Expert Skiing in France

France’s best steeps, deeps, moguls and more

Val d'Isere

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

Great for:

  • Families
  • Groups
  • Non skiers

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Les Arcs

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

Great for:

  • Snowboarding
  • Off-piste
  • Families

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Chamonix

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

Great for:

  • Groups
  • Off-piste
  • après ski

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Courchevel

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

Great for:

  • Families
  • Groups
  • Luxury holiday

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

Les 2 Alpes

Glacier Skiing, Awesome après, Loads to do

Great for:

  • Nightlife
  • Off Piste
  • Groups

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Avoriaz

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

Great for:

  • Freestyling
  • Families
  • 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

Alpe d'Huez

Glacier Skiing, Awesome Après Ski, 300 days of sunshine

Great for:

  • Nightlife
  • Off Piste
  • Terrain Parks

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Flaine

All round resort , 265km well-groomed pistes, Ski in/...

Great for:

  • Families
  • Intermediates
  • Snow-sure

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Top 10 Most Popular

A nation of enormous ski areas, blood-curdling couloirs and off-piste like you’ve never seen it before, the French Alps have some of the world’s most challenging terrain. Factor in seamless off-piste lift access, award-winning guides and boundary breaking snow parks and you can see why this is the motherland of many of the earth’s most accomplished skiers.

You’ll find powder, parks and gruelling gradients in ski resorts all over the country, but a handful are a head above the rest when it comes to expert skiing. Whether you’re looking to get race ready, or simply keep your ski technique sharp, head to any of the following 10 and rise to the challenge.

France: Top 10 ski resorts for Experts.

From a tonne of serious steeps to powder that’s knee-deep, Val deserves a place on any expert snow lover’s to-do-list. La Face - a gruellingly steep, at times bumpy, drop down to the village that featured in the ‘92 Olympics Men’s downhill - wins the black run popularity contest, but Piste S and Foret are close contenders on the scary scale. For mind-rattling moguls, it’s got to be the Epaule du Charvet in the Solaise area. The extent of the powder here’s reflected in the number of companies dedicated to guiding, and there’s no shortage of tried-and-tested teams like Alpine Experience and Powder Clinics. Their job’s made that much easier by excellent access off piste– get the Solaise Express for some spectacular descents on the Danaides and Solaise Couloirs. Pointe du Montet, meanwhile, has the spectacular panoramic views to make several lift changes and the muscle-achingly long routes back down worthwhile.

A piste blaster’s paradise, runs of all colours seem to go on and on in Les Arcs. The demanding Aiguille Rouge down to Villaroger begins as a narrow black that widens into an 8km red, making a massive drop from 3226m to 1200m (that’s 6.7 Eiffel towers). If you’re left feeling the need for a challenge, check out the 5 “Naturides” (ungroomed but patrolled) above Arcs 2000 or ski the Robert Blanc, the steepest and bumpiest in the whole of LA. We love the fact that hard-on-the-knees mogul fields like the ones from the peak of the Comborcierce lie strewn throughout the resort, connected by reds and blues, letting you alternate between fierce and friendly skiing to save burning out your motor. For the discerning powder hound, a short trek to Grand Col presents several pulse-racing off-piste options and if you’re an early riser, the first tracks system allows you to get up the mountain before anybody else – making you the very first to the powder on a bluebird. The beauty of the Paradiski Pass is that once, or if, you’ve had enough of all those, La Plagne’s just a cable car ride away.

With some of the toughest terrain in the land and as a place many instructors come to qualify, Chamonix is something of a rite of passage for an expert. After a fresh dump head to the Aiguille du Midi area to descend Alpine legend Vallee Blanche unlocking some of Europe’s very best steep and deeps over the 20km track. The Grand Montets area is also known for some massive on-piste verticals, like the Point de Vue and Blanchots, while Nants is rolling in rigorous tree-lined runs, zig zagging through the trees down to the village. It’s no wonder so many companies like Mountain Spirit Guides have set up shop here – get them to show you the glacier descents on both sides of the border.

Courchevel has some of the toughest pistes we’ve honestly ever skied, and they’re some of the most immaculately groomed. You’ll need some serious mettle for the stomach-churning Grand Couloir, at least for the first steep stretch – it gets mercifully wider as it goes down, giving you back your wits to plan your next route. There are plenty to choose from: Courch is littered with runs through widely spaced trees; like Jean Blanc (used for the World Cup downhill back in 2013) where there’s a really quick wide set of rollers, or the Suisses for death-defying moguls (especially towards the top). Other favourites include Combe Pylons, deliciously steep from top to bottom and Park City, often empty and great for rocketing down. If these aren’t enough to keep you busy - for one thing, we’re impressed - for another, Courch’s part of the ginormous 3 Valleys, renowned for its fast-linking lifts, so you can be schussing down Val Thorens before your mid-morning coffee.

Tignes’ several different villages each have several different chairs and gondolas to choose from as you clip into those bindings each morning. Between them you’ll find tens of steep pisted blacks, ungroomed naturides and some semi-black reds that you can navigate according to busyness. When the crowds clear, let rip on the red Double M (we love the cheeky bumps along the side) or storm down Sache which gets steep and bumpy as you near the bottom. For untracked descents, locals flock to Lavachet Wall or The Fingers, to sail down overlooking natural wonders like the lake and the Eye of the Needle. Ultimate Snowsports know all the ins and outs of the freeriding world so will be able to take you down the best couloirs depending on the snow and weather (FYI: late in the season the powder holds best in the Dome De Pramecou). For steezy tricks, take the Grattalu chairlift to kickers from green to black, rails and boxes.

If you’ve perfected the piste and want to progress to the park, Les 2 Alpes is the place to do it. The famous MGM park team annually take to the top of the Toura chairlift to carve out all sizes of kickers, hits, rails and jibs, as well as a 120m-long half pipe. There’s even an airbag for when the time comes to nail that Corkscrew 720. The area’s not lacking in the powder department either... Venturesome riders will have a ball on the long untracked descents from the glacier down to La Grave – spare a nod for Mother Nature at the bottom for making the area so fabulously snow sure. Fill the rest of your schedule with slope time: La Fee’s home to blistering black runs like Fee 6 (one of 10 blacks over here) and plenty of cruiser reds (we love Bellecombes 4) for going full-throttle.

From waist-deep powder runs above Ardent, to hair-raising blacks like the Swiss wall, and the Machon run in the Hauts Fort area – there’s an itinerary of mouth-watering prospects for hardy skiers here. Once you’ve exhausted those, you’ll find tonnes to be explored further out towards Morzine and Les Gets, including challenging pistes like the black Bouquetin. Better still, thanks to a largely child-based ski crowd here, the pitchiest blacks are rarely overly busy. If Carlsberg did parks; they’d probably have made the Arare and with beginners using the park in Chapelle, the former’s prime park rat territory. Just off the Ecoles lift, kickers range from blues to blacks and join rails, boxes and an airbag. It holds several big competitions during the season including the O’Neill freestyle pro and Nixon Jibfest – great watches that will inspire you to up your game.

A powder-hound is going to have an absolute field day here, where the likes of the Bureau des Guides provide expert tuition in how best to shred a waist-deep level of the white stuff. Couloirs, like those from Saulire into Courchevel abound, one of which is affectionately known as “death couloir”... Piste-wise, spine-tingling blacks M and Bosses are a testing work-out, and join a handful of respectable local black runs. But the best thing about this resort is that it sits slap-bang in the middle of the 3 Valleys, letting you strike out by turns for Val Thorens, Courchevel et al with a black run checklist that features some of the world’s best.

Totalling a socking great 66km, black run skiers will have a hoot in Alpe d’Huez. Most famous is the Sarenne, which streams down from the Pic Blanc peak for a thigh-testing 13km, making it the longest black in the Alps. Though without too many steep surprises, it’s actually one of the easier runs in the area. The Tunnel’s another case entirely, starting with a rocky corridor this icy mogul monster’s one of the trickiest around. Col de Cluy from Signal de l’Homme is another must-ski, leading far and away from the main pistes. Thanks to the lift system, a lot of the off piste is easy to reach here, like the terrain from Pic Blanc and Dome des Petites Rousses. For some serious pow, get a guide to show you the Cheminées de Mascle – two phenomenal 50 degree couloirs to absolutely plummet down.

The Grand Massif is blessed with an impeccable snow history, thanks to the nearness of the mighty Mont Blanc. On a powder day, it’s all about tucking into the white stuff in the Gers Bowl (exclusive advanced skier territory) with a guide from Flaine Super Ski. This resort goes for quality over quantity with its black runs, and with a grand network of challenging reds threading like veins back down to the village, was made for advanced intermediates looking to take their first steps into black level skiing. The groomers around the Lindars Chair tend to have the best snow while, several shades more difficult, the Diamant Noir is a gnarly narrow mogul-filled stretch and a crowning achievement for the week. Once those start to get too familiar, there are heaps of slopes to be nibbled at in the wider Grand Massif. Sample the blacks and reds above Samoëns before lunch in the historic village.


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