While you may dream of conquering the black runs of Blackcomb, Big Bear, and Vail, skiing and snowboarding is an expensive hobby. If your budget doesn’t quite stretch to an American ski adventure this winter in the meantime France could be a fantastic alternative.
While it seems like an unusual location for beginners the glitzy, glamorous resort of Courchevel is best for newbies thanks to its plethora of ski schools. It’s here in the Trois Vallees area where the easiest slopes, gentlest runs, and slowest chair lifts can be found. If you’ve never strapped on ski boots before let alone made your way down a mountain at speed, then your best bet is Moriond. It’s somewhat centered yet at the same time set back from the main people traffic of the area, with plenty of beginners, or nursery slopes and’s watched over by ski guards. Don’t worry if you’re a complete beginner as you’ll find loads of British run ski schools, including those run by the Snow School and BASS. Once you’ve got the hang of the basics skiing can be lots of fun so try not to worry about being perfect instantly, as it takes many seasons to whizz down a run with total confidence.
Image Source: Leo-Setä
It’s the Trois Vallées’s liveliest resort and Meribel certainly lives up to its reputation. Here, you’ll find numerous sprawling hotels, cutesy B&B’s, self-catering chalets and serviced apartments. Looking to buy a new pair of boots? Goggles? Or ski poles? Here’s where you’ll find the biggest winter sport brands as well as luxury clothing outlets such as Prada, Fendi, Givenchy and Dior. Thanks to the 1992 winter Olympics, you can also enjoy a 25-meter indoor pool, water slides, state-of-the-art fitness center, on-site spa, climbing wall, and even an ice rink! Why not stay in contemporary luxury at the Chalet Zybeline in Meribel? This gorgeous, Belgian owned building not only sleeps twelve people it’s also incredibly beautiful and features a wrap-around terrace and private hot tub. While many hotels offer free transfers and complimentary resort buses if you’re looking for ski in / out accommodation, you’ll be better off in a self-catering chalet.
Looking for somewhere a little quieter? Not everyone’s a fan of the non-stop party resorts so if you’re looking to do some serious skiing then here’s where to do it. Relax in comfort as you spend your evenings enjoying authentic French food, snuggling down by the fire with a cup of rich, sweet hot chocolate or taking time out to read a book in the romantic library. While Saint Martin looks relatively provincial, traditional farmhouses and buildings are still in use today; it hides a growing community of wealthy, famous patrons who shun the limelight for something more refined. If you’re traveling with friends why not stay at the luxurious chalet Ecurie? Don’t forget to take a little trip over to neighboring St Marcel, book a table before you arrive in France itself and you’ll be able to enjoy an utterly stunning meal at La Bouitte, which has not one, or two, but three Michelin stars.