suitcases

Pre-season is one of the best times to take a winter holiday. It's cheap, it's quiet and you're probably in for some good snow.

With many resorts in Europe now opening as early as they can, there are loads of options out there for that perfect pre-Christmas break. Plenty of resorts have realised that the best way to combat the potential no-snow issue is to build a park, and a lot of holiday companies are now introducing snow-sure guarantees, so it's not as risky as it used to be!

There are some great package deals out there, and a snow-sure guarantee differs between companies, but it mainly means that if there isn't enough snow for your chosen resort to open you can either claim your money back or go to a different resort.

We've searched far and wide to find the best value holidays for one of the best times to go to the mountains - best get booking ASAP!

(Please note that prices may have changed since publication and that flight prices do not always include baggage. Some prices have been converted from Euros)

Meribel

Element Ski Travel have come up with an absolute corker for our first holiday. A catered chalet and a snowsure guarantee, all for under £500. It may be one of our more expensive picks, but you'll save money by not having to go out to eat every night! This chalet is in the village of Meribel Mottarets, which is just above Meribel and offers great access to the slopes.

Numbers: 8 people

When: 6th -14th December

Accommodation: Catered chalet £162.50

Flights: London Southend to Geneva with Easyjet £48.98 per person

Transfers: Organised by Element Ski Travel for £75 per person

Lift pass: Six day Three Valleys pass £179 per person

TOTAL: £465.48 per person

Mayrhofen

Snowtrex is the largest tour operator in Germany and we can see why! They specialise in cheap, simple ski holidays and can sort out as many extras as you like. While Mayrhofen isn't open until later in December, there is a free bus to Hintertux Glacier which has one of the best early season parks!

Snowtrex also have a really good snowsure guarantee that ensures you get the best of both worlds: if less than forty percent of the lifts in your chosen destination aren't open yet, you can change to another resort for free!

Numbers: 5 people

Dates: 29th November - 6th December

Accommodation: Self catered apartment (Apartment Armin Putzer) £101

Flights: London Stanstead to Munich with Easyjet £114.84

Transfers: Shared transfer through Ski-lifts.com £89 per person

Lift pass: 6 day Hintertux Glacier Pass £181

TOTAL: £304.84 per person

Morzine

Burton sponsored chalet company, Rude Chalets is opening a hostel in Morzine this winter so you never need worry about expensive accommodation again! The best part is that it's on top of a part of local Morzine history: the Paradis nightclub, which is set to reopen it's doors this winter as well. This will be the opening week for Avoriaz, which opens a week before the Morzine and Les Gets ski area so lift passes are super cheap.

Numbers: 1 person (but more can be added!)

When: 14th-21st December

Accommodation: Shared room (up to 4 people) in the Rude Lodge £185 per person

Flights: London Southend to Geneva with Easyjet £59.98 per person

Transfers: Shared transfer with Getaway Vans £58 per person

Lift Passes: Avoriaz only, 6 days, £98 per person

TOTAL: £400.98 per person

ValD

Val D'isere might have a bit of a reputation for being a bit... let's say, exclusive, but there is nothing exclusive about this price. The awesome accommodation and lift pass deal comes as part of Wasteland Ski's Stripped Series - a great deal for every week of the season!

How many: 6 people

When: 13th - 20th December

Accommodation: self catered apartment £255

Flights: London Southend to Geneva with Easyjet £70.98 per person

Tansfers: Private transfer booked through Ski-Lifts.com £111.79

Lift passes: Included in the price of accommodation

TOTAL: £437.77

Sestriere

Crystal Ski are one of the biggest British tour operators, and they have a host of super cheap early season deals! They can sort you out with the whole package to make a last minute getaway really easy. Sestriere is a two-hour drive from Turin airport and was host to the 2006 Winter Olympics, so it's got lots of stuff going for it, like easy access and top notch snow-making facilities.

When: 14th -21st December

How many: 4 people

Flights from London Gatwick to Turin, coach transfers and a self catered flat (Olympic Village Apartments), all organised by Crystal: £235 per person

Lift passes: 6 days £149 per person

TOTAL: £384

La Tania

Crystal does it again! This time with La Tania, which, funnily enough, was part of the Albertville Winter Olympics in 1992. La Tania is in the middle of the Three Valleys, between Meribel and Courchevel, but it's pretty quiet in comparison, for those who want to make the most of the snow rather than the night life.

When: 13th - 20th December

How many: 8 people

Self catered apartment (Gand Bois Apartments), flights from Manchester to Chambery, coach transfers and a local area lift pass, all organised by Crystal: £450 per person

TOTAL: £450

Arinsal

Arinsal is one of the biggest ski resorts in Andorra,and makes up part of the huge Vallnord ski area, as well as being a tax haven so you can enjoy as much duty free shopping as you like! We went for expedia.co.uk with this one, who do great deals on flight and hotel packages.

When: 13th -20th December

How many: 4 people

Self Catered apartment (Aparthotel Annapura) and flights from London Gatwick to Barcelona: £148/per person

Transfers: Shared transfer through Andorra-Resorts.com £76 per person

Lift passes: six day Vallnord area pass £145

TOTAL: £369 per person

Kronplatz

Mountain Sun have some dirt cheap early season deals, especially when it comes to short breaks! This one in Kronplatz, Italy is a full week, fully catered and still super cheap! Kronplatz is in the heart of the Dolomites, which in turn make up part of the south Tyrol area which is mainly in Austria - that explains the name, then.

When:7th - 14th December

How many: 2 people

Accommodation: Catered Chalet Hotel Diamant £269 per person

Flights: London Southend to Venice with Easyjet £69.06

Transfers: Arranged by Mountain Sun as part of the Accommodation package

Lift passes: six days £157

TOTAL: £495.06

Sierra Nevada

Low Cost Holidays does exactly what is says on the tin, and they have a friendly smiley face logo to prove it. Sierra Nevada is fast developing a reputation as one of the best park resorts in Europe so early season is a great time to get the park and pipe while it's quiet!

When: 13th - 20th December

How many: 4 people

Flights from London Stanstead to Malaga with Ryanair, self catered apartment (Apartmentos Habitat Zona Media) and private transfers: £282

Lift Passes: six days £166

TOTAL: £448 per person

Chamrousse

Here's another great Snowtrex holiday, and this time the lift pass is included in the accommodation price, making it our cheapest holiday by far! Chamrousse is only about an hour away from Grenoble Airport but most airlines don't fly there until later in December. However, that just means you're in for some nice quiet pistes and early season powder!

When: 6th -13th December

How many: 6 people

Accommodation: self catered apartment (Residence Domain de L'Arselle) £118

Flights: Southend to Geneva with Easyjet: £51.98

Transfers: £144 per person for a private transfer through Ski-Lifts.com

Lift passes: Included with the cost of accommodation

TOTAL: £313.98