Ski Resorts in France

French skiing is all about superlatives: the world’s longest combined on-piste mileage of nearly 5,000 miles; some of the world’s best resorts, including Val d’Isère and Chamonix; arguably the world’s toughest terrain and most awesome backcountry; Europe’s highest peak, 15,771-foot Mont Blanc. And now come the expletives: too expensive, too crowded, too unfriendly (though French ski-meisters have recently taken a peek at the American ski industry’s hospitality playbook to try remedy a reputation for surliness).

France’s ski resorts are spread over seven different mountain ranges, most notably the Alps, so it’s impossible to generalize too much. But considering the sheer weight of options, it’s always best to form a plan around your skill level and vacation checklist (be it après-ski, family-focused ski schools, proximity of slopes to chalets, etc.). Val and Chamonix offer challenging and varied terrain, plus some of Europe’s rowdiest nightlife; Les Trois Vallées is actually four separate resorts, so provides scale and something for everyone. Of course, you can always ski more intimate resorts like La Grave or L’Alpe d’Huez, plus the more laid-back options in the southerly Pyrénées. But wherever you decide to point your planks, it’s safe to say you will be impressed.


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