Ski holidays to France will always be an evergreen favourite of the mountain addicts. While resorts such as Chamonix and Besancon are renowned all around the world, this time we have tried to get off the beaten tracks to discover some of the most challenging and unconventional gems of the French Alps.
The name of Risoul will hardly ring a bell for most foreign skiers, but this town, located inbetween Besancon and Gap, has a tradition of winter sports dating back to the 1970s and has served as training ground for the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics.
Confident and modern in its style, Risoul is unique for its approach to run gradings, as it doesn’t follow the traditional black, red and blue classifications, but has instead created the concept of themed areas.
This is a place that will go down well with the most relaxed snowboarders, with a boarder-friendly atmosphere and a number of casual and laid back après-ski to warm up your guts after a day in the snow.
A couple of hours north from Risoul lies the highest ski resort in Europe, could you name it? The tricky answer is Val Thorens, which, with its 2300 metres of altitude, also boasts the largest linked ski area in the world, 600km of pistes through which it’s connected to the wider 3 Vallées complex.
Not only does Val Thorens have the numbers and the quality to satisfy the most demanding skiers, but it also offers bordercross tracks, quarter pipes and jumps which make it one of the best ski holidays for the adrenaline lovers.
However, if you think tracks, jumps and pipes are all good fun but not such a thrill, the resort of Les Arcs will push you further. Here you will find some of the most extreme off-piste, helicopter trips, nights in igloos, driving on ice, paragliding, skidooing, you name it…
Not far from Les Arcs, the north of the nearby Aguille Rouge is a huge off-piste area, far from ski lifts and tourists. Aguille Rouge is the final challenge between you and the almighty mountain. The kind of experience that will make you talk with pride as soon as you’re back home in one piece.