Room to roam: small resorts with access to large ski areas
If you're looking for a ski holiday that feels authentically French, is away from the crowds but gives you room to roam, then take a look at our hand-picked selection of unspoilt, traditional resorts that are big hitters in terms of skiing. As well as first-class accommodation, stunning scenery and a warm welcome, these resorts have access to huge snowsure ski areas with slopes for everyone.
Peisey-Vallandry - Paradiski (425km)
The Resort: Peisey Vallandry is an authentic, pretty mountain resort in a historical setting, perfect for those wanting to separate themselves from the hustle and bustle of neighbouring Les Arcs and La Plagne while still having access to the fantastic skiing of Paradiski.
The Skiing: Paradiski is one of the largest lift-linked ski areas in the world. You can take the Vanoise Express, a double-decker cable car that links La Plagne with Les Arcs ski resorts, to really explore the mountain.
Recommended Stay: Located in the heart of Peisey Vallandry, L'Orée des Cimes is a 4* luxury ski-in/ski-out residence. Facilities include an indoor heated swimming pool, hot tub, sauna, steam room and fitness room.
Saint-Martin-de-Belleville - Les 3 Vallées (600km)
The Resort: The unspoiled and charming village of Saint-Martin-de-Belleville is full of character and is a complete contrast to its neighbouring Les 3 Vallées resorts. The old farming village has a church, a small square, and buildings of wood and stone alongside a chic atmosphere and a good variety of bars and restaurants away from the madding crowds.
The Skiing: Saint-Martin-de-Belleville has exclusive access to the biggest ski area in Europe; you can be at the top of the 'Tougnete' ridge in less than 15 minutes, from there enjoy the amazing panoramic views and decide whether to ski down to Meribel, Mottaret, Les Menuires or Saint-Martin.
Recommend Stay: The luxury south-facing residence Chalets Caseblanche is just 50m from the gondola and ski school meeting point. These beautiful appointed spacious chalets and apartments all have either a wood burner or open fire and self-catered chalets have a private sauna.
Les Carroz - Grand Massif (265km)
The Resort: Perched on a plateau at 1140m, Les Carroz is a perfectly spacious, sunny, and traditional family resort with pavement cafés and interesting little shops which are centred on the main square. This resort is in the heart of the mighty Grand Massif, one of the biggest ski areas in Europe, and just one hour from Geneva airport and Chamonix.
The Skiing: Les Carroz is a great family resort with plenty to do and great skiing with 265km of piste, a variety of terrain for all levels, reliable snow, and a lack of queues. Intermediate level skiers follow the 14km famous long blue cascades piste, the longest run in the Grand Massif!
Recommended Stay: 4-star Les Chalets de Leana is ideally located in the heart of the resort and only a five-minute walk to the nursery slopes for complete beginners. Facilities include an indoor swimming pool, children's pool, hot tub, sauna, steam room, and fitness room.
Combloux - Evasion Mont Blanc (445km)
The Resort: Combloux is often aptly referred to as ‘the Pearl of Mont Blanc’ with its ancient church, medieval fountains, old rustic buildings, traditional farmhouses, and wooden chalets. The traditional picturesque Savoyard resort is situated in a beautiful setting and linked to the huge Evasion ski area as well as the spa resort of Saint Gervais and the 'hidden gem', St Nicolas de Veroce.
The Skiing: Combloux is a part of the extensive Evasion Mont Blanc which offers 450km of pistes covering Combloux, Megève, Saint-Gervais and Les Contamines providing varied skiing for all levels. For the more extreme skiers/boarders, Chamonix is only about half an hour’s drive
Recommended Stay: Stay at the 4-star Les Fermes du Mont Blanc, in an ideal position just a short walk away from the village centre. These spacious apartments have great facilities including an indoor pool, spa and wellness centre.
Tignes les Brévières - Tignes Val d'Isère (300km)
The Resort: Tignes is a great snowsure resort with summer skiing available on the glacier in one of Europes highest ski areas. Tignes Les Brévières is a quiet alternative to other resorts with a few restaurants available but perfect for those wanting to have a peaceful winter escape. Our team recommend Restaurant L’Armailly, known for its wine cellar and a great menu including a good range of pizzas. For the evenings that you feel like venturing out into Tignes, there is no shortage of restaurants or bars with over 60 to choose from.
The Skiing: Tignes Les Brévières is particularly suitable for beginners, with a network of tree-lined green and blue runs immediately above the village. Once more confident, beginners can take the lift up to Tignes 2,100m, and from there reach all the Tignes and Val d’Isère slopes.
Recommended Stay: 4-star self-catered apartments, Santa Terra are an easy walk to the gondola and rest of the Tignes area. Facilities at this residence include a stunning indoor pool with a waterfall feature, hot tub, sauna, and steam room.
Orelle - Les 3 Vallées (600km)
The Resort: Orelle is a lower-cost alternative to staying central in the big resorts, plus it offers great links to the vast Val Thorens and Les 3 Vallées ski area. Orelle retains its charm with stone houses, slate rooves, and preserves its architectural heritage. It's perfect for those wanting peace and calm between their adventurous day on the slopes.
The Skiing: The Les 3 Vallées ski area is described as an intermediates playground but also has a great variety of pistes for all abilities ranging from safe accessible beginner’s slopes, perfectly groomed pistes, tree-lined runs, moguls, steeps, or a real off-piste adventure.
Recommended Stay: Stay at the friendly Residence Orelle 3 Vallees, located half a mile from the Orelle gondola taking you directly to the Val Thorens slopes in the heart of the 3 Vallees in 15 minutes. Facilities at this accommodation include a swimming pool, steam room, sauna, and hot tub.