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 Monday 16th of January was the first week of skiing since the significant snowfalls that happened towards the end of last week and over the weekend. The weather across Europe cleared to reveal some considerably snowier mountains. Everyone has been talking about the snow in the Alps, but it's the Pyrenees where things are really kicking off. If you were in the area and looking for some great off-piste, you could do worse than head to The Grand Tourmalet area, where Bareges/La Mongie (100/180cm) is being dumped on yet again - 30cm, maybe more, to fall today. Most of the resort will have to be hiked, however, as only 5 lifts are open. Cauterets (80/160cm), on the other hand, has had so much snow it was unable to open, up to 80cm today alone. Over in the Alps things have really got going in the La Plagne area with loads of new snow recently. There are now 64 lifts open in the area. We may have given Charmousse (55/80cm) a bad rap for their slow start to the season, but it's time to turn that frown upside down and give credit where it's due - most lifts were open today and there was some good powder skiing under blue skies. Flaine (50/230cm) and the rest of the Grand Massif are looking in really good shape thanks to huge amounts of new snow. Links between the resorts are finally open there. Valmorel (75/95cm) is another resort that looks much improved thanks to 45cm of fresh snow, certainly worthy of a shout out. Loads of new lifts were open in La Clusaz (50/130cm) today, where there was plenty of powder off-piste. The best area of all has to be Chamonix (40/150cm). All resorts in the area are incredible options at moment. All lifts are now open in les Houches (40/150cm) and the Vallorcine (40/80cm) area is now open for skiing. If you happen to be skiing in France this week, well you couldn't have timed it any better.

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Summary of forecast snowfall and ski conditions for resorts in France. Fresh snow is forecast at 20resorts. Powder is reported at 45 resorts and 67 are reporting good piste conditions.

Recent Eyeball Snow Reports for France

A–B

C–K L–L M–R S–Z Best powder (45)Best piste conditions (67)

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)
Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat

(950m — 2001m)

Abondance webcam
1
1
14
snow showers
partly cloudy
clear
clear
clear
Mid station 1476 m
0m 150m 350m 450m 550m

(1550m — 2451m)

snow report 6 days ago

160
10

Good

Varied
1 cm
7 days ago
2
19
2
light snow
clear
partly cloudy
light snow
snow showers
Mid station 2000 m
150m 350m 600m 400m 600m

(1000m — 1900m)

clear
clear
clear
partly cloudy
clear
Mid station 1450 m
0m 0m 400m 450m 400m

(1500m — 2201m)

2
22
partly cloudy
clear
clear
light snow
snow showers
Mid station 1850 m
250m 550m 650m 600m 600m

(1100m — 3350m)

snow report yesterday

Alpe d'Huez webcam
160
70

Excellent

Varied
35 cm
3 days ago
2
28
partly cloudy
clear
partly cloudy
light snow
snow showers
Mid station 2225 m
200m 450m 600m 750m 750m

(1367m — 2200m)

1
clear
clear
partly cloudy
cloudy
clear
Mid station 1784 m
0m 350m 850m 900m 850m

(1251m — 1808m)

snow report 3 days ago

40
30
Artificial 3 days ago
1
clear
clear
partly cloudy
snow showers
clear
Mid station 1530 m
350m 600m 650m 550m 800m

(1400m — 1700m)

snow report yesterday

20
10
Packed 3 days ago
2
clear
clear
clear
partly cloudy
clear
Mid station 1550 m
0m 0m 350m 450m 400m

(1050m — 2300m)

1
14
clear
clear
clear
partly cloudy
clear
Mid station 1675 m
200m 500m 600m 600m 550m

(1252m — 3275m)

snow report yesterday

Argentiere webcam
150
59

Excellent

Powder
49 cm
2 days ago
2
25
snow showers
clear
clear
partly cloudy
snow showers
Mid station 2264 m
200m 550m 650m 650m 600m

(1250m — 2100m)

snow report today

85
80
Packed 4 days ago
2
4
snow showers
clear
cloudy
cloudy
partly cloudy
Mid station 1675 m
500m 200m 800m 1050m 900m

(1681m — 2111m)

3
partly cloudy
clear
clear
snow showers
partly cloudy
Mid station 1896 m
200m 450m 650m 550m 650m

(1600m — 3330m)

4
30
partly cloudy
clear
partly cloudy
light snow
snow showers
Mid station 2465 m
200m 500m 750m 750m 750m

(1600m — 2450m)

4
partly cloudy
partly cloudy
partly cloudy
light snow
partly cloudy
Mid station 2025 m
150m 400m 450m 450m 600m

(1500m — 2750m)

Aussois webcam
5
14
partly cloudy
clear
clear
light snow
partly cloudy
Mid station 2125 m
250m 450m 650m 550m 500m

(1050m — 1710m)

clear
clear
partly cloudy
cloudy
clear
Mid station 1380 m
0m 0m 150m 650m 650m

(1000m — 2460m)

snow report yesterday

70
60
Packed
×
No snow
60 cm
16 days ago
1
1
15
snow showers
snow showers
clear
partly cloudy
clear
Mid station 1730 m
0m 250m 400m 500m 450m

(1400m — 2399m)

6
1
3
light snow
clear
partly cloudy
light snow
partly cloudy
Mid station 1900 m
0m 300m 900m 1050m 850m

(850m — 1237m)

clear
clear
clear
clear
clear
Mid station 1044 m
0m 0m 0m 0m 200m

(1250m — 2877m)

snow report yesterday

Bareges & La Mongie webcam
180
100
Powder
Powder
30 cm
yesterday
2
13
snow showers
clear
partly cloudy
partly cloudy
partly cloudy
Mid station 2064 m
400m 250m 750m 1050m 1000m

(1000m — 1301m)

snow showers
clear
clear
clear
clear
Mid station 1150 m
0m 0m 100m 400m 650m

(1101m — 1801m)

partly cloudy
clear
clear
clear
clear
Mid station 1451 m
0m 0m 300m 450m 600m

(1000m — 2001m)

snow report yesterday

50
35
Powder
Powder
2 days ago
2
snow showers
clear
clear
clear
clear
Mid station 1500 m
0m 0m 350m 450m 650m

(1740m — 2200m)

11
5
partly cloudy
clear
clear
light snow
partly cloudy
Mid station 1970 m
250m 400m 700m 650m 600m

(1350m — 1849m)

2
1
1
clear
clear
clear
clear
clear
Mid station 1600 m
0m 0m 350m 900m 800m

(1430m — 1725m)

1
partly cloudy
partly cloudy
partly cloudy
light snow
partly cloudy
Mid station 1578 m
250m 450m 700m 700m 800m

(1700m — 2001m)

3
6
2
snow showers
clear
partly cloudy
light snow
partly cloudy
Mid station 1850 m
0m 450m 1050m 1000m 850m

(1801m — 3001m)

snow report yesterday

230
65

Excellent

Powder
5 cm
3 days ago
14
13
partly cloudy
clear
clear
light snow
snow showers
Mid station 2401 m
250m 400m 700m 650m 650m

(900m — 1351m)

1
clear
clear
clear
snow showers
clear
Mid station 1126 m
300m 550m 650m 600m 550m

(1200m — 1600m)

2
partly cloudy
clear
clear
light snow
partly cloudy
Mid station 1400 m
250m 450m 700m 500m 600m

(1200m — 2501m)

2
partly cloudy
clear
clear
snow showers
partly cloudy
Mid station 1850 m
250m 500m 700m 700m 650m

(600m — 2950m)

Brides Les Bains webcam
1
11
clear
clear
clear
snow showers
clear
Mid station 1775 m
300m 550m 650m 600m 600m

(600m — 1220m)

partly cloudy
clear
clear
clear
clear
Mid station 910 m
0m 0m 0m 0m 200m