New To Ski

9 Best Ski Resorts in France for Skiing at Christmas (All Ages for Family Fun)

by Laura Penrose | Updated: October 27th, 2022
Chamrousse, France

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Are you thinking about a Christmas vacation in the snowy French Alps? Having a white Christmas can be a truly magical experience, but where are the best places to go skiing at Christmas in France? 

All of these resorts are great locations for booking your Christmas vacation, with plenty of Christmas cheer and festive vibes at all of these locations. 

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9. Les Saisies 

Les Saisies
Photo by Carlosgg1961 under CC BY-SA 2.0

Les Saisies turns into a fairytale village at Christmas time in the snowy mountains. There are plenty of opportunities to take a photo with Santa, shows, games, and many other events that will take place in this village. 

What’s the Skiing like?

Les Saisies has been interlinked with six other ski resorts and villages within the Espace Diamant area, expanding the amount of terrain that you can ski from this location. 

The area is great for beginner and intermediate skiers and less well-known for more advanced slopes. But there is more advanced terrain scattered around the area. Les Saisies has a good amount of tree-skiing as well as an open area. You can also hire a mountain guide to take you to ski touring or to some of the off-piste areas. 

Learning to Ski

Les Saisies is a great place to learn to ski. The area is set up to help beginners as much as possible with separate beginner zones. There are two free beginner lifts that you can take advantage of too.

There are also two ski schools where you can take group or private lessons to learn how to ski. Instructors will help you progress onto the easy green runs quickly, which opens up more of the area. 

Off the Slopes 

Les Saisies is known for its fantastic cross-country ski area. Like their ski schools, they offer great facilities for everyone to get involved and learn how to cross-country ski. 

There is also a spa facility with a beautiful outdoor jacuzzi that overlooks the mountains. A mountain twister rollercoaster is perfect for the children to enjoy. Along with a variety of restaurants and bars, there is a Fromagerie where you can see how Beaufort cheese is made. 

What We Love About Les Saisies

  • Great for families 

Les Saisies Stats:

Summit Elevation:2,069 m
Skiable terrain:77 km
Lifts:31
Runs:61

8. Samonëns 

Samoens France

If you are looking for a more traditional village with cute little cafes and boutiques to do that last-minute Christmas shopping, Samonëns is the place to go. With more of a traditional French village vibe, Samonëns hosts a market all year round that turns into a Christmas market during the build-up to Christmas. 

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What’s the Skiing like?

Samonëns is interlinked with Les CarrozMorillon, and Flaine ski areas to make up the Grand Massif ski area. The area has a total of 265 km of slopes accessible. 

The area is fantastic for beginner and intermediate skiers, with great access to tree-lined slopes just above the resort. In fact, most of the area has fantastic access to tree skiing, but if you are looking for a clearing, go up to the summit or over to the summit of Flaine. 

Overall, there isn’t much expert-level skiing (8% black runs), but there is plenty for advanced and intermediate skiers to explore. 

Learning to Ski

Samonëns is certainly a great place to learn how to ski, with one of the largest beginner areas in France. You can take the Grand Massif Express lift and be able to ski a large amount of beginner terrain. There are a variety of ski schools to choose from that offer great lessons for all levels of skiers.

Off the Slopes 

The Samonëns village area is a beautiful, medieval village that is listed as a historic monument and is the only ski resort in France to carry this title. There is plenty of historic architecture, cafes, and restaurants in the village center. 

There are horse and carriage ride tours and farm tours, and you can even have fondue in a Yurt! In addition, there are also other more common activities such as mountain biking on the snow, ice skating, luge and tobogganing, and riding snowmobiles. 

What We Love About Samonëns

  • Great for families 
  • Part of the Grand Massif Area
  • Fantastic tree-skiing

Samonëns Stats:

Summit Elevation:2,120 m 
Skiable terrain:125 km
Lifts:19
Runs:22

7. Saint Martin de Belleville

Pelozet Saint Martin de Belleville
Photo by Matt Squirrell under CC BY 2.0

The village of St-Martin-de-Belleville still has traditional wooden chalets, cobblestone streets, and a charming old church. Located at a high elevation, you are sure to have a white Christmas at St-Martin-de-Belleville. 

What’s the Skiing like?

If you are looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of some of the larger ski resorts but still with direct access to the biggest ski area in the world, St-Martin-de-Belleville might be the location for you. 

Part of Les 3 Vallées ski area, St-Martin-de-Belleville has great access to a very large ski area that is perfect for the whole family. St-Martin-de-Belleville itself is a fantastic location for beginners but also has great terrain for intermediates and advanced skiers nearby. 

Learning to Ski

Near the main gondola out of St-Martin-de-Belleville, there are two magic carpets for beginners to learn to ski on. There are options for learning to ski as well through the ski schools with one-on-one lessons or group lessons with an instructor. 

Off the Slopes 

Right in the heart of the village, there is a Christmas market along with many Christmas-themed events for this time of the year. 

Are you planning on bringing your children away for Christmas? Father Christmas wanders through the village, ready to meet all the children. St Martin has a dog-sledding experience where you will be pulled along by sled dogs through the breathtaking scenery. 

See Also:  Courmayeur vs. Chamonix, Which is Best For Your Next Ski Trip?

What We Love About Saint Martin de Belleville

  • Integrated with the largest ski area in the world
  • Traditional village

Saint Martin de Belleville Stats:

Summit Elevation:2,400 m
Skiable terrain:600 km 
Lifts:160 
Runs:338

6. La Rosière 

La Rosiere
Photo by James Robertson under CC BY-ND 2.0

At Christmas, La Rosière puts on magical events in the village with sweet treats, hot chocolates, campfires, Father Christmas, and so much more to enjoy.

What’s the Skiing like?

Skiing at La Rosière is excellent for beginner and intermediate skiers, with plenty of terrains to explore. This family-friendly resort is an excellent location for a family Christmas skiing vacation. 

Their area has plenty of wide-open piste trails and beautiful views of the Tarentaise Valley. However, there is limited advanced terrain at this resort. La Rosière is also interconnected with La Thuile ski resort in Italy, meaning that you can ski in both areas via the international link. 

Learning to Ski 

This location is a fantastic location for beginners with plenty of terrains and beginners and areas for children near the base of the resort. 

There are also ski school options for those looking for lessons to begin learning how to ski or those who wish to improve their skills. 

Off the Slopes

La Rosière offers a range of activities if you are looking to do something that isn’t skiing. Outdoors, there are opportunities to go snowmobiling, snowshoeing, dog sledding, paragliding, or helicopter rides. 

Indoor activities include a movie theatre, ten-pin bowling, pool, museum art gallery, or take a trip to the spa. La Rosière is one of the quieter resorts with multiple bars and restaurants to choose from.

What We Love About La Rosière:

  • Beautiful area around Christmas time
  • Great for families and beginner skiers
  • Interconnected with La Thuile in Italy

La Rosiere Stats:

Summit Elevation:1,850 m
Skiable terrain:Between 160 and 200 km
Lifts:40
Runs:90

5. Avoriaz 

Avoriaz Ski
Photo by Andre Bach under CC BY-SA 2.0

Avoriaz is part of the massive Portes du Soleil ski area, which has 12 resorts across two countries. Every year the resort puts on magical events to enjoy the Christmas season, including a gourmet village, parade, Christmas show, and plenty of Christmas cheer. 

What’s the Skiing like?

Avoriaz is known as a great family-friendly resort that has more beginner-friendly terrain than many other resorts. 

The area is also fantastic for intermediate skiers, with a large amount of terrain that is interlinked with other resorts part of the Portes du Soleil area. 

This resort is one of the best locations if you are looking to ski all of the Portes du Soleil due to its central location. But for the advanced and expert skiers, you also won’t be disappointed. Avoriaz has a great number of off-piste areas to ski for all levels of skiers.

Learning to Ski

Avoriaz has plenty of ski schools to choose from. Ski schools will teach anyone of all ages to ski, and you can choose to book group or private lessons. 

Beginners wanting to ski green runs can ski down the mountain towards Morzine and then take the lifts back up towards the village. 

Off the Slopes                 

There are lots of other activities to choose from at Avoriaz, from mountain biking to ice skating and dog sledding. They offer other amazing activities, such as guided snowmobile tours, ice diving, and night sledding. 

If you are looking for indoor activities, there are spa facilities, a gym, and fitness classes, and for the kids, there is a fun water park. Avoriaz has a great après ski scene with many bars and restaurants

What We Love About Avoriaz

  • Interconnected with the Portes du Soleil area (centrally located, making it the ideal base)
  • Great for families and beginner skiers 
  • You can ski in both France and Switzerland

Avoriaz Stats:

Summit Elevation:2,466 m 
Skiable terrain:76 km (access to 650 km in the Portes du Soleil area)
Lifts:19
Runs:280 (throughout the Portes du Soleil area)

4. Val Thorens

Val Thorens Skiing
Photo by Annie and Andrew under CC BY 2.0

Val Thorens is dedicated to providing a magical Christmas for the whole family to enjoy. At the beginning of December, the Christmas lights are turned on, and you can enjoy festive activities in the build-up to Christmas throughout the town. 

What’s the Skiing like?

Val Thorens is part of Les 3 Vallées ski area, meaning that it is part of the largest ski area in the world. This particular ski resort has over 99% of the skiable terrain located above 2,000 m elevation, the snowsure zone. 

As such, the resort has incredible snow amounts and quality. The area is fantastic for off-piste backcountry and freeriding terrain for advanced skiers; on-piste terrain is a little bit more limited. 

Due to the high altitude of Val Thorens, the weather can be very cold, and it is more exposed to bad weather compared to some of the lower elevation ski resorts. 

Learning to Ski

Val Thorens is a fantastic location to learn to ski with many qualified instructors. There are a few magic carpets that are completely free to use as well as a beginner’s pass that gives you access to green and blue runs. 

There are options for lessons with ski instructors that provide either group or private lessons for people of all ages. 

Off the Slopes 

You could try one of the ziplines runs, mountain bike down the slopes after they have closed, or drive a car on the ice at the highest ice-racing track in Europe, just to name a few.

If high-speed, adrenaline-rushing activities aren’t your thing, maybe you would like to try snowshoeing, ice diving (diving beneath the ice in the Lac du Lou), or maybe check out the sports center that also has a Jacuzzi, sauna, and steam room to unwind. 

Restaurants of the Val Thorens resort have a variety of options, from traditional meals and less expensive options up to Michelin-starred gastronomy.

See Also:  3 Best New Mexico Ski Resorts for Families   

What We Love About Val Thorens

  • Fantastic skiing for all levels 
  • Plenty of Christmas festivities 
  • Lots of great non-skiing activities

Val Thorens Stats:

Summit Elevation:3,230 m
Skiable terrain:150 km (but part of Les 3 Vallées, so up to 600 km) 
Lifts:30
Runs:68

3. Tignes

Tignes Piste
Photo by gbsngrhm under CC BY-SA 2.0

Tignes sees hundreds of people visiting this large resort each season. Tignes is a great ski resort location for the family, with a great range of amenities and activities for the whole family to enjoy. 

What’s the Skiing like?

Tignes has fantastic on-piste terrain that is best for intermediate and advanced skiers, as well as off-piste and backcountry terrain to explore. 

Tignes is interlinked with Val d’Isere where you can purchase a lift pass for both ski resorts or just Tignes. Tignes also has a glacier, the Grande Motte glacier, that provides summer skiing from June to August.

The majority of the skiing is above the tree line and is perfectly placed in a bowl with the Lac du Chevril at the bottom. With lifts going up different parts of the area, there is plenty of terrains to explore.

Learning to Ski

Tignes is a great place for beginner skiers. There are multiple areas where you can learn to ski, mostly close to the villages (e.g., Val Claret beginner area, Le Lac and Le Lavachet beginner area, or Tignes 1800). 

The Tignes Ski School is a great place to start if you want to book a lesson to learn how to ski. They offer a variety of lesson types for adults, children, beginners, and more advanced skiers. 

Off the Slopes 

What is cool about Tignes is that there aren’t just accommodation options at the base of the resort; there are options further up the mountain too.

Tignes has activities such as ice skating, ice climbing, ski-touring, dog sledding, snowshoeing, and ice diving! This list of other activities just goes on. You can check out their website to see the full range of activities on offer. 

Tignes also has a pretty good après ski on offer and plenty of Christmas activities for the whole family to enjoy.

What We Love About Tignes

  • So many activities to do off the slopes 
  • High elevation provides world-class skiing 
  • Interconnected with Val d’Isere 

Tignes Stats:

Summit Elevation:  3,459 m
Skiable terrain: 300 km (including Val d’Isere) 
Lifts: 78 (including Val d’Isere)
Runs: 154

2. Alpe d’Huez 

Alpe DHuez
Photo by Ian Gratton under CC BY 2.0

Located in the southern French Alps, you will find Christmas concerts, markets, live music, and so much more going on at Alpe d’Huez around Christmas time. 

What’s the Skiing like?

One of the great things about Alpe d’Huez is that all of the ski lifts are open as normal on Christmas day. So, if you are planning on spending Christmas Day up the mountain, you may just see Father Christmas skiing on the slopes too. 

The skiing itself is fantastic. There are over 2,000 m of vertical terrain, and it’s home to the longest groomed run in the world, the Sarenne, at 16 km in length. 

Learning to Ski

Alpe d’Huez offers a range of options for beginner skiers. There are a few ski lifts at the base that are free to ride and also a beginner ski pass if you want to access more terrain. They have a great number of beginner trails with 41 green pistes to ride.   

Alpe d’Huez has some of the best lifts and terrain to learn to ski in the world. There are different ski school options to learn-to-ski such as the French Ski School, Easyski Skiing School, and the Alpe d’Huez, just to name a few. 

Off the Slopes 

Off the slopes, there is a great amount of both outdoor and indoor activities to choose from. Activities outdoors include things like ice skating, dog sledding, snowmobiling, and paragliding. Indoors, there is an indoor climbing center, swimming pool, gym, cinema, and plenty of restaurants to choose from. 

Restaurants and bars in this area offer a wide selection, including traditional mountain food, Tex-Mex, Italian, and fine-dining experiences. These restaurants come at a variety of price points, so you will be sure to find something. 

What We Love About Alpes d’Huez

  • Great skiing for all levels (especially great to learn to ski)
  • Massive ski area 
  • Right next to Les Deux Alpes

Alpes d’Huez Stats:

Summit Elevation: 3,330 m
Skiable terrain: 249 km
Lifts:  84
Runs: 123

1. Les Deux Alpes

Les Deux Alpes
Photo by mawster under CC BY-SA 2.0

Les Deux Alpes typically puts on magical celebrations for the end of the year. Father Christmas will be there, along with many events and celebrations to enjoy. 

Generally, Les Deux Alpes puts on a variety of events, such as a musical parade with dancers, jugglers, musicians, and so much more.

What’s the Skiing like?

Les Deux Alpes is a favorite popular skiing location for British visitors. The huge terrain, snowsure reputation, and fantastic amenities that Les Deux Alpes provides make it hard to overlook for a Christmas vacation.

For beginners, there are some beginner lifts near the base of the resort. After beginners have progressed past the bunny slopes, there are longer green runes on the Crêtes ridge and along the bottom half of the mountain

For intermediate and advanced skiers, you will have all of the mountains to explore, including skiing on a glacier. For the advanced and expert skiers, off-piste skiing is superb, especially in the La Grave area, which has some of the best off-piste, difficult terrains. 

Learning to Ski

Les Deux Alpes is a great place to learn to ski. Right next to the town, where the lifts and skiing begins, there is a great area to learn to ski. There are free lifts for beginners at the bottom of the ski area too! 

There are also plenty of options for taking ski lessons. The International Ski and Snowboard School of St Christophe or Ecole du Ski Français are great places to start. With lessons for new and advanced skiers of all ages, you will be sure to find a suitable instructor either privately or in a group lesson. 

Off the Slopes 

Known for its great après ski scene, there are plenty of great bars and restaurants to choose from to enjoy the Christmas time. 

Les Deux Alpes has a variety of activities to choose from off the slopes. Activities such as snowshoeing, Skidoo, horse or huskies sleigh ride, or Nordic skiing. At the top of the Jandry Express, there is an Ice Cave (Ice Grotto) experience where you get to walk through a network of carved rooms with beautiful sculptures. 

Indoors, there is a sports center, a spa, museum or cinema. And of course, visiting all the bars and restaurants to taste the local cuisine is also a great option. 

What We Love About Les Deux Alpes

  • Great for the family 
  • Plenty of activities to do 
  • A large amount of fantastic skiing 

Les Deux Alpes Stats:

Summit Elevation: 3,523 m
Skiable terrain:200 km
Lifts:49
Runs: 96

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