The winter sports resorts of Alpes-Maritimes enjoy an exceptional geographical position, about an hour from the Mediterranean and its azure waters. The department has 15 mountain resorts offering a wide range of options for skiers of all kinds. With 460 kilometres of downhill ski slopes and 153 kilometres of cross-country ski runs, the Alpes-Maritimes resorts are an ideal place to unwind in the fresh air and take advantage of the abundant sunshine during the winter season. For the rest of the year, these sports give way to hiking and mountain biking.
There are large ski areas in the department: Auron, the biggest ski area in Alpes-Maritimes, and its magnificent, craggy landscape covered in pine trees, Isola 2000 at the gateway to Italy, and Valberg, at the entrance to the famous Mercantour Park.
Auron enjoys a very unspoilt landscape: the vast forested areas and immaculate snow provide the only backdrop for the spacious slopes. At an altitude of 1,600 metres, the resort has 135 kilometres of slopes and divides its ski area into four sectors: Sauma Longue, Demandols, Las Donnas and Lieuson. You can enjoy its routes passing through spruces, firs and larches to your heart's content. After your sports sessions, take a tour of the village and its magnificent freestone Chapel of St. Arigius. Alpine architecture enthusiasts will appreciate the sobriety and aestheticism of its pretty Romanesque bell tower and its wooden roof. The rest of the village is made up of traditional chalets with wooden balconies, which blend in seamlessly with the surrounding nature.
Isola 2000 has 45 ski slopes ranging from 1,800 to 2,600 metres in altitude, spread across 120 kilometres. The highest point of the resort offers a magnificent view, encompassing the Ecrins and Argentera mountain ranges and the Mediterranean Sea. If you have time, head to Isola Village, 15 km from the resort. Explore the heart of this medieval village, where you can still find vestiges of the Middle Ages, notably its 12th-century square bell tower. A walk along its typical streets is a very pleasant experience, between the trompe-l'oeil façades painted in blue, pink and yellow tones.
Lastly, Valberg stands at a lofty 1,700 metres above sea level. The resort has 56 ski runs spread across 90 kilometres. It has 25 kilometres just for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing fans. On the west side, you can admire an impressive mountain cirque: an ideal place to stop for a picnic in the area provided for this purpose at the Col du Vasson. Downhill, typical mountain homes stand alongside more modern dwellings. The centre is entirely pedestrianised and is a very peaceful place to be, very popular with families.