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View Snow Roundup #65

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 sun is shining again after a snowy period in the French Alps too which saw resorts receiving up to 70cm of snow from Saturday to Monday. In most cases this was accompanied by strong winds on Sunday in particular, leading to the cancellation of the men's slalom race at Val d'Isere (80/140cm).

The snow fell down to the valley floor at most resorts although there are still reports of it being rather wet at lower elevations. Only about a quarter of French resorts are actually open at present a much lower proportion than in the other big four Alpine ski nations), but it's set to change at the weekend with many big name areas including La Clusaz (Which will open the Balme ski slopes) opening. Alongside Tignes (80/140cm) and Val d'Isere, La Plagne (55/140cm) is posting the deepest base in France at present.

Summary of forecast snowfall and ski conditions for resorts in France. Fresh snow is forecast at 176resorts. Powder is reported at 7 resorts and 7 are reporting good piste conditions.

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Recent Eyeball Snow Reports for France

A–B

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

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)
Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon

(950m — 2001m)

snow report 2 days ago

Abondance webcam
11 cm
2 days ago
21
43
partly cloudy
clear
clear
light snow
light snow
Mid station 1476 m
750m 900m 850m 1600m 1050m

(1550m — 2451m)

snow report today

68 cm
today
8
12
30
light snow
snow showers
clear
moderate snow
clear
Mid station 2000 m
750m 950m 900m 1850m 1200m

(1000m — 1900m)

snow report 2 days ago

Aillons-Margeriaz webcam
131 cm
2 days ago
1
15
42
partly cloudy
clear
partly cloudy
light snow
partly cloudy
Mid station 1450 m
1250m 1000m 1050m 1800m 1100m

(1500m — 2201m)

snow report 3 days ago

4 cm
3 days ago
1
28
64
snow showers
clear
partly cloudy
moderate snow
light snow
Mid station 1850 m
1100m 1000m 1000m 1600m 900m

(1100m — 3350m)

snow report yesterday

Alpe d'Huez webcam
68
40

Fresh

Fresh
70 cm
3 days ago
4
30
71
snow showers
clear
snow showers
moderate snow
light snow
Mid station 2225 m
1300m 1000m 1100m 1650m 950m

(1367m — 2200m)

snow report 3 days ago

opens in 9 days 7 cm
3 days ago
11
35
partly cloudy
clear
partly cloudy
light snow
snow showers
Mid station 1784 m
1400m 1050m 1350m 1800m 1050m

(1251m — 1808m)

snow report 3 days ago

opens in 9 days 1 cm
3 days ago
10
44
snow showers
clear
partly cloudy
light snow
partly cloudy
Mid station 1530 m
1350m 1250m 1200m 1750m 1200m

(1400m — 1700m)

snow report 2 days ago

opens in 2 days 12 cm
2 days ago
16
52
snow showers
clear
partly cloudy
light snow
snow showers
Mid station 1550 m
1050m 900m 950m 1750m 1150m

(1050m — 2300m)

snow report 2 days ago

3 cm
2 days ago
20
54
clear
clear
clear
light snow
light snow
Mid station 1675 m
1000m 1000m 850m 1600m 900m

(1252m — 3275m)

snow report 2 days ago

opens in 2 days 32 cm
2 days ago
1
45
102
snow showers
snow showers
clear
moderate snow
light snow
Mid station 2264 m
800m 1000m 900m 1700m 950m

(1250m — 2100m)

snow report today

opens in 9 days 19 cm
today
24
6
15
moderate snow
light snow
moderate rain
light snow
snow showers
Mid station 1675 m
1900m 1700m 2200m 2100m 1450m

(1681m — 2111m)

snow report 3 days ago

5 cm
3 days ago
2
6
27
snow showers
snow showers
clear
light snow
clear
Mid station 1896 m
950m 1100m 1150m 2000m 1250m

(1600m — 3330m)

snow report 3 days ago

Auris En Oisans webcam
6 cm
3 days ago
4
33
80
snow showers
clear
snow showers
moderate snow
light snow
Mid station 2465 m
1300m 1000m 1150m 1650m 1000m

(1600m — 2450m)

snow report yesterday

Auron webcam
60
25
Packed 3 cm
today
2
5
39
light snow
clear
clear
light snow
clear
Mid station 2025 m
950m 1050m 1150m 1800m 1350m

(1500m — 2750m)

snow report yesterday

Aussois webcam
70
40
opens in 9 days 87 cm
2 days ago
1
22
61
partly cloudy
clear
clear
moderate snow
snow showers
Mid station 2125 m
700m 950m 950m 1750m 1050m

(1050m — 1710m)

snow report 2 days ago

opens in 9 days 82 cm
2 days ago
1
6
20
light snow
clear
rain showers
light snow
partly cloudy
Mid station 1380 m
1400m 900m 1150m 1850m 1250m

(1000m — 2460m)

snow report 2 days ago

Avoriaz webcam
opens in 1 days 60 cm
2 days ago
27
63
snow showers
clear
clear
light snow
light snow
Mid station 1730 m
800m 950m 850m 1600m 1000m

(1400m — 2399m)

snow report today

opens in 2 days 99 cm
today
13
7
1
moderate snow
partly cloudy
partly cloudy
light snow
snow showers
Mid station 1900 m
1900m 1400m 2150m 2100m 1350m

(850m — 1237m)

snow report 3 days ago

opens in 2 days 41 cm
3 days ago
12
32
partly cloudy
clear
clear
light snow
light snow
Mid station 1044 m
300m 350m 500m 1250m 1000m

(1000m — 1301m)

snow report 2 days ago

26 cm
2 days ago
9
42
partly cloudy
clear
partly cloudy
light snow
partly cloudy
Mid station 1150 m
650m 750m 850m 1650m 1150m

(1101m — 1801m)

snow report 2 days ago

opens in 9 days 19 cm
2 days ago
8
32
partly cloudy
clear
partly cloudy
light snow
snow showers
Mid station 1451 m
800m 900m 1000m 1800m 1200m

(1000m — 2001m)

snow report 2 days ago

opens in 9 days 72 cm
2 days ago
8
32
clear
clear
clear
light snow
snow showers
Mid station 1500 m
750m 900m 950m 1750m 1100m

(1740m — 2200m)

snow report 3 days ago

70 cm
3 days ago
2
20
53
snow showers
partly cloudy
clear
moderate snow
snow showers
Mid station 1970 m
550m 900m 950m 1800m 1150m

(1350m — 1849m)

snow report 3 days ago

opens in 2 days 2 cm
3 days ago
1
7
23
light snow
clear
light snow
snow showers
light snow
Mid station 1600 m
1400m 950m 1600m 1900m 1250m

(1430m — 1725m)

snow report 12 days ago

9 cm
12 days ago
1
18
light snow
clear
clear
moderate rain
clear
Mid station 1578 m
1100m 1200m 1250m 1850m 1450m

(1700m — 2001m)

snow report today

32 cm
today
10
2
moderate snow
clear
partly cloudy
light snow
light snow
Mid station 1850 m
1950m 1500m 2200m 2150m 1500m

(1801m — 3001m)

snow report 2 days ago

opens in 9 days 11 cm
2 days ago
2
26
69
snow showers
partly cloudy
clear
moderate snow
snow showers
Mid station 2401 m
550m 900m 950m 1750m 1150m

(900m — 1351m)

snow report 3 days ago

39 cm
3 days ago
2
23
clear
clear
clear
light snow
snow showers
Mid station 1126 m
900m 1050m 1000m 1600m 950m

(1200m — 1600m)

snow report 2 days ago

5 cm
2 days ago
1
3
33
snow showers
clear
clear
light snow
snow showers
Mid station 1400 m
700m 950m 950m 1800m 1050m

(1030m — 2525m)

snow report 2 days ago

Brévent-Flégère webcam
opens in 2 days 83 cm
2 days ago
1
33
79
snow showers
snow showers
clear
moderate snow
light snow
Mid station 1778 m
800m 1000m 850m 1650m 950m

(1200m — 2501m)

snow report 3 days ago

54 cm
3 days ago
1
7
39
snow showers
clear
clear
light snow
partly cloudy
Mid station 1850 m
950m 1050m 1150m 1900m 1150m

(600m — 2950m)

snow report 3 days ago

10 cm
3 days ago
1
16
47
clear
clear
clear
light snow
snow showers
Mid station 1775 m
1000m 1050m 1000m 1600m 900m

(600m — 1220m)

snow report 3 days ago

38 cm
3 days ago
13
16
partly cloudy
clear
clear
light snow
light snow
Mid station 910 m
300m 350m 550m 1250m 1050m