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Off Piste Skiing
Holidays

A guide to the highest ski resorts in the Alps

By No author
18/01/2011

France is proud to be the largest skiing area in the world, with 5 mountains: Vosges, Jura, Alpes, Massif Central and Pyrenees.

The best time to go is February where you can be almost guaranteed snow. But it is also the busiest time of the year with French school holidays spreading over 4 weeks. However,  if you pick your resort carefully you can ski later in the season, up until May in some places.

Here is a list of the highest altitude resorts compiled from the ESF brochure and the various resort websites.

 

Champagny

Champagny
Champagny

1500m-3900m

www.champagny.com

tel. : 00 33 4 79 55 06 55 - fax : 00 33 4 79 55 04 66
email : info@champagny.com

Winter from 18/12/2010 to 25/04/2011

Champagny is one of the 10 resorts of la Plagne, on the Southern side of the skiing domain, including 225 km of pistes.The cable-car, just over the Centre, carries you up to 2000m in 7 mn. For snowboarders : 2 snowboard parks, including an half-pipe in the ski area for big thrills.

 

Chamonix

Chamonix
Chamonix

Altitude : 1035m-3835m

www.chamonix.com

Winter from 04/12/10 to 08/05/11

tel. : 00 33 4 50 53 00 24 - fax : 00 33 4 50 53 58 90
info@chamonix.com

The Chamonix Valley is approximately 20 kilometers and nestled between the towering Mont-Blanc range to the south and the Aiguilles Rouges mountains to the north. The birthplace of mountaineering over 200 years ago, Chamonix is still considered the ultimate place to be for all those who share a love of nature.  

 

Les Arcs 

Les Arcs
Les Arcs

Altitude : 1800m-4000m

www.lesarcs.com

Winter from 18/12/10 to 25/04/11

tel. : 00 33 4 79 07 12 57 - fax : 00 33 4 79 07 24 90

Les Arcs open the doors to paradise with Paradiski, 420 kms of slopes between La Plagne and les Arcs. The resorts will suit all types of skiers. It has been awarded the "P'tits Montagnards" label, the Ski France certificate guaranteeing high quality facilities suitable for children and their parents This dynamic station benefits from exceptional sunshine and beautiful views of the mountains. 

 

Belle Plagne- La Plagne - Aime la Plagne

La Plagne
La Plagne

2000m-4000m

www.la-plagne.com

Winter from 18/12/10 to 22/04/11

tel. : 00 33 4 79 09 79 79 - fax : 00 33 4 79 09 70 10

The very first resort, Plagne Centre, opens for the 1961-1962. Nowadays La Plagne spreads over 10 resorts with all possible variations concerning skiing: charming villages, large free style area, the only Olympic Bobsleigh Piste in France built in 1992 for the 16th Winter Olympics opened for the public and professionals, glacier climbing, lighted slalom stadium, ice-rings, youth club, swimming pools, fitness clubs, snow-shoes, Nordic ski, pedestrian walks, hang-gliding, delta gliding, squash, indoor climbing, kart, paint ball, bowling...  

 

Courchevel

Courchevel
Courchevel

1550m-3950m

www.courchevel.com

Winter from 04/12/10 to 25/04/11

tel. : 00 33 4 79 08 00 29 - fax : 00 33 4 79 08 15 63

Courchevel is the most prestigious ski station of the "3 Vallées" and the largest ski area in the world. Luxurious hotels, quality restaurants, top quality pistes, all you need is available for your pleasure, security and comfort. Ski school from 3 years old, 600km of pistes and 700 ski instructors. By far the most expensive resort in France. Great if you want to rub elbows with rich russians but not so great if you just go for the skiing. It has to be said though, there are some really good altitude restaurants and the piste skiing is very good.  

 

Méribel

Méribel
Méribel

1450m-3950m

www.meribel.net

Winter from 04/12/10 to 29/04/11

tel. : 00 33 4 79 08 60 01 - fax : 00 33 4 79 00 59 61

For over 60 years, skiers from around the world have come to Meribel. The Olympic resort lies at the heart of the 3 Vallées, the largest ski area in the world: 600 km of slopes, 200 ski lifts, 400 ski instructors. With its wooden and stones chalets, the village has integrated to the local environment. For children and adults, for skiers and non-skiers. Meribel is a very British resorts. Some pubs and shops don't even bother speaking French. Because it is so well situated in the heart of the 3 Vallées, it makes it an ideal choice. Worth noting however that Meribel Mottaret is the only place that offers skiing late in the season. Don't go for Meribel les Allues or Meribal Village if you are planning on skiing in April and want to do ski in ski out.  

 

Les Menuires

Les Menuires
Les Menuires

1800m-3400m

www.lesmenuires.com

Winter from 04/12/10 to 25/04/2011

tel. : 00 33 4 79 00 73 00 - fax : 00 33 4 79 00 75 06

A modern ski resort, Les Ménuires has integrated to the landscape with its wooden and stones chalets, and has been built to simplify life. It is the the ideal ski-in ski-out village.Still not one of the best looking resort. The skiing is great though. St Martin de Belleville is part of Les Menuires area and although lower down, it hosts some of the best restaurants around the 3 Vallées. Be prepared to queue at the mid chair lift going back up after lunch. Great off piste skiing. From the beginner to the advanced skier. Three ski passes are available : Les Menuires and Saint Martin: 160 km of pistes - 42 lifts Vallée des Belleville ( Saint Martin - Les Menuires - Val Thorens ): 300 km of pistes - 75 lifts3 Vallées ( Vallée des Belleville - Courchevel - La Tania - Méribel ): 600 km of pistes - 200 lifts Also snowpark with boardercross and halfpipe, 1 Snowcross, sledge piste, 1 beginners area, 2 children villages , 28 km of country ski, 28 km for pedestrians, 4 km of trails for snow shoes. 

 

Val Thorens

 

Val Thorens
Val Thorens

www.valthorens.com

Winter from 20/11/10 to 08/05/11

Summer ski from July on the Glacier du Péclet

Tel. 00 33 4 79 00 08 08 - fax : 00 33 4 79 00 00 04

Val Thorens is one of the highest village at 2300 meters, which guarantees the best snow from Autumn to May. Val Thorens is interesting because it is one of the village of the "3 Vallées" (Courchevel, La Tania, Méribel, Les Menuires, Val Thorens) which include 600 kilometers of runs, 200 lifts.) In the middle of winter, there are times when it is simply too cold to ski there and the wind can mean that the area is closed. However, there are times when the rest of the 3 Vallées are covered up and Val Thorens has a clear blue sky). Amazing off piste and best snow. 

 

Les 2 Alpes

Les 2 Alpes
Les 2 Alpes

1650m-3650m

www.les2alpes.com

Winter from 27/11/10 to 30/04/11

tel. : 00 33 4 76 79 22 00 - fax : 00 33 4 76 79 01 38

Average size resort, from 1600m et 3600m, 54 lifts and 20kms of country ski, to satisfy all type of skiers.  

 

Tignes

 

Tignes
Tignes

1550m- 3470m

www.tignes.net

Winter from 27/11/10 to 01/05/11

Tel. : 00 33 4 79 40 03 03 or 00 33 4 79 40 04 40 - fax : 00 33 4 79 40 03 15

The resort's high altitude ensures snow all year round. 300km of pistes, 97 ski lifts, 9 slalom stadiums, 2 muggle stadiums, 2 snowparks , 52 km nordic ski tracks. Tignes is linked to two tradional style villages: Les Brévières (The run to Les Brévières is one of the nicest especially when in search of a well deserved lunch) and Les Boisses.  

 

Val d'Isère

 

Val d'Isère
Val d'Isère

1550m-3470m

www.valdisere.com

Winter from 27/11/10 to 01/05/11

Tel. : 00 33 4 79 06 06 60 - fax : 00 33 4 79 06 04 56

Val d'Isère is naturally tailor made for skiing. As a prime Olympic resort, it features a vast array of safe slopes for skiers of all levels in addition to a vast expanse of untouched snowfields for off-piste enthusiasts. The oldest of the Savoyard winter sports resorts was founded by dedicated visionaries who conveyed upon it their convictions and their undoubted style. From the first Rogoney ski lift (1934) to the new cable car - the "Olympique", Val d'Isère incorporates a network of over 300 km of slopes that have been designed and equipped piece by piece by the creators of the Espace Killy (Tignes and Val d'Isère combined). The resort's builders have always been motivated by a single aim: providing more comfort and pleasure for skiers.Val d'Isère is candidate for the 2009 World Alpin Ski Competition.  

 

Alpe d'Huez

Alpe d'Huez
Alpe d'Huez

1450m-3550m

www.alpedhuez.com

Winter from 04/12/10 to 30/04/11

tel. : 00 33 4 76 11 44 44 - fax : 00 33 4 76 80 69 54

235 km of pistes and 87 ski lifts, L'Alpe d'Huez brings together the villages of Auris, Oz, Vaujanis, Villard.An amazing ski area offering gentle slopes for beginners.The black slopes are accessible from the Pic Blanc and the new eggs - Les Marmottes II. " From the Sarenne start, the longest run in Europe - 16 km, La Fare and Château Noir, it is possible to ski for 1 1/2 hours non-stop without having to take any ski lift.  

 

Montchavin

Montchavin
Montchavin

1250m-3300m et Les Coches (1450 m)

www.montchavin-lescoches.com/

Winter from 18/12/10 au 22/04/11

Tel. : 0033 4 79 07 82 82 - fax : 00 33 4 79 07 80 18

Montchavin et Les Coches, two villages that have been able to retain their charm and the authentic alpine look. Linked to the La Plagne and Les Arcs, the two villages have access to the Paradiski area. From the resort, there is a number of ski areas available to choose from- The Montchavin/Les Cloches areas (between 1250 and 2400)- The La Plagne Area or the Paradiski (La Plagne Les Arcs : 420km of pistes !)  

 

Oz en Oisans

 

Oz en Oisans
Oz en Oisans

1350m-3350m

www.oz-en-oisans.com

Tel. : 00 33 4 76 80 78 01 - Fax : 00 33 4 76 80 79 04

- info@oz-en-oisans.com

Winter from 11/12/10 to 30/04/11

Relatively new, this resort was only launched in 1989. It is still small but very practical. For those who are looking primarily for calm, friendliness and a ski in ski out option, this is a very good choice. Ice-skating, hiking, snow-shoes, night skiing, hang-gliding and rock-climbing From OZ at 1350 m to PIC BLANC at 3330 m, this is a vast and varied skiing area. Nearly 230 Km of pistes. Oz has its own skiing area. It goes from Vaujany and L'Alpe d'Huez, to the west side of the Grandes Rousses. It spreads between 1350m and 2800 m high and there is 65 Km of pistes and 20 lifts. 30 km of nordic ski tracks.  

Bon ski! 

Click here to find out very good deals on ski holidays in France 

Find the best hotels for your holiday in the Alpes.

COMMENTS:

21/12/2012 - nicoatridge said :

France has some great resorts, but there are plenty of other high snow-sure resorts. Http://WWW.swisswintersports.co.UK lists at least a dozen ski areas in Switzerland alone that are over 3000m and there are a handful in Austria and Italy too.

08/01/2011 - francesca said :

which are the best resorts where we can sleep at High altitude, say as high as 2500m? I know Arc 2000 has a club med hotel at ....2000m but I was wondering if anyone had any knowledge of aresort where we could sleep at higher altitude than that. thanks

20/11/2010 - fordsimon said :

chi-bangaa!!! The guide is for France not Italy or Switzerland .... muppet!

18/11/2010 - chi.bangaa said :

You forgot to mention The Cervinia/Zermatt ski resort, which goes up to 3899m high.

14/07/2010 - rich.sinclair said :

excellent guide - can I shamelessly also mention that you can use a free guide to all of the top ski resorts in France while you're out there, on your mobile phone with http://www.sno.mobi - from forecast to fondue, accommodation to apres ski bars, SNO.mobi puts the whole ski resort in your pocket!

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