The French Savoie Alps are the most popular ski resorts in Europe. The ski resorts in Savoie are famous, known for their luxury chalet rentals, and exceptional winter sport facilities aimed for skiers of all abilities, ages and experience. The dramatic scenery also means that Savoie is open for holiday-makers during the summer. It is almost as famous for the walking, canyoning and rock climbing than it is for skiing.
The ski season is open from mid-December at the latest right through until the beginning of May, although snow conditions may deteriorate. This is not to worry about though. The region has over 1,000 snow cannons to help if natural conditions are not as they should be. On offer in Savoie is downhill skiing, cross country skiing, snowboarding, paragliding, heli-skiing, climbing, bobsleighing, snow-mobiles, swimming (indoor!), climbing, ice-climbing and much more. The health spas, cafes, restaurants and extensive shopping mean that there is still plenty of entertainment even on rest days!
During the summer, walking, climbing, mountain bilking and local festivals keep pulling visitors to rental chalets in Savoie.
La Plagne is a charming village, with close access to 10 ski resorts in Savoie. The facilities are varied, making a rental chalet here great value for family holidays. There is a bobsleigh track open to the public, natural and artificial ice-climbing walls, an ice rink, night skiing, youth clubs, dog sleighs carting and paintball available, not to mention the skiing!
La Plagne and Les Arcs, the adjacent resort, have together been dubbed 'Paradiski'! This is due to the combined 420km of piste, 158km of cross country skiing tracks, and the added facilities of Les Arcs, like the five snow parks, 3 boardercross tracks and the half-pipe.
The Three Valleys, famed as the largest ski resort in the world, has 600km of piste separated across 300 downhill runs! Here, snow is guaranteed, as Corcheval and Meribel, the resorts at the centre of the Three Valleys, has over 560 snow cannons.
The luxurious resort of Val d'Isere and her twin resort of Tignes have been described in the Good Ski Guide 2005 as one of only two 'sure-snow resorts'. This is due to their altitude. Tignes, despite some excellent black runs, also caters very well for beginners. It boasts 7 ski schools, and 5 free beginners’ lifts, as well as 150 shops in case the skiing gets too much! Val d'Isere is also the place to try out some ice-driving or snow-mobiling!
Summer temperatures average at 21°C, perfect for rock climbing, mountaineering and walking, but winter temperatures are cold. Temperatures this high in the Alps average around 0°C during the winter.
Savoie is serviced by three airports, all roughly 3-3.5 hours from the ski resorts. Chambery Airport (CDG) Lyon and Geneva all receive flights from the UK, and cheap flights are often on offer from Exeter and Norwich on Flybe. However, there are flights from many airports, and provided by many airlines, so it is worth shopping around.