Guidebook

France's Finest Couloirs: An Epic Skiing Roadtrip

15 of the best couloirs in France, spread across some of the Country's most magnificent mountain ranges, this trip should be on every skier's bucket list!

Description

France has a realistic claim to being the World's best country to ski in - it has the highest mountain in the Alps and the largest ski area on Earth. As if that wasn't enough, it's home to hundreds of ski resorts of all shapes and sizes, and literally thousands of ski tours. The terrain in France varies from mellow, open slopes through to steep, narrow couloirs and it is these on which this guidebook focuses.

Narrowing (pun intended) France's many couloirs down to just 15 is a tough task and these were selected primarily for their quality, but also because they will take you around some of the Country's best known resorts. In the process of skiing these you'll visit the legendary 3 Valleys and ski beneath Mont Blanc and the Meije. In addition, you'll also ski tour in some wild and relatively unknown areas such as the Queyras and the Aravis.

So, book some time off work and head to the south of France!

Once you've got the taste for the skiing there, check out some of our more specific guidebooks to the various ranges that the Country is home to.

https://fatmap.com/guidebooks/222/the-classic-ski-tours-of-the-chamonix-valley

https://fatmap.com/guidebooks/17/la-grave-classics

https://fatmap.com/guidebooks/255/great-freeride-lines-in-the-3-valleys

Sommet du Grand Vallon North Couloir
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Sommet du Grand Vallon North Couloir

Briançon
4 - 5 hrs
8.0 km
856 m
856 m
42 °
A classic ski couloir in a wild valley
Severe
Private
Les Guibertes Couloirs
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Les Guibertes Couloirs

Serre Chevalier
1,296 m
39 °
N
26 m
4.0 km
Epic, wild terrain with tricky route finding. If in doubt, go with a local instructor or guide.
Difficult
Private
Freaux Couloir
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Freaux Couloir

Les Deux Alpes and La Grave
922 m
53 °
N
13 m
2.1 km
A wild adventure and 800m long couloir
Severe
Private
Trifides - Grand Couloir
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Trifides - Grand Couloir

Les Deux Alpes and La Grave
719 m
44 °
6 m
1.8 km
Easy to access, steep couloir skiing. A La Grave classic.
Severe
Private
Fleur Couloir
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Fleur Couloir

Alpe d'Huez
477 m
41 °
1 m
0.9 km
A classic steep colour, for expert skiers only and with tricky route-finding
Extreme
Private
Grande Casse, Grand Couloir
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Grande Casse, Grand Couloir

Albertville
5 - 6 hrs
7.4 km
1,442 m
1,442 m
47 °
A ski mountaineering classic involving a steep climb from the Refuge de la Vanoise to the summit of the Grande Casse, the highest in the Tarentaise.
Severe
Private
Petit Balme Couloir
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Petit Balme Couloir

Tignes and Val d'Isère
598 m
41 °
N
32 m
2.3 km
A long complex descent on moderate terrain; a great adventure.
Difficult
Private
Monts Jovet West Couloir
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Monts Jovet West Couloir

Arve Valley
3 - 4 hrs
8.8 km
705 m
1,216 m
50 °
A truly brilliant ski descent which you are unlikely to share.
Severe
Private
Tête de la Sallaz - Couloir de la Salletaz
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Tête de la Sallaz - Couloir de la Salletaz

Arve Valley
2 - 3 hrs
5.0 km
472 m
746 m
40 °
An easy ski tour to a perfectly positioned peak, followed by a steep and exciting descent. Ski touring doesn't get much better!
Difficult
Private
Mont de Grange, Petit Pertuis Couloir
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Mont de Grange, Petit Pertuis Couloir

Portes du Soleil
3 - 4 hrs
5.3 km
870 m
870 m
44 °
An excellent couloir on a prominent and quiet peak - what more can you ask for?!?!
Severe
Private
Couloir Pissoir
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Couloir Pissoir

Chamonix
5 - 6 hrs
11.3 km
1,101 m
1,965 m
46 °
A big adventure through some huge terrain
Severe
Private
Cosmiques Couloir
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Cosmiques Couloir

Chamonix
1,647 m
50 °
253 m
6.4 km
This is a classic extreme skiing line, not only in Chamonix, but across the Alps. 900 meters of sustained and serious terrain between 40-50 degrees; enough to get anyones heart pumping.
Extreme
Private
Marbree Couloir
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Marbree Couloir

Chamonix
1 - 2 hrs
6.2 km
96 m
1,997 m
47 °
Probably the most spectacular descent on the Hellbronner, this line goes through some huge terrain and features steep freeriding.
Severe
Private
Trappier Couloir
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Trappier Couloir

Chamonix
6 - 7 hrs
10.4 km
1,396 m
2,091 m
56 °
A large and very attractive couloir in plain view from Chamonix
Severe
Private
Cairn Couloir
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Cairn Couloir

La Plagne
1,561 m
43 °
NE
12 m
4.4 km
Fantastic but serious big mountain line on a majestic, wild north face
Severe
Private