17.10
2011 Advice and tips

Whether or not you’ve had some practise on a dry slope, a ski resort in France can still prove daunting to the uninitiated. So before we bid you bon voyage, read our guide to runs and lifts, ski hire and schools to help prepare you for your first ski holiday in France.

Which ski runs are aimed at beginners?

0 comments
0 votes

Whether or not you’ve had some practise on a dry slope, a ski resort in France can still prove daunting to the uninitiated. So before we bid you bon voyage, read our guide to runs and lifts, ski hire and schools to help prepare you for your first ski holiday in France.

Which ski runs are aimed at beginners?

Most resorts will have at least three different colour codes for signs used to distinguish between slopes suitable for beginners, intermediate skiers and those best left to the experts. Those still finding their feet should stick to the blue runs, whilst red is for intermediates and black for experts.

You may also come across ski slopes classified as green runs. These are considered even easier than blue runs and are therefore ideal for children. All beginners should start with the green run if there is one. Bear in mind that the factors used to determine a slope’s difficulty can vary between resorts.

Are there different kinds of ski lift?

Depending on the size of the resort and the geography of the ski area, you might see more than one type of ski lift in operation. T-bar ski lifts have been replaced with chair lifts in many places but are still more commonly used low down on beginners’ runs than further up the mountain.

A basic ski lift like the T-bar design is little more than a metal tow rope to drag you uphill with your feet on the floor. By comparison, a chair lift has seats that can accommodate more than one person at a time and are generally used to transport passengers over a longer distance.

Do I need a lift pass?

To get to the top of a slope, skiers will need to take a lift. Electronic passes are purchased for a specific resort or ski area and work by activating the turnstiles on your approach. Book in advance to save time when you arrive at the resort and you may be eligible for a special discount.

As a beginner, you won’t be using a lift to travel very far and could therefore be in a position to make further savings. The ski resort of Val d’Isère has put five free ski lifts at the disposal of skiers starting out, so it's worth doing some research before paying out.

Can I hire all the necessary equipment at the ski resort?

You’ll be able to hire skis and snowboards, boots and helmets at the ski resort. With regards to ski wear, such as base layers (thermals), waterproof trousers and goggles, most people prefer to buy their own from an outdoor shop.

Skis and snowboards at hire shops are usually graded according to the colour of the run you will be using. Some are designed especially for women. As with ski lift passes, it also pays to book in advance if you want to hire equipment.

Can I take skiing lessons in France?

If you really want to make the most of your first ski holiday and live within easy reach of a dry slope, then you can easily arrange to take a few lessons before you set off for France. Choose between group sessions or one-to-one tuition depending on what time and money you have to spend.

Failing that, or in addition to the dry slope, it is possible to take skiing lessons at the resort itself. The École du Ski Français, which trains instructors, can provide ski professionals who speak your language. Both children (from three years old) and adults are catered for.

This article first appeared in FrenchEntree.com

0 comments
0 votes