10 Top-Rated Ski Resorts in France, 2019

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Val d’Isere and Espace Killy

Espace Killy

Val d’Isere is part of the vast Espace Killy, named for Olympic triple gold medal winner Jean-Claude Killy, who grew up skiing on these mountainsides. Val d’Isère shares this terrain, covering a high valley surrounded by 3,000-plus-meter peaks, with the smaller neighboring resort of Tignes. More than 150 lifts carry skiers and riders to 300 kilometers of terrain, all of it above an elevation of 1,550 meters. The altitude, coupled with heavy snowfall and Europe’s largest snow-making capacity, means a long ski season with top conditions; skiing on the Glacier du Pisaillas usually extends the season through June.

The variety and number of trails allows skiers of all skills plenty of choices – enough to fill several days of skiing without repeating a run. Even beginning skiers can enjoy the high mountain views usually reserved for the more experienced, thanks to the new travelator, an enclosed magic-carpet at the top of a gondola, accessing a gentle high-altitude slope.

More than 20 black runs challenge experts, but it’s the superb off-piste skiing that brings extreme skiers to Val d’Isere. The 45-degree North Face of Pramecou and the above-timber-line snowfields of Tigne are expert favorites. Val d’Isere has a good variety of après-ski life, too, with plenty of restaurants, cafes, and lodging close to the lifts.

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