The best Heli-Skiing in the French Alps
The French Alps has incredible high-altitude heli-skiing with some runs offering a huge 2500 m of vertical drop.
- The Mont Blanc Massif, the Aiguille des Glaciers and the Valais Suisse are most easily accessible from Chamonix.
- The Upper Tarentaise Valley is most easily accessible from La Rosière, Sainte Foy, La Thuile, La Plagne, and Les Arcs.
- The Vanoise National Park and the Aosta Valley are most easily accessible from Val d’Isère and Tignes.
Book a French Alps Heli-Skiing Trip
Our Heli-Skiing partners offer affordable day & multi-day packages designed for skiers and snowboarders looking to explore the best backcountry in the French Alps.
At an altitude of 1224 m and set against the backdrop of Europe’s most famous and highest mountain, the Mont Blanc, it’s a short flight to the heart of some epic backcountry terrain.
A quick 20 minute transfer from Chamonix takes you across the border into Italy and to the Courmayeur helipad.
An epic day’s skiing is in store and this trip is aimed squarely at advanced, physically fit skiers with ski-mountaineering experience. The helicopter whisks you up to Le Piton des Italiens at 4002 m and from there it’s a 710 m climb via the Dôme du Goûter and the Arête des Bosses to the summit of Mont Blanc at 4810 m. This is pure ski-mountaineering and you’ll use a combination of skinning and roped up climbing with crampons and your skis on your back.
Your efforts are repaid in spades as you take on the steep and magnificent descent that is the north face of the Mont Blanc. After 3500 m of vertical descent and many kilometres of world-class off-piste terrain, you’ll arrive back in Chamonix.
Vanoise National Park Heli-Pick-Ups
Ski all the way down to Lac du Chevril from Tignes where the helicopter will pick you up and fly you back to Val d’Isère.
Starting from the Tovière lifts in Tignes, followed by a short walk amongst impressive peaks, you have the choice between two itineraries:
Couloir Lorenzo and the Oreilles de Mickey.
Couloir Lorenzo, accessible to all good off-piste skiers, and the Oreilles de Mickey for expert skiers only. Both open onto the Altiport Plateau, after which you dive straight into wide runs towards the Lac du Chevril by the large power dam, where the helicopter picks you up to return to La Daille in Val d’Isère, a short but spectacular flight.
Bonneval-sur-Arc from Val d’Isère.
Another superb descent is the off-piste run down to Bonneval-sur-Arc from Val d’Isère. From the top of the Pissaillas lift in Val d’Isère it’s a 40 minute skin up to l’Ouille Noire to access the descent. From there you drop down towards the beautiful and empty Vallon des Montets where, when the snow is good, there are so many possible routes it’s like choose your own adventure. Skirt the Ouille des Reys peak and discover the charming hamlet of l’Ecot. Then, drop down further to Bonneval-sur-Arc, the highest resort of the Maurienne at the foot of Albaron mountain (3640 m), topped with rolling glaciers and serac cliffs. The heli-pick-up is at the top of the Bonneval ski area and the flight back to Val d’Isère stunning views over the Vanoise National Park.
Watch this: Heli-skiing in the Tarentaise and Maurienne with TopSki Val
France Heli-Skiing Regulations
Heli-skiing is famously not permitted in France, here’s the current legislation:
French law prohibits dropping off or picking up skiers (and snowboarders) outside of altiports, helistations, helisurfaces and near certain developed zones above 1500 m.
However, there are ways and means! Heli-skiing companies do operate in France, but they must drop you in neighbouring Switzerland or Italy. Your backcountry guide can then pick a route back into France, or the trip will include a transfer back to your resort in France. For instance, from La Rosière in the Tarentaise Valley, you can fly to the summit of Monte Miravidi in Italy and ski or snowboard back to France.
Please leave a comment below if you need specific advice for your Heli-Skiing trip in the French Alps, or if you have any recommendations to help us improve this guide. Happy holidays!