11 April 2020 from Danielle in Ski areas

Lyon is a gateway to the French Alps and, as luck would have it, many airlines offer flights from Britain to Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport. Whether you’re looking for a quiet ski resort to spend ski holidays with the family, or a world-class ski resort with endless slopes and challenging terrain, there’s no shortage of ski areas within easy reach of Lyon Airport. It’s also tempting to spend a few days tooling around this attractive city on your way home – why not make a week of it?

Les 7 Laux

One of the closest ski resorts to Lyon Airport and comparatively cheap, Les 7 Laux is named for the seven scenic lakes adjacent to the ski area. This recently renovated (and relatively unknown) ski resort offers 120km of slopes. Tucked into a picturesque setting in the midst of a forest, the ski area is perfect for exploring, and adventurous skiers and snowboarders will find many beautiful secret spots amongst the trees. 

1-and-a-half-hour drive, 135km

les 7 laux
Les 7 Laux

Les Deux Alpes

Les Deux Alpes is a great choice for beginner skiers and snowboarders who plan to visit in shoulder season, as the nursery slopes are located at a higher altitude than usual. The ski resort also has one of the largest snow parks in Europe and offers summer skiing on the glacier. Off-piste enthusiasts will find no shortage of terrain to explore here. Rumours of a possible merger between L’Alpe d’Huez and Les Deux Alpes would make a skier’s dream come true. 

2-hour drive, 150km

L’Alpe d’Huez

Nicknamed the “Island in the Sun” for its sunny, southern-facing slopes, Alpe d'Huez offers superb high-altitude skiing including the longest black run in Europe and excellent challenging off-piste terrain. Families won’t get bored, either – the welcoming village centre has an outdoor swimming pool, ice skating rink and a wealth of other non-skiing activities including paragliding and a virtual-reality alpine coaster. 

2-hour drive, 150km

alpe d'huez
L’Alpe d’Huez © Danielle Pacheco


The popular ski resort of Courchevel has five villages with five distinct personalities, getting more and more exclusive the higher up the mountian you go. Part of the linked ski area of Les Trois Vallées, the ski slopes near Courchevel are some of the best and there is no shortage of activities on offer off the slopes, including iceskating, dogsledding and helicopter rides, if your budget allows it. 

2-hour drive, 180km

Les Arcs

Five different villages make up Les Arcs, which in turn is part of the linked ski area Paradiski. Each village offers its own unique atmosphere (and budget), from rustic architecture to lively après-ski and shopping. You won’t be disappointed with the skiing, as it’s easy to access Paradiski with its 425km of slopes. 

2-hour drive, 190km

paradiski ski area
Paradiski © Miranda Muller

Les Menuires

Part of the expansive Les Trois Vallées, Les Menuires is a little easier on the wallet than its sister resorts. Les Menuires is popular with snowboarders thanks in part to the top-notch snow park with halfpipe. This is a lovely choice for family ski holidays and you’re sure to find a tranquil, relaxing atmosphere while still having no trouble accessing the rest of the Trois Vallées ski area. 

2-hour drive, 190km

La Plagne

Thanks to its location at the heart of the Paradiski area, La Plagne has access to 425km of varied pistes. Skiers and snowboarders will find something for every level here, from glacier skiing to forest skiing, off-piste, boardercross and snow parks. A thriving après-ski scene in the city centre is complemented by a range of family-friendly activities such as bowling alleys. 

2-and-a-half-hour drive, 200km

la plagne
La Plagne © Miranda Muller

Val Thorens

Val Thorens is the highest ski resort in Europe, at 2300m above sea level. Situated in the mammoth Les Trois Vallées ski area, this French ski resort enjoys wonderful snow conditions and access to around 600km of slopes. At the end of the ski day you can choose whether to ski right back to your ski-in, ski-out accommodation or take a gander through the streets of the traditional village center. Val Thorens is also home to La Folie Douce, France’s premier après-ski joint. 

2-and-a-half-hour drive, 200km


Under the watchful eye of the towering Mont Blanc, Chamonix is perhaps best-known for its gorgeous off-piste ski route through the Vallée Blanche. Less experienced skiers and snowboarders can also happily spend a few days tooling around the neighbouring ski resorts, which are included in the Evasion Mont-Blanc ski pass. 

2-hour drive, 220km

les trois vallees
Les Trois Vallées © Nikki Casleton


Beginner skiers and snowboarders will be delighted to know that Tignes offers free access to the nursery slopes. Famous for its summer skiing on the glacier, Tignes is a top-notch ski resort with wide, sunny slopes perfect for carving out turns, and endless kilometres of amazing off-piste terrain for experts to explore. Sister resort Val d’Isère often hosts competitions in its world-class snow park. 

2-and-a-half-hour drive, 220km

Flying to the French Alps: How to get to your ski resort from Lyon Airport

EasyJet and British Airways both offer nonstop flights to Lyon from London – before you go, read up on BA’s luggage policy and check out our tips for flying with ski gear. Once you arrive at Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport, you can either rent a car or take a shuttle bus to your ski resort of choice. Ouibus, Magic Evasion, Skimania and Altibus all offer ski shuttles to the slopes.

Check out other gateway airports to the Alps:

Ski resorts easily accessible from Grenoble Airport >
Ski resorts easily accessible from Chambéry Airport >
Ski resorts easily accessible from Turin Airport >
Ski resorts easily accessible from Innsbruck Airport >
Ski resorts easily accessible from Salzburg Airport >
Ski resorts easily accessible from Geneva Airport >

Or check out our article on the best airlines for flying to the Alps >

Born and raised in the ski paradise of Vancouver, Canada, I learned to ski before I can remember, balancing precariously on my parents’ skis as they sailed down the hill. I started snowboarding in my teens and am now delighted to be exploring everything Europe’s ski scene has to offer!