Survive the Drive: tips on driving to the ski slopes

With 15 years’ experience of driving to the Alps, WhoSki founders Sally and Nicola share their top tips to ease your next car journey to the ski slopes.

Motoring Essentials:

Paperwork: Take copies of your insurance and vehicle registration documents and an up-to-date driving licence.

In the car: In France, you’ll need reflective jackets for everyone / warning triangle in case of breakdown / replacement headlamp bulb.

For the mountains: Snow chains, plus a tough pair of gloves for fitting them. Check for secondhand snow chains before you buy new, then sell them on after your trip. Or try renting them out via KitUp.

On the car: Headlamp beam converters if your vehicle doesn’t auto-adjust / UK sticker displayed on your vehicle / a Crit’Air vignette if you will be entering a clean-air city or area.

Speed things up: A windscreen TAG to fast-track your way through auto-route toll gates.

Family Essentials:

Set off with full water bottles and plenty of snacks.

Pre-pack name-coded bags of goodies for each passenger. If your kids are old enough to manage their own food intake, this will save considerable hassle for whoever is in the front passenger seat – as well as time and money at service stations en route.

Tuck a sick bag into seat-back pockets: zig-zag mountain roads can cause havoc with little tummies.

A blanket and a pillow never go amiss on a long car journey.

Keep snowboots accessible – you will need them if you have to stop and fit snowchains, plus you may need them when you arrive in resort.

The Overnight Stop:

Pack an overnight grab bag to avoid unloading the car. Make sure you’ve eaten before you check in – or take food to eat in your accommodation. Looking for somewhere to eat late at night when you’ve got a car full of tired travellers is predictably awful.

If driving at February half-term, set off on the second leg of your journey as early as you can bear. Hitting the road at 5am rather than 6.30am can make the difference between arriving in your ski resort in time for lunch – or just about making it for a bad-tempered supper after a long, slow slog up the mountain in a traffic jam.

Let the kids travel in their pyjamas and pack everyone their own ‘breakfast grab bag’ to stave off hunger until your driver needs a coffee and a croissant stop.

Tips for an Easier Journey:

Print out / download all your arrival details in advance so you know where you’re staying / how to get there / where to park. WiFi can be annoyingly sporadic in the mountains so don’t rely on Google Maps to help you out.

Toilet stop required? Aim for one of the simpler ‘aire de repos’ picnic areas rather than a service station to avoid queues for the toilet.

Get the kids to download a heap of TV shows / movies to their devices in advance. A long car journey is not the time to get fussy about screen-time limits. Invest in dual chargers to avoid anyone running out of juice.

Last-Minute Planning:

FOOD on arrival: If you’re self catering, ordering a meal for the day you arrive is a no-brainer. The convenience of not having to shoot off to the supermarket the minute you ‘land’ cannot be underestimated, and leaves you more time to pick up your ski equipment from the hire shop.

Huski delivers throughout the French Alps, with plenty of tasty choices for all needs (veggie, vegan, gluten-free etc). Let them know where you’re staying and they will deliver in advance right into the freezer of your ski apartment. Sally can confirm: the food is great.
Use our Huski discount code WhoSki5 for money off your order.

THE auto-route TAG: If you haven’t already got one (mentioned above), you can order a speedy delivery windscreen TAG to fast-track your way through auto-route toll gates. It is seriously worth it.

Driving Home:

The journey home is much easier to do in one go if you can share the driving. Always take breaks and do not drive if tired. Overnight accommodation on the way home can make for a more relaxing experience, though the time difference is in your favour for getting it over with in one go.

We love skiing in… Les Menuires

Yes. Les Menuires. That little place you kind of have to ski towards then bypass in order to make it from Courchevel or Meribel up to Val Thorens. It’s easy to overlook, but if you’re looking for a fair priced, low-key ski resort in the Three Valleys, Les Menuires ticks a lot of boxes.

Savvy skiers know, however, that little Les Menuires is higher than Meribel (1850 vs 1750), has more pistes, more lifts and is just one chairlift away from Val Thorens. Even better, you can ski all the way back to the bottom of the Les Menuires valley from a day out in Val without having to take a single lift, except for a hop back up to resort at the very end.


Supermarket and specialist shops in the town centre and more in the hamlet of Reberty.


Largely self-catering apartments. Try the Hameau de la Sapiniere (Erna Low), which is just above the main centre so ski in, ski out, but just a short walk from supermarkets. Bus up from resort centre stops right outside, there’s covered and underground car parking that can be pre-booked, and a ski hire shop literally on the doorstop. Fresh bread can be ordered and collected from reception daily. Hameau self-catered apartments each have their own private ski locker right by the front door.


Les Menuires is a small, low-key resort, not over-endowed with eating spots or après-ski, so best-suited for chalet bunnies and families rather than disco kids. Lunchtime eating and coffee shops mean you’ve got midday options, however.

We say:

If you want to ski across all 3 Valleys, Les Menuires is a brilliant location to stay. The only area not so quick to get to is the far side of Courchevel. But for skiing Val Thorens, Les Men is a brilliant lower-cost resort to base yourself in. It’s unpretentious and super well-connected. Good too for walkers with plenty of trails if you want to Nordic ski or just take a stroll.

Because it’s largely self-catering, busiest night for eating out is Friday as many skiers head home first thing Sat and don’t want to cook, so make sure you book your restaurant early in the week to guarantee a table.

More info:

Check out the official Les Menuires resort website: Friendly Menuires