Posted on 25 November 2021
Deciding the best time to ski in France takes a little more planning than your average holiday. While people after sunshine typically get on a plane with little planning, anyone on skiing holiday needs to consider resorts, their altitudes, and crowds and open ski lifts and terrains. After all, arriving on holiday to find that resort’s ski season has not even gotten off the ground or groups on the slopes can be disappointing.
Generally, France’s ski season runs from November to April, but the best to visit depends on your skiing and lifestyle preferences. In this article, we look at the months and what to expect. Although the ski season has started, few skiers head to the French Alps in November. If they do, they go to skiing resorts in France at high altitudes like Tignes, Val Thorens, Les 2 Alpes and Val d’Isère. For that reason, we will start in December.
Best Time to Ski in France
1: December in France and Festive Spirits
Thanks to excellent snow conditions, many skiers in France love December simply because they combine their skiing holiday with a white Christmas. Imagine seeing Santa on the slopes or hiring a private chef to cook a Christmas dinner in your luxury chalet. Some skiers even combine their French Alps Christmas trip with a new year weekend, where social events kick up the après ski scene with firework displays. Skiers who love a good new year party should head to Val d’Isère.
The French alps popularity at Christmas means bigger crowds, busier slopes and getting around takes longer. Unfortunately, December in France is peak season with school holidays, so parents pay premium prices. For lower costs and fewer crowds, go skiing at the beginning of December. As well as the usual higher altitude resorts like Tignes, and Val d’Isère, other popular hotspots in December include Courchevel, Meribel, La Plagne and Avoriaz. Head to lower altitude resorts like Chamonix and Megeve, and the lack of white landscapes may disappoint.
2: January in the French Alps
After the festive and party spirits of Christmas and New year, the first two weeks of January quieten down, but skiers tap into lesser crowds on the slopes as well as cheaper flight and accommodation prices. The atmosphere is more laid back, and snowfall is a sure-fire guarantee. This is the time when couples or groups of friends should go because kids head back to school. Hence expect lesser lift queues, more time on the slopes, and lesser crowded restaurants.
For beginner skiers with nerves, private one to one lessons with a ski instructor at a ski school are less daunting. Off-piste skiers love January but do remember to always go with a guide and never head off on your own because the constant top up levels of snow change. Remember colder temperatures, so wrap up warm. Most solo skiers agree January is the best time to visit any French alps ski resorts.
3: The Best of February – Family Time
February promises to be just as good as January, but expect more crowds with the school holidays back on throughout most of Europe. In their fourth month of the French Alps ski season, all ski resorts now run smoothly, and seasonal workers have settled into their roles. Once again, the downside of the school holidays is higher prices, but with the peak season comes a lively atmosphere and all-around good spirits.
Since crowds come back, book accommodation, restaurants, flights, and ski school lessons in advance because these are their busiest times. Good planning and thinking ahead is vital when visiting France in February. Re snow conditions, skiers expect the best. We recommend heading to the Three Valleys and Portes du Soleil ski areas. Naturally, higher altitude resorts like Tignes attract the crowds, but even the lower altitude resorts offer good conditions.
4- Warmer Weather in March
As we go into March, longer days and warmer weather change the skiing scene. Crowds from February have lessened, so there is more opportunity to go with the flow than prebooking and planning everything. Lifts extend their opening hours because of longer days. Your après ski sessions become more of an outdoor affair with plenty of sunshine.
Check the websites of all major resorts in France because many hold outdoor festivals during March. Also, shop around for deals because as the ski season ends, major deals appear everywhere. Re snow, the sunshine, especially in lower ski resorts, affects the fall, so hit the fresh slopes in the morning rather than the afternoon. But a good place to head is the Mont Blanc massif.
5: April and the End of Season
The skiing season in France slowly ends, but days still getting longer, so expect exceptional sunshine, outside dining, and a general urge to soak up as much of Mother Nature’s vibes as possible. Avid skiers who hit the French Alps every year should go on a shopping spree to find the end of season deals on equipment like boots, clothing, and skis. Meanwhile, families who do not want to pay peak February prices will see lower priced accommodation, ski lessons and flights to France. The one exception is the easter season.
The only downside to April is lesser snow conditions. In sunnier resorts, by the afternoon, snow has turned slushy. The workaround is to hit the slopes in the morning and enjoy off-slope activities in the afternoon. Also, avoid the south-facing slopes. Finally, skiers in lower resorts start to see the first signs of spring in France. So naturally, for ideal snow conditions, visit higher altitude resorts.
Also About the French Alps
Summer Skiing in France: Many people think the French Alps offer winter skiing only. However, hardcore fans of the sport have even more opportunities to hit the snow from Spring to Fall. Summer skiing resorts open all year round and are perfect for a French Alp holiday outside the primary season. Each resort offers something different, and this article discusses them in-depth.
Dual Season Resorts: Although the best time to ski in France is during winter, many people head to the French Alps from Spring through summer to Autumn. Certain resorts invest heavily in outdoor activities like golf, mountain biking, trekking, hiking, parasailing, and the list goes on and on. The French Alps are the world’s best outdoor playground. This article looks at the best resorts that lead the way for year-round French alps holidays.
About Us: Skiingproperty.com has extensive first-hand knowledge, especially of the Alps. We update buyers in France with the latest resort information, financially stable areas, and insider knowledge of local property markets. Whether you want to buy a property for yourself or an investment, we offer professional advice on which ski resorts best suit your needs.