@Montgnèvre ski resort
If 'snow-sure resort' is a phrase high on your list of priorities when planning your treasured week on the slopes, let us introduce you to four high altitude ski resorts that you may not have heard of. Think extensive ski areas, excellent places to stay, quieter slopes - and all easily reached by train, plane or automobile (and that includes EVs - take a look at ChargeMap if you're self-driving this winter).
Find our suggestions for snow-sure, high altitude skiing below as recommended by our expert team. Accommodation is frequently cheaper than in the big name resorts and essentials like lift passes will often cost less too.
Ski area: Galibier-Thabor, linked to Valloire
Nearest Airports: Grenoble (1hr30); Turin (2hrs); Geneva (2hrs15)
Nearest Train Station: Saint Michel de Maurienne (4hrs30 from Paris). Altibus return transfers are available from €20.
An intermediate's paradise, Valmeinier is linked to neighbouring Valloire and together they make up the Galibier-Thabor ski area - 70% of which is located above 2000 metres meaning you can be confident in the snow cover. Valmeinier is located in the Maurienne Valley, which runs adjacent to the much better known Tarentaise (where you'll find the Three Valleys, Paradiski and Tignes-Val d'Isère).
Access is straightforward, being just a short hop from the A43 motorway or SNCF rail links in the valley. If you travel all the way to the end of the valley you'll reach the Frejus tunnel which crosses the Italian border. Valmeinier is around 1 hour 30 minutes from Grenoble airport, or 2 hours from either Geneva or Turin (via the Frejus tunnel).
Where to stay?
We recommend the slopeside Residence Le Thabor, featuring an outdoor pool and on-site bar & restaurant and walking distance of the centre of Valmeinier 1800.
Ski area: Sainte Foy
Nearest Airport: Geneva (2hrs40)
Nearest Train Station: Bourg St Maurice (5hrs from Paris)
On the drive from Bourg St Maurice towards Tignes and Val d'Isère you pass through the ancient village of Sainte Foy Tarentaise, but did you know there's a modern ski resort perched directly above? At 1550 metres altitude, Sainte Foy Station is a small but perfectly formed resort with quiet slopes and great accommodation, and it's growing in popularity with skiers from the UK. Ok, so you might not classify the village as high altitude, however don't dismiss Sainte Foy straight off - its sheltered, north-facing slopes and unique microclimate mean snow accumulates and sticks around longer than in neighbouring resorts.
Fantastic for families, Sainte Foy has 2 magic carpets (free to access) and all the terrain ultimately leads back to the same place, so parents can be confident the kids will find their way down the mountain.
Lovers of off-piste will also love Sainte Foy. It features 3 accessible ungroomed black runs called 'Free Zones'. These areas are patrolled but it's still recommended that you take (and know how to use) appropriate safety gear. Ski touring is also highly recommended here.
Where to Stay?
The slopeside residence Les Fermes de Sainte Foy is a top choice with its superb location, excellent views, spacious apartments and indoor pool.
Ski area: Monts de la Lune/Milky Way
Nearest Airport: Turin (1hr25)
Nearest Train Station: Oulx (Italy) (approx. 5hrs from Paris)
Perhaps one of the better known of the lesser knowns, and one of France’s oldest and highest ski resorts, Montgenèvre sits right on the border with Italy and is part of the giant Milky Way ski area with its 400km of pistes. This historic resort has benefitted from big investments in recent years including into its accommodation, and there are some excellent quality places to stay here.
Boasting 300 days of sunshine a year, but with an excellent snow record and north facing terrain, Montgenèvre claims to offer a longer ski season than any other resort in France that does not have a glacier. Plus with that much sunshine you'll find the locals are a laid-back, welcoming bunch!
Where to Stay?
Ski area: Les Sybelles
Nearest Airport: Geneva (2hrs), Lyon (2hrs)
Nearest Train Station: St Jean de Maurienne (approx. 4hrs from Paris)
La Toussuire sits at the heart of the giant Sybelles ski region, which links the slopes of six neighbouring resorts in the Maurienne Valley, via the Pointe de l'Ouillon. You'll explore up to 310km (nearly 200 miles) of wide, sunny slopes, with plenty of high-speed six-seat chairlifts to whisk you uphill - making it a superb option for families.
This is a compact, traditional resort with a lot of new development and a comparatively recently inter-connected giant ski region surrounding it. La Toussuire sits on a wide plateau at the base of a large bowl and has pedestrianised its main street.
If you want to make full use of Les Syblles ski area, snow cover is reliable on the connecting pistes as these sit at high altitude unlike in some other interlinked resorts.
Where to Stay?
For comfortable, slopeside accommodation we recommend residence Les Hauts de Comborciere. These centrally located self-catered apartments have fantastic facilities including a pool, sauna, steam room and a jacuzzi in the centre of La Toussuire.
And for easy access to high altitude ski areas but with the benefit of a quieter resort, why not consider?...
Brides Les Bains: for super easy access to the Three Valleys (1300m-2300m) at a great price.
Samoens: a charmging, traidtional French village linked to the Grand Massif (700m-2500m) and exceptionally easy to reach from Geneva.
If you're feeling inspired to book one of these high altitude resorts this winter, start browsing your accommodation now.
Posted by Victoria Mclean on Thursday 20 Oct 2022