Great news! Your family is planning a holiday in the beautiful French Alps. The bad news is that you don’t ski. Not to worry; the region is full of opportunities for winter snow holidays for non-skiers. There are breathtaking landscapes and no shortage of culture, with something for everyone.
When winter hits and the snow begins to fall, people flock to the French Alps to make the best of the conditions. The region is famous for its mountains, but they offer far more than just skiing. What’s more, you can do many of these activities, whatever the weather. So you don’t need to worry about the lack of snow ruining your experience.
Here are some of the best activities for non-skiers in the French Alps.
Can you go to a ski resort and not ski?
Even if you don’t ski or snowboard, there are tons of other things to do in the French Alps. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie, or keen to soak up some culture, each ski resort has something to offer. You’ll find outdoor experiences, indoor activities and a variety of tours for all tastes.
French Alps winter snow holidays for non-skiers can be just as fulfilling as for those who are skiing. If you’re about to plan a ski holiday French Alps style, then check out these ski resorts. Out of all the ski resorts in France, these offer some unique activity options to keep you busy on holiday!
Chamonix – The best hiking in the French Alps
Chamonix is a popular destination for French Alps winter snow holidays for non-skiers. The skiing is incredible, but they also offer a massive range of other activities as well. It's the largest ski resort in France with a huge terrain for you to explore.
Mountaineering on Mont-Blanc
Chamonix is often called the “world capital of mountaineering”. It offers incredible terrain for you to explore. Mountaineering is an excellent activity for French Alps winter snow holidays for non-skiers. From mountain passes to high peaks, there's no shortage of hiking terrain. Mont-Blanc offers over 10,000 mountaineering routes for all levels of experience.
You will need some level of physical fitness as it involves hiking and climbing. If you’re new to the game, hire a guide to tailor a route to the ability level of your group. You can access the routes via cable car from either Aiguille du Midi or Grands Montets, or via the Tramway du Mont Blanc.
Chamonix Luge Alpine Coaster
This alpine roller coaster is a replica of a luge track and includes 1300m of thrilling rail track. It’s open all year round and is in the centre of Chamonix. You can even do night rides with the whole track lit up, and kids will love this activity. It’s a great option when on French Alps winter snow holidays for non-skiers as everyone in your group can enjoy it. It costs 8€ for one ride or ride it 6 times for 39€.
Visit craft shops
If physical activities aren’t your thing, check out some of the unique craft shops in Chamonix. There are quality and premium craftspeople creating a variety of unique handmade items. Check out the wooden skis at Rabbit on the Roof and the intricate knives of Le Chamoniard.
Chamonix is well-known for its icefalls. The area is full of waterfalls which freeze over in the winter, serving as a route for ice climbing. There are over 200 route options in Chamonix, with different heights and steepness.
There are introductory classes available as well as guided climbs. And you can choose between a half-day or full-day in length. The price will vary depending on how many people are in your group. If you’re in a group of four expect to pay around 135€ per person for a full day.
High altitude waterfalls will start freezing over in December. The lower ones will not be ready until January. The best time for ice-climbing is from late January to February. Ice climbing is one of the most exciting challenges you can try during French Alps winter snow holidays for non-skiers.
Les Gets – The most charming and cultural resort
Lets Gets is one of the oldest ski resorts in France and exudes French charm. If you’re planning French Alps winter snow holidays for non-skiers and love culture, this is for you.
Pottery at La Poterie des Gets
For a unique and interactive activity, visit La Poterie des Gets. Besides having a fantastic selection of handmade pottery to buy, you can also make some yourself! On Mondays, they offer a 2-hour pottery class from 10:00-12:00. It’s a great souvenir to take home and suitable for all ages.
On top of that, they also have a small sheep farm on site. If you have a group of 5 or more, you can make a reservation and visit the whole place for free on Friday mornings. It’s an unusual experience you won’t get anywhere else. It's the perfect activity for French Alps winter snow holidays for non-skiers.
If you love dogs, then Cani-Rando is a must-do experience. It’s a 1h-1h30 hike on which you harness to a dog while you hike or run. You’ll explore some beautiful landscapes accompanied by your furry friend. Plus, you'll get a decent workout at the same time.
To take part in the experience, children must be at least ten years old. Everyone should have a decent level of physical fitness as there will be a lot of hiking involved. The experience begins at Les Places at Mont Calv and the winter season runs from December 15 until April 15. You don’t need to book in advance, but it’s better if you don’t want to miss out.
La Fruitière des Perrières
France is famous for its cheese, and there's plenty of it at La Fruitière des Perrières. A variety of cheese and yoghurts are made on-site and you can take a tour to see the whole process for yourself. For French Alps winter snow holidays for non-skiers, indulging in cheese is an absolute must. They offer free tours on Wednesdays and charge 3€ per person on other days.
Morzine – The best for adrenaline junkies
Just because you don’t ski, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy an adrenaline rush. Morzine offers tons of activities for thrill-seekers. It’s an excellent destination for French Alps winter snow holidays for non-skiers.
Ice Diving in Montriond Lake
Montriond Lake is located north of Morzine, near Avoriaz. During the winter, the surface of the lake freezes up to 1m in thickness. For a unique experience, they offer the chance to dive beneath the ice. Although you won’t see any fish in the icy water, you’ll experience a calmness like never before.
The dives take place with trained professionals. They will guide you through all safety protocols before cutting an entry hole into the ice. The location is incredibly beautiful, bordered by an overhanging cliff. It’s a memorable activity for French Alps winter snow holidays for non-skiers. A standard dive will cost 95€ and includes all your equipment.
Everyone has wished they could fly at some point in their lives. Experience the rush and breathtaking mountain views through tandem paragliding. You take off over a gradual slope, so no need to jump out of a plane! You’ll start from an altitude of 1600m and soar over the incredible Valley of Morzine.
It’s great for all ages, and you'll glide tandem with a certified and experienced instructor. There’s no better way to experience French Alps winter snow holidays for non-skiers. The classic flights start from about 85€ and last for 10 minutes.
Check out other adrenaline-packed activities in Morzine. Try mountain biking on the snow and join night sledding excursions!
If you want a day off from the thrills, check out Seraussaix Farm. Here you can enjoy a laid-back and delicious tasting experience. While the animals may not be in the pasture during winter, you can still visit the farm. The farm produces all its own milk and cheeses, which you can sample on your visit.
Warm up with a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy an afternoon tea experience on Thursdays from 14:00-16:00. Tour the farm and enjoy a tasting session for 10€ for adults or 6€ for children.
Ibex Micro Brewery
If you’re visiting the French Alps with friends, or the kids are in ski-school, wet your whistle at the Ibex Micro Brewery. They have a range of creative beers with fun names like “Piste Basher” and “Cabin Fever”.
Not only can you drink some delicious craft beers, but they also offer tours of the facility. You’ll need a group of 10 to organize a tour and plan to spend approximately 20€ per person for the experience. It includes the tour, beer tasting and tapas for everyone.
French Alps winter snow holidays for non-skiers
Just because you don’t ski, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the beauty and charm of the French Alps. Ski-resorts are always offering new and exciting activities for non-skiers. You’ll have a wealth of options on your next trip to the French Alps. And don’t tell the skiers, but you may even have more fun!