French Location Guide: Ski Property

French Location Guide: Ski Property

After a challenging few years for the ski tourism industry, the resorts are looking forward to welcoming back international skiers and homebuyers, reports Joanna Leggett

According to myth – or weather soothsayers – it’s often said that after a long hot summer, a cold winter follows!

Last August, the thought of whizzing down snowy slopes was hard to imagine as we sweltered in record heat. However, by September, at least in the Ile de France and Paris, temperatures were dropping and hedgerows were already exhibiting masses of red berries – also said to be a harbinger of a cold snowy winter!

Good snow will be more than welcomed by many of us as we head back to the Alps for the best possible exercise in gloriously crisp mountain air in this, arguably, the most beautiful region of France! Just taking one deep breath of rejuvenating mountain air is like indulging in nature’s own spa treatment! Naturally, any exercise of the winter sport variety (whether snowboarding, skiing, skating, mountaineering or walking, to name but few) should be followed in the evening by some serious après ski and other necessary prerequisites to relaxation – vin chaud perhaps followed by tartiflette and fondue being just a few tasters among other regional delicacies available in the Savoie and beautiful mountain regions of eastern France.

One of the best things about living in the French Alps is that there are four marked seasons, from the glories of high summer, to crisper days and wonderful colours in autumn, the prelude to snow covering the mountains and classically beautiful vistas.  Winter here is glorious as the sun peeks over the edge of the mountain ranges to wake you, followed by glorious sunny days with impossibly deep blue skies highlighting crisp white snow; then later, the sky turns to pink before dusk and by nightfall it becomes midnight blue pierced with more stars than you could possibly count.

A few months on, the snow usually starts melting (in the lower altitudes of the Alps around April) though sometimes it might still snow in May! As it clears, naturalised bulbs and plants burst into colour as a harbinger of warmer days to come. Summer is sunny and warm, particularly the closer you get to Provence, and around Mont Blanc (known as La Dame Blanche), which may be crowded during July/August as the Alps’ highest peak attracts visitors by the score.

Autumn arrives once more, with warm days and cooler nights. You can still go camping and hiking, but you’ll need to wrap up! Snowfall starts in November – the best powder is in January – and so the seasons roll on! Because of travel limitations we’ve all endured over the past couple of years this winter season promises to be all the sweeter.

For many of us with younger children and teenagers or those of us who’ve always wanted to ski but never tried it, it’s truly a case of carpe diem! Perhaps it’s just time to brush up your technique – so before looking for the perfect home (be it holiday or year round) or binding on those skis, it could be a good idea to check out resorts with excellent ski schools. Visiting the Alps in wintertime appeals to all ages – it’s truly a multi-generational place to visit or live. Among other resorts known as being family-friendly, there are La Plagne, Le Cochet and Courchevel 1650. Then there’s Notre Dame de Bellecombe, Chamrousse, les Houches (part of Chamonix) and Les Gets. All are good for beginners, the more advanced and families. However, should you be considering the needs of a group of teenagers, Les Menuires might be more the ticket!

On the western edge of the Portes du Soleil, southwest of Morzine, Les Gets is a lively resort in Les Portes du Soleil, spreading between France and Switzerland. As one of the largest linked ski areas in the world it offers a huge variety of skiing, however, local area ski passes are also available – great value for families!

Les Gets offers a wide range of restaurants, bars, clubs and entertainment – and year-round entertainment, snow-sports obviously in winter but also many summer activities. While the main ski area is best suited to beginners and intermediates (great for lessons) you just need to travel north to Mont Chéry to access red and black runs. This area is also rated as having one of the best off-piste powder bowls in Europe – something for everyone!

Notre Dame de Bellecombe, set between Mont Blanc, Beaufortain and the Aravis mountains, is a lovely village ski resort and a great place to unwind. Situated in the Val d’Arly and linked with Les Sasies, the entire area offers 152 runs, 185km of slopes and no fewer than 84 ski lifts. It’s also great in summer with many other attractions, including a culinary history. Families enjoy walking, cycling or mountain biking along the Route des Grandes Alpes.

Courchevel, the most eastern resort of Les Trois Vallées (the biggest connected ski area in the world) consists of four satellite villages – the most exclusive and highest at 1,850m altitude attracting very wealthy clientele. Courchevel 1650 (recently rebranded Courchevel Moriond in a move away from announcing the altitude) boasts many ski schools so you’ll be able to find just what you need for all ages (classes for two-year-olds!) and levels. There are around 1,000km of groomed ski slopes, hiking and mountain bike trails to enjoy. Plus there’s a wide selection of luxury shops, fantastic hotels and no fewer than seven Michelin-starred restaurants to enjoy or simply window shop.

Together with Méribel, Courchevel will play joint host of the Alpine World Ski Championships in 2023. In fact, throughout the French Alps there are all sorts of events and festivals year round – including a week celebrating wine in January 2023. Just be careful skiing back to your new Alpine chalet after any serious tasting.

Teenagers of course have their own avenues of enjoyment – with boundless energy and appetite for adventure (and eating!). At Les Menuires there is a dedicated ski school for teenagers although skiers of all ages and levels will find more than enough to keep them busy and occupied. From the Pointe de la Masse you will discover not only fantastic, accessible skiing but also one of the best views over the Three Valleys region. There’s also plenty to do for après ski and all year round. More than 50% of the runs are labelled green (suitable for beginners) or blue (easy) making this area the perfect place to get back into skiing and on the piste again.

The unique mix of legal, financial and tax advice along with in-depth location guides, inspiring real life stories, the best properties on the market, entertaining regular pages and the latest property news and market reports makes French Property News magazine a must-buy publication for anyone serious about buying and owning a property in France.

Share to:  Facebook  Twitter   LinkedIn   Email

Previous Article Stronger than expected economic output – Sterling Update
Next Article News Digest: EU Announces New Date for ETIAS Visa System & More French Pension Strikes

Related Articles

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *