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French Ski Areas For The 2008/9 Season

Aug 19, 2008
The ability to ski the French Alps is one of the biggest highlights of a ski enthusiast's life. The French Alps offers ski areas unlike many other parts of the world. Les Arcs, Courchevel and Chamonix are some of the most well-known ski areas in France. Each ski area in the French Alps appeals to a variety of skiers for several different reasons.

Les Arcs

The French ski area of Les Arcs has been attracting mountain sport enthusiasts since 1968. Its location in the Alps boasts some of the world's best skiing. It has also been hailed for its modernist architecture. Designed in harmony with its surroundings, developers used local materials and preserved many existing buildings. The resort has a colorful history that lends character and lures adventurers from around the world. Former Olympian Alpine skier Emile Allais helped rocket the resort to public acclamation.

Les Arcs is actually a series of ski villages nestled at different altitudes on the mountain. The first of these is Arc 1600, so named because it rests at 1600 meters high. Like many large developments, its designers and developers had big dreams for Les Arcs. The opening of the first village was followed in 1974 by Arc 1800. Arc 2000 was born in 1979, followed by Arc 1950 in 2003. Each "Arc" is followed by the numbers indicating its unique altitude. Together the four resorts that comprise Les Arcs boast 106 runs and 54 lifts. Fortunately for the winter sportsman it's relatively easy to try them all. Shuttle buses and a cable connect the villages to one another. Gondolas and chair lifts ferry skiers where buses can't.

Courchevel

The Courchevel French ski area is located in the Savoie region of the French Alps. Courchevel is part of the area known as Les Trois Vallees, or "The Three Valleys." Les Trois Vallees is the world's largest linked ski area. Like Les Arcs, Courchevel is comprised of four ski towns, and their names reflect the altitude at which they reside. Courchevel 1300, or Le Praz, was the original town, followed by Courchevel 1550, Courchevel 1650, which is also called Moriond, and Courchevel 1850.

The small town of La Tania, built initially to serve as accommodations for the 1992 Winter Olympics, is also located in the Courchevel Valley. Le Praz (Courchevel 1300) hosted the Olympic Ski Jump in the 1992 Winter Olympics. The ski jump in Courchevel 1850 was recently removed for the safety of skiers who visit the resort.

Chamonix

The Chamonix French ski area is home to world-famous Mont Blanc. Mont Blanc towers above neighboring mountains and is the highest European mountain west of Russia at an impressive 4808 m high. Due to the height of some of the mountains that make up Chamonix, the area hosts some of the more extreme winter sports, such as ice climbing, extreme skiing and paragliding. Its reputation for extreme winter sports has earned Mont Blanc the nickname "the death-sport capital of the world."

Hosting the 1924 Winter Olympics helped bring international attention to Chamonix as a valid winter sports area. A few little-known fun facts about Chamonix include: it's a snow race track in Sony's racing game Gran Turismo 4; an episode of the TV show Alias was filmed in the Chamonix Valley; and the skiing scenes in "The World is Not Enough" were filmed in Chamonix. The cast and crew stayed in the surrounding area while filming the movie. Frankenstein also fled to Mont Blanc to hide from men in the beloved Mary Shelley novel.
About the Author
YourAndorra.com has details about ski holidays in France for the 2008/9 ski season at yourandorra.com/french_ski

They also have a good choice of Andorra hotels with for new skiers an Andorra map plus other Andorra skiing information.
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