The Northern Alps have something for everyone: downhill slopes, interconnected ski resorts, kilometers of Nordic ski tracks, and well-maintained and marked out hiking trails.
The broad valleys of the Northern Alps such as the Grésivaudan, Maurienne, Tarentaise or the Arve offer a diverse range of mountains, home to many large international ski resorts, but also hide a lot of very charming and authentic villages.
The region attracts over 7 million visitors each year and has over 180 ski resorts from south of Grenoble to Lake Geneva. Western Europe’s highest mountain, le Mont Blanc dominates the tiny alpine town of Chamonix Mont Blanc.
Three departments make up this region: the Haute-Savoie, the Savoie and the Isère. Les Portes du Soleil is the northernmost area; it includes Avoriaz - nick named the capital of snowboarding - and Morzine, a long established resort at an altitude of 1,000 meters and with plenty of facilities for beginners.
Further south is the Chamonix – Megève sector, lying at the foot of Mont Blanc, one of the oldest French ski resorts.
The area around Chamonix and Megève offers the fifth largest skiing area in France. The resort at Combloux, near Megève, is reputed to have good opportunities for beginners. Lez Carroz is a popular resort for families with children.
The department of Isere is characterized by its high altitude offerings; however the mid-altitude resorts in the Vecors area offer cross-country skiing. At the heart of the Isere lies the Osians, home to several large ski resorts: Chamrousse, Les Deux Alpes and Alpe d'Huez.
The department of Savoie has many beautiful resorts in the Tarentaise area such as superstars like Tignes, Val d’Isere, La Plagne and Les Arcs.The Savoie is also home to the largest ski area in the world, The Three Valleys, which is made up of Meribel, Courchevel, Les Menuires and Val Thorens. Two resorts are a mecca for cross-country skiing: Notre Dame de Bellecombe and Les Saisiea.