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 Thursday 23rd of March was a mixed day in terms of weather and snow cover in France. There was lots of fresh snow on the upper slopes in the Chamonix (0/250cm) area. Around 15cm fell on top of the Grands Montets - head up high early on for the best conditions. The resort runs down to Vallorcine (0/230cm) are still shut and the run down to the bottom of Les Houches (100cm) has limited snow cover and is patchy at best. There was more sunny weather in The Portes du Soleil than most of the rest of our French resorts, as holiday makers woke up to some blue skies. The joy was reasonably short lived, however, as clouds moved in quite quickly and brought some precipitation in places. It's worth mentioning that resort runs down to the lower resorts like Les Gets (15/100cm) are looking pretty patchy. There were two sides to the story in Serre Chevalier (20/140cm) today, where lower slopes were suffering, but upper slopes were fresh. If you head up high and don't mind the challenging visibility, then there are some very good conditions here. There was a rare powder day to tell you about in Bareges/La Mongie (55/210cm), which has had up to 20cm over 2 days. Conditions there are excellent. There were also fresh tracks to be made in Cauterets (25/250cm). Finally, there was some bad news for skiers in Villard de Lans (30/80cm), where the entirety of the resort was closed today due to strong winds.

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Summary of forecast snowfall and ski conditions for resorts in France. Fresh snow is forecast at 163resorts. Powder is reported at 7 resorts and 22 are reporting good piste conditions.

Recent Eyeball Snow Reports for France

A–B

C–K L–L M–R S–Z Best powder (7)Best piste conditions (22)

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)
Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed

(950m — 2001m)

Abondance webcam
5
40
rain showers
light rain
rain showers
thunderstorm
clear
Mid station 1476 m
2450m 1900m 2450m 2300m 2300m

(1550m — 2451m)

54
9
heavy snow
rain showers
light snow
clear
rain showers
Mid station 2000 m
2050m 1950m 2000m 2150m 2300m

(1000m — 1900m)

Aillons-Margeriaz webcam
7
32
snow showers
partly cloudy
rain showers
rain showers
clear
Mid station 1450 m
2200m 2050m 2450m 2250m 2400m

(1500m — 2201m)

22
37
snow showers
light snow
rain showers
rain showers
clear
Mid station 1850 m
2150m 1900m 2150m 2150m 2400m

(1100m — 3350m)

snow report yesterday

Alpe d'Huez webcam
215
115

Fresh

Powder
5 cm
2 days ago
29
2
55
heavy snow
snow showers
snow showers
snow showers
clear
Mid station 2225 m
2100m 2000m 2200m 2250m 2400m

(1367m — 2200m)

14
23
moderate snow
partly cloudy
rain showers
rain showers
clear
Mid station 1784 m
2150m 2100m 2400m 2300m 2450m

(1251m — 1808m)

snow report yesterday

50
40
Packed 18 days ago
13
12
moderate snow
rain showers
rain showers
rain showers
clear
Mid station 1530 m
2050m 2050m 2250m 2250m 2450m

(1400m — 1700m)

6
35
snow showers
rain showers
rain showers
rain showers
clear
Mid station 1550 m
2250m 2050m 2450m 2250m 2350m

(1050m — 2300m)

14
35
rain showers
rain showers
rain showers
rain showers
clear
Mid station 1675 m
2300m 2000m 2450m 2300m 2350m

(1252m — 3275m)

snow report yesterday

Argentiere webcam
250
40

Fresh
Best up high
15 cm
2 days ago
Overcast skies // 24 Mar
17
1
86
snow showers
light snow
snow showers
snow showers
snow showers
Mid station 2264 m
2450m 2000m 2350m 2300m 2300m

(1250m — 2100m)

33
8
light snow
partly cloudy
rain showers
partly cloudy
partly cloudy
Mid station 1675 m
1450m 2150m 2250m 2300m 2750m

(1681m — 2111m)

30
7
moderate snow
rain showers
partly cloudy
clear
rain showers
Mid station 1896 m
2050m 2000m 2100m 2250m 2350m

(1600m — 3330m)

36
2
60
heavy snow
snow showers
snow showers
light snow
clear
Mid station 2465 m
2050m 2000m 2150m 2250m 2400m

(1600m — 2450m)

Auron webcam
20
10
heavy snow
partly cloudy
snow showers
rain showers
rain showers
Mid station 2025 m
2000m 1850m 2000m 2150m 2450m

(1500m — 2750m)

Aussois webcam
30
14
snow showers
light snow
cloudy
clear
clear
Mid station 2125 m
2100m 1950m 2150m 2150m 2300m

(1050m — 1710m)

2
14
heavy rain
clear
rain showers
clear
clear
Mid station 1380 m
2250m 2100m 2450m 2250m 2450m

(1000m — 2460m)

snow report 2 days ago

170
80
Slushy
Spring
80 cm
15 days ago
7
58
rain showers
light rain
rain showers
rain showers
rain showers
Mid station 1730 m
2450m 1900m 2450m 2300m 2350m

(1400m — 2399m)

Ax-les-Thermes webcam
30
8
partly cloudy
clear
partly cloudy
rain showers
clear
Mid station 1900 m
1700m 1950m 2300m 2300m 2750m

(850m — 1237m)

10
clear
partly cloudy
clear
rain showers
rain showers
Mid station 1044 m
2750m 2150m 2700m 2350m 2100m

(1250m — 2877m)

snow report yesterday

210
55

Excellent

Varied
4 cm
2 days ago
34
1
12
light snow
partly cloudy
snow showers
rain showers
partly cloudy
Mid station 2064 m
1450m 2200m 2300m 2300m 2750m

(1000m — 1301m)

21
thunderstorm
light rain
rain showers
thunderstorm
clear
Mid station 1150 m
2550m 2050m 2550m 2300m 2300m

(1101m — 1801m)

2
25
thunderstorm
rain showers
rain showers
thunderstorm
clear
Mid station 1451 m
2400m 1950m 2500m 2300m 2350m

(1000m — 2001m)

snow report yesterday

60
Spring 18 days ago
2
36
rain showers
rain showers
rain showers
rain showers
clear
Mid station 1500 m
2400m 1950m 2500m 2300m 2300m

(1740m — 2200m)

30
9
light snow
light rain
snow showers
clear
partly cloudy
Mid station 1970 m
2050m 2050m 2150m 2200m 2250m

(1350m — 1849m)

14
cloudy
clear
clear
rain showers
clear
Mid station 1600 m
2150m 2150m 2400m 2100m 2550m

(1430m — 1725m)

2
1
heavy rain
clear
partly cloudy
clear
rain showers
Mid station 1578 m
2050m 2100m 2200m 2300m 2450m

(1700m — 2001m)

45
2
snow showers
partly cloudy
light snow
light rain
partly cloudy
Mid station 1850 m
1850m 1950m 2050m 2100m 2700m

(1801m — 3001m)

snow report yesterday

270
70

Fresh

Powder
12 cm
yesterday
44
22
light snow
light snow
partly cloudy
clear
partly cloudy
Mid station 2401 m
2050m 2100m 2150m 2200m 2250m

(900m — 1351m)

6
rain showers
rain showers
partly cloudy
rain showers
clear
Mid station 1126 m
2300m 2000m 2300m 2200m 2350m

(1200m — 1600m)

10
4
rain showers
light rain
cloudy
clear
clear
Mid station 1400 m
2100m 2000m 2150m 2150m 2300m

(1200m — 2501m)

22
10
light snow
rain showers
partly cloudy
rain showers
rain showers
Mid station 1850 m
2050m 2000m 2100m 2250m 2350m

(600m — 2950m)

Brides Les Bains webcam
18
20
rain showers
rain showers
clear
rain showers
clear
Mid station 1775 m
2250m 2000m 2350m 2250m 2350m

(600m — 1220m)

8
clear
partly cloudy
clear
rain showers
rain showers
Mid station 910 m
2800m 2150m 2750m 2350m 2050m