Austria vs France for Skiing: Which Location is Best?


Austria and France are both incredibly popular places to ski in Europe, but which is the best place to go? I’ll be directly comparing these two places head to head so you can decide if you should go to either France or Austria for your next ski season.

Austria vs France for Skiing

France and Austria both have plenty of resorts for beginner, intermediate and advanced skiers/ snowboarders. French ski resorts are generally larger but have a shorter ski season compared to the resorts in Austria. Austrian ski villages are usually more picturesque and day lift tickers are slightly cheaper.

Comparing Resorts

In Austria and France there are over 400 ski resorts to choose from. Both France and Austria have resorts which cater for all ability levels. Here is a list of some of the most popular resorts in both countries.

Popular Ski Resorts in Austria:

  • St. Anton
  • Kitzbühel
  • Sölden 
  • Mayrhofen 
  • Soll
  • Obergurgl-Hochgurgl

Popular Ski Resorts in France:

  • Val d’Isere
  • Val Thorens
  • Courchevel
  • Morzine
  • Chamonix
  • Meribel

Here’s a table with the slope stats for some of the most popular ski resorts in France and Austria. In France, beginner slopes are classified as green whereas in Austria there are no green runs so less experienced skiers will start on the blue runs.

Check out this article to learn more about the slope grading systems in different countries.

LocationSlopesSki LiftsGreen RunsBlue RunsRed RunsBlack Runs
Obergurgl-Hochgurgl, Austria110 km25N/A21117
Morzine, France120 km49329289
Mayrhofen, Austria142 km44N/A24338
Courchevel, France150 km581935348
Val Thorens, France150 km301129308
Meribel, France150 km45825247
Chamonix, France170 km176303110
Kitzbühel, Austria188 km57N/A292712
Soll, Austria279 km91N/A76839
Val d’Isere, France300 km4320674026
St. Anton, Austria302 km88N/A347030
Comparison of popular ski resorts in France and Austria
Ischgl, Austria

Weather, Ski Season Length and Snow Quality

The ski season in France typically runs from December through to April whereas the season in Austria usually runs from November through to April. Both countries offer great snow conditions for the majority of the season, however Austria tends to offer better snow later in the season compared to France.

There is some variation between resorts in the same country though. Resorts with mountains which are at higher altitudes and more slopes facing away from the sun tend to have longer ski seasons.

Ski ResortSki Season Length (2021/22)Ski Season Start Date 2021/22Ski Season Start Date 2021/22
Morzine, France114 days18th Dec10th Apr
Chamonix, France122 days18th Dec18th Apr
Mayrhofen, Austria136 days4th Dec18th Apr
Courchevel, France140 days4th Dec22nd Apr
Meribel, France140 days4th Dec22nd Apr
St. Anton, Austria149 days27th Nov24th Apr
Val Thorens, France154 days20th Nov22nd Apr
Val d’Isere, France156 days27th Nov1st May
Obergurgl-Hochgurgl, Austria158 days17th Nov23rd Apr
Ischgl, Austria158 days25th Nov1st May
Solden, Austria163 days20th Nov1st May
Tignes, France165 days27th Nov8th May
Kitzbühel, Austria177 days30th Oct24th Apr
Ski season dates and lengths of popular resorts in France and Austria
Average TemperatureSt.Anton, AustriaKitzbühel, AustriaVal d’Irere,
France
Val Thorens, France
Nov-4.5°C (24°F)-0.5°C (31°F)-6°C (21°F)-4°C (24.5°F)
Dec-9.5°C (14.5°F)-5°C (23°F)-10°C (14°F)-8°C (17.5°F)
Jan-10.5°C (13°F)-6.5°C (20.5°F)-11°C (12°F)-9°C (15.5°F)
Feb-9°C (16°F)-5°C (23°F)-10.5°C (13°F)-8°C (17°F)
Mar4.5°C (23.5°F)-1°C (30°F)-7°C (19°F)-4.5°C (24°F)
Apr-1°C (30°F)2.5°C (37°F)-3.5°C (26°F)-1°C (30°F)
Average temperature by month of popular ski resorts in Austria and France

Food and Dining

The food in Austrian and French ski resorts is usually high quality and there’s plenty of choice on offer. Here are some popular dishes you’ll find in Austrian and French ski resorts:

  • Austria: brettljause, goulash, apfelstrüdel and wiener schnitzel
  • France: tartiflette, crepes, bourguignon, raclette

The price of food and drink is slightly higher in Austria compared to France for most items except some fast food venues and beer tend to be slightly cheaper. Restaurant prices are usually pretty similar.

Food/ DrinkAverage Cost AustriaAverage Cost France
3 Course Meal for One30€30€
McDonald’s Meal8€9€
Coca Cola/ Pepsi2.65€2.60€
Bottle of Water2.20€1.75€
Coffee3.25€2.90€
Beer (Imported)4€5€
Price of food and drink in Austria vs France

Accommodation

In French ski resorts you’ll find plenty of self-catering apartments and some hotels but in Austria most of the accommodation on offer is in a hotel.

One of the complaints of French ski resorts is that they don’t tend to look as pretty as Austrian ski resorts as there are a lot of high-rise apartments. Austrian resorts have a reputation for being cosy and authentic and feel a bit nicer to spend time in, in my opinion.

Avoriaz ski resort, France

Après Ski and Villages

As I mentioned in the section above, Austrian resort villages tend to be more picturesque in comparison to French resort villages. French ski resorts are usually larger but not quite as charming and rustic compared to Austrian resorts.

Both countries have great resorts for nightlife with plenty of bars and restaurants available, although Austria is usually a bit cheaper for drinks.

The best resorts for nightlife in France are Val d’Isere, Tignes and Val Thorens whilst St. Anton, Ischgl, and Mayrhofen stand out in Austria.

Location and Travelling

Austrian ski resorts are usually a bit more accessible compared to French ski resorts so the airport transfer time is generally shorter.

The majority of French resorts are located most closely to Geneva International Airport and have a transfer time between 1.5 and 3 hours. In Austria, Innsbruck and Salzburg are the closest international airports to most ski resorts and transfer times are usually between 1 and 1.5 hours.

Ski ResortNearest Major AirportDrive Time
Portes du Soleil, FranceGeneva1 hour 30 minutes
Val Thorens, FranceGeneva2 hours 30 minutes
Val d’Isere, FranceGeneva3 hours
St. Anton, AustriaInnsbruck1 hour
Kitzbühel, AustriaSalzburg1 hour 20 minutes
Mayrhofen, AustriaInnsbruck1 hour

Ticket Prices

The price of ski lift tickets in Austria is slightly cheaper on average compared to France but it does vary between resorts. On average, adult day lift passes are approximately 60€ in France and in Austria they are 55€.

Check out the table below for the most recent (at the time of writing) ski season day lift ticket prices in popular French and Austrian resorts. Keep in mind that these prices are subject to change. Please check the resorts individually to confirm current prices. The rates below are for online bookings, prices are much higher if tickets are purchased at the desk.

ResortPeak Season Day Lift Ticket Price (Adult)
Morzine, France44€
Soll, Austria49€
St. Anton, Austria53€
Obergurgl-Hochgurgl, Austria  53€
Meribel, France56€
Sölden, Austria  56€
Val Thorens, France59€
Portes du Soleil, France59€
Kitzbühel, Austria  60€
Val d’Isere and Tignes, France63€
Courchevel, France66€

Which is the Best Country for Skiing?

Austria and France are both great countries to ski in, and this question often causes a lot of debate as there isn’t really a “best place to ski”, it just depends who you ask.

Personally, I prefer Austria as it is more picturesque , the villages feel more authentic and rustic and the transfer times are usually shorter compared to most French resorts.

However, France does still offer an amazing skiing experience and the resorts are usually bigger and great for those who want to spend more time on the slopes.

Still not sure which European country to go skiing in next? Check out these other articles:
Austria vs Switzerland for Skiing
France vs Switzerland for Skiing

Rosie

I have been a keen skier for a number of years, skiing in different locations around the world, and have a real passion for snow sports. My favourite skiing resort is in Banff, Canada!

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