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There are several places you can ski around the world ̶ the US, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Scotland, and even Australia and New Zealand, but for many snow sports aficionados, the French Alps have a certain je ne sais quoi.
There’s something about the majestic snow-capped mountains, charming chalets, legendary hospitality and delicious cuisine that’s more than the sum of its parts.
If a French skiing or snowboarding holiday tickles your fancy, take a look at these three must-see resorts.
1) Alpe d’Huez
Situated in a snowy Oisans Valley pasture in the central French western Alps, Alpe d’Huez sits at the foot of the 3300m Pic Blanc at a respectable 1860m. As well as winter woollies, you’ll need your sun cream and shades here because there are an average of 300 sunny days annually, leading to it being dubbed L’Isle Au Soleil.
With a skiable area of 250km, there are pistes here for all abilities and several huge descents of up to 16km, plus if you’re travelling in a family group, ESF Ski School caters for kids aged 4 and upwards, and there’s also an ice ring and sledging areas.
The apres-ski is pretty good too ̶ a lively night out at Smithy’s Tavern is mandatory!
Sitting on a south-facing plateau with a commanding view of the Morzine Valley and part of the renowned Portes du Soleil ski area, Avoriaz is a family-friendly car-free resort with an authentic Alpine village ambience (you can even take a romantic horse-drawn sleigh ride).
This is a haven for snowboarders and there are five terrain parks here with jumps, rails and half-pipes aplenty.
In the area around Avoriaz alone there’s a 76km skiable area to explore and there are lots of blue and red runs for intermediates, but if you’re an expert in search of a challenge, The Swiss Wall is an un-groomed mogul run that’s a real thriller.
You’ll enjoy exciting apres-ski at bars like Le Shooters and clubs like Le Yak, while Alpine travel specialist NUCO Travel can find you excellent accommodation.
Just an hour from Geneva but close to some of the highest peaks in the Alps, Chamonix is an excellent resort for experienced skiers who want to challenge themselves with some of the world’s trickiest and most thrilling skiing.
There’s a car-free town centre with pretty pastel coloured traditional buildings, and a two-section cable car which whisks you 3480m high to the Aiguille du Midi, where you’re rewarded with marvellous views of Mont Blanc.
Les Grandes Montets is the most famous ski mountain here and this is where you’ll find the toughest pistes and freshest powder, but the Les Houches sector is ideal for a mixed ability group.
There are lots of restaurants to choose from, but Plan Joran at the Grands Montets mid station is particularly good.
Holiday in any one of these amazing French ski resorts and you’re sure to have the time of your life!