The French Alps are home to some of the world's biggest & best ski areas, which means they are home to a huge number of unmissable events! From the Southern Alps to the Swiss frontier, from sporty to family-friendly, there's an event for everyone!
Here are just some the best winter events in the Alps we've come across...
1. The Christmas Village, Samoëns (Grand Massif)
In December, Samoëns is turned into a Christmas Village. Pop-up chalets form a colourful fairytale marketplace full of end-of-year celebrations! Children can meet Santa Claus and can run after Santa’s sleigh while you’re sipping a hot chocolate at the heart of the village...bliss!
2. The Big Odyssee, Portes du Soleil
The Portes du Soleil area hosts a very special and unique event each year, The Grande Odyssee race. It's the only one in France uniting the best dogsled mushers in the world (basically a long distance dogsled race inspired by the legendary Yukon Quest in Canada and Alaska). The race tends to go through Savoie and Haute Savoie resorts, with racers from all over the world coming to complete the challenge of covering more than 800km over 2 weeks!
3. The Upper Giffre Winter Festival, Morillon (Grand Massif)
This is the perfect opportunity to try out cross-country (and all the local activities) in the warm and friendly atmosphere of Morillon. This Winter Festival is a whole day of festivities and fun entertainment dedicated to all the winter sports available in Morillon and the Upper Giffre Valley.
Guests get a free introduction to cross-country skiing, biathlon, snowshoes, dog sleds, sledging, ice climbing and many more! Throughout the day, musical entertainment and unusual activities will take place, such as igloo building, team snowball fights, avalanches searches etc.! A fun and friendly way to completely immerse yourself in the French Alps culture!
4. Freeride World Tour, Chamonix (Mont Blanc)
If you’re looking for extreme skiing, this is definitely for you! Each year Chamonix hosts the first steps of the Freeride World Tour with the best ski & snowboard free-riders from all over the world. This event is renowned for its epic mountain surroundings and for being the birthplace of many great mountaineers as well as the freeride champions; this contest couldn’t start anywhere else!
5. Freeski Playoffs, La Rosière (Espace San Bernardo)
A great event for those who believe skiing means extreme adventure! La Rosière is host to the Freeski Playoffs - one of the best freestyle races. A host of the best riders in the world compete against each other on the slopes in the beautiful resort of La Rosière. Generally it attracts more than 2500 spectators - it's one of the biggest contests of the season!
6. The International Ice Sculpture Contest, Valloire (Maurienne Valley)
This magical and unique contest is not to be missed! In the fully-pedestrianised village of Valloire, you can watch the ice artists working to make beautiful ice carvings. This event is a crowd pleaser and offers the possibility to meet the artists. You even can be part of the jury and decided who deserves to win! Hundreds of spectators are attracted to Valloire to enjoy this stunning show.
7. Dancing on the slopes, Les 2 Alpes (Glacier Skiing)
For those who fanc après-ski activities with friends the Rise Festival in Les 2 Alpes may be the just the ticket! This is a week-long party on and off the mountain, in one of the most renowned ski resort in France, with blissful views and hundreds of kilometres of amazing ski runs! Besides the live stage music, there's an ice disco, cinema, winter beach party, photo pods, camp fires and some chill out areas too. So much to do after a full day skiing! This is definitely the first major event of the season, perfect if you’re looking for good skiing, lively crowds and a good party!
8. Met d’la Wax Ski Film Festival, Valmorel (Grand Domaine)
Organised by volunteers in Valmorel, in a very warm atmosphere over the UK Easter break, this film festival is a big event for all the lovers of ski and snowboard! There are demonstrations and introductions to various forms of snow sports during the day, concerts each evening and the delight of seeing the best ski and snowboard movies of the year. You can even take part in the vote, as the public have to choose the best movie each evening in addition of the main jury. Best of all everything is free of charge!