Booking your France ski holiday can be quite a daunting task. You have a lot to think about, and you may be worried about getting it wrong. But, with a little bit of knowledge, you can ensure that you get it right. We are going to go through 5 things to know before booking your France ski holiday. With this information, you will make the right decisions and have a fantastic time skiing in France.
1. Choose The Right French Ski Resort
If you have a group made up of beginners and kids, you don’t need to go to a resort with lots of black runs. A good low altitude resort with mild slopes and a beginners area will be sufficient.
But don’t worry if there is a mix of abilities, as many French ski resorts have plenty of terrain for more advanced skiers and snowboarders too. It is a good idea to book a guide who will take you to some more exciting and challenging terrain. Also, some ski areas are made up of a collection of ski resorts.
For example, you could go to Avoriaz in the Portes du Soleil, or Val D’Isere–Tignes. These areas are huge and provide a variety of slopes for different abilities. Alternatively, you can book your France ski holiday in a resort that allows you to do a ski safari, such as La Rosière. This ski resort is close to numerous other resorts, just a short drive away.
A good thing to keep in mind is what the resort has to offer for when you are not on the mountain. Kids and beginners may not want to or be able to ski all day; therefore, a good selection of activities will keep them entertained. If you are travelling from a long way away, you may want to experience other things during your France ski holiday, such as paragliding, ice driving, snowshoeing or even dog sledding.
It is equally important to choose a resort based on your group’s preferences for a night out. Après and nightlife in a French ski resort can be fantastic. More stories have been made in the French bars and clubs than in the mountains. However, some more family-oriented ski resorts are actually sleepy farming villages. Therefore, if a few decent nights out are important to you, you may want to choose one of the higher purpose-built resorts with a party atmosphere.
If you have kids in your group, your options may be limited, but the time you go away will also make a difference to the type of holiday you have. If you go in December, choose a high resort to guarantee a white Christmas. Alternatively, you could decide to go in spring for milder temperatures and longer days, perfect for sipping rosé in the sun.
You can often find multiple villages in a ski resort that are linked via slopes, lifts and shuttle bus like Courchevel. Choosing the right French ski resort and village location for your family can make or break your holiday
2. Travelling To Your Chosen Ski Resort
French ski resorts are mostly very easy to get to from anywhere in the UK and Europe. Flights from the UK usually land in Geneva and Lyon, the closest airports to French ski resorts in the Alps. To get to the resort from the airport, there are numerous transfer companies that will deliver you to your accommodation; alternatively, you can hire a car.
There are two types of airport transfer, private and shuttle. Private transfers are a little more expensive, but you get the transfer vehicle to yourself, and it will take you straight to your accommodation.Shuttle transfers have set departure times and will have a few stops on the way to drop other people off. Some of these shuttle transfers will take you to your accommodation, but some transfer companies take you to a central bus station or drop off point in the resort.
A top tip for when you are booking your transfers is to time them with your check-in/check-out times. By doing this, you will avoid long waits while your accommodation is being prepared for you. However, you can always leave your luggage with reception if your room isn’t ready and explore the ski resort or have lunch if you are particularly early.
When it comes to leaving and your flight isn’t until later, you need to decide whether you want to stay in the resort or get to the airport earlier. If you choose to stay in the resort, you need to be aware that most things are closed over lunchtime.
If you are travelling by rail, tickets and trains’ schedule are only available within 90 days of travel from any French city and 60 days from all other European countries. The rail network in France and Europe is pretty good. This means you can start your France ski holiday with a high-speed train journey from London or Paris.
If you are driving from the UK, you can get the ferry or channel tunnel to Calais. Depending on the resort you choose and the weather conditions, a drive to the Alps from Calais takes about ten hours. This is an excellent opportunity to see more of France, especially when you have overnight stays in Dijon or Troys on the way.
Top Snow Travel can provide helicopter transfers from any airport in the Alps including Geneva, Lyon, Chambery, Grenoble and provide inter resort helicopter transfers should you wish to visit and ski at multiple ski resorts
3. Choosing The Right Accommodation Type
While you are deciding what resort to have your France ski holiday in, you should look into its accommodation options. The first thing to consider is your budget, as you can have anything from a basic self-catered apartment to a five-star luxury hotel or chalet.
It is a good idea to see what is included in your accommodation and where it is located. Ideally, you want your accommodation to be close to the bars, restaurants, slopes and amenities. This makes life much easier, however, some luxury chalets will have a driver that will be on hand to drive you to and from the slopes each day.
You need to be aware that most apartment and chalets change over at weekends, working from Saturday to Saturday or Sunday to Sunday, in blocks of seven nights. Knowing this will help you plan your France ski holiday much better. Hotels are more flexible and accept reservations at any time of the week. Therefore, if you think 1 week is not enough but 2 weeks is too long, a hotel may be the best choice.
If you are wondering whether to go catered or self-catered, both have their own advantages. For example, in a catered chalet, you are looked after by chalet hosts who cook you breakfast and dinner and are always on hand to answer questions. This is very useful and relaxing, but you may not have much flexibility when it comes to mealtimes. You need to be aware that chalet staff in France usually have Wednesday night off, so you will need to book a restaurant.
Self-catered properties allow you to come back from après at any time you like. You can eat out every night or cook to save some money. Alternatively, you can mix the caterers with self-catered, by hiring a private chef to cook for you through the week or on specific nights.
The French ski resorts are home to the most beautiful and luxurious chalets in the world
4. Additional Packages To Think About
Airport or train station transfers need to be booked in advance, so you are not worrying about getting an overpriced taxi when you land. It is also a good idea to book your ski and snowboard hire equipment in advance too. This is especially important during peak weeks, as is anything you want to do or need. Examples of these are child care, lessons, activities, guides and any restaurants that you really want to eat in during your France ski holiday.
5. Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is super important. You need to make sure that you get the correct coverage for a France ski holiday. Check that the insurance policy covers winter sports before you buy it and the procedure in the event of an accident. Some insurance companies require you to call them before you call for medical help.
Get a PDS brochure from your credit card insurance provider to check all the details and make sure you are covered for winter sports.
Megève is one of the French Alp’s best-kept secrets. It is often overlooked by the large tourist companies, which, along with its rustic charm, makes it one of the most stylish ski resorts in France.
Bonus Tip – Create A Checklist For Your Group
There is a lot to remember when going on a France ski holiday, so it is very easy to forget something essential. A checklist for your group will prevent frustrating situations, as they will remember everything they need.
Your checklist will vary for every group, but you should include the following:
- Ski/Snowboard equipment hire
- Lift tickets
- Transfers/car hire
- Socks and underwear
- Ski/Snowboard outfits
- Helmet (these can be hired with your ski/snowboard equipment)
- Suitable footwear
- Everything the kids need
Book Your France Ski Holiday
If you are the lead booker of your France ski holiday, all this may seem like a lot to organise. But, with a little preparation everything will been taken care of, allowing you and your group to have the best time possible.