SNOWBOARDING in FRANCE
For the travelling snowboarder, it's safe to say that France has it all.France is a lucky country. For starters it's got two major mountain ranges, the Alps and the Pyrenees, both with excellent snowboarding. The French Alps are more easily accessible for most people travelling from northern Europe. They're also higher which means the season is longer and the snow is more dependable and they boast the biggest lift-accessed vertical drop in the world. The Pyrenees resorts are less expensive than big resorts in the Alps and they've escaped mass tourism, so you can get a really nice authentic experience. Plus, although the runs aren't as long, there's some great little gullies to ride and plenty of super accessible fun freeride terrain. It's no secret that in terms of winter sports activities, snowboarding takes second place to skiing. Stories about the sport loosing popularity are hard to square though when you visit resorts like Avoriaz, Les Arcs and Les 2 Alpes which make the most of their awesome park and freeride terrain and put the sport on a pedestal.
Getting thereInternational airports for transfers to the Alps include Geneva, Chambéry, Grenoble and Lyon. For resorts in the southern French Alps like Isola 2000 and Serre Chevalier, you can also fly to Nice, Turin or even Marseille. For the Pyrenees, Pau and Toulouse are the major gateways, but you can also fly to Perpignan for resorts in the eastern Pyrenees and Biarritz for resorts furthest west.
When to goFrench resorts tend to open early to mid-December and close mid to late-April. The tourist office in each resort will communicate the actual opening dates which can change depending on snow conditions. In the Pyrenees the snow tends to come in fits and starts with big dumps coming from Atlantic storms that can melt away quickly in a warm southerly wind.
Venturing off-pisteFrance has some of the world's best lift-accessed freeride snowboarding combined with a refreshingly relaxed attitude to danger. That means there's little restriction when it comes to going off-piste. Resort boundaries are clearly defined and you can duck under the ropes without being penalised. You are responsible for your own actions though, and accidents happen all the time. Avalanche risk is often high, especially on those days when fresh powder beckons. So the advice is simple - take a guide. You'll be kitted out with an avalanche rescue kit and shown how to use it. And, your guide will show you the best, safest descents on the day. Make sure as well that you have insurance. For basic accident insurance that will cover getting you off the mountain, buy a Carte Neige when you get your pass.
ORGANISE YOUR SNOWBOARD TRIPOnce you've chosen the perfect resort in France for your preferred snowboarding style and ability, you need to organise your accommodation, airport transfers, snowboard hire, lessons and for powder hounds, some off-piste guiding and heli-boarding. We've got your back. We work with the best companies in the industry to help you organise an unforgettable snowboarding trip.
Get the lowdown on the best resorts in the French Alps for your next snowboarding holiday.
the BEST SNOWBOARDING RESORTS in FRANCE
Snowboarders of every stripe flock to France each winter, from families and couples who enjoy the wide open pistes of Les 3 Vallées to serious freeriders who pit their wits against the steep terrain of Chamonix, Sainte Foy and La Grave. We've spent seasons in France snowboarding in resorts in the Northern French Alps like Avoriaz and Tignes and the southern French Alps like Serre Chevalier and Isola. Based on our experiences, here's a selection of our all-time favourite snowboarding resorts.
Morzine in the Portes du Soleil has access to an unbelievable amount of great riding.
Snowboarding in France is good because we have a lot of diversity. You can find steep freeriding, easy slopes, cold weather, slushy snow… There are a lot of different spots. Everybody can have fun here, and freeriding is allowed anywhere, anytime! You just have to be careful because the avalanche risk is often high. For the freestylers, parks in France aren’t the best in Europe, except for resorts like Avoriaz and Les Deux Alpes. These resorts are my favourite – you’ll find really good parks, great slopes with good backcountry and funny apres!
Sylvain Bourbousson, French pro snowboarder
Please leave a comment below if you need specific advice for your snowboarding trip to France, or if you have any recommendations to help us improve this page. Happy holidays!