Frequently Asked Questions
Europeans and the Brits flock to the French ski resorts during their winter school holiday periods – from early February into March. So, in January the slopes, ski schools and restaurants will not be as busy and accommodation is a lot more affordable. Typically, in January, the snow is dry with the best cover.
But if you are looking for warmer temperatures with longer days of sunshine, then end of March and early April may be your choice.
9th Jan – 6th Feb 2021 for all ski resorts
Plus 28th Nov – 19th Dec 2020 for the high-altitude ski resorts.
« Famille Plus Montagne » is a quality label granted to French ski resorts based on safety and services offered which are geared to families. Here are our top picks of the « Famille Plus » ski resorts :
- Les Gets
- La Plagne
- Le Grand Bornand
- Les Houches
- Val Thorens
Many French ski resorts give you convenient lift access to vast powder terrains and fresh tracks – without the exhausting climb to reach them. Our top picks for off-piste skiing are:
- Les 2 Alpes
- Val Thorens
- La Plagne
- Les Arcs
- Val d’Isere
- Alpe d’Huez
With some of the best snow parks in Europe as well as world class freeriding terrain, France is a snowboarder’s heaven. The best freestyle ski resorts for snowboarders if you want to send it in the park are :
- Avoriaz (The Stash by Burton is giant ecological all-natural freestyle park located in the woods, La Chapelle for all levels and Arare snowpark for the experts)
- Les 2 Alpes (La Toura & Freestyle Land),
- Le Grand Bornand (Snowpark GB),
- Meribel (The Open Park with a rookie zone and a pro zone),
- Val d’Isere (Val d’Isere Snowpark) & Tignes (DC Park – 2 easy parks and 1 expert)
Alpe d’Huez (La Sarenne 16km – longest black run on piste in the world), Chamonix (La Vallee Blanche 22km – longest off piste ski run in the world), Flaine (Les Cascades 14km on piste run)
Val d’Isere, with more than 80 restaurants, 30 bars and 4 night clubs, Val d’Isère has a lively après ski scene and one of the best in the French Alps.
Méribel is also renowned for being one of the best ski resorts for après fun. When the lifts close, Méribel comes alive with live bands and bars, open until the small hours. Some favourite destinations include the Rond Point for a piste-side BBQ. Or, for a funky slope-side party, check out the Folie Douce.
For the best chance of being blanketed by snow and surrounded by Christmas cheer, head to a French ski resort which is above 1600m in altitude: Val d’Isere, Courchevel, Meribel, Val Thorens, Les 2 Alpes, Alpe d’Huez
All of them – enjoy fireworks, torch lit mountain descents, pretty Christmas decorations still hanging.. Courchevel, Meribel and Val d’Isere are amongst the best for New Year’s Eve celebrations. However, there is a price to pay for the privilege as the accommodation pricing is at its peak.
Chamonix, being a town and not a small village, has plenty to do during winter if you’re not skiing. You can even do day trips to the alpine regions of Switzerland and Italy.
Most of our top 20 ski resorts have many non-skiing activities such as dog sledding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing and sledging. But resorts like Courchevel, Meribel, Val Thorens, Val d’Isere & Tignes also offer activities such as ice driving, ice karting, ice diving, scenic flights.
You can also stay in an Igloo overnight or simply have a cheese fondue dinner in the igloo in places such as Avoriaz, Les Arcs, La Rosiere and Val Thorens. La Plagne also boasts the only bobsleigh track in France.
Courchevel boasts 6 Michelin star restaurants – more than anywhere else in the world. Megeve has 4 restaurants with Michelin stars including Flocons de Sel with 3***. Val d’Isere has 2 Michelin starred restaurants, La Table de l’Ours with 1* and L’Atelier d’Edmond 2**.
Thanks to either their high altitude, glaciers, micro climate or snow canon systems, Val Thorens (highest ski resort in Europe), Val d’Isere, Tignes, Courchevel, Alpe d’Huez and Les 2 Alpes offer the most consistent and reliable ski resorts for early season skiing in either late November (Val Thorens & Tignes) or early December.
From mid December, the high altitude ski resorts of La Plagne, Les Arcs, La Rosière and Avoriaz 1800.
Both Avoriaz and Alpe d’Huez have plenty of outdoor music festivals during spring and have good snow conditions at that time of the year. High altitude ski resorts such as Val d’Isere, Tignes, Val Thorens, Les Arcs and La Plagne are also your best options – basically anywhere with a ski resort higher than 1,800m in altitude would be ok.
For December including Christmas and New Year’s weeks as well as February school holidays, it is highly recommended to book these popular periods the earliest possible. This is generally from April onwards, towards the end of the previous ski season.
The week prior to Christmas, although in low season pricing, can be heavily booked due to special events like the Val d’Isere ski race annual event: Critérium de la Première Neige.
You’ll also want to start booking from mid-April to take advantage of early bird specials, many of which end by 30 June, 30 Aug or 30 September depending on the property.
3yrs old is generally the minimum age for your child to start skiing. The emphasis is on having fun and discovering the snow in the early stages and the English-speaking staff of the kids clubs and ski schools in France are amongst the most highly qualified in the world.
The best way to get to the French Alps from Australia is to fly into Geneva airport or Lyon airport , depending on which ski resort you would like to go to. On our resort pages, we advise which airport or train station is best to arrive to for each individual ski resort as well as the time it takes to arrive at your destination of choice.
Some ski resorts such as Alpe d’Huez, Chamonix, Courchevel, Les Arcs, Meribel, Val d’Isere have their own altiport (aerodrome for small airplanes and helicopters).
Top Snow Travel can provide helicopter transfers from any airports in the Alps including Geneva, Lyon, Chambery, Grenoble and provide inter resort helicopter transfers should you wish to visit and ski at multiple ski resorts such as in our winter ski safaris (avoid the roads, traffic jams and enjoy unforgettable scenic views at an affordable price for your private group).
For a complete hassle free ski package you will need to budget for the following:
flights, transfers or car hire, accommodation, lift pass, ski hire, guide/lessons, travel insurance.. Top Snow Travel can also organise clothing hire and grocery delivery to be waiting for you on your on arrival.