. The resort also offers access to the Grande Motte glacier which at 3,455m, has year round snow. Whilst not as trendy as Val d'Isère, Tignes has something to offer skiers of all abilities and there’s plenty to keep non skiers entertained.
Ski Solutions (www.skisolutions.com; 020 7471 7749) offers seven nights chalet board accommodation at four star L’Ecrin Du Val Claret from £845 per person. The price includes flights and transfers from London departing 13 December.
2. Cervinia, Italy: Set to open at the end of October, Cervinia is blessed with plenty of high altitude snow sure skiing on the Matterhorn, which has slopes up to 3,480m. There are also links over the Swiss boarder to the Klein Matterhorn glacier of Zermatt at the even higher altitude of 3,820m. With a village height of 2,050m, Cervinia is one of the highest ski resorts in the Alps and one of the first purpose built resorts, constructed during Mussolini’s era. Its wide runs and laid back atmosphere makes it an ideal choice for mellow skiers.
Ski Solutions (www.skisolutions.com; 0207 7471 7749) offers seven nights all-inclusive accommodation at the four star Club Med Cervinia from £1,005 per person (SAVING £110pp). The price includes flights from London Gatwick departing 22 November, lift passes, tuition, all-inclusive catering and transfers.
3. Val Thorens, France: As the highest altitude resort in Europe, Val Thorens is a safe bet for early snow with good conditions almost guaranteed from mid November right through until early May. Ideal for those wishing to take to the slopes on more than one occasion this season. From 21 November the lifts at Val Thorens are set to open allowing access to the Péclet glacier and two peaks in Les Trois Vallées that are above 3,000m. The skiing is suited to all standards and there are plenty of great restaurants to enjoy, not least the two Michelin Jean Sulpice restaurant right on the edge of the piste.
Ski Solutions (www.skisolutions.com; 020 7471 7749) offers seven nights all-inclusive accommodation at the four star Club Med Val Thorens Sensations from £1,160 per person. The price includes return flights from London departing 22 November, lift passes, tuition, all-inclusive catering and transfers.
4. Saas Fee, Switzerland: ‘The Pearl of the Alps’ as it is also known kicks off its ski season in early November with high altitude skiing on the Mittelallalin glacier at almost 3,500m. This charming car free resort, often overlooked for glitzy neighbour Zermatt with views of the stunning Matterhorn, is surrounded by no fewer than thirteen 4,000m peaks. It is one of the few resorts where ordinary piste skiers have the opportunity to ski in a high-mountain glacial environment.
Ski Solutions (www.skisolutions.com; 020 7471 7749) offers seven nights bed and breakfast accommodation at five star The Capra from £1,800pp. The price includes flights and transfers from London departing 19 December.
5. St Anton, Austria: One of the oldest and finest resorts in the Alps, St Anton lies deep in the Arlberg region, which is one of Europe’s snowiest spots. The ski season officially starts on the 4 December and the conditions are fantastic right from the get go. St Anton’s extensive network of pistes (340km) and 97 lifts, makes it is ideally suited to advanced and intermediate skiers. The lively resort, considered the spiritual home of après ski, is bursting with stylish hotels, restaurants and chalets with something to suit all tastes and budgets.
Ski Solutions (www.skisolutions.com; 020 7471 7749) offers seven nights bed and breakfast accommodation at the four star Hotel Banyan from £1,080 per person. The price includes return flights from London departing 5 December and transfers.