Where to ski in the French Alps

Mont Blanc and Chamonix, view from Aiguille du Midi

It’s no surprise to learn that some of the best ski and snowboarding areas in the world are found in the French Alps. Conveniently, if you live in the UK you are just a short flight away, around 1 hour and 30 minutes from the crisp cool slopes. Of course you have the option to drive too and this is ideal for families with children.

There are many excellent ski resorts and they all offer something a little different. Do you want upmarket and the place to be seen in? Possibly, are you looking for a family friendly resort or a resort that really tests your mettle with difficult terrain (for the advanced skier)?

Val d’Isère
Is superb for groups of friends – It is an exclusive resort and one that is well known for its vibrant Après ski and its social scene is just as important as skiing. It is a mere 5 km (3 miles) from the Italian border which means you can dip in and out as you like. It is part of the much larger Espace Killy ski area and its neighbours in the Tarentaise Valley include Les Arcs, La Plagne, Courchevel, Méribel and Val Thorens. It’s a great option to choose for couples and groups of friends with excellent easy and intermediate slopes and some challenging advanced runs.

Les Gets
Is highly recommended for families – it is a charming resort retaining its traditional alpine, pretty village atmosphere and is part of the Portes du Soleil ski area giving access to 285 runs for all ski levels. The FamillePlus Accreditation award is given to resorts that meet specific criteria and is only given if the resort is suitable for families; it goes without saying Les Gets has this prestigious title. It is excellent for beginners and intermediates and good for advanced, and has superb snowboarding facilities. Après ski reflects it’s a family friendly resort and nightlife is low key, it has a bowling alley and cinema, ideal for extra family entertainment.

Chamonix
Is perfect for the advanced skier – this ski resort offers hard terrain with 66 black ski runs for the expert skier. It is an exclusive resort and is very well situated close to the junction of France, Switzerland and Italy. Sitting at the foot of the majestic Mont Blanc, this resort appeals to the thrill seeker and is part of the Ski Pass Mont Blanc ski area. There are also good blue and red runs for the intermediate skier. Nightlife is generally buzzing in Chamonix and yes it is the place to go to be amongst the elite. The extra amenities are second to none with good bars and restaurants, nightclubs, a casino, plus Geneva Airport is just 1 hour away from Chamonix.

Méribel
Is a great ski resort for all – one of the most popular ski resorts in the French Alps, this area has the most concentration of ski resorts in the Tarentaise Valley and many are world class. As part of the Tarentaise Valley it has a mind boggling 319 pistes over 600km and they are served by 200 lifts. There is superb shopping in this resort and hosts many extra amenities including sightseeing helicopter tours and a golf course in the summer months, plus hiking trails and mountain biking. The bars and restaurants cater for families and groups of friends alike, you can relax on a cosy sofa or head to one of the bars with live music the choice is yours. Méribel is suitable for all levels of skiers and has some great ski schools for the youngsters.

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