Winter in the Alps is a completely magical time. With an abundance of activities, beautiful scenery, and amazing food on offer, it’s no wonder thousands of people flock to the French Alps every year for their holidays.
But, if you’re yet to visit, you may be wondering: What is the winter season really like in the Alps? In this article, we’re going to cover the following…
- Things to do in the French Alps
- Where you should stay
- How to get to and around the resort you’re visiting
Read on to see what you can expect when visiting the French Alps in winter…
Things to do…
Activities in the French Alps…
Although there are hundreds of activities on offer, ultimately, the main reason people spend the winter season in the Alps is to ski or snowboard. Come mid-December, the lifts begin to operate, bars and restaurants re-open, and resorts generally grow busier with people visiting for their ski holidays.
As we mentioned, there are plenty of other activities to try if you’re not a skier such as:
- Dog sledding
- Ice skating
…and more! Our post about après-ski explains what’s on in-resort, from nightlife to family activities, shopping, and what you can get up to at your accommodation. If you’re new to skiing, take a look at our archive of posts for beginners here.
How do I get to and around the resort?
Transport to the French Alps…
How you get to your chosen resort depends on which resort it is and where you’re leaving from. So, depending on those factors, you may be able to choose from the following modes of transport:
Of course, the quickest way to get anywhere is flying, but if you’re travelling as a family with heavy luggage, driving may be a better option.
If you’re heading to the French Alps from the UK, visit our transport archives to see how best to get to some of the popular resorts by plane, train, or by car.
Browse accommodation in the French Alps
Transport within your chosen resort…
The further benefit of driving is you’ll have your car with you in resort. Most of the time, ski resorts have efficient ski-bus systems, but if you’re staying a little further out of town, you may find it easier to have a vehicle to get around.
Just bear in mind, legally, you’ll either need winter tyres or snow chains (ideally both) when driving in the French Alps.
Where should I stay?
Accommodation in the French Alps…
Different ski resorts appeal to different types of visitors. Resorts such as La Clusaz, Avoriaz, and La Plagne often appeal to families with young children learning to ski. Places such as Val Thorens and Chamonix appeal to slightly more advanced skiers as the pistes are steeper and more challenging.
What should you consider when choosing a ski resort?
- How difficult are the pistes and how family friendly is it?
- How easy is it to get around? (ie is there a ski bus system or do you need a vehicle?)
- What kind of après-ski is on offer?
- What kind of snow coverage does the resort get at different times of the season?
Take a look at our destinations page to browse what resorts we operate in, select a resort and then select “click here for piste maps, webcams, how to get there, and more” to view our detailed destination guides. You can also browse through the destinations archive of our blog to see some additional content per area.
Our blog about the top ski slopes for beginners introduces some of the best resorts for first time skiers.
What should you consider when choosing your accommodation?
Choosing the right type of accommodation for your group is key. Traditionally, pre-covid, people may have opted to stay in hotels or catered accommodation.
However, now, many are opting for self-catered accommodation. Self-catered accommodation allows you to enjoy a fantastic holiday on your own terms.
A lot of guests enjoy the freedom of being able to tailor their holiday to their group’s wants and needs, but before booking you just need to consider a few things such as what time of year to visit, what kind of facilities suit your family (such as a hot tub, sauna or child-friendly features), and so on. Read our post on how to book a ski holiday if this is your first time planning this kind of trip.
When you book with OVO Network, there’s the opinion to hold a property for free for 24 hours before you book. This means you have time to share it with the rest of your group and make a collective decision, without the risk of it being booked in the meantime.
So what is the winter season in the Alps really like? The answer: it depends on what resort you visit and how you spend your time! If you still need more convincing, take a read of some of our other skiing-related posts for further information.