Better? How is that possible?!
The fact that you’re going to the French Alps to ski is already pretty incredible. If you haven’t been before, you’ll love the glistening white slopes and everything the area has to offer. When I lived in France, I lived an hour from Mont Blanc/Chamonix and enjoyed lots of skiing in the region. It can be a little bit daunting when you’re a beginner or a newbie to the region. As always, it takes time to get your bearings, which is why a few simple hacks can take your vacation from great to incredible. And, none of the following are particularly inaccessible or expensive.
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Here’s what you need to know!
Get A Pass
There’s a good chance that you’re heading to the Three Valleys area because that’s where most skiers head to on vacation. If this is the case, a smart move is to buy a ski pass for all three areas in advance. Yes, Val Thorens is a winter wonderland, and yes, you can spend seven days there without getting bored, yet that’s not the point. The Three Valleys – Val Thorens, Courchevel, and Meribel – is one of the only interconnected ski slopes on the planet. That means it’s worth the extra money since you can ski from piste to piste, taking in the conditions and the après-ski meals and parties!
This is a rule of thumb that Mr. Misadventures and I follow no matter where we are in the world. For those who want an uncatered chalet, you probably think that it’s just as cheap, or cheaper, to eat out. This isn’t true in the French Alps because the restaurants are quite pricey, even if you only want a pizza and a beer to keep you going until breakfast! Don’t worry, though, as chalets are available at half the price if you opt for the uncatered option. Then, all you need to do is go grocery shopping for the week when you arrive and you’ll never go hungry. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t have the odd treat.
Don’t Dismiss The Conditions
It’s Europe in the winter and you’re at the top of a mountain. Yep, it’s going to be cold! Still, you underestimate the sun at its peril. In the French Alps, the sun shines often, and it’s intense when the air is thin, causing lots of people to suffer burns in minus-degree weather. So, always apply sun lotion and take it with you to top-up during the session. A hydration pack for skiing is another excellent idea (whether you are cross-country skiing or not). With all the exercise and sweating, not to mention the beers, your body’s water levels can get low and have some unpleasant side effects. Plus having your own pack will be WAY cheaper than having to buy a drink in the restaurants on the top of the hill where you are a captive audience.
Stick To What You Know
France is ideal for skiers of all levels since the runs are varied. However, you have to choose the correct ones and not get tempted into doing anything silly. For example, there are several off-piste skiing options in the Alps, but it can be dangerous (these are US stories, but they translate!) if you’ve never done it before. A wise move is to start small and work your way up to the red and black runs as the latter are unforgiving in France. During my time skiing in France, while Mr. Misadventures went off on those black diamond adventures, I was perfectly content to stay on the beginner runs and loved it.
So those are my tips and tricks for skiing in France. Bon ski!
How about you? Have you been skiing in France? Where did you go? Do share!
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