- 22 Resorts
- Consistent Snow
- Diverse destinations
- Resorts open before those of many other states
- Home to Vail, Beaver Creek, Copper Mountain
Family friendly, budget friendly, and with a decent range of mixed ability terrain, little Montgenèvre forms part of the extensive Milky Way circuit. It’s one of the oldest resorts in France with records showing the first skiers arriving in 1907. It’s the only French resort out of six resorts that are linked together via the ViaLattea circuit and is connected to the villages of Sestriere, Sansicario and Sauze D’Oulx in Italy. Sestrière and Sauze D’Oulx hosted the 2006 Winter Olympics and offer world-class terrain - that’s good news for experts who can access it just across the border. A cheap day extension gives piste-hungry skiers access to 400km of slopes in the Milky Way.
The resort is located in the Briançonnais area, close to the Italian border, and has gorgeous views overlooking the Hautes-Alpes department in the Southern Alps region. The village sits at an altitude of over 1800m, on a minor pass, and is perfectly positioned to get snow from all directions – it therefore benefits from excellent snow cover. Snow-canons also now cover 55 per cent of the mountain, including most lower slopes.
There is skiing on both sides of the mountain. On the north-facing Les Gondrans you’ll find rather lovely nursery slopes, with a dedicated beginner’s area, and the south-facing slopes of Le Chalvet are just behind the village. From Les Gondrans, you can access the on-piste link to Claviere and the rest of the Milky Way. Le Chalvet is a small mountain which the locals flock to.
The village itself is traditional yet modern, convenient and compact and accommodation is centrally located. There are a variety of lodging options available, from quite sweet boutique hotels to more fashionable hotels and upmarket self-catered apartments. Many of these new lodgings have direct ski-in-ski-out access making them brilliant bases for families with tired little skiers. Several bars, restaurants and shops line the village’s main road and ski equipment hire shops are very good too.
Alpine forests surround the village making it look particularly attractive when covered in snow and the locals are very friendly. Non-skiing activities include sleigh rides, snowmobiling, and snow-shoeing. But for those in search of something more thrilling, heliskiing in the neighbouring resort of Sauze D'Oulx can also be arranged. Heli-skiers will go off piste down the mountain and either be picked up by helicopter and taken back to resort or will be dropped onto another mountain for a second run. Prices start at £165 per person for one drop based on 4 people sharing.
In 2013, a new road tunnel was built to divert traffic and as a result much of Montgenèvre has been pedestrianisedwhich makes for a more pleasant and safer village centre. Prior to the new infrastructure the resort had an issue with heavy traffic and pollution but it has once again returned to the peaceful Alpine town it once was, albeit slightly more stylish. Transportation around the resort, should you want to give your skied out legs a rest, is easy and a free shuttle bus service operates through the small village from 8.45am-5.45pm.
Apres ski is quiet and the evenings offer a relaxed and calm atmosphere, ideally suited to those looking for a laid back atmosphere.
Montgenèvre has a total of 59 slopes, covering 100km of pistes and served by 38 lifts. Of the pistes, 25 are beginner runs, 23 are intermediate runs and 11 are advanced runs. The ski resort has several runs of decent length, the longest being 7km.
Piste-wise the resort is perfect for beginners who are in their element with a wide selection of easy green runs from the top of Les Gondrans all the way back down to the village. There’s a wonderful nursery slope at the foot of Les Gondrans complete with magic carpet. Crowds are not an issue making Montgenèvre an excellent resort to learn in. Once beginners have practised their turns they should head to sunny Le Chalvet which has the long gentle Phare blue run.
Intermediate skiers can take advantage of nicely varied blues and reds above and below the tree line and even more cruisers in the vast Milky Way area. The overclassified blacks (in the Chalvet sector) are perfect for confident intermediates, and there are some nice reds – such as the narrow wooded runs to Claviere from Pian del Sole, and from Colletto Verde back towards Montgenèvre. Popular descents include the runs down from Les Anges and Le Querelay.
The terrain is diverse with open bowls and long groomed runs and intermediate skiers can confidently explore the whole resort. Shy intermediates have some excellent long runs on which to build confidence on both the Gondrans and Chalvet areas.
To access some fast reds and wide blues, hop aboard the Chalmettes cable car lift. From there, take the green La Crete to the Col Des Gondrans ski area. They all lead back to the foot of the two main lifts; Les Gondrans and Observatoire.
Montgenèvre is better geared towards advanced skiers and snowboarders who enjoy freeriding more than downhill skiing, as the marked terrain isn't the steepest. That being said, there are some decent red runs to carve and cruise.For exciting off-piste descents and bumps, head to the virtually untouched powder in the Col de l'Alpet area. Rocher de l'Aigle offers the most challenging descent and backcountry guides from nearby La Grave and Serre Chevalier regularly bring their clients here.
Montgenèvre is a quiet family village with original Alpine charm. Most people eat in the village and there’s an adequate selection of a dozen or so restaurants. The food, being Italian, is generally good and is reasonably priced.
For something posh, head to Table Blanche at the Hotel Le Chalet Blanc which has superb views of the mountains.The menus are crafted by a gourmet team who prepare seasonal dishes using local ingredients. Staff are very accommodating and are happy to make off-menu dishes.
One restaurant which comes highly recommended is Kilt restaurant, a pizzeria/pasta/meat joint. Go for lunch and you won’t be disappointed.
Le Jamy is good for upmarket dining. The menu is small but worthwhile. Try the beef bourguignon or the pigeon and boar steak. Puddings are on point – choose from chocolate mousse, profiteroles and creme brûlée.
Thoroughly enjoyable family meal with excellent service..
Choose from burgers, omelettes and a wide range of salads at cosy café/restaurant Le Graal. Staff are fun and the food which comes in big portions gets top marks. Le Graff also puts on themed nights and has jazz nights for the 2015/2016 season.
Annoyingly, restaurants aren’t marked on the piste map but there’s an abundance of choice and you may well find your own secret spot!
On the mountain, we quite like the stylish “Restaurant “D’ altitude”. Located on the Col des Gondrans you can enjoy one of their signature French dishes, or a classic burger and chips with beer. Speedy service, friendly waiters and top quality food.
There are three ski schools and while beginners are cruising down the green runs, more advanced skiers can access the wide variety of terrain on and off-piste. The terrific beginner area has the Mini-club Les Marmottes and a snow garden for young children. There is also a childcare centre and Le Chalvet has a play area up the gondola.
Phone: +33 (0)4 92 21 52 52