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Discover France’s winter sports

By Aline
Reading Time: 4 minutes
winter sports in france

For international students living and studying in France, the opportunity to immerse themselves in the thrilling world of winter sports in France is unparalleled. From the majestic Alps to the serene Pyrenees, France offers a winter wonderland that combines sport, education, and adventure.

In this guide, we will explore the options available, ensuring you make the most of your French winter experience.

Skiing in The Alps

The French Alps are synonymous with skiing. Home to famous resorts like Chamonix, Courchevel, and Val d’Isère, the region offers slopes for all skill levels, from beginner to expert. Beyond skiing, these resorts provide snowboarding, snowshoeing, and sledding, making them perfect for anyone looking to embrace the winter season fully.

Ski Touring in the Vosges

The Vosges mountains, with their gentle slopes and scenic beauty, are perfect for ski touring. This sport, which combines hiking and skiing, allows participants to ascend mountains with skis equipped with special bindings and skins, before skiing down. It’s an excellent way to enjoy the tranquillity of the French countryside, away from the more crowded resorts.

winter sports in france

Snowboarding in Les Deux Alpes

Les Deux Alpes is renowned for its extensive snow park, which caters to snowboarders of all levels. The park includes jumps, rails, and half-pipes, providing ample opportunity for both beginners and seasoned pros to hone their skills and enjoy the rush of snowboarding in one of France’s premier destinations.

Biathlon and Cross-Country Skiing in the Jura

The Jura mountains, with their dense forests and rolling hills, are ideal for those interested in biathlon and cross-country skiing. The area’s extensive network of trails caters to all levels, offering a quieter but equally challenging alternative to the bustling Alpine resorts.

Speed Riding in Val d’Isère

Speed riding is an exhilarating mix of skiing and paragliding, allowing participants to glide down slopes at high speed, occasionally taking flight over the terrain. Val d’Isère, with its suitable slopes and open areas, is one of the best places in France to try speed riding, with courses available for beginners to advanced riders.

Ice Climbing in the Pyrenees

For the adventurous at heart, the Pyrenees offer unique ice climbing opportunities. With frozen waterfalls and rugged terrain, this activity provides a thrilling and challenging experience. Guided tours and courses are available for beginners, making it a safe and unforgettable adventure.

An example of a guided tour:

winter sports in france

Snowkiting in the French Countryside

Snowkiting, a relatively new winter sport, has quickly gained popularity in France. Utilizing a kite to glide on snow or ice, this sport can be practised in various locations, including the open fields of the French countryside. It’s an exciting way for students to experience the beauty of France’s natural landscapes while enjoying the thrill of speed and flight.

Dog Sledding in the Als or Pyrenees

Imagine gliding through a snow-covered forest, led by a team of huskies; this is the enchantment of dog sledding in France. Available in both the Alps and the Pyrenees, dog sledding offers a unique way to explore the winter wilderness. It’s not only an exhilarating activity but also an opportunity to connect with nature and experience the tranquillity of France’s pristine landscapes.

winter sports in france

Alpinism in Chamonix

Chamonix, a legendary destination for mountain sports, offers more than just skiing. It’s also a prime location for mountaineering, with guided climbs up Mont Blanc and other peaks. This challenging activity is reserved for the adventurous and those in good physical condition, offering spectacular views and a sense of accomplishment.

Winter Sports in France

French people typically head to winter sports during the school holidays, especially the winter break, which usually spans 2 weeks in February or March. This period aligns with the peak snow conditions in the French Alps, Pyrenees, and other mountainous regions.

Additionally, weekends throughout the winter season, from December to April, are popular for shorter trips to nearby ski resorts.

Learn New Vocabulary

Learning about winter sports in France is a good opportunity to learn new vocabulary. Below, you’ll find two essential lists to get you started: a list of winter sports and a list of words related to winter sports.

Winter Sports in French

– Ski alpin – Alpine skiing
– Ski de fond – Cross-country skiing
– Snowboard – Snowboarding
– Patinage sur glace – Ice skating
– Escalade sur glace – Ice climbing
– Biathlon – Biathlon
– Luge – Sledding
– Traîneau à chiens – Dog sledding
– Raquettes – Snowshoeing
Related Winter Sports Vocabulary

– Montagne – Mountain
– Télésiège – Chairlift
– Station de ski – Ski resort
– Forfait de ski – Ski pass
– Piste – Ski track/slope
– Remontée mécanique – Ski lift
– Combinaison de ski – Ski suit
– Gants de ski – Ski gloves
– Bonnet – Beanie or winter hat

Learn more vocabulary here:

Whether it’s carving down the slopes of the Alps, exploring the Jura on cross-country skis, or experiencing the thrill of ice climbing in the Pyrenees, France provides a backdrop of unparalleled beauty and excitement. So, pack your warmest clothes, embrace the spirit of adventure, and prepare for an unforgettable winter in France.

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