The region of Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur and the Piemonte Valley offer an array of ski resorts that are as little as a 20 minute helicopter ride, or less than a 2 hours drive from Monaco. Starbright has picked out a selection of family friendly destinations for those looking to exchange the coastline for some fun in the snow!
Hit the Slopes in 20 minutes with Héli-Air!
The Monegasque company Héli-Air is offering two-way round day trip to the ski resorts of Auron, Isola 2000 and Valberg. It is also possible to travel to destinations that are further away, such as Courchevel, Méribel, Val d'Isere and Limone, or ski resorts in the Swiss Alps.
Distance from Monaco: 1h38min (90km)
La Colmiane is a family ski resort nestled in the picturesque mountain setting of the Valdeblore valley on the border of the famous Mercantour National Park. Its 30 kilometers of slopes will delight young and old, from beginner to advanced, not to mention its snow park for fans of freestyle and thrills.
Ski Area: 30 km of ski runs with 5 green, 6 blue, 8 red and 2 black pistes located at an altitude of 1,500 and 1800 m. Despite its southern location, the resort has great snow records.
Ski School: The ESF Piou Piou Childrens club teaches children from the age of 3 to discover ski in small groups while playing and having fun.
What's New: Take part in the unique and sensational experience of ziplining between sky and snow over the Colmiane resort at a top speed of 120km/h! The Tyrolean La Colmiane is the largest in France with 2 lines giving a total length of 2,663 metres. They also allow you to carry the skis in a small bag provided for this purpose. For a more relaxing intake of the beautiful snow covered slopes and scenery you can also opt for a ride in a horse drawn carriage!
Starbright Rating: A peaceful and atmospheric resort full of southern French charm without mass tourism. Great place to learn to ski. Big enough to progress, yet small enough to not feel lost and overwhelmed.
Distance from Monaco: 1h47min (102km)
Set in the heart of the southern Alps at 1,700 metres' altitude, the charming village of Valberg stands at the gateway to Mercantour National Park. Valberg has a charming mountain village flair popular for its warm and friendly atmosphere and its mix of village houses, traditional farms and modern accommodation set in a breathtaking natural environment. What's more, the Famille Plus label guarantees a warm welcome for families, with lots of activities for all ages and interests.
Ski Area: The ski area offers 90 km of alpine skiing pistes with fun zones and a new snow park, 25 km of nordic skiing trails, snowshoeing trails and snowmobile rides. There are a total of 56 slopes comprised of 11 green, 11 blue, 28 red, and 6 black.
Ski School: The ESF ski school's Piou Piou Club has a superb location thanks to its position facing the sun and the terrain that has been remodeled to offer the ideal slopes for toddlers learning to ski.
What's New: The newest craze in Valberg is snow golf with 3 holes fitted for the winter holidays. While the day may begin with skiing, afternoons may be spent sledging, ice skating, exploring the area on a snowmobile, snowshoeing, swimming, unwinding in a spa. In the school holidays there is also an Indoor Kids Playpark with Trampolines, bouncy castles, ping-pong tables and ball-pool, from 2 years old. The ranch offers horseback riding on the snowy trails and also offers pony rides.
Starbright Rating: Valberg is a popular village for families with a good ambiance. The scenery is stunning, the slopes have shorter runs.
Distance from Monaco: 1h53min (108km)
Isola 2000 is a family-friendly ski resort set in the heart of the Mercantour National Park. The scenic ski resort near the Cote d’Azur offers breathtaking panoramas on clear days, with views extending all the way to the Mediterranean Sea.
Ski Area: An impressive 120km of runs with42 slopes including 3 black runs, 11 red, 21 blue, and 7 green. One of Isola’s major draws for teens is the resort’s large snowpark, with a number of fun and technical challenges including slopestyle, big air, a halfpipe and handrails to practice tricks and jumps.
Ski School: Isola 2000 takes the needs of children very seriously and is committed to offering a multitude of activities and entertainment to keep the youngsters amused. With the Pious Pious Club children from as young as 2 ½ years old can start to have their first contact with skis in the superb snow garden.
What's New: For the more adventurous, there are some high octane snow activities which should get some pulses racing with ice driving, ice carting, snowmobile tours, riding an authentic Austrian horse and kart, and paragliding. Alternatively try out Laurie's yoga or circus workshops for children (acrobatics, aerials, juggling, balance) and adults (trapeze, cloth and aerial hoop). Les Pitchouns daycare welcomes kids aged from 3 months to 6 years.
Starbright Rating: Isola 2000 is renowned for its excellent slopes and a snowpark which is the envy of many much larger resorts. The resort was built in the early 70's and is said to lack the the cozy village charm of other resorts, but its layout compensates by providing breath-taking views over the mountains from much of the accommodation on offer!
Distance from Monaco: 1h52min (112km)
Discover the authenticity and charm of a genuine mountain village with a rich cultural heritage, most notably its 13th century church. The Auron resort means the intimacy of a village set in 4 ski areas that stretch over 135 km of marked-out slopes between Mercantour and Isola 2000 and is directly linked to the ski area of St Etienne de Tinée (1140 m) by the Pinatelle cableway.
Ski Area: Established in 1937 the French ski resort Auron lies at 1600 metres altitude and offers 130 kms of pistes with 46 slopes : 10 blacks, 16 reds, 17 blues, 3 greens.
Ski School: The Piou Piou Club children's area is located 50m away from the ESF ski school. Its a landscaped terrain built in 2012 that is particularly suitable for young children from 3 to 6 years equipped with a children's carousel, a tow rope lift, and various animal figures.
What's New: Auron offers a wide range of activites for families to indulge in. Try out the airboard inflatable sled, go ice-skating in the pedestrian centre of town, visit La Bergerie de la Belloire Farm and its animals and products, or simply relax in the heated outdoor pool (29° - 30°). Click here to see the program of supervised Sport and Nature activities offered each week!
Starbright Rating: Since opening its first lift in 1937 Auron has developed not only the extent of its lifts and amenities but also its reputation and has become known as a fairly glamorous resort with good snow coverage from early December to mid May from the slopes north/north-westerly position.
Distance from Monaco: 1h49min (84.1km)
Limone Piemonte is a picturesque old village centred around its twelfth-century church and narrow cobbled streets creating an Italian Mediterranean feel to it.
Ski Area: The ski area is very extensive, although the altitude latitude mix can make snow cover unpredictable at the season's ends. Over the past decade there's been a huge investment in new lifts and a fast modern gondola. 35km of the resort’s 80km of pistes are serviced by snow canons, meaning visitors are guaranteed great skiing in the peak season. The winter sports area is situated between the elevations of 1,046 and 2,060 m.
Ski School: Limone offers a variety of professional ski schools to choose from whereas the Scuola Ski di Limone is the predominant one for children with offices located directly on the children slopes of Maneggio and Limone 1400.
What's New: Go snowkiting with certified instructors to combine the passion of skiing with the power of using a Kite!
Starbright Rating: Beautiful hospitable old village full of charm, and with great food! Many describe Limone as a more laid-back atmosphere than its French counterparts.