Ski holidays in France offer glacier skiing, high altitude skiing, and most resorts offer ski-in/ski-out convenience. France has resorts built for the convenience of good skiing as well as traditional villages with world class ski facilities. The resorts in the French Alps are up to 3300 metres above sea level and, because of this, have a long skiing season that begins in late autumn and ends the first week of May. France has the policy of one ski pass for several resorts which gives skiers a huge choice of trails.
The Trois Vallees has three resorts that offer 198 lifts and 600 kilometres of pistes. The Courchevel, Meribel and Val Thorens comprise the Trois Vallees.
The Courchevel is considered to have some of the best skiing in the Alps. There are four villages that make up the resort, each with a different atmosphere. Visitors find good access to skiing for every level of skier. It has gentle slopes for beginners and many very challenging pistes for advanced skiers. Celebrities enjoy Courchevel for the Michelin star restaurants, chic boutiques as well as for the great skiing.
Meribel is in the centre of the Three Valleys and one of the largest ski areas in the world. There are also two terrain parks and a competition half pipe. The après ski is famous for live bands in clubs that are open late. For those not looking for a wild nightlife, there are also more peaceful sections in Meribel Village and Mottaret.
The highest ski resort in Europe, Val Thorens has good snow all through the season. Along with the pistes of the other Three Valleys resorts, there is Orelle and La Masse that are away from the crowds. Beginners are welcome with gentle slopes and there are many wide red pistes for intermediates. Advanced skiers have a good choice with long steep black runs and world class mogul runs.
Chamoix and Mont Blanc
Chamoix is the oldest ski resort in the French Alps. It has over 700 kilometres of piste suitable for beginners and experts. At the foot of Mount Blanc, there are 11 challenging areas covered by the Mont Blanc lift pass.
The gentle beginner slopes are very near the village. For intermediates, there is the famous Vallee Blanch off-piste glacier descent that is 20km long and considered one of the most beautiful runs in the world. Advanced skiers, accompanied by a guide, can enjoy the off-piste trails on the Mont Blanc Massif. Chamonix is considered the off-poste capital of Europe.
Chamoix has 62 lifts and a free resort bus that transports skiers to unlinked slopes. The snowboarding areas are world class. The over 100 restaurants and bars make sure the après ski is also world class.
Morzine – Avoriaz and the Ports du Soleil
The Portes du Soleil covers two countries, France and Switzerland. The landscape is some of the most spectacular in Europe. There are over 12 resorts in the area and, combined, have remarkable skiing facilities.
The longest run is 11km long and there are 649km of groomed slopes and trails. The off-piste terrain is limitless and there are over 200 lifts. With seven snow parks and three half-pipes skiers never feel crowded or wait in queues.
The season is from December through April, and there is glacier high altitude snow for the experts. There are hotels that offer child care and entertainment with a swimming pool and games room. Other activities include a sports centre, bowling alley, ice skating, snow shoe walking, helicopter rides, parapenting and a movie theatre. There is a huge selection of restaurants that serve fare from pizza and burgers to gourmet food. The nightlife is lively with several bars and clubs for après ski.
The beginner slopes are right next to the resort and there are instructors for skiing lessons. Intermediates can ski all of the 650km of runs that starts right from the resort doorstep. Advanced skiers enjoy more than 20 black runs that are famous for some of the largest moguls in the world and the Wall at nearby Avoriaz. There is also a World Cup Downhill from the top of Les Hauts Forts and endless off-piste opportunities.