Val Cenis

This is a relatively unknown area for British skiers and has a more genuine French feel to it than many of the larger French resorts.

The fairly low altitude of the two linked villages of Lanslebourg and Lanslevillard at 1400 metres means that late season skiing is risky, though the top heights of the lift system meant that quite good skiing was available until late April, even in the unseasonably hot temperatures of this year (2007).

Bonneval, at the head of the valley, had good snow on piste right down into the village on 21st April.

The villages are fairly small and traditional and I suspect the apres-ski is limited, though there is a covered swimming pool and leisure centre in the upper village. Snowshoe walks and dogsledding are apparently available in the main season.

Mountain restaurants are scarce but prices are very reasonable for France and service is friendly.

The skiing area at Val Cenis is of a moderate size but has super beginners' areas on the lower slopes. With decent snow cover, the runs through trees down to the villages look excellent prospects.

Snowcoach's ski safari service makes it possible to ski other resorts in the valley, such as Aussois, La Norma, Bonneval and Valfejus. Termignon is on the Val Cenis pass and is linked by local ski bus (and now by lift). A bonus is the possibility of a day to Val Thorens via Orelle.