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Mountain tourism: where to ski in France this winter?

With 293 ski resorts in France, it's a tough pick. Their high number makes it possible for all vacationers to find a place to go that fits their needs in terms of where they live, their activities and interests…

Mountainous greats: Avoriaz, La Plagne, Les Arcs, Les Ménuires, Val Thorens, L'Alpe d'Huez,...

The busiest French ski resorts are located in "Savoie" and "Haute-Savoie". Stations are connected to larger areas that allow skiers to discover trails and new sectors all week long: Les Portes du Soleil (425 kilometers of trails), Paradiski (425), 3 Vallées (600) and Espace Killy (300). At all these resorts, vacationers may also find many leisure infrastructures, athletic centers and aquatic facilities. For more details, read our article.

These stations will delight ski/snowboard lovers, as well as people looking for a high diversity of activites, or the liveliness of their chosen ski destination. 

Family resorts: attract through authenticity and no crowd on ski trails

While the giant ski resorts accounted for more than half of the number of ski days spent in France in 2013/2014, smaller resorts continue to attract vacationers with their human scale, the authenticity of their architecture, their proximity to nature and the lower cost of ski passes.

Some are connected to major resorts, which allows them to grow their ski area while preserving their authenticity. This is the case, for example, of Chapelle d'Abondance (linked to Portes du Soleil), la Rosière (San Bernardo) and Contamines (Evasion Mont-Blanc). there are also many activities: areas for cross-country skiing (140 kilometers in La Feclaz, 130 in Autrans and 140 in Saisies), as well as aquatic parks (Aquavallée in Isola 2000, Aquazen in La Norma and Forum des eaux à Saint-François Longchamp). Most resorts also offer hiking, snow shoeing, dog-sledding, igloo villages and VTT.

Like the major resorts, they have the advantage of having a variety of activities, while offering ski areas that while they may be smaller, they are less densely occupied by skiers ables.

The following table indicates the number of of kilometers of trails as well as their density (number of skier days in 2013/2014 with respect to kilometers of trails) for the ten biggest resorts with a density below 5,000. Certain resorts with lower densities nonetheless offer fairly extensive ski areas: La Rosière (160 kilometers), Villard de Lans (125) and Isola 2000 (120). The Grand Massif resorts (Flaine, Morillon, Samoëns and Sixt), while they are some of the biggest resorts, have a density of only 5,667 skier-days per km. These are thus the resorts we should go to to find ski areas that are both large and not over populated .

Kilometers of trails and number of skier days per kilometer of trail in 2013/2014

Spas in the Pyrenees and cross country skiing in the Massif Central, the Vosges and the Jura

In the Pyrenees, ten or so resorts are presented as sports and wellness destinations : Le Tourmalet, Cauterets, Font-Romeu,... These resorts also have year-round spas that allow vacationers to combine alpine skiing and fitness in a single stay.

Resorts in the Massif Central, the Vosges and the Jura focus on extensive cross country ski areas that are well out fitted and not overly crowded: 270 kilometers are accessible from Métabief Mont d'Or (Jura), 220 from Les Rousses (Jura), 120 from Super-Besse (Massif Central). If you are looking for nature and fresh air (or need to make a last minute reservation, now that there is snow), these resorts are right for you.

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