Montgenèvre ski resort
One of the highest villages in the Alps, Montgenèvre is also one of the world's original Alpine ski resorts, having welcomed downhill skiers for more than a century.
The sole French resort on the giant Via Lattea or 'Milky Way' pass which stretches over the border into Italy, Montgenèvre has seen a great deal of modernisation since the turn of the century. The catalyst for this wave of development was the diversion of a busy border road, which previously ran along the snow front, now running in to a tunnel beneath the resort.
This enabled a dramatic transformation of the base area to a pedestrianised centre, including a stylish boardwalk, which is now the hub of day and night-time activity. Meanwhile, improvements on the slopes have brought the ski area firmly into the 21st century with state-of-the-art lifts and re-graded runs that are appealing to all competency levels.
In total, visitors here can ski more than 400km (250 miles) of connected cross-border pistes from their base in Montgenèvre – making it one of the world's biggest ski areas. Lifts and runs link the resort to Claviere, Sansicario, Pragelato, Sauze d'Oulx and Sestriere – hosts of the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics.
Montgenèvre is located between the River Durance and the River Po in the Southern French Alps, on the Italian border.
MontgenèvreResort Elevation: 1860m
Top Elevation: 2680m
Base Elevation: 1860m
On the slopes
Montgenèvre's altitude, coupled with its extensive snowmaking facilities, means it usually boasts reliable snow cover throughout the season. But despite all this snow, Montgenèvre also claims an average of 300 days of sunshine per year.
Much of the terrain here is made up of wonderful, long blue and red cruisers, all above the treeline; while there's also a good choice of black-graded pistes. The available ski area can be quadrupled to one of the world's largest by purchasing the Milky Way pass, which provides seamless access to the slopes of five neighbouring resorts, including Sauze d'Oulx and Sestriere. Beginners are also spoilt thanks to a new beginners' park with its easy to use conveyor-style carpet lifts that are conveniently located near the village.
Due to Montgenèvre's proximity to Italy, heli-skiing, which is banned in France, is possible by popping over the border to Sauze d'Oulx, where two helicopter teams and professional guides are based. From here, visitors can ski or board from one of more than 20 surrounding 3,000m (9,840ft) summits, including the slopes of Rocher de L'Aigle, or in the forests that run back towards the resort. It's also possible to enjoy ski touring on Mont Chaberton, the highest summit in the area.
Snowboarders and ski freestylers can enjoy their own area near the village, complete with a super pipe and a boardercross course. There are also numerous cross-country ski trails in the area on both sides of the border.