It’s time to ski again! Are you ready to hit the slopes in your dry-cleaned suit, sparkling boots and skis waxed like never before? But before you do, you’ll need to complete a few essential tasks to ensure a successful season.

After long months of waiting, skiers and seasonal workers are delighted to be able to breathe in the fresh mountain air again, to put on their skis and enjoy the pleasures of powder snow. Do you miss the adrenalin of those first descents? This year, it’s time to go! Going skiing doesn’t happen overnight. It has to be prepared and anticipated. In this dossier, we give you all the advice you need to prepare for your winter sports holiday.

1. Choosing when to go

Whether or not you’re forced to choose your holiday dates according to school vacation periods, the key to a great skiing vacation is, of course, the snow cover. With snow cover from December to April, the ski season is divided into several periods.

🔗 Read Also: The 10 Best Ski Resorts in France

Go skiing in December in France

In December, resorts reopen and skiers start to flock, despite limited snow cover. Not all slopes are open, and days are relatively short. December is a festive time: between Christmas and New Year, the resorts light up and offer a variety of events for young and old alike. What’s more, the start of the season can offer attractive rates.

Go skiing in January in France

January is the ideal month to avoid the crowds and hit the slopes in the best conditions, even if it can be cold and the days are fairly short.
February is clearly the most popular month, as it’s the peak skiing season in France, with maximum snow cover, and shops and activities open. As a result, prices soar, and the waiting time at the lifts will put the nerves of some impatient skiers on edge. If you opt for this period, you’ll need to make your reservation well in advance to be sure of getting accommodation. It’s simple: when you return from your summer vacations, think about your vacation on the slopes!

Go skiing in March in France

In March, the sun comes out and it’s great fun to ski. However, snowfalls are less frequent and resorts less lively than in high season. At this time of year, it’s best to opt for high-altitude resorts where daytime and nightlife are still present. In March, prices are lower and the crowds have disappeared from the slopes. It’s the perfect month to bring a baby. Temperatures are mild, so you can enjoy some lovely walks.

Go skiing in April in France

Finally, the month of April is a gamble worth taking, but definitely a good idea! A week on the slopes during the Easter vacations is a great opportunity to enjoy the last snowflakes of the season. What’s more, April is the cheapest month of the entire ski season, with the slopes virtually deserted and temperatures more than mild. Tourist establishments are offering very attractive rates in the run-up to the end of the season. As in March, however, opt for high-altitude resorts for more snow and more life.

2. Find the ski resort that suits you best

The winter sports season is fast approaching. When it comes to destinations, you’re spoilt for choice. France boasts several hundred ski resorts, making it the country with the most ski areas in the world. From the Northern Alps to the Southern Alps, from the Pyrenees to the Massif Central, from the Vosges to the Jura and even Corsica, the choice can be difficult.

Key Questions for Selecting a Ski Destination

To make the best choice, ask yourself the right questions. For a weekend or two weeks? With family, young children, lovers or friends? Cross-country skiing, downhill skiing or snowshoeing? It all depends on what you want to do.

Tips for Short Ski Trips

If you’re going away for a weekend, choose the resorts closest to where you live, and opt for a small resort. If you’re going away for a week or a fortnight, opt for a resort where you’ll have a choice of slopes on which to perfect your snow plough.

Considering Resort Accessibility and Activities

It’s also worth bearing in mind that different resorts can be accessed via the slopes. Many ski resorts offer lift passes that allow you to use the lifts in the surrounding areas. Don’t forget to take a look at the ancillary activities on offer at the resorts. On bad weather days or when you’re feeling really tired, a spa can do you a world of good.

Accommodation Options for Couples and Families

If you’re going away with just the two of you, opt for a hotel or a small, fully-equipped studio. Village resorts are ideal. If you’re taking the whole family with you, you’ll need to plan ahead, so opt for a well-equipped gîte, so you can cook on your own.

Selecting Resorts for Diverse Interests

Choose a large resort with plenty of activities to suit everyone. If you’re going away with children, be sure to choose a resort that offers a snow garden or lessons to help them discover snow sports. The important thing is to sound out everyone’s desires to find the resort and services best suited to them.

Advice for Different Ski Levels and Preferences

To find out about the playgrounds available to you, don’t hesitate to call the tourist offices, which will be able to guide you according to your needs. If you’re going with beginners, choose a resort with plenty of green runs, for example. On the other hand, if you’re a powder pro and love black runs, you’ll want to go to a resort with plenty of challenging runs and off-piste possibilities.

Choosing Resorts Based on Scenery and Altitude

Depending on the region and altitude, the scenery can be totally different. If you prefer large expanses of snow, opt for high altitude resorts, and if you like large pine forests, choose a medium or low altitude resort.

Resorts for Nightlife and Cross-Country Skiing

If you’re going away with friends and don’t want to sleep too much at night, choose a resort with a rich nightlife. Some resorts are famous for it! Finally, if you’re a keen cross-country skier, head for the Vosges or even further afield…

Book to suit your budget

Choose your period according to your budget, so you don’t get frustrated once you’re there. The larger the resort, the more ski lifts it offers, and the higher the price.

It’s important to know that going to a well-known resort with a rich and varied range of sporting and cultural activities comes at a price. Resorts with ski lifts are more affordable. In short, if you’re on a tight budget but dream of a tartiflette with your feet in the snow, like many skiers and mountain lovers, opt for an off-season departure.

3. Prepare your equipment before the ski season

To be at your best on the slopes, comfortable without losing your ease, there’s no need to pile on the layers – just 3 technical layers are enough. It’s very important to be well dressed to withstand the various temperature changes. To stay warm throughout the day, you need to be able to stay dry by choosing technical clothing that wicks moisture away from the body, keeps warm, dry air close to the body and wicks moisture away from the body.

For layer N°1, choose an absorbent undergarment; for layer N°2, choose a breathable garment, preferably non-waterproof. Finally, in layer N°3, choose a waterproof jacket or coat to protect you from the elements. Don’t forget technical underwear under your ski pants to keep your legs warm and protect your extremities. There’s nothing worse than having cold hands or feet, so make sure you keep them warm by choosing gloves, mittens or lobsters for your hands and synthetic-based technical socks for your feet. You can even add heaters for extra warmth. Of course, you’ll need to adapt your outfit to suit your particular activity.

And don’t forget your children’s clothing. The 3-layer technique also works for them. For bottoms, choose pants with suspenders or overalls with reinforcements at the buttocks and knees in case of a fall. And don’t forget well-fitting ski socks and warm mittens to protect their sensitive little hands.

Rent or buy your ski equipment?

Ski vacations take time to prepare – so take the time to pack. Different weather conditions require multiple layers of clothing and safe equipment at all times. However, if you’re just starting out on the slopes, it’s not immediately necessary to buy a complete set of equipment. Buying your first kit can be expensive, not to mention the fact that children grow up and will need to change their ski equipment regularly.
There are plenty of ski and clothing rental stores in the resorts, so you can get the right equipment without spending too much. Another advantage of renting equipment is that you don’t have to worry about the cost of luggage on the plane or in your car! For more details on the good skier’s kit and rental services, read our blog on “What to take when you go skiing”.

Finding the right boots and the right skis

There are two fundamental criteria to consider when choosing your boots: size and shape. For even greater comfort, there’s a magic accessory: the thermoformable liner, which adapts to the foot’s morphology.

And for those of you who don’t like the cold, heated ski boots are just the thing.
As for skis, don’t skimp on quality if you want to invest, and if you go out regularly, the equipment will pay for itself. These days, it’s even easy to find second-hand equipment, provided you get the right advice. If you don’t want to take on too much and can’t bring your own equipment with you for logistical reasons, no problem – resort agencies are well equipped to supply you with rental equipment. If you get in early, you can even book your equipment via the web, at prices that depend on the season and how busy the slopes are.

4. How to get fit and ready for circuit training?

Before setting off on your skiing vacation in France

Everything’s booked, the hardest part’s over … although … going skiing requires a good level of physical fitness that shouldn’t be neglected. After long months of inactivity, despite a few sessions of abdominal crunches or bodyweight training, you’re likely to be a little rusty – no offence intended! By starting a little physical preparation for your ski holiday, and thanks to circuit training, you’ll be able to strengthen your support and balance, and get the most out of your days without getting too exhausted.
Skiing without snow – it’s possible to get fit!

To prepare for a ski holiday, or just to enjoy the thrill of skiing out of season, there’s ski-wheeling. Ski-wheeling is a road-skiing technique similar to cross-country skiing, and is mainly practiced in the off-season on quiet, little-traveled asphalt terrain, using special equipment. It’s a very complete, very physical sport, which allows you to work your coordination for better balance, your cardio, as well as virtually every muscle in your body, especially your abdominal muscles, thanks to the sheathing technique. To do so, you’ll need to invest in very specific equipment: ski wheels, adapted boots (potentially the same as those used in winter if compatible with skis), adapted and quality poles and protection. To find out more about “classic” or “skating” practices, we tell you more here.

Once you’ve arrived, a few tips to get your day off to a good start

To get your skiing day off to a good start, make sure you have a good breakfast to build up your strength. Don’t forget your 3 layers for optimum comfort all day long. Don’t forget to pack an extra pair of socks. When you set out for the day, make sure your ski boots are properly adjusted, ensuring a good fit but not too tight. You can adjust them as the day progresses. Adopt the right reflexes if you feel cold during the session: wiggle your toes, swing your leg back and forth before putting on your skis, jump from one foot to the other, and don’t forget to take a few breaks to indulge in a hot, comforting chocolate or tea.

Of course, don’t forget factor 50 sun cream to protect you from UV rays, as well as sunglasses and goggles, or a mask to protect your face from UV rays. For children, a helmet is a must, to ensure their safety. Helmets are compulsory for lessons, and can be hired from rental agencies in the same way as skis. Don’t forget to bring a spare pair of gloves and your après-ski gear for trips to the resorts after a long day’s skiing. If you want to be prepared, pack a small first-aid kit in your rucksack – you never know, a boo-boo can happen so quickly!

Now you’re all set for your ski holiday. Your body is ready for this winter season, which will be full of thrills and great moments with family and friends. Don’t forget anything, plan ahead for greater peace of mind and GO, the powder is just waiting for you! Make the most of it!

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