The 20 best ski resorts in France for families (2023)

Winter is coming which means that the countdown to the 2023/24 ski season is officially on. This is good news for families hoping to hit the slopes in France this year

As far as vacations go it’s hard to beat a family ski holiday; glorious scenery, fresh mountain air, physical exercise, and plenty of adventure and fun. For many families, it’s the ideal way to spend quality time together

But which is the best family ski resort to choose? 

Picking the right ski resort for your family is essential for ensuring you have a great time together; it’s unlikely that you’ll want a party town if travelling with toddlers but if you’ve got teens in tow then a lively apres-ski scene might be just what you’re after.

To help you decide where to go, we’ve compiled this list of the 20 best ski resorts in France for families to make organising your holiday that little bit easier.

The best ski resorts in France for Families

Family-friendly ski resorts in France 

France is home to some of the world’s best ski resorts and offers a huge variety from charming traditional Savoyard mountain villages to large purpose-built high altitude resorts – Val Thorens is the highest ski resort in Europe. 

France also delivers when it comes to size with linked ski resorts offering hundreds of kilometres of slopes and plenty of terrain options for all abilities from young children hoping to master snowplough on green runs to older kids ready to tackle something a little more challenging.

The resorts also offer a huge number of activities off the slopes from reindeer rides and dog sledding to toboggan runs, horse-drawn carriages snow shoeing and more. 

Just remember that France is a hugely popular destination for family skiing holidays so if you’re planning to hit the pistes during the school holidays then you need to book accommodation and ski school places in advance and hire your ski gear.

The following are the best French ski resorts for families. 

the best family ski resorts in France


Once a traditional farming village Méribel is today a luxury ski resort that offers truly superb skiing. 

The Méribel valley alone has around 150 km of slopes but when combined with the rest of the Trois Vallées, you are rewarded with the world’s largest ski area with fantastic skiing to suit everyone from the beginner to the serious skier.

Méribel is made up of a number of different villages all connected either via bus or by the a ski slope – or both. 

Méribel centre is the heart of the resort where you’ll find lots of the restaurants, bars and apres ski. Méribel Mottaret sits above Meribel centre and is a purpose built resort with ki-in ski-out accommodation options. 

Méribel Village is a great option for young families and Méribel Les Allues is the original valley town before the ski resort was developed. It still maintains the feel of a traditional alpine village and has some great accommodation options.

Resort Height: 1,450 – 1,700m

Total ski area: 150km Méribel, 600km Les Trois Vallées

Where to stay

Nearest airport: Geneva, Chambery, Lyon and Grenoble

Nearest train station: Moûtiers

best ski resorts in France for families


While Samoëns might no longer be the secret that it once was, this once traditional farming village is still a delightful place for a ski holiday. 

Located in the Haute-Savoie department in France, between Morzine and Chamonix, Samoëns was originally founded in 1167 and has a long and rich history shaped by the surrounding limestone mountains. 

During the 17th century the village was famous for its stonemasons – known locally as frahans – who were commissioned to travel all over Europe and even as far as the United States working on large-scale building projects. 

Today, much of their work can still be seen around town, particularly at the church and the covered market

History asides, Samoëns offers some great skiing despite sitting at only 700 metres. Thanks to its own micro-climate, north facing slopes, and its connection to the Grand Massif Ski Area, Samoëns still delivers when it comes to snowy days on the slopes. 

The Grand Massif Ski Area is the fourth largest in the French Alps with 265km of pistes. From Samoëns, an eight-person gondola, the Grand Massif Express Gondola, whisks skiers up to the entry point to the ski area in a matter of minutes. 

Resort Height: 700m – 2,500m 

Total ski area: 125km Les Carroz, 265km the Grand Massif 

Where to stay

Nearest airport: Geneva 

Nearest train station: Annemasse and Clues

The best ski resorts in France for families
The children’s ski run at Les Carroz

Les Carroz

Five resorts make up the Grand Massif ski area: Samoëns, Morillon, Sixt, Flaine and Les Carroz. Of these five, Les Carroz is one of the prettiest, a traditional farming village turned ski resort that has maintained its old Savoyard streets, buildings and, by extension, its charm. 

For families with young skiers, Les Carroz has nursery slopes, gentle slopes to progress onto and some really good ski school and childcare options. 

There are some amazing powder bowels for expert skiers and the Diamant Noir, famous for its moguls. 

The only downside to skiing here is that there is only one linking run between Les Carroz and Flaine – and the rest of the Grand Massif area – and it can get very busy during peak weeks. 

Once you’ve stored your skis for the night Les Carroz offers a handful of fun activities including the Speed Dragoz (a type of Alpine rollercoaster), snow shoeing, dog sledding and an ice rink. There’s also Aquacîme, with a heated outdoor pool.  

Les Carroz is located just one hour away from Geneva airport. 

Resort Height: 1,145m – 2,120m 

Total ski area: 125km Les Carroz, 265km the Grand Massif 

Where to stay

Nearest airport: Geneva 

Nearest train station: Cluses

best family ski resorts in France
Ski lessons in Val Cenis with ESF. Photo Credit: Alban Pernet

Val Cenis

While much of the French Alps can feel like an extension of London or the Home Counties during February half-term, there are some resorts that still fly under the radar.

Val Cenis is one such ski resort. Located in the Haute Maurienne Valley, near the Vanoise National Park and not far from the Italian border, Val Cenis is a great family ski resort in France and a really good option for learner skiers. 

Val Cenis is the largest ski resort in the valley and comprises of three traditional villages: Val Cenis Lanslevillard, Val Cenis Lanslebourg and Val Cenis Termignon. Together the three villages offer 125 km of pistes, modern lifts and skiing for all abilities. There are 16 green runs and 20 blue pistes for beginners; 22 red for intermediate skiers; and for those advanced skiers who like a black piste, there are five black runs to choose from.

Resort Height: 1,300m – 2,800m

Total ski area: 125km

Where to stay

Nearest airport: Chambéry in France and Turin in Italy

Nearest train station: Modane 

best family ski resorts in france
Along the Squirrel Route in Les 7 Laux

Les 7 Laux 

Another resort that remains relatively unknown by British skiers is Les 7 Laux, in the Isère department of France. 

This is a very family-friendly resort with some excellent skiing, a range of family-friendly accommodation, fun after-ski activities and close proximity to the airports of Grenoble and Lyon.

This purpose-built resort is made up of three stations; Prapoutel, Le Pleynet and Pipay. Prapoutel is the largest of the three stations. Located in the Haut-Bréda valley, this is where you’ll find the majority of the accommodation and restaurants.

Le Pleynet is the second largest station with a handful of accommodation options and then there’s Pipay, which has a restaurant, ski school and a large car park for the day trippers  coming from nearby Chambéry.

There are 120km of runs in total with 11 green runs, 14 blue runs, 18 red runs and 7 black runs – as well as some challenging off piste options. 

Resort Height: 1,350m – 2,400m

Total ski area: 120km

Where to stay 

Nearest airport: Chambery, Lyon or Grenoble 

Nearest train station: Grenoble 

best family ski resorts in France
Les 2 Alpes

Les 2 Alpes

If you’re looking for a high altitude resort then consider Les 2 Alpes. Located in France’s Osians region, this is one of the highest resorts in France with seventy percent of the ski area sitting above 2,000m. The resort itself sits at 1,650m and the glacier reaches a peak of 3,600m offering snow-sure summer and winter skiing.

Les Deux Alpes is not only one of the highest resorts in France but also one of the oldest; the first ski school opened here in 1946 with three instructors. 

Ten years later, the Diable Gondola started operating, taking eager skiers high up the mountain. Today, the resort offers eager skiers 200km of pistes served by 51 lifts. 

This is a fantastic place for a family ski holiday with runs for every kind of skier and snowboarder including an 8km vertical from the top of the glacier at a height of 3,400m all the way down to the resort. 

One thing to note, however, if you’re skiing with beginners is the lack of blue and green runs down to the resort. Contrary to many resorts, most of the challenging runs in Les 2 Alpes are at the bottom of the mountain and the easier ones are found at the top. 

Don’t let this put you off though, there is one blue and one green run running to the resort (although these will be busy during peak weeks) or you can catch the Jandri Express gondola down the mountain. 

Resort Height: 1,650m – 3,400m

Total ski area: 200km

Where to stay 

Nearest airport: Grenoble 

Nearest train station: Grenoble 

The best ski resorts in France for Families
Enjoy snow-sure slopes in La Plagne

La Plagne

La Plagne, along with Les Arcs and Peisey-Vallandry, forms part of the enormous Paradiski area which offers skiers and boarders 425km of runs served by 129 lifts. 

La Plagne is made up of 11 separate villages scattered across a large plateau. They are all very different so it’s important to know which village you would like to stay in. 

Out of the 11 villages, four are traditional farming villages: Champagny en Vanoise in the south of the ski area, Plagne Montalbert to the west, Montchavin La Plagne in the north and La Plagne Vallée, which borders Isère. 

The remaining seven villages are all purpose-built and the architecture can be divisive, particularly the high-rise buildings of car-free Plagne Bellecôte

In terms of skiing, La Plagne itself offers 225km of marked pistes, mainly easy slopes and intermediate runs – there are some more challenging pistes but they are in the minority. What La Plagne does offer, however, are some really enjoyable woodland runs

Off-piste, La Plagne is famous for its 1,500m long Olympic bobsleigh run with 19 zigzagging bends. It’s open to non-professionals and you can whiz your way down in a four-seater bob raft reaching speeds of 80kmh. 

Resort Height: 1,250m – 2,100m

Total ski area: 225km La Plagne, 425km Paradiski 

Where to stay

Nearest airport: Chambery

Nearest train station: Bourg-Saint-Maurice

The best ski resorts in France for Families
Skiing in Les Arcs

Les Arcs 

At the other end of the Paradiski area to La Plagne is Les Arcs, a traffic-free, purpose built resort comprised of four separate areas

The original village is Arc 1600, designed by trailblazing architect Charlotte Perriand in the 1960s. It sits at the top of the funicular train that runs from Bourg-Saint-Maurice in the valley below. 

The next village to spring up was Arc 1800 (today this is the biggest village) followed by Arc 2000. If you hadn’t guessed already, the numbers reflect the altitude where the resort sits although they are not entirely accurate; Arc 2000 actually sits at an altitude of over 2,100m.

The final village arrived in the early 2000s and today Arc 1950 sits just below Arc 2000. The two are connected by a short gondola ride

No matter which village you choose, they are all very well suited for families with plenty of accommodation options that are for the most part ski-in/ski-out as well as bars and restaurants. 

In terms of skiing, there’s something here for everyone (although green runs area a little thin on the ground). Each village has their own beginner area as well as their own ski school

Arc 1800 in particular has its own beginner areas with magic carpets and zones where where learners can focus on their ‘first slides’, ‘first turns’ and ‘first descents’. 

One of the best runs in the ski domain starts at the resort’s highest point, the Aiguille Rouge (3,225m) and runs for over 7km down to the village of Villaroger. 

Resort Height: 1,200m – 3,226m

Total ski area: 200km Les Arcs, 425km Paradiski 

Where to stay 

Nearest airport: Chambery

Nearest train station: Bourg-Saint-Maurice

The best ski resorts in France for Families
Peisey Vallandry is one of only three places in France where you can take a reindeer ride

Peisey Vallandry 

Sandwiched between Les Arcs and La Plagne, and home to the 200-person double-decker Vanoise Express is Peisey Vallandry. Built in 2003, the cable car links the Paradiski area and at the time of opening, it was the longest, biggest and fastest cable car in the world (Kitzbuhel now holds that record!). 

The resort is made up of a small collection of villages: Plan Peisey, Valldnary, Peisey and Peisey-Nantcroix. Of these, Plan-Peisey and Vallandry are of most interest to skiers. These self-contained villages enjoy a traditional Alpine village feel and comes with everything you need for a successful ski holiday including ski hire, ski schools, shops and more. Both also have ski lifts that start in the villages. 

Highlights of Peisey Vallandry include the recently opened eco museum at the top of the new 10-seater gondola. The “Museum of mountain animals and flowers” showcases the area’s flora and fauna, and history

At the top of the gondola is also the beginner’s area, a fun and protected space for young skiers to practice. And, located at a height of 2,200m, it has good snow cover. 

Peisey Vallandry is also one of only three places in France where you can enjoy reindeer sleigh rides

Resort Height: 1,600m – 3,226m

Total ski area: 60km Peisey Vallandry; 425km Paradiski 

Where to stay 

Nearest airport: Chambery

Nearest train station: Bourg-Saint-Maurice

The best ski resorts in France for Families
Val Thorens, the highest ski resort in Europe

Val Thorens 

If you want guaranteed snow coverage then head to purpose-built Val Thorens, which is not only the highest resort in the Trois Vallées ski area but also the highest in Europe. Located at a height of 2,300m in the Belleville Valley, the resort’s setting, surrounding by towering majestic peaks, is truly spectacular. 

This is a great resort for skiers of all levels with a 150km of pistes (plus the whole of the Three Valleys 600km of terrain to discover) serving beginners and experts alike. 

Novice skiers have plenty of green and blue runs to choose from while intermediate skiers are spoiled for choice. The long red run that runs from the top of the Cime de Caron cable car is a joy for all levels but a particularly good one to try if you’re ready to graduate from blue slopes. For experienced skiers Val Thorens has some challenging black runs and some brilliant off piste options. 

A new enormous sports and conference centre, The Board, recently opened with an enormous soft play area, swimming pool, gym and 10 wellness treatment rooms ready to treat aching limbs post-ski. 

Val Thorens has a lively apres-ski scene (including a Folie Douce and La Malaysia, reputedly home to the biggest dance-floor in the Alps) so it’s a great option if you are skiing with teens

Resort Height: 2,300m – 3,230m

Total ski area: 150km Val Thorns; 600km Trois Vallées

Where to stay

Nearest airport: Chambery

Nearest train station: Moutiers

The best ski resorts in France for Families
Les Menuires

Les Menuires

Down the valley from Val Thorens is Les Menuires, a purpose-built resort that celebrates 60 years this season. The resort has received much criticism over the years owing to its towering concrete high-rises and the vast ship-like building that dominates the village skyline. These buildings could not be further from the image of a traditional Savoyard mountain ski village. But despite the architectural controversy, Les Menuires has legions of dedicated fans who come year after year because this is a resort that, quite simply, works. 

This is a particularly great resort for families. Les Menuires is largely ski-in/ski-out and the majority of accommodation comes in the shape of self-catering apartments and catered chalets. Apres-ski is fairly quiet but there are some good restaurants around for family dinners.

The lift system is speedy and efficient, snow conditions are reliable (although spring skiing can be patching on the south-facing slopes) and there’s a huge variety of pistes including the Pixel Area Fun Park where young skiers and boarders can practice their tricks. There are also two ski/boarder cross courses

Les Menuires itself offers 160km of sunny slopes and 87 runs. Of these, 15% are green runs and 47% are blue runs meaning that this is an ideal resort for getting your ski legs.

Intermediates in particular are well catered for and there are some really good cruisy blue runs including Jerusalem that runs down to Saint-Martin-de-Belleville, Bouquetin and Roc des 3 Marches (just watch out for the steep-ish bit at the top). 

Expert skiers will be in ski heaven here in particular at the 2,804m summit of Pointe de la Masse with some superb on and off piste runs. Plus, you’re in the heart of the Trois Vallées which has some of the best lift-access off-piste terrain in France. 

Les Menuires sits at 1,850m and, along with Courchevel, Méribel and Val Thorens, forms part of the Trois Vallées ski area and 600km of pistes.

Resort Height: 1,850m – 3,230m

Total ski area: 160km Les Menuires; 600km Trois Vallées

Where to stay 

Nearest airport: Chambery

Nearest train station: Moutiers

The best ski resorts in France for Families
Ski into La Thuile in Italy from La Rosiere

La Rosière 

Located on the northern side of the Tarentaise Valley, La Rosière offers skiers the chance to experience a slice of both France and Italy in one ski holiday. Not only can you enjoy the pistes of the Tarentaise itself but lifts link the resort to La Thuile in Italy’s Aosta Valley resulting in nearly 160km of groomed slopes to enjoy (plus pasta for lunch!). 

Purpose-built La Rosière is divided into two: La Rosiere centre was the original resort, first developed in the 1960s and 70s, and Les Eucherts, which sits around 1km away. The two resorts are linked by a tree-lined path or a free bus if you don’t feel like walking.

Both resorts work really well for families with chalet-style buildings, fast lifts, easy slopes and good ski schools. Apartments make up the majority of the accommodation options but there are some swanky four-star hotels to choose from too including The Hyatt La Rosière, which is an eco-friendly hotel with a Kids’ Club, and a new Club Med. 

Both the French and Italian sides of the slopes have a good variety of runs for beginners and intermediates as well as more challenging pistes. Altogether there are 154km of slopes and 80% of these are above 1,850m. In total there are 8 green slopes, 25 blue slopes, 35 red slopes and 14 black slopes. 

One more good reason to pick La Rosière is its location in the Tarentaise valley which means that it gets a lot more snow than some of its neighbours. Plus, despite its south-facing slopes (which means slushy conditions late in the season), La Thuile’s slopes are north-facing with good quality snow

Resort Height: 1,850m – 2,800m

Total ski area: 154km

Where to stay

Nearest airport: Chambery 

Nearest train station: Bourg-Saint-Maurice

best ski resorts for families in France
Skiing on a bluebird day in Morzine, France


Located less than 1.5 hours from Geneva, Morzine is one of the best places to ski for families. The resort is the capital of the Portes du Soleil ski area, a massive 600km cross-border ski domain that extends into Switzerland offering fantastic skiing for all levels. 

Morzine itself is your traditional farming village turned ski resort filled with characterful Savoyard chalets built from wood and stone. It’s a really pretty resort an packed full of cafes, restaurants and bars.

It’s undergone some serious development in the last few years and there’s some concern that the current infrastructure can’t support the myriad new accommodation options but it does seem that construction is once again coming under control. 

Sitting at just 1,000m, Morzine is not snow-sure but if the weather is cold enough then the resort has plenty of modern snow-making machines to ensure that you can usually ski down the mountain. If not, you can just stay high and make the most of the 600km of terrain on offer. 

In terms of skiing, there’s something for everyone here. Wide, winding blue runs, more challenging red runs, some excellent mogul fields and some seriously tough pistes such as the Swiss Wall (Le Pas du Chavanette), on the Swiss border, one of the steepest runs in the Alps. For absolute beginners, Morzine has the Penguin park on the top of Pleney.

Resort Height: 1,000m-2,254m

Total ski area: Les Gets / Morzine 120km; Portes du Soleil 600km 

Where to stay 

Nearest airport: Geneva

Nearest train station: Cluses or Thonon-Les-Bains

The best ski resorts in France for Families
Fresh snow at Les Gets

Les Gets 

Next to Morzine, Les Gets is another popular choice for a family holiday. Like its neighbour, Les Gets was a simple farming village until the first single-person chairlift opened in 1938. Since then, the village has grown and grown and is now an upmarket ski resort with high-end apartments and chalets as well as gourmet restaurants and boutique shops. 

That said, the centre of Les Gets remains compact and charming. It’s easily walkable and the two main streets area lined with everything you might need from supermarkets to ski hire shops

As well as your traditional apres-ski venues, Les Gets is also home to the Museum of Mechanical Music, a quirky museum packed with hundreds of music-related items. Paying homage to Les Gets musical past is Alta Lumina, an illuminated trail through the snowy forest that starts near Lac des Ecoles. Back down in town you’ll find the oldest merry-go-round in France

In terms of skiing, Les Gets has direct access to Mont Chéry, a local area that is often overlooked by skiers despite it boasting some of the domain’s best runs including a brilliant red run, Les Marmottes, and a mogul-filled black run, Le Chevreuil

The main Les Gets-Morzine slopes boast some easy green runs for beginners plus plenty of blue and red runs. One of the best red runs is the long and winding Chamossière that starts from the top of Morzine’s high point of (2,002m). 

Les Gets has a number of different ski school options including ESF and a handful of English-speaking schools. 

Resort Height: 1,000m-2,254m

Total ski area: Les Gets / Morzine 120km; Portes du Soleil 600km 

Where to stay 

Nearest airport: Geneva

Nearest train station: Cluses or Thonon-Les-Bains

The best ski resorts in France for Families
The car-free high altitude resort of Avoriaz


The futuristic sibling to Les Gets and Morzine, Avoriaz sits at a lofty 1,800m. This purpose-built resort was the brainchild of local boy and 1960 Olympic Downhill Champion Jean Vuarnet who grew up in Morzine and dreamed of developing a car-free high altitude resort (horse drawn sleighs and snowcats transport visitors to their accommodation). 

With the help of Gérald Brémond (who later founded Pierre et Vacances property and holiday group) Vuarnet developed Avoriaz into a truly unique resort. Unlike other purpose-built resorts, the buildings here have been designed to blend into their natural environment.

Gone are the unsightly utilitarian apartment blocks often found in resorts developed in the 1960s and instead you will find wooden, angular blocks that are equally odd and charming. 

Avoriaz is a great option if you want the ease of ski-in/ski-out accommodation and snow-sure slopes. Everyone – beginners to experts – can step outside their apartment in the morning, click on their skis and find a run that suits them. The Village des Enfants welcomes children from the age of three and sits right in the middle of the resort.

Around 80 per cent of the Portes du Soleil terrain are classified as blue or red runs meaning that this is a great option for intermediate skiers. Avoriaz was one of the first resorts to really embrace snowboarders and freestyle skiers and you’ll find four parks scattered around the ski domain. 

Resort Height: 1,800m – 2,254m

Total ski area: Avoriaz 75.5km; Portes du Soleil 600km 

Where to stay 

Nearest airport: Geneva

Nearest train station: Cluses or Thonon-Les-Bains

The best ski resorts in France for Families
Val d’Isere

Val d’Isère

Located at the end of the Tarentaise valley, Val d’Isere was once an isolated farming village. Its first ski lift arrived in 1940 but it wasn’t until the Albertville Olympics were held in 1992 – when Val d’Isere was selected to host the men’s alpine skiing events – that the resort really started to develop. 

Today, Val d’Isere is the most popular ski resort for Brits visiting the French Alps and together with neighbouring Tignes, they form one large ski domain offering hardy skiers 300km of pistes, 78 lifts and plenty of snow-sure slopes.

Originally the two resorts banded under the name Espace Killy, in honour of French Olympic and World Cup ski champion Jean-Claude Killy. Officially, the name is no longer in use but it’s still commonly used. 

The resort is popular with a wealthy clientele (there’s a reason why it’s nicknamed the Jackson Hole of the Alps) but you don’t have to be a millionaire to ski here and there are still good budget accommodation options available. 

As for the skiing, it is some of the best that you’ll find in the Alps. Overall it’s best suited to strong intermediate skiers although if you have young beginners with you then they are looked after.

The Val Kids areas (aimed at children from 3 – 10 y ears old) come with playgrounds, a kids’ play slope, sledging area and a mini bodercross park. There are also a lot of fun activities to do with them off the slopes including a climbing wall, play barn and swimming pool complex. 

Serious skiers will love the huge ski domain. Challenge yourself on La Face de Bellevarde, the steepest run in the ski area that featured in the 1992 Olympics for the men’s downhill run. 

Resort Height: 1,850m – 3,456m

Total ski area: Val d’Isere 150km; 300km Espace Killy 

Where to stay

Nearest airport: Chambéry

Nearest train station: Bourg-Saint-Maurice

The best ski resorts in France for Families
The high-altitude resort of Tignes


For a long time, Tignes was considered the ugly sister to neighbouring Val d’Isere’s Cinderella story. This purpose-built resort sits on a mountain plateau surrounded by peaks and while it has consistently delivered excellent skiing on snow-sure slopes, for a long time it was overlooked by families who preferred the charm and character of Val. 

Tignes is made up of five villages of varying altitudes: Val Claret (2,100m), Tignes Le Lac (2,100m), Tignes Le Lavachet (2,050m), Tignes Les Boisses (also known as Tignes 1800) and Tignes Les Brévières (1,550m). 

All the resorts, except for Les Brévières, are linked by a local bus. For families, Tignes le Lac at the heart of the resort is a great base. Tignes 1800 is another good option having been designed with families in mind with specially created children’s ski areas. 

Of these five, Val Claret has the easiest access to the Grande Motte glacier, the jewel in Tignes’ crown, that allows summer skiing and snowboarding from late June to late July. It then opens again in late-September for the winter season. 

Tignes-Val d’Isère’s 300km of terrain offers something for every type of skier with 150 pistes to choose from. First time skiers will benefit from being based in Tignes as the slopes running down into the resort are more gentle than those in neighbouring Tignes. 

Resort Height: 1,550m – 3,456m

Total ski area: Tignes 150km; 300km combined with Val d’Isere

Where to stay 

Nearest airport: Chambéry

Nearest train station: Bourg-Saint-Maurice

The best ski resorts in France for Families
Skiing in Alp d’Huez

Alpe d’huez

Nicknamed ‘the island under the sun’, cheery Alpe d’Huez enjoys 300 days of sunshine per year. Located in the Isere department of France, this family-friendly ski resort is one of five resorts and two traditional mountain villages that makes up the Alpe d’Huez ski domain. These are: Auris-en-Oisans, La Garde, Le Freney d’Oisans, Oz-en-Oisans, Vaujany and Villard-Reculas.

Altogether the Alpe d’Huez Grand Domaine Ski offers families 250km of pistes to enjoy, suitable for all kinds of skiers. Pros here include sunny, south-facing runs above the treelike that are ideal when the weather is on your side. Cons are the lack of runs through the trees which means visibility can be challenging on bad-weather days. 

For beginners, Alpe d’Huez is a great choice owing to its nursery area, one of the largest in the Alps with four free lifts. There are plenty of green runs to graduate to and then some cruisy blue runs ideal for practicing your turns. 

Intermediate and advanced skiers have a lot to choose from with runs such as the Fare, the Combe Charbonniere and the Col de Cluy. Possibly the most famous run is the 16km black Sarenne piste that stretches from Pic Blanc (3,330m) to Alpe d’Huez village (1,860m).

Alpe d’Huez also has two snowparks

Resort Height: 1,860km – 3,330m

Total ski area: 250km

Where to stay

Nearest airport: Grenoble Isère 

Nearest train station: Grenoble 

The best ski resorts in France for Families
Skiing with views of Lake Geneva at Monts Jura

Monts Jura / Pays de Gex

First time skiing families should look no further than Monts Jura in the Pays de Gex. This French ski resort sits between Lake Geneva in Switzerland and the ancient Jura Mountains and is formed of three alpine ski domains: Lélex-Crozet, Mijoux-la Faucille, and Menthières. There is also La Vattay-Valserine for Nordic skiing. 

None of these domains are linked and they are not particularly large either – the biggest, Lélex-Crozet, has just 21km of slopes. However, what this ski domain lacks in size it more than makes up for in convenience. Located just 20 minutes from Geneva Airport, you can be off the plane and on the ski lift in no time at all. 

There are several reasons why this is a brilliant place to come if you are a first time skiers or if you are still finding your ski legs. In addition to its easy access, skiing in Monts Jura is cheap – a one day ski pass in the high season is just €35 per adult and €28 for children up to 12 years old (teens are charged €31 / day). 

Secondly, it’s not crowded. Yes, if you visit at the weekends then you will be sharing the slopes with locals but at other times you may find you have pistes to yourself. And, despite not having hundreds of kilometres off pistes to choose from, there is something for everyone and some really good skiing to be enjoyed. Oiellettes, for example, is a perfect groomed red run that is a delight to ski. 

Finally it’s worth coming to Monts Jura for the views alone. There are plenty of ski resorts that boast magnificent mountain views but very few that command panoramic vistas over Lake Geneva and beyond. 

Resort Height: 1,000m – 1,720m

Total ski area: Lélex-Crozet 21km, Mijoux-la Faucille 15km, Menthières 6.7km

Where to stay 

Nearest airport: Geneva 

Nearest train station: Bellegarde sur Valserine or Geneva 

The best ski resorts in France for Families
Discover lesser known La Clusaz and La Grand Bornand

La Clusaz & Le Grand Bornard

Another spot ideal for a quick ski break are the villages of La Clusaz and Le Grand Bornand in the Massif des Aravis ski area. Located near Lake Annecy, and within an easy hour’s drive of Geneva, combined together these two villages offer over 200km of pistes with a wide mix of terrain and slopes to suit all abilities. 

Despite all this, however, these two resorts remain largely under the radar for many British families who whizz past on their way to more well-known resorts in the Tarentaise Valley. 

La Clusaz is the bigger and arguably better known of the two villages. It offers 135km of skiing spread out over five linked mountains with some stellar runs and equally impressive views.

If you fancy a challenge then head to the area of La Balme famous for its excellent snow and lift-access off-piste runs. It’s also where  freeski superstar Candide Thovex lives – see if you can spot him on the slopes. 

Le Grand Bornand promises 90km of pistes and is ideally suited to younger and / or beginner skiers. There’s a large learner area and enough “gentler and accessible runs” to ensure that you can ski all around the resort even if you are in snowplough. For intermediate and advance skiers there are a handful of red runs and a couple of blacks. 

Two other villages, Manigod and St Jean de Sixt, are included in the Aravis lift pass and together they comprise a total of 212km of ski terrain. 

Resort Height: 1,000m – 2,485m

Total ski area: 212km

Where to stay

Nearest airport: Geneva 

Nearest train station: Annecy 

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