Pristine, white slopes as far as the eye can see. Why wait until the crazy rush of the winter season kicks in? Enjoy a less crowded scenery and ski your way into Christmas. Across the DACH region, there are plenty of fantastic spots for a pre-Christmas break. Go watch the beautiful snowflakes glistening, before enjoying a cup of mulled wine – or two.
TEXT: MARILENA STRACKE | PHOTO © PIXABAY
Ever had to wait around in long queues before you eventually made it to the slopes? We’ve all been there, and it’s not fun. But when you go on a skiing trip before the main season starts, it’s a completely different experience. The only aspect that speaks against an early skiing trip is the risk that it might not be snowing just yet. Naturally, there is never a guarantee that thick white layers of new snow will await you, but there are certainly spots where it’s extremely likely for visitors to experience good snow or where beautiful glaciers ensure snowy conditions all year round.
Let’s take a look at some of the most fabulous locations in Austria, Germany and Switzerland, at which to enjoy a little break during November. All of these places also offer plenty of alternative options, including gourmet, wellness or walking holidays, for those of us who are not too keen on going skiing.
The highest situated ski resort in Switzerland offers supreme skiing all year round. The famous Swiss glacier, reaching over 4,000 metres, invites visitors to not only enjoy skiing but also to marvel at this stunning Alpine landscape. The town itself is car-free and bustling with life no matter the season. However, Zermatt’s main ski season lasts from the end of November to the end of April.
This unique ski resort also welcomes guests 365 days a year, and it’s the only one in Austria, which is open no matter what the season. During autumn, it is usually already blessed with plenty of new snow and it’s said that this is the best season for enjoying clear panoramic views of up to 100 kilometres. The glacier’s broad slopes of the Zillertal ensure skiing fun for everyone and, for the little ones, there is the Gletscherflohpark, which is probably the highest situated playground in Europe.
Saas Fee, Switzerland
One of Switzerland’s greatest ski resorts, 4,000 metres above sea level, Saas Fee offers skiing fun during every season. 150 kilometres of beautiful slopes with breathtaking views of the glacier and valleys await its guests. Enjoy the panorama from the world’s highest revolving restaurant ‘Allalin’, right by the slopes (in one hour it revolves 360 degrees), or take the little ones to the ice pavilion underneath and be stunned by beautifully carved ice sculptures. From après-ski to Swiss cheese delicacies and traditional craft shops, the charming car-free town of Saas Fee offers everything you need during a fabulous trip to the mountains.
Germany’s highest ski resort, the 3,000-metre-high Zugspitze, is also its only glacier ski area. From November to May, it has the perfect conditions for winter sports and offers seven months of guaranteed snow. Slopes for beginners and professionals, as well as snowboard schools and much more, await the keen winter sports fan. It is also a great area for hiking, or simply to enjoy the beautiful view of the surrounding mountains and indulge in some traditional Bavarian specialities.
Ischgl is one of the most reliable locations in terms of being able to enjoy new snow. This non-glacier ski resort of the Alps opens in late November and is internationally renowned for its stunning slopes. It has more skiing routes above 2,000 metres than most resorts in Austria, giving it an even better chance of snow. Aside from its slopes, it’s worth mentioning that Ischgl is also a legendary party location.
This is an excellent pre-season choice if you are not too fussed about exploring a comparatively more limited terrain. It certainly has very reliable snow levels and is one of the rare resorts that already opens in mid-November – thanks to its height of 1,930 metres. The entirely non-glacial Obergurgl is also nearby the ski resort of Sölden, with its two glaciers, providing further options if needs be.
One thing is clear: regardless of whether you will find the perfect skiing conditions in November, there will always be the iconic Après-ski parties in all of those locations. There is a reason these parties have an international reputation, and if you are looking for plenty of sun, stunning views and a cheeky drink in the evenings, you will certainly not be disappointed.
Are you ready for a fun November break in the snow?