There are well over 100 of ski resorts in France. In addition, seven of the largest 10 interconnected ski areas are found in France, and you will find everything from small, quaint and typically French resorts, to famous nightlife and après-ski. How to choose where to work?
With so many options, the choice can be overwhelming. Here are five of the better places to find a job and work a winter season.
Val d’Isère is one the Alps’ renowned resorts. Part of the enormous Espace Killy interconnected area, Val d’Isère has huge choices for cruising terrain as well as off-piste terrain. Tignes, the connected resort, also has excellent backcountry options to explore over the course of the season, if one resort isn’t enough.
Val d’Isère is very popular among British seasonal workers, although you will also find plenty of Scandinavians, in addition to French seasonal workers.
Hugely popular among British, Les Deux Alpes does not immediately spring to mind when thinking about working a season. However, for those looking for an energetic season, Les Deux Alpes is a solid choice.
The best riding is off-piste at Les Deux Alpes. Right next to Les Deux Alpes is La Grave, one of the coolest off-piste areas in France. Working a season gives you the chance to properly explore this area (remembering avalanche precautions, of course).
In addition, there is a heaving après-ski at Les Deux Alpes, with the British in particular out every night of the week. If social nights and dizzying backcountry heights are what you want, Les Deux Alpes could be the place to find a job.
Val Thorens is the highest resort town in Europe, and receives the most foreign visitors of any French ski resort. It is part of the enormous and stunning Three Valleys – the largest interlinked ski area in the world. Among your seasonal worker colleagues, you are likely to find lots of Scandinavians, British, Belgians, Dutch and Germans.
The highest lift at the resort goes up to 3,230m which provides stunning views over the French Alps, while the resort is surrounded by a cone of spectacular and imposing peaks.
The high altitude, in addition to the Glacier de Péclet, means a relatively long season which can last from mid-November all the way through to May. This means more work for seasonal workers and more days riding. The high altitude also means relatively reliable snow cover. And the quieter nightlife at Val Thorens means you get more time to enjoy more mountain serenity.
Whereas Val Thorens is perched high up in The Three Valleys, Méribel is in the literal and figurative middle.
A season at Méribel means Savoyard French architecture, a resort geared towards intermediates and the majesty of the surrounding mountains of The Three Valleys. With 600km of on-piste runs and 40,000 hectares (four times the area of Paris!) to choose from within The Three Valleys, you can never be short of terrain to explore if you work a season at Méribel.
Méribel is also known for its après scene and Brit-owned bars. While Méribel isn’t the resort to go to if you wish to save money or get away from the crowds, those who are looking for a social time and alpine beauty could do worse than Méribel.
The myth, the legend, Chamonix. Famous world-wide for its gnarly selection of backcountry and big mountain terrain, film crews come from around the world to film at Chamonix. But a season at Chamonix is so much more than chutes and drop-offs.
Home to the highest mountain in Europe, Mt Blanc, and nestled in a valley surrounded by six ski areas, Chamonix also has a great selection of terrain for beginners and intermediates. The charming town bustles with tourists during both summer and winter, with the result that there are a lot of jobs for foreigners each season.
In addition, the festivals and events at Chamonix are seemingly non-stop throughout the winter season, with music, freeride events, downhill tournaments, and food and wine celebrations to remind you that you are in France.
Chamonix has a fantastic combination of typical French alpine town and modern bustling ski resort. It’s no wonder it’s such a popular place to find a job.