We mainly think about beaches, sunshine, and tropical destinations when talking about vacations and holiday breaks. People rarely get excited about snow and cold weather, especially if they are accustomed to it in their home country. Nonetheless, some still enjoy a colder environment.
The French Alps is one of the go-to destinations for those who crave a winter wonderland at any time of the year. Like the resorts, villas, and hotels found in tropical locations, the French Alps and other alpine destinations offer cozy accommodations that can enhance any person’s visit.
Ski-in and ski-out resorts and private chalets are often the most booked type of accommodation. These resorts are located adjacent to ski lifts and sometimes directly on the slopes, giving guests direct access to gondola rides and other skiing amenities.
Tourists enjoying the ski fields in the French Alps. Photo: Michal Knotek
Skiing is a popular activity that many people enjoy when visiting the French Alps. But there’s a lot more to skiing than just gliding through the snow. To get the best out of your holiday in the French Alps, you need to know when is the best time to visit and frolic on the ski fields.
Best Months For Your Skiing Vacation
Like any other holiday destination, there are suitable seasons to visit the French Alps. Although snow is somewhat constant in the location, there will be days when the snow texture and volume are not suited for skiing. Going to the French Alps during an off-season may ruin the experience entirely.
To plan out your winter holiday accordingly, here’s a helpful guide on when are the best months to go skiing in the French Alps.
January: Fresh Snow
During this time, resorts and chalets have been open for at least a month for vacationers and avid skiers to visit. Moreover, the snow has built up quite generously, meaning the slopes have developed sufficiently for smooth skiing.
Skiers laying down on the soft snow. Photo: Bert Christeaens
On top of that, you will be treated with less crowd and more space to ski since it’s on a low season. Europeans go back to school after New year. They won’t be back until mid-February, so January is the perfect time for anyone who wants to avoid the crowds of the school holidays. At the same time, you can take advantage of a more reasonably priced holiday.
Experienced and beginner skiers can definitely take advantage of this time. You will have a whole area for yourself to hone your skills or learn the basics of skiing. Expect a vast mountain range to become your own snowy playground when you visit in January.
The only downside for this season is shorter days and sunshine, so you’ll have to turn in earlier than usual since it will get darker sooner than in other seasons.
February: Lively Slopes and Villages
This time of the year offers the best in weather conditions with a combination of regular snow and warmer temperatures. However, mid-February means the slopes will be filled with families and young people enjoying their holiday break.
It might not be the best time for experienced skiers since they will be hindered from performing their stunts and tricks due to the large crowd. But it will still be a good chance for beginners to learn with other amateur skiers.
Gondola rides to the tops of the alps. Photo: PhotoMix
Moreover, because February is considered a high season, it will be likely that ski resorts will be busy. Setting your vacation at this time will require a lot of patience and planning ahead of time. Book your accommodation, ski hire, lessons, dining experience, and other activities well in advance to get the best out of your holiday during this season.
February is perfect for families. The local ski villages and après bars in Megeve and Courchevel will be brimming with a friendly atmosphere. They will be ready to welcome tourists and holidayers into their wonderful town.
March to April: Longer Days and Warm Sunshine
Most of the crowd have already gone back home during these months. Some may decide to extend their vacation and stay for a while, but they’re mainly the adults who are free to take a leave from work as they choose. Those with kids don’t have the same luxury of overstaying.
The appropriate crowd on the ski fields means there will be ample space for you to roam around without needing to dodge children having their fun in the snow. The lifts will also be open longer with short queues, meaning prolonged ski times.
However, there will be some risks with skiing in these snow conditions because it won’t be the same as it was in January or February. The snow will likely be softer, and skiing will be more challenging.
If you’re not into the whole skiing experience or you’re looking for more activities, these months also offer fantastic events for locals and tourists. These once-a-year events take advantage of the good snow and sunny weather to provide live music, food, and drinks. The events create an attractive social space for people to simply have fun.
Photo: Alexandr Podvalny
March and April also marks the last months of good snow before the melting season. Many accommodations will offer end-of-season deals and sales on skis, boards, boots, winter clothing, and souvenirs.
These months are recommended for friends who enjoy the cozy weather of delicate snow and warm sunshine. Imagine dining or sipping your drink as you sit comfortably on your accommodation’s outdoor sofa while watching the beautiful sunset on the horizon.
December: The Festive Season
During the festive season, the French Alps will indeed be crowded with many holidayers and tourists from all over. However, it’s still worth visiting during these months as it will definitely level up your vacation.
Since it’s the peak season, expect the prices to be a lot higher than usual. The end of December will be even more expensive because it ties with public and school holidays. However, if you have money to spare or you’ve been saving up for a winter holiday in the French Alps, then it is highly encouraged that you break away from traditional home celebrations and haul your family to the snowy mountains.
The French Alps defines the term “Winter Wonderland.” When you spend your holiday in this snowy destination, you will be treated to the thrill of being surrounded by all things festive. It is a stunning backdrop for a memorable family holiday.
Winter holiday in the French Alps. Photo: Ski In Luxury
There are numerous lodging options to choose from in the French Alps. However, it is advised to book ahead of time to avoid being left out on the best luxury chalets or resorts to accommodate your group.
Many well-known resorts go the extra mile by arranging events and unique structures to entertain guests. There’s also a fantastic firework display that will light up the Alpine skies if you decide to stay until the New Year.
With all that said, most people won’t be visiting during this season to ski, but it will be on the agenda of their stay. The number of people who will hit the ski fields will be unpredictable, but overall, expect large crowds on the slopes and long queues for the lifts. So in December, it is advised to visit the French Alps not to ski but to enjoy the festive atmosphere.
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