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Saint Lary :
Métabief - Mont d'Or
Central: Super Besse
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resorts in the French Pyrenees
in the French Pyrenees
is the Pyrenees that, after the Alps, undoubtedly offer the widest
selection of ski resorts in France. Apart from the distance, and the
possibility of a lack of snow in this mountain range straddling the
French-Spanish border, the Pyrenees is a ski area with everything in
its favour. And as in the other non-Alpine mountain ranges, Pyrenean
resorts tend to be less crowded than popular Alpine resorts, except
during school holidays.
The biggest ski area in the French
Pyrenees is in the Hautes
department, midway between
the Mediterranean and
the Atlantic. Tourmalet
La Mongie), lies south of Lourdes and Tarbes; it is the second
oldest ski resort in France, after Chamonix, and the ski area here has
42 ski lifts, has 69 pistes covering 100 km, and culminates at a height
of 2,500 metres. . Not far from Tourmalet is Cauterets,
a traditional Pyrenean town that has developed as a ski resort, with 24
Soulan, almost on the Spanish border, has some of the
highest runs in the Pyrenees, up to 2500 metres. The resort at Super-Bagnères
(1440 - 2260 metres) is directly accessible by cablecar from the town
(630m), so normally easily accessible by road under any weather
In the eastern
, the largest domain is Font-Romeu
/ Pyrenees 2000
, a large area with 58 km of slopes of all
levels for a single ski-pass. There are also over 100 km. of
cross-country skiing pistes here. The resort is equipped with 500 snow
cannons. Close by is Les
, with 26 ski lifts and 32 pistes, plus
over 250 snow cannons..
resorts Vosges, Jura, Massif Central
The Vosges mountains, running north-south between Lorraine and Alsace,
in the east of France, have four main ski resorts with over fifteen
pistes each. The Vosges benefit from the most continental climate in
France, and in cold winters the vosges ski resorts offer very good
snow, even though the highest spot on any piste is less than 1400
metres. The biggest Vosges resort is La Bresse, with 30
runs, snow cannons and illuminated pistes for evening skiing. This
resort is popular with day-trippers from Nancy, Metz, Strasbourg and
A bit higher than the Vosges, the Jura is a range of mountains running
along the northern border of Switzerland. The Jura ski resorts are
along the crest of the range, some in France, others in Switzerland.
They peak at between 1400m and 1600m. The most popular French Jura ski
resorts are Les Rousses,
just north of Geneva, and Métabief-Mont-d'Or,
with 42 km of pistes, north of Lausanne. The Jura is also
particularly appreciated for its nordic / cross-country skiing.
with peaks rising to over 1,800 metres,
the Massif Central, in central southern France, has a number
of small ski areas, and two big ones, Besse-Sancy (45 km
of pistes) and Le Lioran
(40 km of pistes). Both these resorts are fully equipped, and have an
Alpine feel to them. They have cablecars, and plenty of ski lifts and
When to ski in the Pyrenees,
the Massif Central and the Vosges ?
school holiday periods, 2013-2014
For the Pyrenees and for the Auvergne, avoid the holiday
February / March when schools in Zone A are on holiday (See school holiday table by region
(periods to avoid, if possible)
||Christmas /New year
(3 zones, 2 weeks each)
(3 zones, 2 weeks each)
- 5th January 2014
|15th February - 16th March 2014
||12th April to 11th May 2014
Climate change, global warming, and winter sports:
The climate is getting warmer – there is no longer much doubt
that. When skiing first developed as a mass sport, back in the 1970's,
the climate was definitely colder than it is now, and in many places
ski facilities were set up below 1000 metres altitude. Today, there are
few facilities - except possibly in the Vosges - that can operate at
less than 1000 metres.
Most French ski resorts are now
painfully aware of the consequences of climate change, and many have
taken measures to make sure that visitors are not left twiddling their
thumbs should there be insufficient (or even too much) snow. All the
major resorts, and many of the minor ones, now have snow cannons, that
can cover some of their slopes with artificial snow. While
artificial snow is not quite the same experience as real snow, it does
allow better skiing if there is not enough real snow.
The other solution is to provide
alternative activities, and most resorts now offer a range of
activities and facilities, including skating rinks, tennis courts,
cycling pistes, hiking trails, cinemas, and a lot more. It is always
advisable to check out a ski resort before making a booking, and see
what facilities are available, should there be little or no snow.
your ski resort:
non-alpine ski resorts, the normal means of access is by car - either
in you own car or by flying to the nearest airport and then hiring a car
it is highly recommended to avoid the February
weekends, particularly the Saturdays. For non Alpine resorts, check out
also when local schools
are on holiday
There are direct TGVs (Paris-Lausanne
route) from Paris to Frasne in the high Jura, just a few
kilometres from the Metabief - Mont d'Or resort.
: Click here for information of flights to French provinical
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