France's Paradiski Resort Is a Super-Sized Ski Bargain


Guests at the ski-in, ski-out Carlina Hotel. (Photo: Béatrice Koumanov)

By Elisabeth Vincentelli

Here are some scary ski figures: A single-day, walk-up-window adult ticket now costs $159 at Vail. Hunter Mountain charges up to $76 for the privilege of jostling with aggro New Yorkers on sheets of ice.

And then you have France’s mega-resort Paradiski, where a mere $63 gets you a 35,559-acreplayground and 6,725 feet of vertical — the North American vert champ, British Columbia’s Revelstoke, has 5,620 feet.

For American snow freaks, the rise of the dollar against the euro has been a godsend: Jetting over to the Savoie region in the French Alps makes financial sense again, and New Yorkers can easily find flights to gateways like Paris and Geneva.


Eating slopeside in Les Arcs. (Photo: Andy Parant)

Americans visitors will also find that the savings extend to gear rentals (around $15-$34/day with online reservation) and accommodations — Paradiski offers 98,000 beds spread among a dizzying selection of hotels, inns, chalets, and condos. The trick is to avoid the French school vacations, which translate to price hikes and crowds. January’s usually safe, as well as the stretch from mid-March to early April — conveniently Paradiski, which offers glacier-skiing and a top altitude of 10,662 feet, is open until April 25.

Paradiski is the most versatile of the French ski “domaines” (areas), where lifts connect several resorts and villages — in this case Les Arcs, Peisey-Vallandry and La Plagne.

Related: This Heli-ski Trip Can Be Yours — for Half a Million Dollars

Over the course of two full days of intensive, fast skiing in January, I never went down the same run twice — and even then I didn’t come close to covering the whole groomed area, let alone the off-piste one.

I used the unassumingly elegant, ski-in/ski-out Carlina Hotel (from $177 person/day in a double room, including breakfast and dinner) as a base from which to explore the gigantic ski area. The property is in La Plagne, a resort famous for spectacularly wide, perfectly groomed runs, many of them in a near-alien landscape above the tree line. Good thing those runs were mostly empty, too, because my rental Volkl racing skis only came alive at Mach 1.


Savoie specialties like sausages and Beaufort cheese can be found everywhere in the region. (Photo: Philippe Royer)

La Plagne connects to its Paradiski associates by the double-decker Vanoise Express tram, which takes just four minutes to cross the Ponturin valley, laying 1,246 feet below. You disembark in Peisey-Vallandry, whose gentle blue runs and roomy pine glades are just right for beginner and intermediate skiers.

A couple of lift trips later and you’re in Les Arcs, a longtime pioneer of extreme snow sports — the latest craze is speedriding, skiing’s answer to kite-surfing.

Related: Hidden-Gem Ski Resorts with Great Powder, Shorter Lines

Like all the French mega-resorts, which prefer to say they offer “mountain vacations” rather than “ski vacations,” Paradiski keeps coming up with new activities, like custom sledding courses that are deceptively fast — I almost catapulted out of the one in Les Arcs after a too-fast turn.

But the biggest thrill is La Plagne’s bobsleigh and luge track, built for the 1992 Winter Olympics and on which you can reach 75 stomach-turning miles per hour ($46-$129).


La Plagne’s thrilling luge track. (Photo: Philippe Royer)

Just don’t do it right after partaking in the sturdy — and decidedly addictive — local food.

Instead of sad hot-dogs and wimpy chilis, I feasted on Savoie specialties like “diots” (chunky sausages marinated in white wine), cheese fondue, blueberry tart and of course “tartiflette,” a fabulous gutbomb of potatoes, onions, cream and bacon chunks topped with colossal slices of melted reblochon cheese.

Related: Where Skiers Like to Ski Most: Top-Ranked Western Resorts of 2015

Word of advice: You may want to forgo tartiflette for lunch if you ever want to get back on those skis.

Getting there

From Paris (around $1,000/RT in March from NYC), take a train to Bourg St. Maurice (, from $117/RT); a tram links the station to Les Arcs. From Geneva (around $1,000/RT in March from NYC), shuttle transfers to La Plagne start at $60/RT (

More from New York Post:

In the valleys beyond Machu Picchu, tour quinoa’s ancient Incan heartland

France’s super-sized Paradiski resort is a super bargain

Steamboat Springs: Colorado’s best stop for ski season’s last call

Let Yahoo Travel inspire you every day. Hang out with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Check out our original adventure travel series “A Broad Abroad.”