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That is usually how the question is phrased. Otherwise, we could pick from the following
- Will there be snow if I go skiing at Christmas?
- Will there definitely be lifts open at Christmas?
To stop the question appearing silly, you have to look at the context. The person asking it is thinking about committing a lot of money, time and emotional capital to booking a holiday. So when you consider the context the question does not appear quite so nuts.
The answer is “Who knows?”, it’s like asking if a property will increase in value. The only thing we can do is look at history and make an educated guess.
So will there be snow at Christmas?
I don’t know….but….generally yes. More or less, it can be hit and miss but…in the 23 Christmases I have been in the French Alps, I’d say that there has always been some skiing available on some days over the Christmas week. Usually skiing is available on every day of the week, and sometimes the skiing is excellent.
Does it matter?
For some people it does. And I’d say that if it is the most important part of your “ski” holiday then booking for later in January or February is a better bet. If that is not possible consider one of the high altitude ski areas like Avoriaz, Flaine, Val d’Isere etc. But beware, booking one of these resorts will only maximise your chances. It won’t guarantee anything!
For others it won’t matter. It’s a holiday whatever happens. There will always be winter walks, sledging, too much to eat and if it is lashing down with rain outside, board games and books. Many of the people who visit every year are content with one or two days skiing.
When do the ski areas open?
Most ski areas fix a date, often a Saturday in mid-December, so that might be one or two weekends before Christmas. And if there is sufficient snow they will open for weekends earlier on. Tignes will try and open earlier in November and it rarely fails. This year (2022) has been the warmest on record and Tignes have had to delay the opening by one week. Avoriaz is opening “early” on the weekend (3-Dec).
I have pictures from each of the last 10 years.
The following image from December 2022 ↓
This image ↓ is from mid December 2021. An excellent year to ski at Christmas.
December 2020 ↓
December 2019 ↓
Mid December 2018 ↓ and then the 30th December ↓↓ 2 weeks made quite a difference. There was skiing at Christmas but it was quite hard and icy.
Early December 2017 ↓
18th December 2016 ↓ There was skiing at Christmas, but it was for the committed.
19th December 2015 ↓ There was skiing at Christmas, but it was like 2016.
26th December 2014 ↓ This is looking down on Les Gets, there was skiing above Chavannes, but for anything more you’d need to drive for 30 min to one of the access points for Avoriaz.
29th December 2013 ↓ Plenty of snow. This picture is taken not far from Morzine – technically in Samoëns.
6th December 2012 ↓ and ↓↓ Plenty of snow this year.
A day to avoid the roads !