British skiers and snowboarders are lucky enough to have easy access to some of the best skiing on earth in France. France is home to the largest lift-linked ski area in the world, the highest ski resort in Europe and the longest black run in Europe. If there was an Olympics for the best ski resorts, many of the winners would be in France! Ski holidays in France are extremely popular because of the wide variety of accommodations available, the high quality of amenities in resort, the excellent lift infrastructure and the large varied ski areas. Enjoy a brilliant ski holiday next season in one of our leading resorts featuring one of the best ski runs in France.
Selected by Phil, Sales Team Leader This is one for the freestyle enthusiasts. Prolays is a jibbers paradise, the piste runs parallel to The Stash with lots of bumps and jumps to hit up along the edge. The run itself is usually well pisted and great for fast skiers and snowboarders who wish to shoot down the steep sections.
View more about skiing in Avoriaz
Selected by Krystelle, Ski Editor Located at the top of the Roche de Mio gondola and towering above the La Plagne villages of Belle Plagne and Bellecote is the start of the red run Les Sources. For the more leisurely skier there is also one of my favourite blue runs here Levasset. Les Sources is a fun, wide red piste with varied terrain that sweeps down to join the blue runs as you pass by Belle Plagne village and back down to Bellecotte. The run varies in steepness which adds to the fun. Experienced skiers can blast through the ups and downs, while relaxed skiers will enjoy the different sections of the run including wide sections at an easy red gradient to shorter sections of stepper terrain. Take a look at the run in more detail in this video by La Plagne resort.
View more about skiing in La Plagne
Selected by Scotty, Senior Sales Expert This is one for the expert skiers that love a long ski run. Starting from 3456m at the top of the glacier, hit a few Moguls down Descente (black run) then straight line down into Double M and Cirse (red runs) to Tignes Val Claret at 2100m. Squeeze in a few turns as you go under Les Lanches chairlift if anyone’s watching but aside from that no turning or stopping allowed! Then grab yourself a well-deserved beer down in Val Claret.
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Selected by AJ, Sales Director This ‘hidden gem’ in Val d’Isere is displayed perfectly by Léo Taillefer in the video below. The run is off piste and best left for a powder day. Experienced skiers and snowboarders will be hugely satisfied after tackling this beast!
Find out more about skiing in Val d'Isere
Selected by Laura, Head of Digital Marketing This enjoyable red run can be reached from the Tougnete chairlift in Meribel, once at the top you follow the Cretes down before turning left in to Jerusalem. The wide run is filled with natural rollers which make the run so enjoyable and a favourite for numerous skiers and snowboarders. As you come to the end of Jerusalem you can carry on down the blue Biolly piste to St Martin de Belleville. Do this run in the late morning so you can stop for lunch in the pretty hamlet of St Martin.
Find out more about skiing in Meribel
Selected by Damian, Senior Sales Expert. Les Menuires – Top of the Becca Lift (2704m) to valley floor (1850m). La Plagne – From the top of the Bijolin chairlift above Les Coches, take the skiers left of the Bijolin chaitlift through trees on a powder day. It feels like it never ends until you pop out at the road in Montchavin.. Valmorel – I love cutting a straight line down the Col du Mottet and Le Cheval Noir (the 2 peaks overlooking Valmorel). Starting from the top of the Mottet chairlift (the resorts highest point), you can ski down with eye watering speed while piste side then shoot off over a powder glade directly below the Riondet drag lift. Here it starts to get steep. Stop on the face to catch your breath before crossing the frozen river before turning your skis downhill again. You go through bowls of heaven’s dust then drop parallel to the river, trust in your skis and fate for a roller-coaster ride creek side – holding your line without ‘falling in the drink’ before shooting up onto the piste and civilization.
2 of the biggest ski destinations in Europe fight it out this weekend in the group stage of the UEFA EURO 2016. On Sunday 19th June, the France and Switzerland football teams go head to head at the Grand Stade Lille Métropole. Both contries are big favourites for many skiers and snowboarders, but which one will be crowned King of the Alps? We compare the slopes, après and cuisine to find out…
SwitzerlandMost resorts in Switzerland are set at a high altitude, bringing guaranteed snow as well as glacier skiing and good conditions throughout the season. Many of the ski areas provide long runs and challenging pistes, making it particularly good for skiers at a more intermediate to advanced level. There are, however, still opportunities for beginners. The resort of Wengen has a ski school as well as a blue piste and a ‘slow speed zone’ for those just starting out. From stunning scenery to plenty of pistes, backcountry runs and snowparks, Switzerland certainly has a lot of variety. The Graubunden ski area is Switzerland’s largest alpine area, offering a whopping 225km of skiable piste. Head to Verbier and you’ll find your ski area expanded to across the 4 valleys, which includes the neighbouring resorts of Nendaz and Les Collons. If you visit Zermatt you’ll soon spot the famous Matterhorn peak (pictured above), which is often featured in many photos of the resort. There are some great advanced runs here as well as the opportunity to do some heliskiing for those who are looking for a new challenge. It is also the highest altitude resort in the country sitting at a top height of 3900m.
For the adventurous ones out there, Flims Laax is home to 4 snowparks (including Europe’s largest half pipe) and a glacier for spring and summer skiing.
France Much like Switzerland, France also offers plenty of variation, from high altitude resorts to snowparks and glaciers. Snow reliability is high and the majority of resorts offer good snow conditions throughout the season. Les Deux Alps is the highest resort, standing at a top altitude of 3600m. The resort experiences long sunshine hours and boasts 220km of piste, a board park and a halfpipe. There are plenty of linked ski areas such as the massive 3 Valleys with its 600km of runs. Portes du Soleil is one of the largest skiable areas in the world, with lots of ski-in ski-out accommodation which is ideal for families and kids. For your freestyle fix, the Paradiski area has four snowparks and two half-pipes. France caters equally well for beginner, intermediate and advanced skiers. Alpe d’Huez has lots of blue runs, beginners only areas and no abundance of ski schools. If you like backcountry skiing, Tignes has some fantastic off piste opportunities, as does Val d’Isere. There are also numerous glacier resorts in France, including Tignes, some of which offer skiing all year round. Winner: France
La Plagne, part of the Paradiski area in France
Switzerland The après scene in Switzerland is a little on the small side, with not a great deal of après venues on offer. However, each of the bars makes up for it, with resorts such as Verbier known to have some fun and lively nightclubs. As well as nightclubs, expect to find discos, jazz bars and quiet pubs – something to cater for every taste.
France France is home to some well-known après venues, like Rond Point in Meribel and the legendary La Folie Douce, which has bars in Val d’Isere, Meribel, Val Thorens and Alpe d’Huez. Ibiza Rocks the Snow Festival is also held yearly in France, bringing some great partying and music to the mountains. All in all, expect some wild après, live bands every night and quieter venues where you can relax with a drink. Winner: France
Folie Douce in Val d'Isere
Switzerland Switzerland is the home of the delicious Fondue as well as a whole other collection of comforting mountain foods. Enjoy Käseschnitte (cheese on toast), Raclette (melted cheese scraped overmeat, bread and vegetables) or fried potato Rösti’s. To satisfy your sweet tooth, Switzerland is a great place to find Swiss Chocolate and no end of delicious cakes and pastries.
France Most dishes found in the French mountains are cheese, potato or bread heavy. Traditional French dishes include Tartiflette (baked cheese, potatoes and meat), Beaufort Tart (a cheese and pastry tart), sweet crepes and pastries. Winner: Switzerland
Swiss cheese fondue
Winner: France This one was a very close call – both countries have some excellent skiing, après and food and are both firm favourites for many snowsports enthusiasts. The winning streak came from France due to its ability to cater equally to beginner, intermediate and advanced abilities. It also knows how to throw a mean après party to end the day!
The magnificent Val d’Isere ski resort is a firm favourite among many skiers and snowboarders. With access to the world class Espace Killy slopes, legendary après ski and a huge selection of ski chalets and hotels makes Val d’Isere a popular ski destination for seasoned riders and new comers to winter sports alike. The Espace Killy ski area is made up of 300km of remarkable pistes that surround the Val d’Isere and neighbouring Tignes villages. With 2 glaciers and heaps of skiing above 2000m, Val d’Isere and Tignes are considered 2 of the most snow-sure resorts in the Alps which make them a perfect choice for early and late season ski holidays as well as guaranteeing great snow conditions throughout winter.
Don’t miss these 6 experiences on a ski holiday in Val d’Isere:
In excellent snow conditions ski the Lost Valley (Vallée Perdue) down to La Daille. It’s tricky to find but it’s definitely worth the effort as there is some of the prettiest ski runs and the best tree skiing in Val d’Isere here.
Skiing down to into Val d'isere
Have an après session at the legendary Folie Douce Val d’Isere, the Mecca of the European party ski scene. If you manage to drag yourself away from Folie before the lifts close, you can ski back over to Val d’Isere and continue the party at the bottom of the slopes at Coco Rico. Otherwise you can ski down from Folie to La Daille and take the ski bus to Val d’Isere town.
Apres at Folie Douce Val d'Isere
Also known as the ‘up and over chairlift’ or the ‘scare chair,’ the Leissires chairlift straddles the mountain peak between Solaise and l'Iseran and takes you up and down the vertical mountain walls giving you a unique perspective of the gorgeous views from both angles. You must ride the chairlift both ways for the full experience!
Leissires chairlift back to Solaise
Probably the most well-known bars in Val d’Isere. Catch The Dominos at their weekly set during the ski season and party into the early hours at the English Pub themed bar. The renowned Moris Pub is located under Chalet Hotel Moris.
Iglu Ski's Scottie at Moris Pub
The Espace Killy is extremely lucky to have 2 of the best snow parks in France; the Val D’Isere Park at Bellevarde and the Tignes Park at Col du Palet. Freestyle skiers and snowboarders in Val d’Isere will love the 25 rail features and 3 boardercross tracks whilst beginners can test their new skills at the large small feature area on the other side of Bellevarde.
Val d'Isere snowpark
Get you fondue fix at La Cassarole in Val d’isere town, enjoy scrumptious alpine burgers and steaks at the mountainside La Fruitiere and sample local delicacies at the ‘Best Mountain Restaurant,’ Le Signal. (Awarded at the 2015 World Snow Awards)
How to get there? View the largest selection of ski deals to Val d’Isere.
Like this blog? Read 6 things to do on a ski holiday in Meribel
Meribel is one of the prettiest large ski resorts in France which is why it attracts thousands of Britons each season. Combined with its central positioning in the largest ski area in the world, its charming tree lined ski runs, abundance of alpine ski chalets and lively après scene, there’s no surprise that Meribel is one of the most popular ski resorts in Europe. Here’s the lowdown on the on the best things to experience on a ski holiday in Meribel.
Attractive village with tree lined ski runs
A trip to Meribel isn’t complete without an outing to Le Rond Point. The ‘Ronnie,’ as locals call it, is open all day long with a delicious restaurant open for lunch, a huge terrace and snack bar for afternoon beers and chilling out in the sunshine and live apres bands 7 days a week between 5-7pm. Le Rond Point is unquestionably the best apres bar in Meribel.
The bar is situated in a perfect sun trap of the slopes which makes it the best bar to be in during good weather. The fantastic piste side location allows you to ski back down to Meribel after a wild apres sesh.
Meribel is fortunate to accommodate 2 large snowparks. The Moon Park is open to skiers and snowboarders of all levels. This park is brilliant for beginner to intermediate freestylers with some jumps specially designed for beginners, and well as tables, rails and boxes for all abilities. DC Area 43 (the Plattieres Park) is one of the best snowparks in Europe. It is well maintained by a team of professional park shapers and attracts top level freestylers from around the world. The park is 1200m long, has 2 half pipes and is served by 2 lifts allowing easy access for skiers and snowboarders.
DC Area 43 Snowpark
Dance around in your ski boots at the best après party in the Alps. The vibrant mix of DJs and performers creates a unique party experience exclusive to France.
Photo: La Folie Douce Meribel Facebook
Your lips will never forgive you (even if your hips do) if you don’t try one of the infamous Montagne Burgers in Meribel Mottaret. Discover the best lunch in Meribel with the perfect combination of a burger and raclette in a bun the size of your head! The shop is located in the centre of Mottaret, next to the Sherpa supermarket.
Take advantage of being situated in the heart of the largest ski area in the world and visit neighbouring resorts Courchevel and Val Thorens. If you are an experienced skier, why not try ticking off all 8 ski villages in 3 Valleys during your ski holiday in Meribel?
If you are still wanting more after a day exploring the 600km of piste, Meribel has plenty of non-ski activities for the evenings, a day off the slopes and for non-skiers. As well as Husky sledding, paragliding, skidooing and snow shoeing excursions, the Olympic sports Centre is filled with activities to enjoy some down time. There is ice-skating, swimming, a climbing wall, ten-pin bowling, a gym and spa with a sauna, steam room and treatment rooms which offer a range of massages and beauty treatments.
Meribel is one of the best all-round ski resorts, making it an excellent options for beginners to experts, to snowboarders and groups with non-skiers.
How to get there? View the largest selection of ski accommodations and Meribel ski holiday deals
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