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Travel in France

Best Value Ski Resorts in France

Friday 16 January 2009

Not only does France have some of the best ski resorts in the world, but they also represent excellent value for money.

As a general rule, you can expect to pay between €100-€200 for a six day ski pass in the French Alps or Pyrenees.

If your budget is limited, then restrict yourself to the resorts with fewer ski runs. You should reckon on between €100-€150 a week for resorts with up to 150 kilometres of pistes (slopes), and even less for some of the smaller resorts.

You can also control expenditure by buying a half-day ski pass, or simply paying as you go.

Nevertheless, the six-day pass is the favoured choice for most French skiers, for it is not only more practical, but offers better value than other options. A six-day pass will cost around 20% less than a pass purchased on a daily basis.

The following table shows the cost of an adult ski pass for six days on the larger ski areas.

SIX DAY SKI PASS
Ski AreaKm of SlopesCostOpinion
Portes du Soleil (Haute-Savoie, Switzerland)650€200The best price per km, for everyone.
Trois Vallées (Savoie)600€225Best family formula.
Evasion Mont-Blanc (Haute-Savoie, Savoie)445€171The cheapest amongst great ski areas.
Paradiski (Savoie)425€243The most expensive in France.
Voie Lactée (Hautes-Alpes, Italy)410€210The most expensive for families.
Les Sybelles (Savoie)310€172Excellent for individuals, not for families.
Espace Killy (Savoie)300€208Ideal for families with grown-up children.
Le Grand Massif (Haute-Savoie)265€192Very good for teenagers and 60+.
Serre-Chevalier (Hautes-Alpes)250€187Excellent if you come with teenagers.
Massif des Grandes Rousses (Isère)237€203The best for 50+.
Les Deux-Alpes (Isère)225€182Good if you come with at least 3 children.

 

Whilst the larger resorts will cost you more, if measured by kilometre of ski pistes available, then they are actually cheaper! Some of the ski domains in France are immense, amongst the largest in the world. The Portes du Soleil domaine in Haute Savoie can boast 650 km of pistes, whilst not far behind is the Trois Vallées with around 600 km.

When compared with many other countries, the price of adult ski passes in France is only amongst the average of those around the world. Skiing in Aspen and Veil in the USA has become a lot cheaper simply because of the strength of the euro. Nevertheless, if travel costs are factored in, then the total cost will be considerably higher.

Where French resorts score very heavily on tariffs is with their family passes, which are widely available and generally cheaper than most other countries.

Whilst around 66% of French resorts offer family passes, they can only be purchased in 45% of Swiss resorts, 37% in Austria, and a meagre 10% in Italy.

These package passes are designed mainly for two adults and two children, although they can equally be used for three or four children, and sometimes with even one child. Some resorts (Grand Massif, Évasion Mont-Blanc) also offer a package for one-parent families.

The older the children (up to 17 years, but 21 years in Tignes et Val-d'Isère) the better value for money they represent. This is because, without using a family pass, the adult tariff generally applies from 12 years of age.

Thus, whilst individual passes for 2 adults and adolescents in the Trois Vallées would set you back €900, a family pass for the same group cost €720, a saving of €180.

If you are past caring about children, and you are a septuagenarian, then you can ski on most French ski resorts free of charge!

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