Guide: Skiing in the French Alps
Beat the Winter Blues by Skiing in the French Alps
If you are going to have to endure a few more weeks of winter, what better way to enjoy it by skiing in the French Alps? Get high in the mountains! In the mountains you will feel it is a true winter, with cold crunchy snow, pretty French villages, fun resorts and clean fresh invigorating air. It won’t matter what snow sport or what level you are, there is plenty of choice in every ski area.
There are plenty of beautiful places to chill out so let’s take a look at a few of them to get you searching for the next flight to one of them. Depending on the level of snow each season you can be sure of reasonable conditions January through to March as it is usually still cold enough for good snow but the days are lengthening. If you plan your escape outside the main holiday season there are some great deals to be found.
Val d’Isère and Tignes
These are resorts high in the French Alps covering the massive ski area known as Espace Killy. If you don’t find something to enjoy here, you seriously need to check your lens on life.
Val d’Isère resort covers a long rather remote valley with a number of smaller areas with terrain for all levels of skier. Intermediate skiers will find plenty to challenge themselves with and improve their skills. Those seeking black runs and off piste powder will also find bowls of delight.
Because of the altitude reaches from the resort at 1850m to a top altitude of nearly 3400m for Pointe du Montet, Val d’Isère can guarantee a long cold season. Perfect for ski bunnies and powder hounds.
Nearby Tignes ski area stretches even higher to the Grande Motte at 3,456m. You can truly have your head in the clouds. Tignes can offer skiing almost all year round if you fancy a run in the warmer months. The slopes are groomed to perfection every day so get out early and be the first down pristine slopes to leave your mark.
For share grandeur it is pretty hard to go past Chamonix, sheltered under towering peaks that include magisterial Mont Blanc. This is the home of “le grand ski”. Adventurers have been going to Chamonix for centuries as they continue to find new ways to enjoy the slopes – skiers, snow boarders, climbers, paragliding pilots and more. Who knows what will be tested next?
The top lift reaches an altitude of 3,842m so that has got be worth it just for the view. Will you have enough stamina to ski the 20km Vallée Blanche glacier run? But there are plenty of other runs for levels to choose from so don’t let that daunt you.
Enjoying some après ski fare down in the village after a challenging day is going to be very satisfying on every level. There is always French food, French wine, and some dancing on the tables to found somewhere in Chamonix.
Morzine and Avoriaz
Morzine is a genuine French alpine village so you not only feel energized by the action on the slopes, you can feel the atmosphere of French village life despite it being a ski resort for over a century. If you are winter follower of fashion, you may already know that Jean Vuarnet, of iconic sunglasses fame came from Morzine. He was also a Winter Olympic Downhill winner, but I guess not many remember that.
When Vuarnet returned victorious he was given the task of setting up the resort Avoriaz higher above Morzine. Both Morzine and Avoriaz are now part of the huge ski area Portes du Soleil which is huge winter playground for all snow sports.
If you decide you need a break (not literally of course!) from skiing or boarding you can even try ice diving, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing. And there is always, always shopping – gifts for friends back home, of course.
Meribel sounds so cutesy like Tinkerbell but it is the place for serious skiing and even more serious partying. It is kind of cute though with lots of wooden chalets and charming streets and it has a friendly village atmosphere. It also has the advantage of being the centre of position and attention in the large Trois Vallées ski area that includes Courcheval, Le Tania and Val Thorens.
Le Folies Douce is world famous, among snow party goers at least. Les Folies Douce have been entertaining and encouraging parties on the slopes since 1980 with no sign of slowing down. You get to start your après ski in the afternoon sharing the slopes with entertainers, DJs, dancers and generally crazy people every day. It’s way cool. You might even consider doing what Crystal did when she “trashed the dress”, Crystal style in Bali. The French Alps would make a great backdrop!
So there you have some beautiful fun resorts in the French Alps just waiting for you to choose the date for a date. Anyone of them will seduce you with their call to outdoor action and holiday charm.
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Tim Baker is a proud dad of two, a blogger and contributor to various travel and lifestyle blogs.
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