Top ski domains for snow

A ski trip can be the focal point of your year, a big X on the calendar that is the source of much excitement. It also calls for a lot of planning and research, mostly around the destination you’ll be choosing. In this regard alone, there’s a lot to think about, from where has the best après ski to where has the best slopes for your ability.

A vital element to consider is the elements themselves. It’s likely that external factors (work, school holidays etc.) will force your hand on when you’ll be skiing, so the important thing to take into account is the best place at that time. Different resorts come into their own at different times of the year, so if you’re trying to figure out where to go this winter, follow our handy guide to find out what to expect weather wise and make the most of some of our finest spots in France.

Val Thorens, Val d'Isere & Tignes snow reports

As the highest domain in the Trois Vallées area, Val Thorens is virtually guaranteed snow cover all the way through the season – sometimes right up until May. The domain’s enviable location, surrounded by dramatic peaks, means that you’ll have over 600km of linked pistes to choose from, with a fantastic choice of green, blue, red and black slopes to suit every ability. Another tick in the box is that the majority of slopes face north and north west so the snow is sheltered from the sun and lasts for much longer.

Season: Late November – early May

Snow depth (2016-17; lower/upper slopes)
November 61cm/102cm
December 61cm/135cm
January 80cm/157cm
February 103cm/201cm
March 130cm/233cm
April 103cm/165cm

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Ideal for families, la Plagne has an impressive set of stats: a top altitude of 3,250m and 225km of runs with another 425km available at the linked domains of Les Arcs and Peisey-Vallandry. Club Med resort La Plagne 2100 is right at the heart of the domain, with an altitude and position meaning good ski conditions up to the end of April. And, if you decide to go towards the end of the season, the main slopes all have snow-making facilities, giving you guaranteed ski time.

Season: Mid-December – late April

Snow depth (2016-17; lower/upper slopes)
November 0cm/0cm
December 10cm/69cm
January 19cm/127cm
February 19cm/159cm
March 18cm/227cm
April 6cm/163cm

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This picturesque domain is one of two that is located in the impressive Grand Massif ski area, which features 2 domains, six stations, over 265km of runs, making it ideal for families of all skill levels. Set at an altitude of 1,600m and boasting a total of 129 runs, Samoëns offers a great chance of snow throughout the season.

Season: Season: Mid-December – late April

Snow depth (2016-17; lower/upper slopes)
November 0cm/0cm
December 2cm/6cm
January 24cm/54cm
February 34cm/91cm
March 50cm/112cm
April 3cm/35cm

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Val D’Isere is part of the Espace Killy area with over 300km of marked trails. Of these trails almost all are found above 1850m and over 50% have facilities for snow making. This means that Val D’Isere has an exceptional snow record. Val D’Isere also has the advantage of having the Pisaillas Glacier attached to its ski area. This glacier can be found at the top of the Le Fornet area at 3,200m. So that even when there is no snow at resort level you will still be able to enjoy skiing the beautiful glacier.

(Average base depth – lower slopes (1,785m)/upper slopes (3,200m)
November: 5cm/54cm
December: 22cm/137cm
January: 58cm/136cm
February: 91cm/176cm
March: 108cm/228cm
April: 55cm/167cm

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Located on the Grande Motte glacier, Tignes attracts skiers from November until May thanks to its high elevation – almost all runs are above 1,850m – giving an average of 250 days skiing every year. This makes it one of the most dependable ski destinations in France (the glacier even opens for six weeks in the summer from late June to early August). With 300km of slopes and 20km of ski routes, there should be plenty to occupy most skiers. Tignes is also linked to the nearby Val d'Isère, making it part of one of the largest ski area in France.

Season: Late November – early May

Snow depth (2016-17; lower/upper slopes)
November 36cm/108cm
December 40cm/138cm
January 61cm/137cm
February 89cm/175cm
March 109cm/227cm
April 57cm/169cm

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Avoriaz, French Alps

Located right in the middle of the Portes du Soleil ski area, Avoriaz has access to over 650km of skiing area with its slopes getting up to eight metres of snow every winter. While the resort gets plenty of sunshine thanks to its position, most of the local slopes remain in shade, making the snow – and the season – last longer. And if the valley slopes do need a bit of topping up, there are hundreds of snow cannons available to keep you skiing throughout your holiday.

Season: Mid-December – late April

Snow depth (2016-17; lower/upper slopes)
November 0cm/0cm
December 19cm/29cm
January 60cm/71cm
February 88cm/115cm
March 102cm/181cm
April 32cm/106cm

One of the leading ski destination in the world, Les Arcs boasts more than 100 pistes for all ability levels, adding up to 200km of marked trails served by more than 60 lifts. With most slopes facing north, snow cover is rarely a problem, but if you really want guaranteed snow, you can head all the way up to 3,200m. However, with an extensive network of snowmaking systems in place further down, you won’t miss a minute on the slopes.

Season: Mid-December – late April

Snow depth (2016-17; lower/upper slopes)
November 0cm/0cm
December 6cm/75cm
January 36cm/140cm
February 56cm/159cm
March 72cm/226cm
April 18cm/129cm

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