Investing in French ski properties

France boasts many of the most popular ski resorts in the world, including Chamonix and Val d’Isere. This puts the country among the prime areas with ski property for sale and there is no better time to invest in ski property than now, following encouraging reports of extremely profitable operations.

Millions of tourists are lured to the slopes every year and in 2012, one firm reported a 29% increase in property inquiries for those costing  up to 300,000 euros. The business is made more attractive by the fact that even during the skiing off-season, its popularity does not wane.

It’s a winning business proposition to buy a place by the piste, because reliable returns are expected during the high season, while providing for development and expansion in the future, that will ultimate translate to more profit.

But what to buy? A chalet? An apartment? A compact set of cabins or a spacious array of apartments with multiple bedrooms? Ski properties are notoriously compact, as the idea with many skiing holidays is to keep costs down and spend more time on the slopes rather than in the property itself. This also means that kitchens and gardens are also highly limited, to encourage people to get out on their skis. Studio apartments typically sleep two people, one-bedroom apartments sleep up to four people, and any larger than a few bedrooms are considered more than enough room for plenty of tenants and tourists.

Access must also be given great consideration before investing. Where is the nearest airport? How will tourists reach the resort? Geneva is the main airport serving the French Alps, but some of the mountain resorts are more than three hours away; this can be off-putting for tourists who want to rent out a chalet for a long weekend, or families who face logistical problems in getting their whole family there on public transport in a foreign country.

Elements such as proximity to the nearest ski lift is also important; holidaymakers do not want to have to lug their equipment for miles to reach a specified skiing area. Infrastructure investment is often a recurring them in many resorts, so it is important to enquire about future plans for the region. The success of a ski apartment also relies heavily on snow records and altitude. The higher the altitude the better; resorts about 2,000m should have fairly reliable snowfall.

Extra facilities also make great rental features when investing in a property. Jacuzzis or heated indoor pools are popular additional features for larger properties, whilst proximity to a local spa is a useful trait. ‘Ski in, ski out’ accessibility is also a must for many who wish to ski straight from their property rather than catching a bus or walking through snow to find the nearest slope.

For more information about French skiing properties, visit