Ski in France, Save Money

  • © Atout France/Stéphane Frances

    © Atout France/Stéphane Frances

  • © Atout France/Jean François Tripelon-Jarry

    © Atout France/Jean François Tripelon-Jarry

  • © Atout France/Jean François Tripelon-Jarry

    © Atout France/Jean François Tripelon-Jarry

Ski in France, Save Money

Did you know that the US is one of the most expensive places in the world to ski?  In comparison, stays on some of the French mountains are absolute steals.

Based on recent figures, the average price per person for a family of four to ski for a week, all-inclusive, across some of the most popular resorts in France is less than $550*. At some US ski resorts, you’d spend up to $600 on lift tickets alone in the same amount of time.

 It’s worth looking into the French alternatives that give you more bang for your buck on the slopes.

Skiing Domaines

One of the advantages is that there are “skiing domaines”: areas of mountains that are linked together. With just one pass, you can have access to multiple mountains and many more kilometers of snow than you’d find at most US resorts.

 The major skiing domaines are:

  • Les 3 Vallées (Savoy): Includes the resorts of Courchevel, Méribel, Val Thorens, Les Ménuires, Saint-Martin-de-Belleville and La Tania, as well as the villages of Orelle and Brides-les-Bains, all connected by a cable car.
  • Paradiski (Savoy): Includes resorts of Les Arcs, Peisey-Vallandry, La Plagne, Montchavin-les-Coches and Champagny-en-Vanoise. 425km of pistes, altitudes from 1200-3250m.
  • L’Espace Killy (Savoy): Includes Tignes and Val d'Isère. 300km of pistes, altitudes from 1550-3450m.
  • Grand Tourmalet (Hautes-Pyrénées): Includes Barèges, La Mongie and Col du Tourmalet. 100km of pistes, altitudes from 1400-2500m.
  • Les Portes du Soleil (Haute-Savoie): Links France and Switzerland and includes Abondance, Avoriaz, Châtel, la Chapelle d'Abondance, Les Gets, Montriond, Morzine-Avoriaz, Saint-Jean-d'Aulps, Les Crosets, Champéry, Champoussin and Morgins. 650km of pistes, altitudes from 1000-2460m.
  • L’Alpe d’Huez Grand Domaine (Isère): Includes L'Alpe d'Huez, Oz-en-Oisans, Vaujany, Auris-en-Oisans, Villard-Reculas and Huez. 250km of pistes, altitudes from 1250m-3330m.
  • Monts-Jura (Jura): Lelex-Crozet, Mijoux-la-Faucille, and Menthières. 60km of pistes, 800m difference in altitudes. Also includes 120km of cross-country skiing through Menthières and La Vattay-Valserine.
  • L’Espace Lumière (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence): Includes the Pra-Loup and Foux d'Allos resorts. 180km of pistes, altitudes from 1500-2600m.

As with any other travel, there is also the question of airfare. Unless you live within driving distance of a ski resort in the US, chances are you’ll still be spending a chunk of money on just getting to the mountain, and the difference between a domestic flight and a transatlantic one can be as little as $200 dollars, depending on how far in advance you purchase your tickets and exactly when you plan to travel. 

The Alpine Lifestyle

Skiing in France also gives you the chance to add a bit of exotic culture to your time on the show. There is plenty of adventure for thrill-seekers, with the high peaks and expansive terrain, but there is also a more leisurely approach to living that infuses the area.

Visitors can feel free to socialize, ski or snowboard in groups and take breaks by the fire during the day. At night, enjoy the homey feel of local restaurants and meet new friends après-ski at nearby bars.



Helpful Terms

  • remontée mechanique = ski lift
  • location de matériaux = equipment rental
  • hébergement/logement = accommodations
  • tarifs/forfait = prices/rates

Don't forget to check out the links below for even more information on the mountains in France, the ski stations, where to stay and how to get there!

*study conducted by VoyagerMoinsCher in December 2012 and January 2013.

Additional resources