They might all have mountains, snow and pistes in common, but every Alpine ski resort also has its own unique attributes, depending on what you’re after. If you’re all about good-snow guarantees, try Tignes ski resort. Heaven for snowboarders? Morzine is a top choice. For great après and close proximity to the airport, St. Anton and Chamonix are heard to beat. We’ve put together a few ‘best for’ options for skiing in the French Alps to help you make a discerning choice for you and your group this winter.
Best for Snow-Sure Slopes: Tignes
For those who love to ski high and ski hard, Tignes is a great choice if you want to go skiing in the French Alps. At an altitude of 2,100m, this cheerful purpose-built resort is the highest in the Tignes-Val d’Isère ski area. Slopes are mainly north-facing, and with the Grande Motte glacier offering slopes up to 3,456m. That’s two big ticks in the snow-sure column. This also means the season is pleasingly long. So if you’re keen on a pre-Christmas escape or a late-season week away, it’s a low-risk choice, snow-wise.
Groups of varying abilities will be happy here, with lots of great blues and reds, decent beginner slopes, and superb blacks and off-piste terrain. You’ll spend your days flying about on the mountain. With good snow pretty much guaranteed where you end up. Head up high for lunch at the top of the glacier, then ski down for cool and classy après ski in Val d’Isère before catching the last lift back up the mountain.
Best for Families: La Plagne
For family skiing in the Alps, La Plagne ticks every box. Comprised of several little villages, the atmosphere here is very family-orientated – relaxed, friendly and convenient. The slopes are easy to access. There’s a broad variety of accommodation to suit all family types and ages, and the ski schools are superb. Nestled in the huge Paradiski area of 425km of slopes, you can choose to stay local on lovely nursery slopes, blues and reds. Alternatively, opt for an area pass that gives you access to Les Arcs across the valley, via the Vanoise Express.
As well as great family skiing, there are plenty of other things to enjoy here too: ziplining, ice sculptures and bobsleigh, to name a few. La Plagne’s restaurants are very child-friendly too – the perfect excuse to introduce young ones to the glory of Savoyard food: a mandatory staple of French Alps skiing.
Best for Snowboarders: Morzine
A lively, large resort in the Portes du Soleil ski area, Morzine has a lot to offer snowboarders of all abilities. There’s a hefty 650km of pistes to play on for starters, including lovely tree-lined runs right down to the village. Snowboarders particularly like it here because there’s a park and very few drag lifts. Morzine’s proximity to Avoriaz means boarders can also access the excellent parks available there, including one with a super pipe. There are also ample guides available to take adventurers deep into the Portes du Soleil’s impressive off-piste terrain. The resort itself is brimming with Alpine charm. More like a town than a village, there are plenty of good restaurants, bars and shops, as well as an indoor swimming centre and outdoor ice rink – lots to do both on and off the mountain.
Best for Beginner Skiing: Les Deux Alpes
The clue’s in the name: Les Deux Alpes stretches across two peaks, with 225km of pistes to enjoy. Snow conditions tend to be good, as most runs are high altitude. Ideal for beginners, who might otherwise be discouraged by slush or ice. Many easy runs are right at the top, so rather than sticking on the extensive learner slopes near the resort, beginners can enjoy the full mountain experience and the epic big views that go with it.
Across the ski area there are plenty of many ‘Ski Tranquille’ slopes (wide, slow ski slopes), so wherever you’re skiing, it’s easy to get about without hitting a scary red you can’t avoid. Plenty of free lifts on beginner slopes means you’ll potentially save a bit of cash on lift passes as well. Off the slopes Les Deux Alpes is lively and friendly – there are lots of great bars and lots of nice places to eat. Skiing in the Alps should always involve at least one Tartiflette or cheese fondue, and here you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Best for Advanced Skiing: Courchevel
Courchevel has some challenging pistes to attempt if you’re an advanced skier. The Grand Couloir in particular has some gnarly steep sections to tackle, especially at the top of the run. There are also plenty of runs through the trees, with Jean Blanc being the most famous after being used for the World Cup back in 2013. Suisses is the place to be if you love moguls. The whole Three Valleys ski area has so many choices for advanced skiers.
Off the slopes, Courchevel prides itself as a luxury destination. There is a superb selection of five-star hotels and apartments to book. The après is lively too. Whether you want a fine-dining experience or a nightclub party, there’s something for everyone.
Best for Weekend Skiing: Chamonix
The large, cosmopolitan town of Chamonix is a top choice for skiing in the French Alps with your party hat on. It’s about 1 hour and 15 minutes from Geneva airport, so it’s ideal for cheeky weekend on the slopes. With Europe’s highest mountain – Mont Blanc – dominating the panorama. The skiing here is extreme and adrenalin-fuelled. Advanced, expert skiers and powder hounds will love the renowned blacks, off-piste and freeriding terrain here.
In addition, for skiers after a more relaxed experience, the Chamonix ski area has 170km of pistes to play on, including learner areas. As an all-year-round town, Chamonix is buzzing all time, but once the mountain is closed for the day, that’s when it is at its best. The après in Chamonix is legendary – worth a weekend here for that alone. Fabulous restaurants, bars and shops are also in abundance, and plenty of alternative activities too, including ice climbing and paragliding.
To find out more about skiing in the alps, call our experts today.