We all dream of being able just to put the skis on outside our doorstep and on to miles of powdered ski runs, the concept behind ski-in ski-out properties. For most skiers, ski-in ski-out properties are the ultimate luxury when you go skiing and luckily many French ski resorts have been built around this idea.
Ski-in ski-out should mean that you just put the skis on right on the slope but we usually say ski-in ski-out when you can just put the skis on to reach the snow front or the lifts that then take you into the ski area. This is probably even better as, if snow is rather limited towards the end of the season you can still take the lifts all the way back to your home or 150m from your home max.
Ski-in Ski-out resorts in French Alps
Most of these ski-in ski-out ski resorts appeared in the 1960s in the French Alps. These included La Plagne in 1961, Les Ménuires in 1963, Flaine and Le Corbier in 1967 or Les Arcs in 1968 (at Findhomeabroad we list most new-build ski-in ski-out properties currently on offer in French Alps). At the time, pragmatism prevailed over any other consideration. The architecture was under the influence of Le Corbusier, who favoured the functional dimension of buildings. These must meet the four main functions of man: work, housing, travelling and leisure. thought out for the city originally, this model will be transposed to the ski resorts of the French Alps. It must be said that the French State, by launching its Snow Plan in the 1960s, wanted to take advantage of the growing craze of French for winter sports.
Unlike today, tourists back in the days went to ski resorts for the skiing exclusively and nothing else. Skiers spend eight hours a day on the slopes and obviously less time strolling the streets or sunbathing on the balcony in their homes. The idea was then to concentrate all the homes next to the snow front, hence the emergence of imposing ski-in ski-out ski properties directly at the foot of the slopes. This search for maximum convenience also explains the construction of shopping galleries, on the ground floor or basement of buildings, in order to be able to buy groceries without wasting time.
Ski Resorts without cars
Most of these so-called third-generation resorts were created around the desire to preserve the safety of children (family-friendly ski resorts), the pedestrian and the skier, hence the idea of building new ski properties at the foot of the lifts and separating as much as possible cars, skiers and pedestrians. The concept was based on one theme mostly: “the family on holiday”: children must be able to enjoy their holidays thoroughly, yet allowing Mum to be on holiday too and all within an affordable budget.
Some of them have also developed their own identity, thanks to the avant-gardism of their promoters.
Off the top our head, we can think of Avoriaz, where since its creation in 1967, Robert Brémond and his son Gerard imagined a ski-in ski-out resort without cars, where the streets are also ski slopes. In a different style, the architect Denys Pradelle perfectly integrated large building blocks in the landscape of Arc 1600. Just like the “Versant Sud”, a 225-apartment residential ski-in ski-out complex that combines perfectly with the slope line, and is therefore not visible from a distance, when it is actually equivalent to a 13-storey, 120-meter long building! The current development of these ski-in ski-out resorts is part of this same trend like the new Edenarc development in Les Arcs 1800 for example.
Ski-in Ski-out properties today
With land prices at a record high in today’s top French ski resorts, it is becoming harder and harder to find decent plots offering ski-in ski-out and the near future will see some of the older ski-in ski-out buildings in some of the best ski resorts, being renovated or even taken down to create luxury ski-in ski-out facilities at a premium. We have started seeing this in Courchevel, Les Menuires, Tignes and other big French ski resorts should follow.