When is the best time to go skiing in France?

Val D'isere Ski Resort (29)

Val d’Isère © Paul Skinner / Top Snow Travel

A regular question we get from Australians thinking about a trip to Europe is “When is the best time to go skiing in France?”

Our years of experience at Top Snow Travel have taught us when to get the best value from your trip and which dates to avoid.

Here are our recommendations for the best times to go skiing in France:

January: Empty Slopes and Powder Days

January is perhaps the best month to take a trip to the French ski fields.

By this point, most resorts have been open for at least a month (or more, in the case of high-altitude resorts like Val Thorens and Val d’Isère).

This means that resorts are likely to have a good snow depth already, plus the coverage from snow cannons is extensive if there is any need to top up with man-made snow.

It is true that at this time of year the days are shorter and colder than later in the season, but the payback is that the slopes are so much quieter.

While Australians can enjoy their (summer) school holidays through to the end of January, European nations go back to school after New Year with no more time off until ‘vacances scolaires’ in mid-February.

At this point, queues lengthen, and prices go up, but in January not only can the slopes be empty, but there are great deals available as it is ‘low season’.

We often see discounts of up to 50% over peak season prices, making January the best value month to go skiing in France.

Ski C.cattin Ot Val Thorens 006
Val Thorens – © C.cattin / OT Val Thorens

March: Sunshine and Longer Days 

Our second recommendation for skiing in France is to travel in March.

It is late enough that you will avoid the crowds of peak season in February but comes [in most years] before the final peak period of Easter.

Snow depths typically reach a peak in March, with accumulations at a maximum before the end of season melt starts.

In March you can typically expect longer and warmer days, with more sunshine. Sun baking on the terrace of your chalet while enjoying a view of the mountains is an option that is not going be available to you earlier in the year.

In our current era of the ‘new normal’ you might prefer to eat outside in restaurants, more feasible than in January when it snows more often.

For advice on which resorts to choose for a ski trip to France in March, please contact Chris or Gilles for impartial, expert advice.

Meribel Ski Resort (42)
Méribel – © Sylvain Aymoz – Méribel Tourisme

Christmas & New Year: A Magical Time

While we will always suggest that you avoid February, there is still one high season period that we are happy to recommend.

Everyone should experience a ‘White Christmas’ at least once in their lives. The thrill of spending Christmas Day in the Alps, tasting the beautiful fresh mountain air and sliding from one slope to the next is something you’ll never forget.

At both Christmas and the following week at New Year, resorts put on extra events, including spectacular firework displays that light up the clear Alpine skies.

Yes, it is busier, and it is more expensive than other times of the year, but there’s a unique and international atmosphere for the festive season.

Many of our clients enjoy both weeks in the snow by booking two-centre holidays. For example, Christmas in a traditional and more intimate resort such as Megève, followed by New Year in the more exclusive Courchevel 1850.

Megeve Simongarnier 030216 010
Megève – © Megève Tourisme – Simon Garnier

Free, impartial advice from Top Snow Travel

To find the right time to travel and the right resort for you, please contact Gilles or Chris via our website or on 1300 803 156.

We’ll use our decades of experience and personal knowledge of the properties and ski resorts to find the best possible holiday for your party.

Les Gets Ski Resort (6)
Les Gets ski resort – © OT Les Gets

Other articles that may interest you:

Can I go skiing in France now? (July 2020 Update)

10 Reasons Why You Should Choose France For Your Next Ski Holiday