Skiing in France vs Switzerland: Which Location is Best?


France and Switzerland are two of the most popular skiing and snowboarding locations in Europe, but which is the best? In this article I’ll be comparing all the main things you need to consider when planning a ski trip so you can decide if you should head to France or Switzerland.

Skiing in France vs Switzerland

Both France and Switzerland are great places to ski for beginners, intermediates and experts. There are more ski resorts in Switzerland but they tend to be smaller compared to the French resorts. Skiing in Switzerland is usually more expensive and most resorts are further away from an International airport.

Resorts and Slopes

In France there are 416 ski resorts and in Switzerland there are 354 resorts.

Both countries have good options for all ability levels. Different resorts will have a mix of easy and expert slopes so there really is something for everyone no matter whether you go to the French or the Swiss alps.

Most Popular Ski Resorts in France:

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

Most Popular Ski Resorts in Switzerland:

  • Zermatt
  • St. Moritz
  • Verbier
  • Grindelwald
  • Davos Klosters
  • Crans-Montana

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

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

LocationSkiable AreaSki LiftsGreen RunsBlue RunsRed RunsBlack Runs
Grindelwald, Switzerland102 km30N/A162415
Morzine, France120 km49329289
Crans-Montana, Switzerland140 km19N/A17294
Courchevel, France150 km581935348
Val Thorens, France150 km301129308
Meribel, France150 km45825247
St. Moritz, Switzerland155 km24N/A18169
Chamonix, France170 km176303110
Verbier, Switzerland202 km22N/A353914
Davos-Klosters, Switzerland270 km55N/A203720
Val d’Isere, France300 km4320674026
Zermatt, Switzerland360 km53N/A7522063

Weather and Snow Quality

The ski season in both Switzerland and France typically lasts for 5 months. Usually the ski season in Switzerland starts slightly earlier and runs from mid-November to mid-April whereas in France it typically runs from late-November/ early-December to late April.

You will get great quality snow in both the Swiss and French alps, there are variations are between resorts though. Resorts at a higher altitude and with more slopes facing away from the sun are likely to have longer ski seasons and better quality snow (particularly at the end of the season) compared to other resorts.

Here’s a guide to the weather at some of the major ski locations in Switzerland and France.

<
Average TemperatureVal d’Irere,
France
Val Thorens, FranceZermatt, SwitzerlandSt. Moritz, Switzerland
Nov-6°C (21°F)-4°C (24.5°F)-8°C (18°F)-5.5°C (22°F)