Ski resort map for the Alpes MaritimesDay Trip to the Ski Slopes

Did you know that the ski resort the least expensive in all of Europe is just one hour from Nice?  Read on for that plus the results of the Nice-Matin newspaper’s survey of  local skiers on their favorite ski resorts, and why.  Here are the, sometimes surprising, results…

…And the envelope please…

Best Ski Deal in Europe

This honor goes to Roubion-Les Buisses, just 1 hour from Nice by car, which according to Ski Info Magazine is the least expensive ski resort in all of Europe, based on lift tickets+lodging.  It has 8 lifts and 30k of runs.  A lift ticket is around 20€ and lodging can be had for 26€/person/night, so 42€ total.

Accessible from Nice with SkiBus #91 Auron, and then the last bit on Bus C32 which only runs on weekends.  14€ round trip, reservations required.

Local’s Favorites

Run map of Auron ski resort#1 The winner of best overall ski resort according to the locals, is Auron, due to its killer combination of great skiing/well maintained slopes nicely counterbalanced with a charming village full of amenities.  Auron is one of the biggest resorts with 16 lifts and the most kilometers of ski runs, including the most black runs by far.

Accessible from Nice with SkiBus #91 Auron, runs daily, 14€ round trip, reservations required

Valberg ski run map#2 ValbergBeuil was a close second overall, but won hands down the category of best village ambience.  Best for families, lots of non-skier activities, and 23 lifts with well-maintained slopes for every level, even beginners.  Also the town seems to blessed with a lot of great restaurant choices: everyone had their favorite, but the top picks were widely and evenly  distributed.

Accessible from Nice with Zou Bus #670 Valberg for 2.50€ each way. No reservations, just show up, and buy your ticket from the driver.

Val d'Allos ski run map#3 Le Val d’Allos  ranked high on the quantity of ski runs, particularly for its wide open spaces and uncrowded ski runs.

Get there with the scenic train ride on the Train des Pignes from Nice to Digne-les-Bains, then shortly after the train pulls in a bus whisks you directly to the resort. It’s all included in the CombiNeige card for less than 20€ each way which you can get at the Gare de Sud train station, tram stop Liberation.

Oh, and favorite restaurant at Val d’Allos: Le Juls.


Isola 2000 ski run map#4  Isola 2000, with the highest altitude in the region (hence their name), was overwhelmingly voted as having the best snow, with not only the most frequent fresh powder but also exceptionally dry and fluffy.  With clientele trending to the young and sporty, it’s one of the 2 largest resorts and has the most ski lifts (20) and an impressive variety of ski runs (120km) including 2 new high-capacity covered rolling sidewalks like you see in airports. Restaurants most often mentioned were La Fromagerie and Le Vieux Chalet.

Accessible from Nice with Ski Bus #92 Isola 2000, daily, 14€ round trip, reservations required

Ski run map of La Colmiane ski resort#5 La Colmiane ranked best for quality/price with lift tickets well below the larger resorts.  It is great for families due to its manageable size with 7 lifts and lots of intermediate slopes, far less crowded than the larger resorts, and with a small charming village.  Le Petit Alpin was often sited as the best place to warm up with a hot spiced wine or hot cider.

Accessible from Nice with SkiBus #90 La Bolline weekends only 6€ each way, reservations required

Limone ski run map in Italy#6 was Limone, which is a small but super friendly and utterly charming Italian ski resort, just over the border from France.

Accessible from Nice with a train to Ventimiglia, then a direct train from Ventimiglia to Limone.  Here’s the Italian train site in English to check schedules and buy tickets, or you can just do it via TrainLine.

You can also take the inland train from Nice to Tende, and from there take the new free snow train (train des neiges) direct from Tende to Limone, which only takes 30 minutes, and goes roughly every hour.

See related page on How to take the Ski Buses with all the details on where each one leaves from, the prices, links to schedules, and how to buy tickets depending on if it’s the city sponsored ski bus or a regional route.

And if you are not looking to ski but just want to see some incredible scenery and visit some picturesque mountain towns, here is a page on Taking the Mountain Trains from Nice.

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