In addition to being vast, the offer is also very varied. A specialised guide reviewed over 100 national or international resorts and made a selection from 4 reference sectors: traditional, energetic, trendy or family resorts. The main points are set out below for information, but remember this is in no way an official classification.
- Châtel (Haute Savoie) 1200 – 2200 m
Skiing is synonymous with pleasure on these beautiful slopes. In the heart of the vallée d’Abondance, you can explore the unique rich local heritage. You can even ski in Switzerland, as Châtel is part of the Portes du Soleil slopes.
- Les Contamines-Montjoie (Haute Savoie) 1160 – 1900 m
Super-gliding is the theme in the Contamines, with the X-Zones concept and its superb “superpipe” two nights a week. On the cultural side, the resort is a jewel of baroque art. And it’s all at the foot of Mont-Blanc with spectacular views…
- Samoëns (Haute Savoie) 720 – 2500 m
The listed village of Samoëns cultivates its difference and has never fallen into the trap of wanting to expand at all cost. The resort, linked to the slopes of the Grand Massif, is the perfect destination for those seeking peace and quiet and the delightful savoyard traditions.
- Sixt-Fer-à-cheval (Haute Savoie) 800 – 1600 m
A charming resort whose village is listed among the most beautiful in France, in a magnificent natural setting. Recommended for beginners. More experienced skiers could join the slopes of the Grand Massif via Samoëns (free shuttle service).
- Pralognan – La Vanoise (Savoie) 1410 – 2355 m
Modernism just for the sake of it does not belong in Pralognan, where natural comfort is preferred. At the foot of the Vanoise glaciers, the setting is magnificent and the ski slopes easily accessible. The skier is spoiled for choice here, and all at reasonable prices.
- Val-d’Isère (Savoie) 1785 – 3300 m
Val d’Isère is the cradle of French skiing. The resort is organising the World Championship in 2009. It is on the slopes of the Espace Killy, and offers a huge range of pistes, in a friendly but also exotic atmosphere, as many foreign skiers come here every year.
For the more energetic…
- Avoriaz (Haute Savoie) 1800 – 2400 m
In this futuristic setting, where there are absolutely no cars, Avoriaz remains a mythical resort. The slopes, connected to the Portes du Soleil, are of excellent quality. As one of the first snowparks in France was built here, the resort enjoys a solid reputation for snowboarding.
- Chamonix Mont-Blanc (Haute Savoie) 1035 – 3300 m
“Cham”, as it is familiarly called, is the skiing capital. Not surprising, then, that it welcomes many foreigners. The first Winter Olympic Games were organised here in 1924, Chamonix offers slopes of exceptional quality, including the Verte des Houches. From beginners to experts, Chamonix is the ideal destination, with the added bonus of superb views of Mont-Blanc.
- La Clusaz (Haute Savoie) 1100 – 2600 m
La Clusaz, accessible to all levels, with its famous massif de la Balme – a natural snowpark – is an authentic destination where you can also taste the excellent traditional cuisine. La Clusaz is also the native village of Edgar Grospiron, and Candide Thovex, the star of freeride.
- Les Menuires (Savoie) 1450 – 3200 m
This resort is constantly being developed and modernised, and now has top-level ski lifts. It’s a great success! From Les Menuires, you can reach two huge ski slopes, or even the new-board sports park in the Combes-Becca area.
- La Plagne (Savoie) 1250 – 3250 m
Made up of no less than 10 resorts, la Plagne offers many possibilities in an eclectic setting. There is for example the pleasant village of Belle-Plagne. As if the extensive slopes were not enough, La Plagne is also connected to Les Arcs via the Vanoise express cable car (Paradiski). This has enlarged the playing field enjoyed by all kinds of skiers.
- Serre-Chevalier (Hautes Alpes) 1200 – 2850 m
One of the largest slopes in France, offering all possibilities, in all disciplines. You can ski through the woods, and the atmosphere in the valley is friendly and family-oriented. Luc Alphand’s resort is an ideal destination for energetic skiers and sun-seekers, as it is not far from the South.
- Tignes (Savoie) 1550 – 3656 m
Like its neighbour Val d’Isère, Tignes uses part of the Espace Killy, known world-wide for its unrivalled quality slopes. Fun is not just an empty word here. Did you know that this Savoy resort is the birthplace of freestyle? Also, thanks to the glacier, skiing is possible all year round. Another feature: there are five free ski lifts for beginners.
- Les Arcs (Savoie) 1600 – 3226 m
At Les Arcs, there is a great atmosphere at each level. At the peak, Arc 2000, at the foot of the Aiguille Rouge, is the land of expert skiers, speed ski slopes, and lovers of powder snow. Arc 1950 focuses on luxury. Lastly, snowboarding is possible at Arc 1800, and the original site, Arc 1600, is only 7 minutes away by funicular from the TGV station at Bourg-Saint-Maurice. A must!
- Courchevel (Savoie) 1810 – 2610 m
The “winter Saint-Tropez” has become a very popular destination. It welcomes many stars and crowned heads. Luxury restaurants, fashion boutiques, activities of all sorts…it satisfies the most outrageous requests. But Courchevel, located in the heart of the 3 Vallées, is also one of the largest ski slopes in the world. No more, no less!
- Les Deux-Alpes (Isère) 1600 – 3600 m
This resort organises the famous World Snowboarding and Skiing Exhibitions, the two biggest events in the skiing world, where you can test all the equipment. With its snowpark, said to be one of the most beautiful in Europe, the resort welcomes the champions of the sport. But beginners are by no means left out, as they have access to many slopes. Finally, thanks to the glacier, skiing continues into the summer.
- Flaine (Haute Savoie) 1600 – 2500 m
Flaine was the first resort to use artificial snow. Always ahead of its time, it even offers monumental works by Picasso and Dubuffet, with an architectural design by a pupil of the Bauhaus school. Also popular with enthusiasts of alternative disciplines, Flaine has a beautiful, very well maintained snowpark.
- Megève (Haute Savoie) 1113 – 2350 m
Megève, combining lifestyle and luxury, needs no introduction. Everything is possible in this very international resort (casino, skating rink, etc.) In spite of its chic reputation, freestylers enjoy it, as do the cross-country set. Also noteworthy are the polo matches on snow.
- Méribel (Savoie) 1450 – 2950 m
This ultra-chic resort has kept its unique charm; nestled in the slopes of the 3 Vallées, Méribel is a popular destination with an international clientele. This is a resort for “real skiing”, and combines tradition, calm and delight.
- L’Alpe d’Huez (Isère) 1860 – 3300 m
Just as famous winter and summer, with the well-known climb up to the pass in the Tour de France, Alpe d’Huez is enjoyed by all kinds of skiers, especially those who come with the family. The hardiest of them will try their hand at the longest black slope in Europe (16 km long with 2200 m of mogul!)
- Les Gets (Haute Savoie) 1172 – 2000 m
Far from the over-crowded slopes, Les Gets is a symbolic resort that has remained true to itself. The setting is well cared-for, the atmosphere welcoming. The resort even includes a special children’s area, the Grand Cry, an activity course to learn to ski, based on the culture of Indians and trappers.
- Le Grand-Bornand (Haute Savoie) 1000 – 2100 m
Ancient chalets, permanent activities, the “Grand-Bo” is a lovely resort.
Very good skiers will perhaps feel frustrated, but others will thoroughly enjoy it. Grand-Bornand is considered to be the kingdom of farmhouse reblochon. Something to be proud of!
- Isola 2000 (Alpes Maritimes) 1810 – 2610 m
In the parc du Mercantour, just over an hour from Nice, Isola 2000 has very pleasant slopes overlooking the sea. Located in a hollow, the resort is famous for its friendly atmosphere.
- Morillon (Haute Savoie) 700 – 2500 m
This resort is accessible to all levels of skiers. The village has a large pedestrian area which protects it from noise. Morillon is fairly quiet in the evenings and so is particularly suited to families, looking for peace and quiet and a good quality ski slope.
- Peisez-Vallandry (Savoie) 1600 – 3225 m
All types of skiing are available in Villandry, in the cosy atmosphere of a small ski resort. For those seeking hard skiing, it is linked to the Arcs via Paradiski.
- Val-Thorens (Savoie) 2300 – 3230 m
The highest resort in Europe, Val-Thorens has changed over the years. Thanks to the exceptional geographical position at the top of the 3 Vallées, Val-Thorens is a popular destination. Luckily, everything has been calculated so the wait at the bottom of the slopes is not too long.