You will be spoilt for choice in what is one of the world’s greatest ski and snowboarding regions – and also the place with the largest connected ski areas on the planet. Experienced skiers and boarders are able to drop from one valley to the next and even take in several top resorts in one day out, while beginners and children can feel safe and secure on the plentiful easy slopes and fun parks at the base of the slopes.
The Savoie alone is home to three of the best ski areas on the planet – Trois Vallées, Paradiski and Tignes Val d’Isere, making it an excellent choice for both skiers and boarders who want to be challenged and cover large distances and those strapping on their boots for the first time. An alternative is pretty Isère to the south of the Alps’ main ski regions, where the Grande Alpes ski area has lot of easy and intermediate terrain and scope for skiing and boarding between charming villages and to scenic valleys.
Of course boarding and skiing in France – just as in Austria - is not just about the slopes. Eating is a big deal in the French Alps, and you’ll be doing a lot of it to give you energy for your adventures. While international favourites are easy to come by, there are plenty of local specialities to be sampled, including fondues, raclettes, tartiflettes and gratins, all featuring wonderful gruyère or other local cheeses made from milk provided by cows grazing the rich mountain pastures.
The Savoie’s Trois Vallées actually now extends to four valleys, making its delights almost inexhaustible.
Pretty Méribel has a fantastic beginner’s area, Altiport, as well as plenty of snowboarding and skiing for other levels, lively nightlife and leisure facilities galore.
Also explore glitzy Courchevel with its celebrity clientele and Michelin-starred restaurants but also its family amenities including an Olympic-sized ice rink.
For more information visit Méribel.
Another snowboarding and ski area in the Savoie is the Paradiski that links the super-family-friendly resort of La Plagne with two other resorts by means of the world’s biggest cable-car, a mighty double-decker.
Among La Plagne’s charms are its wide choice of beginner areas, its excellent English-langauge ski tuition and its bobsleigh run built for the 1992 Olympics.
For more information visit La Plagne.
Why not try the Savoie’s third ski area, Espace Killy, where great options include traditional, lively Val d’Isère with its central nursery slopes and natural ice rink, or modern, purpose-built Tignes – another excellent choice for families, with a large beginners’ area and accessible runs all the way down from the glacier.
France's second-oldest ski resort, in the Isère, offers up lots of easy and intermediate terrain as part of the Grandes Alpes ski area. Gentle nursery slopes, one of Europe’s biggest freestyle snow parks plus plenty of quality off-piste make it a good choice for everyone, as well as a charming town in its own right.
For more information visit Les Deux Alpes.