Where to find early snow?

Many of us just cannot wait for the winter season to start and why should we? There are plenty of options in Europe where you can get your early snow fix and have a great holiday. Thanks to the time of the year and the reduced number of open runs you can get a great deal on lift pass prices and many chalet and tour operators offer excellent deals for early dates.

Tignes, France

Tignes is a great option in France for some early skiing. Thanks to its glacier it is open during most of the autumn. There has been some early snow already this autumn so people have already had the pleasure of putting some fresh tracks down! You get an impressive 20km terrain to ski on and an altitude difference of 750 metres. There is plenty of fun to be had there! Your best option for getting to Tignes is to fly to Geneva and arrange your airport transfer from there. Have a look at transfer options from Geneva airport to Tignes here.

Val Thorens, France

Val Thorens is the highest ski resort in Europe which makes it the perfect choice for anyone looking for early snow. Most skiing takes place at over 2000 metres so the snow is pretty much guaranteed. Lifts this year will open on the 23rd of November – depending on snow conditions of course this could even be earlier. For early dates your best option is to fly to Geneva or Lyon and get a transfer from there. For private or shared transfers please have a look here.

Cervinia, Italy

If you prefer looking at the Matterhorn from the Italian side then you can stay in Cervinia. Skiing here is usually possible from late October thanks to the high altitude and the glacier. What can be better than a great day on the slopes followed by a satisfying slice of pizza?

You can fly to Turin or Milan and look for transfers here.

Zermatt, Switzerland

Zermatt is not just the home to the Swiss half of the famous Matterhorn but it is also an excellent place for some early glacier skiing. The views are fabulous, the food is great and in general the standard of accommodation is very high in Zermatt. We can highly recommend it!

Consider flying to Zurich or Geneva. The best transfer option is usually to go by train but if there is a group of you then private transfers can work out better. Have a look on our homepage. There are other good resorts in Switzerland for early snow, check out Saas Fee, Gstaad, Laax or St Moritz.

Livigno, Italy

For another option in Italy you can try Livigno, one of the highest resorts in Europe with runs going up to 3000m. If we get some early snow then skiing starts as early as the end of November. Livigno has a special duty-free status, which makes staying here even cheaper and more attractive! The resort itself is charming and traffic-free. There is also a new Spa centre in Livigno so you can relax there after a good day of skiing. You can fly to Zurich or any of the Milan airports and look for airport transfers on our main page.

Åre, Sweden

Fancy trying something a bit different? Well then, why not head to Åre in Sweden this November? It will be a different experience from skiing in the Alps and you can get to know this fantastic country with its lovely people a bit better. Åre offers excellent quality pistes and accommodation options, but the downside is that food and alcohol is in general a bit more expensive than in Alpine resorts.

Your best option is to fly to Stockholm.

Sölden, Austria

Sölden offers year-round skiing thanks to its 2 glaciers. This makes this lovely Austrian resort the perfect early ski destination. It usually re-opens at the end of October on the glaciers and additional areas might be opened depending on the snow conditions. Sölden is also a great choice if you like après-ski .

Fly to Innsbruck and fill out our quick form to receive no obligation quotes from local transfer companies for airport transfers.

Obergurgl, Austria

Obergurgl doesn’t have a glacier to boost its early season chances but it is one of the most snow-sure resorts in the Alps. It is the perfect choice for an early season trip. Obergurgl doesn’t only offer snow-sure peaks but also top quality accommodation where you can relax after a great day of skiing.

To get to Obergurgl fly to Innsbruck and have a look for airport transfers from Innsbruck airport to Obergurgl here.

Mont Blanc and Glacier des Bossons

Chamonix

Mont Blanc and Glacier des Bossons
Mont Blanc and Glacier des Bossons

Chamonix is one of the original climbing and skiing destinations of Europe and home to its highest peak, Mont Blanc. The natural beauty of the Chamonix valley has been mesmerizing travellers for centuries and it is still one of the most visited destinations in France.

The first tourists apparently arrived in Chamonix in 1741 and they were two Englishmen, William Windham and Richard Pocock. They documented their journey and their discovery of La Mer de Glace glacier in a publication which influenced many others to endure the long journey to the ‘Sea of Ice’.

The new visitors brought with them their appetite to conquer the mountains but it wasn’t until 1786 that the top of Mont Blanc was summited by two locals, Dr Paccard and Jacques Balmat.

In 1770 the first tourist hotel, the Hotel d’Angleterre was opened and Chamonix has never looked back since.

After our introduction you probably won’t be surprised to hear this: There is a lot to do in Chamonix.

If you are not afraid of heights then take the Aiguille du Midi cable car to the viewing platforms at 3842 metres. You will feel like you could touch the peak of Mont Blanc and you will see groups of brave mountaineers attempting to conquer one of the stunning peaks around or ski the famous Vallée Blanche. You can even go over to the Italian side of the Alps and travel over the glacier on the Helbronner lift. This is our personal favourite and it is worth every extra penny to get this view!

If you prefer trains to cable cars then take the Montenvers rack railway to the famous Mer de Glace (Sea of Ice) glacier. You can go down to the glacier and into the ice grotto that shows you the history of the glacier along with some great ice sculptures. You do have to climb over 300 steps though in each direction. On the opposite side of the valley from Mont Blanc is the Brévent cable car. You get the best view of Europe’s highest mountain from here.

In the winter there is lots to do for non-skiers as well in Chamonix, which makes it an ideal destination for families and people who want to enjoy the snowy vistas. You can take the cable cars or the Montenvers railway up into the mountains of Chamonix and enjoy a leisurely lunch on the top. You also have a choice of some excellent spas in Chamonix if you are after something relaxing.

If you want a real bird`s eye view of the mountains then why not try a helicopter ride around Mont Blanc and the surrounding peaks.

There is also a leisure centre in Chamonix with a swimming pool, sauna and steam rooms, ice rink, indoor climbing and other facilities.

You can find a bowling alley in Chamonix, which also has pool tables and air hockey tables. Chamonix`s cinema also shows some films in English with subtitles.

If you like a bit of gambling then why not try the Casino in Chamonix`s centre? You can enjoy some blackjack or roulette but of course you have to be over 18.

The other great activity you can do is of course Shopping. Chamonix has many great shops. You can find anything from luxury boutiques to mountain hard-ware shops.

Chamonix also attracts many extreme sport enthusiasts. This is the perfect place to try your fist tandem parapente flight, learn to traverse a glacier, climb the highest peak in Europe, go canyoning, white-water rafting or try any other crazy adventure under the sun.

It is easy to enjoy the Savoyard gastronomy in Chamonix`s delightful restaurants. In the winter there is nothing better than a hearty meal of cheese-based dishes. Try a raclette, a fondue or a tartiflette – it should satisfy the biggest appetites!

A raclette, as you can see on the picture is a big block of cheese put under the grill and you get to scrape off the top melted layer. You then eat this cheesy goodness with boiled potatoes, charcuterie and drink some Savoie white wine with it. We recommend a cold glass of Apremont wine!

A tartiflette is a dish made with layers of potatoes, bacon and onions topped with a famous local cheese called Reblochon and grilled to perfection.

A cheese fondue needs no introduction, however a Savoyard Fondue uses local cheeses, like Beaufort and also Comté and Gruyere.

If you want to go for a day trip from Chamonix then try the beautiful town of Annecy, which is only an hour away. Your other option is the medieval town of Yvoire on the shore of Lake Geneva or Courmayeur through the Mont Blanc tunnel.

To get to Chamonix your best option is to fly to Geneva airport. From Geneva airport to Chamonix many companies operate shuttle services if you are after the cheapest option. If you are after a bit more flexibility or there are a few people in your group then ask for private transfer quotes to Chamonix from local companies.

Distance of Transfer from Geneva Airport to Chamonix: 104 km
Geneva Airport to Chamonix Transfer Time: App. 1 hr 10 mins

Distance of Transfer from Chambery Airport to Chamonix: 145km
Chambery Airport to Chamonix Transfer Time: 1hr 30mins approx

Distance of Transfer from Grenoble Airport to Chamonix: 225km
Grenoble Airport to Chamonix Transfer Time: 2hrs 30mins approx

Distance of Transfer from Lyon Airport to Chamonix: 220km
Lyon Airport to Chamonix Transfer Time: 2hrs 10mins approx

Have you got any insider tips for people visiting Chamonix? Tell us about your favourite ski runs, restaurants, activities!