Ski in France – which ski resort is right for you?
Want to ski in France but not sure which ski resort is best for you? Here are our favourite resort recommendations, perfect for families, beginners, ‘boarders – even those non-skiers looking for a winter wonderland backdrop.
Ski in France
Best for families
Morzine is an easy ski resort to reach – just over an hour’s car transfer from Geneva Airport – and one of the most family-friendly resorts in the French Alps. It has ‘Famille Plus’ status, awarded for top-notch facilities such as devoted ski runs and parks for children, schools specialising in teaching teenagers and great nursery slopes at the top of the Pleney bubble lift. Here, you’ll also find the ‘magic carpet’, ensuring kids can whizz down the slopes and step straight onto the conveyor belt to get back to the top of the slope again.
There are heaps of children-friendly cafés and restaurants and the charming village centre has a classic carousel and outdoor ice-rink, surrounded by fairy lights in the trees. Over Christmas, Morzine Enchanted Village springs to life, hosting light shows, firework displays, face painting and a visit from Santa. You can also watch a hockey match at the indoor Skoda Arena ice rink, book a horse-drawn sleigh ride and make the most of the sledging slopes. Chat to us and we can recommend the right Morzine chalet for your family.
Best for toddlers
As well as the above reasons for a family stay, the village of Morzine has endless, giggly distractions for those aged 3-5 years old. If you’re keen to get them skiing, head to the Penguin Park and the Magic Forest, which has snaking routes with mini-obstacles, tunnels and slaloms to build confidence, while Felix Ski rents out plastic skis to strap onto tiny snow boots and the Piou Piou Club offers ski tutorials for toddlers. Mint does the same for young ‘boarders, too.
At our self-catered chalet, The Bungo, you’ll love that the apartment is all on one level and we can supply plastic plates, a high chair and cot. The apartment opens out onto a garden and, depending on the depth of the snow, here you’ll find a trampoline, slide and swing! Morzine also boasts exceptional crèches, such as L’Outa Nursery, or the Hunter Chalets concierge service can arrange the hire of a private nanny.
Best for beginners
If you’re just starting out and looking to ski in France, we recommend the stylish village of Les Gets. The resort has a fantastic number of nursery slopes, which are easily accessed from Les Gets’ village centre; or via the gondola in the mid-mountain Chavannes area. You’re guaranteed perfect English from ski instructors at the ESF or British Alpine Ski School, both of which are long-established and well-reputed.
Best for non-skiers
The upmarket village of Les Gets is one of France’s best resorts for non-skiers, thanks to the breadth of its distractions. If you still want to do something active, consider going Ice diving, paragliding, husky-sledding or electric snowmobiling. Ten-pin bowling and wilderness snowshoeing offer gentler options, as is watching the ESF ski school’s torch-lit mountain descent and fireworks display over a glass of mulled wine on Monday evenings during winter.
Wander around the village’s boutique shops and the Thursday morning food market and later treat yourself to a spa treatment at the incredible Les Sources du Chéry day spa, where saunas, sensory showers, pools and a balcony hot tub await. If spa-time is top of your to-do list, opt to stay at Le Coin Perdu, a stunning penthouse with direct access to the day spa. Alternatively, stay at the award-winning Grande Corniche, which has its own spa and treatment room.
Best for couples
There’s something incredibly romantic about Morzine. With no high-rise buildings, it’s kept its traditional charm and throughout winter you’ll find trees strung with fairy lights and a traditional carousel and ice rink in the village centre. Sip vin chaud from street-side stalls, spend time on the slopes together, enjoy evenings in romantic Savoyard restaurants chatting away over delicious dishes of gooey cheese and clink Champagne glasses in one of our bubbling hot tubs. We can also arrange a couple’s massage in your chalet’s own spa treatment room. Wrap up warm and cuddle up for a horse-drawn carriage ride through the snow and, if you’re planning a big display of romance, contact our concierge and we’ll help make those grand gestures extra special. Try Apartment Deux Chevaux, The Bungo or Apartment 6 for a romantic couples stay in Morzine; or Petite Corniche in neighboring Les Gets for a cosy mazot on the edge of a mountainside with the most spectacular views.
Best for advanced skiers
Veteran skiers are directed to Avoriaz and the Hauts Forts area above town. Here you’ll find steep and long descents, with still more in the form of nearby Combe du Machon and Arête des Intrêts. Most spectacular is the Coupe du Monde’s ridgeline drop, but even that doesn’t compare with a run found amid the wider Portes du Soleil area’s 600km of pistes – extending into Switzerland. From atop the Chavanettes drag lifts, you’ll soon come to the notorious Wall (or Swiss Wall or Mur Suisse): an ungroomed mogul field so precipitous that you can’t see what’s ahead. It is one of the most steep and difficult pistes to ski in France – and the whole of the Portes du Soleil ski region.
This area can be explored with one ski pass and is easily accessed by those based in the ski resorts of Avoriaz, Morzine or Les Gets. Back in Avoriaz, you’ll also find patrolled Snowcross runs, terrain parks for veterans such as Arare and much off-piste backcountry waiting to be explored.
Best for snowboarding
Avoriaz has five varied terrain parks and a super pipe to lure ‘boarders, as well as freestyle skiers. Snowboarding in general is a real focus – Avoriaz is often lauded as Europe’s snowboard capital. Around the 153km of pistes, you’ll also find forests, big cliff drops, powder bowls and vast, easy-peasy flats. Morzine and other Portes du Soleil resorts also chip in with suitable pistes to make this a snowboarding destination par excellence.
Best for nightlife
The après-ski scene in Morzine is superb. From seasonaire classic Café Chaud and its riotous live nights to Tremplin’s huge, outdoor DJ terrace, The Cavern’s early-hours parties and the sedate, main-square wine bar of Coup de Cœur, there’s a post-slope option to suit every après tribe.
There are also amazing winter festivals. If you want to take partying into the day, Rock the Pistes is an outdoor music festival in March in the Portes du Soleil region, giving you the chance to dance and listen to live bands in your snow boots. Different acts play in different resorts each day, including Morzine. Previous headliners have included The Klaxons and Babyshambles.
Best for Christmas
Did you know Father Christmas lives near Les Gets? Before and just after the big day, families can hitch a ride with elves to visit Santa in his enchanted, fairy-lit forest just above town – an experience promising little ones storytelling sessions and workshops to create Christmassy objects they can keep. On Christmas Eve, meanwhile, Santa prepares for his big night ahead by joining in the weekly, torchlit descent under fireworks.
The village’s ice rink and carousel are accompanied by parades and a fun Christmas market on the main, snowy square. Our Les Gets chalets will also be fitted with trees and tinsel, and, if you book one of our catered chalets over Christmas, a very special meal awaits on 25 December.