The Best Ski-In Ski-Out Resorts
The last thing most of us want when we open the blinds on the first day of our ski holiday to a world of white fluffy snow and blue skies is to find we've either got a long hike to the nearest lift-up into the heart of it all or a wait for a ski bus and probably a battle to board.
For a truly relaxing ski holiday, you want to be able to step outside your door at one of the best ski hotels, click your skis or board on, and glide off straight to the nearest lift. At the end of the day, or for a quick pit-stop during the day, you want to be able to glide back in just as easily too. In short, we’re talking ski-in/ski-out!
It's possible to find accommodation in most ski areas that are ski-in/ski-out, but few have really taken the idea to hear in the same way that France has.
Most of the country’s leading resorts were purpose-built as ski resorts with convenience a top priority in resort designers’ minds. The majority are also built high on the mountain which simply means the snow is going to be lying earlier and stay there longer than at most traditional valley villages, so the snow should be there to make ski-in/ski-out possible all season long.
Here are some of the best ski-in/ski-out resorts in the Alps.
What happens when you combine one of the best ski-in/ski-out resorts with France’s only fully car-free resort? You get the incredible Avoriaz! Not only are all properties here ski-in/ski-out, but the rest of the resort is too, with the resort’s streets actually gentle ski slopes. So you can ski to the shops or to eat out if you like. Along with some great chalets, Avoriaz is also home to some of the best ski hotels in France, and you can ski-in/ski-out to them too.
Flaine is at the heart of another huge French ski area and was purposely designed to be largely car-free with most of the accommodation available fully ski-in/ski-out. This top resort has one of the country's best snow records, thanks to its proximity to Mont Blanc, which means that skiing to or from your door is a near certainty during its December to April season if you've booked ski-in/ski-out accommodation. With a fast lift network, you'll be whisked high into the Grand Massif region within minutes.
La Plagne is unusual in offering a choice of base villages in which to stay, some of which are authentic, traditional villages, many centuries old, that have been connected to the huge Paradiski region of which the resort is part, others have been purpose-built for maximum convenience high up the mountain. If you’re skiing early or late in the season the safest bet for ski-in/ski-out convenience is an altitude village, almost all of the accommodations in them offer that facility. Ski-in/ski-out properties are certainly available in the lower villages but with the altitude much lower snow cover might be more problematic at the season ends.
Tignes has the longest ski season in France and a choice of high-altitude, purpose-built village bases so is another great choice if you're looking for surety when it comes to ski-in/ski-out accommodation. The highest village lies at 2100m but Val Claret, just a little lower, is superbly positioned for having the whole of the vast ski area shared with Val d’Isere seemingly on your doorstep. The resort also scores highly for being home to some of the best ski hotels that are ski-in/ski-out too.
Another great choice for ski-in/ski-out convenience is the top resort of Les Arcs, which shares the vast Paradiski region with neighbouring and lift/piste linked La Plagne. Les Arcs has four key bases at 1600, 1800, 1950 and 2000 metres and they're all designed for ease of access from accommodation onto the slopes and then back in off the piste. The five-star luxury Taj-I Mah hotel at Arc 2000 is snowsure all season long and one of the best ski hotels in the Alps.
No resort quite does ski-in, ski-out like Val Thorens. The resort is the highest major ski centre in Europe and it’s also one of the newest and best-designed. That means that not only are almost all of the accommodations here among the best ski-in/ski-out you’ll find anywhere, but the resort’s altitude means the snow is normally there from the very start of the six-month ski season from November to May. Lower-altitude ski areas, even some that are high-enough altitude to be snow-sure from December to April, can’t quite match Val Thorens for ski-in/ski-out reliability in the very-early and very-late parts of the season.