Can anyone recommend good ski resorts in the Austria/Bavaria area over Christmas? We haven't narrowed down our destination yet because we are not sure how the snow is at that time.
Accommodations will be scarce and expensive over Christmas at the resorts. If you stay in say, Innsbruck, you can pick and choose according to daily snow reports and visit a wide range of places in Austria or Dolomites of Italy via train and bus. There is snow sure glacier skiing in Soelden and Mayerhofen.
We went to Lech, Austria a number of times, and some years were great, others, had very little snow. Maybe it was just bad luck those weeks, but it's a very charming town. Flew into Zurich, and took the train from there.
Conditions vary somewhat from year to year, but usually most resorts have a pretty good base by Christmas. At an absolute minimum, even in a bad year, you can count on the high-altitude skiing on the upper Zugspitze, although this isn't my favorite place to ski in the Alps. Another poster mentioned Lech am Alrberg (and it's satellite village of Zürs). These sit at a fairly high altitude and usually open by early December, but if you're just thinking about a Christmas vacation there now, your choice of lodgings are probably significantly reduced by this point. Ditto Kitzbühel. I would look into some of the larger resort towns, like Garmisch-Partenkirchen (and by exenstion, Lehrmoos and Ehrwald over the border in Austria), Oberstdorf and Innsbruck. You will probably have a more varied choice of lodgings.
It's a 50:50 chance there will be snow in the low lands for Christmas, so you better book at one of the higher up resort towns. And you'll have to book ASAP as Christmas and New Year's is THE high season for skiing.
My favorite skiing resort in Tyrol is also Bode Miller's new residential town of Sölden in Ötztal (Oetz Valley). 100% snow proof and pretty much one of the best skiing resorts in the Alps anyway.
Then there is Mount Arlberg in Vorarlberg, Austria. Any Arlberg town is very nice but of course Lech, the Aspen of Europe (actually it's the other way around) is the best place to go.
If you're in your 20 and prefer a more spring-break type of atmosphere (more alcohol than skiing) then Saalbach-Hinterglemm in the Austrian federal state of Salzburg is your best bet.
PS- Looking at Sölden's website, I see that some of their pistes are opening this Friday. Sounds like a good guarantee for Christmas to me.
I prefer the area of the Kleinwalsertal in Austria. This comprises 4 towns (Riezlern, Middelberg, Hirschegg and Baad). It is just over the German border near Obersdorf. It is beautiful and already has great snow. I would recommend reserving soon as many of the lodgings will be booked. My favorite lodging is Ferienhof Stefanie, http://www.ferienhof-stephanie.de. It is centrally located in Riezlern and is so charming. The prices are great. It is a working farm and the owners are wonderful. I stayed there in 2006 and will be staying there again this next fall. Good luck.
PPS- The two main skiing areas in the Oberstdorf/Kleinwalsertal have opened by mid-December every year since I moved to Germany, so that should be a relatively safe bet for Christmas. The larger ski area sits at relatively high elevation on a mountain that skirts the German-Austrian border, so it's accessible from both Oberstdorf and Kleinwalsteral, even though most of the pistes are located on the German side. The other main skiing area is only convenient to Oberstdorf. There's a smaller ski area at much lower elevation on the Austrian side, but this may or may not open by Christmas.