Snowboarding in France

France’s best for boarding.

Serre Chevalier

Excellent snow, Large ski area, Scenery & character

Great for:

  • Families
  • Groups
  • Couples

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Avoriaz

Recent €200 million improvement, Top snowboarding d...

Great for:

  • Freestyling
  • Families
  • non-skiers

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Tignes

Espace Killy ski area, Fantastic après ski, High alt...

Great for:

  • Families
  • Glacier skiing
  • Non-skiers

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Courchevel

5 star luxury resort, Vast 3 Valleys, Traditional cho...

Great for:

  • Families
  • Groups
  • Luxury holiday

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Les Arcs

Paradiski Ski Area, Famille Plus Montagne label, High...

Great for:

  • Snowboarding
  • Off-piste
  • Families

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Alpe d'Huez

Glacier Skiing, Awesome Après Ski, 300 days of sunshine

Great for:

  • Nightlife
  • Off Piste
  • Terrain Parks

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Les 2 Alpes

Glacier Skiing, Awesome après, Loads to do

Great for:

  • Nightlife
  • Off Piste
  • Groups

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Chamonix

Traditional mountain resort, varied, high altitude t...

Great for:

  • Groups
  • Off-piste
  • après ski

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Val d'Isere

½ of Espace Killy, Fantastic après, Traditional cho...

Great for:

  • Families
  • Groups
  • Non skiers

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Meribel

3 Valleys ski area , Excellent ski schools , Lively a...

Great for:

  • Families
  • Groups
  • Non skiers

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Top 10 Most Popular

There are certain ways of enjoying a mountain that members of the one-plank-world just appreciate more than skiers do... And France, with none of that “no-boarding” nonsense, works double time to accommodate the both.

From the best parks and powder to gloriously wide groomers and specialist snowboard schools, we’ve searched near and far to find the crème of France’s crop for those of us on the “dark side” – sit back and enjoy the ride.

France: Top 10 for Snowboarding

Famous for its natural bumps, stumps, lips and rollers, SC’s terrain suits boarders down to the ground, and the resort 2014 Olympic Boardercross champ Pierre Vaultier calls home. Don’t miss out on the North-East facing slopes and surprisingly high tree density at higher altitudes, hitting the Casse De Boeuf black run which ripples through the pines down to Villeneuve. In terms of intermediate spots, the Monêtier area has some wonderful wooded runs and the Grande Alpe bowl is as wide as you could ask for. There’s plenty of easy-to-get-at freeride terrain around too - the Neyzets face is a steeper option, but if you head right from the top of the Eychauda piste you can lean back and enjoy the ride on a smoother rolling hill that’s a joy after a fresh snowfall. The man-made freestyle’s not half bad either, like the pleasantly approachable snow park above Villeneuve, with features ranging from rookie to hardcore where you can really put in the hours on that Frontside 180.

We’ve never seen dinky boarders so well cared for: Mint Snowboarding’s British instructors teach tots as young as 3, who are soon putting the rest of us to shame on the pint-sized lil’ stash and Burton Kids Park. They also run grownup tuition, specialised freestyle and backcountry workshops – hard not to take them up on when you see the sheer volume of what’s on offer slope-wise around Avoriaz. Wide open powder fields (like the one from the top of the Mossettes chair) are the norm here, and long runs predominate (try Crozats, a 3km+ behemoth that spans almost the entire vertical of the resort). For the best of both, you’ll also find four un-groomed yet fully patrolled trails letting you rip backcountry-style lines in perfect safety. Intermediate freestylers and speed-seekers will run laps of the Chapelle Park and boardercross courses, while riders with a little more in their bag of tricks will find the bigger and bolder Arare Park more suitable. There’s also a full-blown superpipe, and to top it all off the Alps’ first eco park, the Burton Stash, which twists a 1.3km route through a forest path dotted with all-natural wooden freestyle features.

Tignes is home to a seriously scary superpipe (we wouldn’t expect any less from the host of the European X-games), but since the Swatch Snow park’s geared more towards intermediates, you don’t have to be Shaun White to throw your stunts here. 2013 Brits Slopestyle Champ Katie Blundell reckons this is her all-time favourite place to ride – hardly surprising when you consider all its easy-access open powder fields and wide, cruisey piste riding. Try the areas off Lognan to the right hand side of the Merles chair for a first foray into Tignes’ freeriding, or if the weather’s bad, drop down and tackle the powder in the tree runs down to Brevieres. Whether for a confidence boost or a carefree shred, sometimes a wide open stretch of blue corduroy’s just what the doctor ordered, and the ones heading down into Val Claret from the Tichot and Grettalu chairs are as cruisey they come. British-run snowboard schools like Rebel Alliance provide a terrific initiation into the world of boarding, with a full range of classes to suit whatever areas need improvement.

Courchevel’s huge terrain is almost completely devoid of surface lifts, and as long as you’re moving with some speed, you’re unlikely to get stuck on flat ground either. Despite its cosy proportions, the Family Park above 1850 stuffs every square inch with creative features like wall rides and hips as well as the obligatory rails, boxes and kickers - and there’s a boardercross to boot. Piste-riding's awesome here - catch Suisses from the Saulire peak in good conditions and you’re riding the best run in town. Otherwise Park City and Creux are the designated hell-for-leather ripper runs here. Trails under the Chanrossa or Aiguille du Fruit chairlifts make for excellent freeride, and the tree run on the left side of Chapelets above 1650 is always our first stop on a powder day. For real backcountry, hire a guide to take you up into the Creux Noir bowl, a huge area of couloirs running in to powder bowls and also an access point to locals’ favourite Les Avals valley.

Once you’ve a few years of sliding under your belt, a Les Arcs must-ride is the gigantic Aiguille de Rouge that runs a staggering 2026m vertical. If you don’t mind a forty minute or so hike, get up to the Aiguille Grive peak from the Transarc gondola and you’ll find a choice of couloirs fanning out that drop into blissfully open powder bowls. Don’t be afraid to take little detours through the trees when exploring the cruisey blue groomers, especially the ones above 1800 – you’ll find plenty of fun little paths and hits just by darting in and out off the side of the piste. The Rodeo Park’s one of the best freestyle areas in the Alps, where the kicker lines are especially well shaped to maximise air time and help get those spins dialled in, and you can take a few practice jumps on the airbag as a warm up.

This alpine giant is such a good all-rounder that by sheer proportionality there’s a cracking showing for boarders. Start at the top: from the Pic Blanc choose between the 13km monster black / red run all the way back in to town or dive in the deep end and tackle some of the couloir-fingers that lead down to the Sarenne trail. For freestylers, there’s a larger rookie park above the main village or a smaller advanced one above Montfrais. Newbie or mini-shredders take note: it’s not all terrifying icy precipices here - the beginner’s areas here are some of the finest you’ll find anywhere. You couldn’t ask for better hills than blues like the awesome Anemones to get started on the path to becoming the next Mcmorris.

The glacier above L2A becomes a shredding Shangri La in the summer, where a massive Snow Park swaps shifts with the super-park under the Toura lift. Both have garnered something of a world-wide reputation, dwarfing standard sized features with the likes of their 20m big air kickers, creative hips, quarter pipes and full-sized superpipes. Chill areas with BBQ’s, DJ’s and deckchairs mean you can quite happily do laps all week. But don’t chain yourself to the rails here - any freerider worth their salt can’t miss the chance to ride to La Grave. Head up from Dome de la Lauze and either hike or, if you’re lucky, hop on a snowcat (usually included in the lift pass) to roll on up to some of the most challenging high altitude terrain in Europe; a 2200m drop through unbelievable glacial scenery, not to mention a gnarly story to tell at après! Pistes in L2A are often narrow, so when there’s fresh snow on the ground it’s all about darting off into piste-side powder stashes on a whim. Good news for newbies: quality higher-up greens here mean learners get the rare chance to check out the whole mountain rather than a confined stretch above the village.

If you’re soaring down one of Cham’s backcountry descents and not crying out for dear life, welcome to the big time. Like Mont Blanc looming overhead, the tracks here aren’t for the faint-hearted, which is why this is such a world-famous free-ride destination. Limber up on something (relatively) forgiving - La Flagere takes a rolling line down the North-East slope smattered with cliff drops and natural kickers that have fluffy, confidence-boosting landings if the snow’s deep. Then move on to the main event, Les Grands Montets. This entire mountain’s known for its super-challenging, super-rewarding off piste terrain, which also has some long, steep runs to get you started. The freestyle scene pales a little in comparison, but those spins and slides can wait when there’s some of the best freeriding on earth on your doorstep (otherwise check out Avoriaz or Les Deux Alpes for their killer park setups).

Don’t be fooled by the glamorous, celeb-heavy clientele; Val’s reputation as an alpine powerhouse has been earned with a lot of hard grit. One benefit of all the cash flowing into it is that you won’t encounter many drag lifts or irritating flats (outside of the base village area). The park here has well-built features to suit most levels, and while there’s no pipe, one can be found just next door in Tignes. It’s the off piste and freeriding here that keeps boarders coming back: the Charvet Tour, The Super L, The Grand Pissaillas – too many to mention them all – and hiring a guide’s the only way to learn the best routes into and out of them. Where the pistes are concerned, plenty stand out for boarders: OK and Le Face (both race courses) are steep, fast and definitely worth riding. The Epaule Charvet is a fun break from some of the more demanding territory here: a banked gully swerving down the centre valley and back around in to the village – just make sure you zoom it on the last section or you’ll be walking back to the lifts!

As the centre of the gargantuan 3 Valleys there’s a crazy amount of terrain to be accessed from here, from the world-class corduroy at Courchevel to the sky-high hills of Val Thorens. Not that venturing so far afield’s at all necessary – the local area alone does a good job of meeting a snowboarder’s needs. The Olympic chair accesses some brilliant freeride options: head straight for wide open powder fields first, and on second go take a right along the ridge for something a little windier with trees to dodge towards the bottom. If steep’s what you’re into, Couloir Tournier down from the Saulire peak won’t disappoint. Cruisey corduroy is another speciality here, any one of Bouvreuil, Doron and Hermine is a perfect slope to stretch your legs on. The Moon Park and Area 43 (owned and developed by DC Snowboards) are both outstanding and varied, while for a Snowpark circuit you can also easily access the monster kickers of VT’s own freestyle area, or the welcoming Family Park in Courchevel.

These french resorts really have pulled out all the stops to welcome boarders - we return them year after year and still discover new runs, fresh park features and the old favourites we'd ride again and again.

To refine your search to the very best of the best, read about our World Top Ten Snowboard Resorts, which brings together the greatest places to ride in France, the rest of Europe, North America and beyond.


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