Posted on 20 March 2017
There’s no business like snow business, and when the white stuff’s in plentiful supply you can hit the slopes to your hearts content. When it comes to snow-sure ski areas France certainly delivers, with many resorts offering swift access to the very best conditions. If you’re in the market for an alpine getaway you’ll be guaranteed the powder you crave if you conduct your search in resorts that offer mountainsides above 2000 metres and north-facing slopes. So let’s take a look the best places to buy high in the French Alps.
In the world of peaks and pistes Val d’Isère has it all: an attractive village, classy après-ski and a vast ski area that goes on as far as the eye can see. But that’s not all this world-famous resort has to offer its loyal army of visitors. Val’s so cool that the snow doesn’t melt during the ski season. The slopes of the Pissaillas Glacier reach 3300 metres, with only a few runs dipping below the 2500 metre mark. North facing slopes aren’t in short supply either, protecting conditions from the sun’s gaze. And to top it all off you can take it the fabulous views of the Grande Casse and Mont Blanc.
Located at an altitude of 1800 to 2100 metres La Plagne’s purpose built ski in, ski out villages ensure you’re already sky-high in the Paradiski ski-area even before you jump in the lift. Belle Plagne (2050 metres) offers the most convenient access to the best conditions on the Bellecôte and Chiaupe glaciers, which stretch across the upper reaches of the 3417 metre high Bellecôte Mountain. Here you’ll find yourself whizzing down black and red runs, kept cold and fresh by an average of 4.5 – 5 metres of snowfall a year.
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If you choose to buy in Arc 1950 or Arc 2000 you’ll have direct access to the Paradiski ski-areas unbeatable altitude, with 70% of its runs above the 2000 metre mark. As well as being located high above sea-level, both villages are nestled inside a north-east facing bowl, preserving the snow well into springtime. Towering over the manmade structures below is the imposing Aguille Rouge, which rises to a peak of 3225 metres and offers visitor’s access to the Glacier du Varet.
Sat at an altitude of 1035 metres Cham doesn’t exactly win any altitude bragging rights. However, the resort has more than one ace up its sleeve. Not only does the surrounding ski area and its 6 glaciers reach heights of 3300 metres, the valley is the biggest in western Europe. And thanks to the area’s high, north-west facing slopes – particularly on the Argentière glacier in the Grands Montets area – skiers can shred powder until May.
When it comes to the quality of skiing a resort has to offer it’s all about location and infrastructure. Situated in the enormous 3 Vallées, Les Menuires has the world’s largest linked ski area right on its doorstep. With most slopes in the high-altitude (2000 metres+) category, and one whole side of the Menuires valley facing north, snow is not in short supply here. The pistes sweep down from Val Thorens above and the surrounding glaciers, including Péclet, Thorens, Bouchet and Pointe Renod, ensure the season usually runs from November right through to May.
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