Fr Ski France

Welcome to the Ski France page, providing a regular round-up of the skiing conditions and current snow reports for the main ski resorts in the French Alps and the Pyrenees. Over recent years some of the most consistently good piste conditions have been reported at Tignes, Val d'Isere, Flaine, La Rosiere, La Plagne, Alpe d'Huez, Val Thorens and La Grave showing a mix of glacial resorts and those most exposed to the prevailing storm paths. However, in any given week or season the best slope conditions may be found at any of the other high French resorts or at lower elevation ski stations in poor weather.

For off-piste powder, resorts such as La Rosiere, Les Menuires, Morzine, Samoens, Les Saisies, Le Grand Bornand, Montchavin/Les Coches and Val d'Isere have proven among the most consistent either for their regular snowfalls, northerly aspect or for not getting tracked out quickly. Warm moist weather fronts drifting in from the Atlantic can produce significant snowfalls in the French Alps Chamonix, Argentiere, Flaine and Samoens have impressive records) but can also raise the freezing level so your choice of resort can be crucial if you are chasing powder. Check out the reports below for the latest news and the forecasts we provide for different elevations in the resort.

France is one of the world’s top skiing destinations. The best known of the country’s 400 or so ski areas are in the Northern and Southern Alps but there are also several dozen ski areas in the French Pyrenees and in other sectors like the Auvergne and Jura.

French ski resorts have really come in to their own in the past 40 years – later than the other three main Alpine skiing nations.

The post-war plan skiing in France was to help stop the migration of agricultural communities to the cities has been reversed by the country’s efforts to develop ski resorts. They have grown to include the world’s biggest fully lift-linked ski region (The 3 Valleys – which always had a 600km total no matter how many new runs are added); its biggest lift served vertical (at Chamonix) and indeed six of the world’s 10 biggest ski regions. Europe’s highest resort, Val Thorens, is also here.

But it’s not just size but also convenience that led many French resorts to success and ever more people to love to ski France – the original concrete resorts built in the 1960s were not always pretty but they were designed to be functional and give slopeside access to the skiing and all other facilities in a few short steps at a time when most resorts in Europe required a laborious trek to catch a ski bus and then ages on lifts getting up to the slopes.

This decision to build resorts at altitude has paid extra dividends in these years of climate change fears as, with many ski areas beginning and ending 1000 vertical metres higher than many traditional resorts, they are more likely to get natural snowfall when lower elevation resorts get rain, and for it to be cold enough to run snow making machines when lower resorts have air too warm.

Those who are not so keen on this high altitude, purpose-built ski experience however criticise the resorts as soul-less places, artificial communities (they are almost completely empty in spring and autumn) with their captive market charged high prices for a sometimes inferior service. The slopes are also criticised as bleak, being high above the treeline.

Aimed squarely at the family market, French resorts also offer the most comprehensive childcare for babies as young as a few months old at most resorts, and ski kindergarten from three, although they do make children pay for lift passes a few years younger than elsewhere in the Alps and the full adult price from early teens or younger. The family orientation also means that lively après ski is something of a rarity in France.

Although French lift passes for these big ski regions are – except when the Swiss franc is on a high – among the most expensive to ski at in Europe, the French argue that they are still the best value because your extra Euros buy access to far more kilometres of piste and the use of many more fast lifts than at smaller resorts. In any case there is usually a cheaper pass for part of the giant ski area which in any case is equal in size or larger than a ‘regular’ ski area elsewhere.

It is wrong to think however that all French resorts are purpose-built. Chamonix, Morzine, Val d'Isere, Montgenevre (Via Lattea) and many other famous resorts have long histories as mountain and ski tourism communities, some originally spa towns. Megeve was developed in the 1920s as a rival to St Moritz by Baroness Rothschild and it still retains much of the ‘old money’ and more Michelin starred chefs than any other French resort, while Courchevel has become the country’s most glitz resort where the most expensive chalet costs £200,000 a week to rent.

Summer glacier skiing has declined dramatically in France since 2000. There used to be 7 or 8 resorts offering summer skiing but now only three (Tignes, Val d'Isere and Les Deux Alpes) are open briefly in July and August and there’s no skiing at all in France from mid-May to late June or in September. From October to late November Tignes is the only ski area open.

For Brits, France has been the most popular destination for the past two decades taking nearly 40% of the UK market each winter. Fast motorways from the English Channel to the Alps make French resorts the easiest to reach from southern England and it’s also possible to reach many French ski areas direct by Eurostar from London St Pancras railway station.
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France: latest snow conditions round-up


FRANCE The skiing conditions across the French resorts were generally very good on Monday 8th February and all of the resorts we feature in France, except Font Romeu (35cm), report fresh snowfall in February. The majority of resorts received snowfall over the weekend too, adding to the snow that fell last week. Monday brought a mixture of sun and cloud, with a chance of further snowfall in the evening. The stand-out resort on Monday for snowfall was Serre Chevalier (25/130cm), which reported 50cm of new snow landing on the upper slopes on Sunday 7th February Chamonix (30/360cm) is still at the top of the chart in France for base depth, with over three metres of snow on the upper mountain, but this is on the Aiguille du Midi, which is not a typical skiing area. Morillon (10/245cm) and Flaine (10/245cm) in the Grand Massif ski area sit in joint second place with just under two and half metres of snow measured on their upper ski slopes. Cloudy weather is forecast to dominate for most of this week and into next week, with further fresh snowfall expected at all of our featured French skiing locations. Again the Chamonix valley is set to get a lot of new snow, although La Grave (60/100cm) is close to the top of the table too. At La Grave, over two and a half metres of new snow forecast at mid-mountain level by the end of Tuesday 16th February, with the heaviest snow landing over next weekend.

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Summary of forecast snowfall and ski conditions for resorts in France. Fresh snow is forecast at 184resorts. Powder is reported at 6 resorts and 65 are reporting good piste conditions.

Recent Eyeball Snow Reports for France

A–B

C–K L–L M–R S–Z Best powder (6)Best piste conditions (65)

Ski resorts in France from A to B

Bottom Mid Top
Resort Webcam Top
snow depth
top and bottom
Good piste
on-piste
Powder
off-piste
Fresh snow depth
last snow
Fresh snow depth
next 9 days
0–3 | 3–6 | 6–9
snow (cm)
Weather Next 5 days weather forecast.
Freezing level (m)
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri

(950m — 2001m)

Abondance webcam
37
20
30
light snow
moderate snow
partially cloudy
light snow
light snow
Mid station 1476 m
1750m 1600m 450m 500m 1250m

(1550m — 2451m)

24
30
40
snow showers
moderate snow
clear
light snow
moderate snow
Mid station 2000 m
2000m 1750m 500m 650m 1000m

(1000m — 1900m)

29
11
13
light rain
light snow
snow showers
light snow
heavy rain
Mid station 1450 m
1850m 1750m 400m 550m 1350m

(1500m — 2201m)

62
49
35
light snow
heavy snow
partially cloudy
light snow
moderate snow
Mid station 1850 m
1850m 1500m 300m 650m 1150m

(1100m — 3350m)

snow report today

Alpe d'Huez webcam
225
101

Excellent

Varied
5 cm
3 days ago
59
55
30
light snow
heavy snow
partially cloudy
light snow
heavy snow
Mid station 2225 m
1950m 1650m 400m 600m 1250m

(1367m — 2200m)

28
15
11
light snow
moderate snow
clear
light snow
moderate snow
Mid station 1784 m
1950m 1800m 650m 850m 1400m

(1251m — 1808m)

snow report today

40
40
Packed 5 days ago
32
39
9
light rain
heavy snow
clear
light snow
heavy snow
Mid station 1530 m
1900m 1600m 550m 600m 1050m

(1400m — 1700m)

snow report today

40
30
Packed yesterday
33
19
13
light snow
moderate snow
snow showers
light snow
moderate snow
Mid station 1550 m
1800m 1700m 500m 500m 1250m

(1050m — 2300m)

62
35
21
light snow
heavy snow
partially cloudy
light snow
light snow
Mid station 1675 m
1700m 1400m 300m 600m 1050m

(1252m — 3275m)

snow report today

Argentiere webcam
240
30

Excellent

Varied
40 cm
today
Overcast skies // 8 Feb
105
76
51
moderate snow
heavy snow
light snow
light snow
moderate snow
Mid station 2264 m
1750m 1350m 300m 600m 1250m

(1250m — 2100m)

snow report yesterday

40
Powder
Powder
21 days ago
20
12
117
partially cloudy
heavy rain
moderate snow
light snow
heavy rain
Mid station 1675 m
2450m 2100m 1450m 1900m 2200m

(1681m — 2111m)

25
22
18
snow showers
moderate snow
clear
light snow
light snow
Mid station 1896 m
2050m 1700m 500m 800m 1150m

(1600m — 3330m)

69
66
30
light snow
heavy snow
snow showers
light snow
heavy snow
Mid station 2465 m
1950m 1600m 350m 650m 1250m

(1600m — 2450m)

20
23
20
clear
moderate snow
clear
light snow
light snow
Mid station 2025 m
2150m 1800m 650m 800m 1200m

(1500m — 2750m)

Aussois webcam
54
49
26
light snow
heavy snow
clear
light snow
moderate snow
Mid station 2125 m
1950m 1400m 300m 700m 1050m

(1050m — 1710m)

14
4
16
light rain
moderate rain
clear
light snow
light snow
Mid station 1380 m
1900m 1850m 650m 900m 1500m

(1000m — 2460m)

snow report today

235
100

Good

Varied
16 cm
today
56
40
39
light snow
heavy snow
snow showers
light snow
light snow
Mid station 1730 m
1700m 1550m 350m 500m 1200m

(1400m — 2399m)

16
18
52
clear
light snow
light snow
snow showers
light rain
Mid station 1900 m
2600m 2200m 1300m 1550m 2000m

(850m — 1237m)

27
33
18
heavy rain
light snow
moderate snow
cloudy
light snow
Mid station 1044 m
1450m 1300m 550m 650m 1000m

(1250m — 2877m)

snow report today

Bareges & La Mongie webcam
130
25

Excellent

Varied
15 cm
yesterday
31
37
92
clear
heavy snow
moderate snow
snow showers
heavy rain
Mid station 2064 m
2450m 2150m 1400m 1850m 2200m

(1000m — 1301m)

25
20
13
heavy rain
heavy snow
light snow
snow showers
moderate snow
Mid station 1150 m
1600m 1450m 550m 700m 1100m

(1101m — 1801m)

20
8
12
light rain
moderate snow
partially cloudy
snow showers
light snow
Mid station 1451 m
1850m 1700m 600m 600m 1300m

(1000m — 2001m)

snow report today

60
10
Artificial yesterday
27
13
17
light snow
moderate snow
partially cloudy
snow showers
light snow
Mid station 1500 m
1750m 1600m 600m 650m 1300m

(1740m — 2200m)

45
45
24
light snow
heavy snow
partially cloudy
light snow
moderate snow
Mid station 1970 m
2000m 1300m 250m 650m 1050m

(1350m — 1849m)

35
16
56
light snow
heavy snow
light snow
light snow
heavy rain
Mid station 1600 m
1850m 1550m 750m 900m 1600m

(1430m — 1725m)

5
3
8
clear
moderate rain
clear
light snow
snow showers
Mid station 1578 m
2500m 2000m 900m 950m 1400m

(1700m — 2001m)

9
7
34
clear
snow showers
light snow
snow showers
light rain
Mid station 1850 m
2750m 2450m 1400m 1650m 2100m

(1801m — 3001m)

snow report today

210
100

Excellent

Varied
10 cm
5 days ago
62
62
31
light snow
heavy snow
snow showers
light snow
moderate snow
Mid station 2401 m
2000m 1300m 300m 600m 1050m

(900m — 1351m)

24
4
11
moderate rain
moderate snow
clear
light snow
moderate rain
Mid station 1126 m
1800m 1400m 250m 650m 1100m

(1200m — 1600m)

13
11
17
moderate rain
heavy rain
clear
light snow
light snow
Mid station 1400 m
1950m 1450m 300m 700m 1150m

(1200m — 2501m)

35
21
15
snow showers
heavy snow
clear
light snow
moderate snow
Mid station 1850 m
2000m 1600m 450m 750m 1150m

(600m — 2950m)

Brides Les Bains webcam
54
28
16
light snow
heavy snow
clear
snow showers
light snow
Mid station 1775 m
1800m 1450m 250m 650m 1050m

(600m — 1220m)

23
27
20
heavy rain
light snow
light snow
cloudy
light snow
Mid station 910 m
1450m 1300m 550m 650m 1000m