5 Alpine Ski Resorts for Guarantee Early Snow
While some ski resorts in the Alps have to wait for the peak of the winter season to offer the good white stuff others are already in full swing. So if you want to take an early ski break this winter, why wait when you can be on the pistes before the madness of the height of the season. We have found five resorts located above 2000m that have what you want for an early ski break.
Always a good early-season prospect, Cervinia has been the best bet in the Alps for over a month before many other resorts. Because of its exposed position on the southern side of the Alps means it’s been pummelled by storm after the bubbling up from the Mediterranean, creating lots of snow.
Combined with Zermatt, Cervinia currently offers over 200km of pistes, including the longest run and biggest vertical drop in the Alps.
You can descend nearly 1.800m in one fell swoop-from the top of the 3,820m Klein Matterhorn (over the border in Switzerland) all the way back to base at 2,050m.
It might not be the prettiest resort in the world but, for length of runs, nowhere else in the Alps comes close to it.
Tempted by Cervinia but looking for a more aesthetically pleasing base? Zermatt could be just the ticket. Granted, you can’t ski back to resort yet but it does have the highest pistes in the Alps and up top there is already masses of snow.
All three main sectors (Sunnegga, Gornergrat and Klein Matterhorn) are open - most of the time from the early part of the season offering a fabulous variety of terrain. The Swiss side of the ski area also has superior mountain restaurants and scenery, with a classic perspective of the iconic Matterhorn.
With tow extensive glaciers, Solden is always a good early bet in the Alps. But unlike many other resorts, it doesn’t rest on its laurels and makes every effort to open as many runs as possible as soon as snow conditions allow.
In the early part of the season, you will get as much of the pistes as possible and with Obergurgl only a few miles away you can get even more. Obergurgl offers a greater extent of open terrain but the resorts are not much different in character.
Solden is much ‘townier’ than its quietly upmarket neighbour and offer livlier après-ski nightlife in the area.
VAL THORENS, FRANCE
Leading the way in the northern French Alps is Val Thorens, which opened its slopes sometimes as early as November with the maximum available runs on a mix of natural and manmade snow.
What really sets Val Thorens apart in the earlier part of the season is the convenience. No long lifts up the mountain to find snow. Instead, there’s plenty of terrain in and around the resort, which means stress free return to base at the end of the day.
Obergurgl the most reliable entirely non-glacial resort in the Alps, Obergurgl is lives up to its reputation in offering the greatest extent of skiing in Austria at present. Snow cannon have been is part of the reason. Obergurgl has one of the most comprehensive artificial system in the Alps to combine with the natural snow.
The resort’s location between 2000m and 3000m and its proximity to Italy has been its saving grace. The resort is pleasantly attractive and is popular with the rich and famous and their families.