French Ski Transfer Routes From Hell

ski transfer roads

Journeying up a snowy mountain was once a feat in itself. Today, ski transfer companies do this day in, day out to ensure you get to your ski resort with comfort and ease. High quality vehicles, local regulations and well-maintained roads make these journeys simple. Though not all ski transfer routes were born equal. There are some challenging roads out there which can make your transfer journey a little more difficult. Here are some French ski transfer routes from hell.

These roads aren’t for the faint-hearted…

D44 to Oz-en-Oisans & Vaujany

The D44 road heading towards Oz-en-Oisans ski resort can leave travellers with their hearts in their mouths. The road is incredibly steep and runs in a twisted serpentine shape. This in itself isn’t anything unusual for an Alpine journey. The concern here comes with the age of the road and the lack of safety barriers.
Our transfer partner drivers are professionals at handling roads like this, though it can make for an anxiety-inducing journey for passengers.

D211 to Alpe d’huez

This is a road which can get seriously dangerous during bad weather conditions. This is another steep road which isn’t bordered by safety barriers. If poor weather is likely to make this road unsafe, your transfer operator will notify you on relevant contingency plans.

D220 to Les Deux Alpes

This road is a perfect illustration of why it’s important to travel with approved and verified ski transfer providers.

A driver who doesn’t know the area will be directed to this road when using a satellite navigation system. This is most certainly one to avoid where possible. The D220 to Les Deux Alpes is incredibly narrow, with only enough width for one car. When two cars need to pass each other, they must do so on the specially designated areas. The journey is dangerous and often closed during the winter as a result.

If you’re travelling with an experienced, reliable and safe transfer operator, they’ll always choose to divert the route by road D213 when heading to Les Deux Alpes ski resort.

D1091 to La Grave, Sierre Chevalier or Briancon

When travelling from Geneva or French airports to La Grave, Sierre Chevalier or Briancon ski resoirts, there’s a chance you’ll do so via the D1091.
This road is very old, steep and isn’t protected by safety barriers. There are often landslides in places which only add to the difficulties. The journey here becomes increasingly slow and cautious. For the last two winters, this has been closed after the turning leading to Les Deux Alpes.

There are two possible ways to get to Sierre Chevalier or Briancon though these will cause some severe disruption to your journey:

  1. You could journey through the Gap, roads N85 – N94. Though, this is a huge detour. It will likely add an extra 2 hours onto your journey time.
  2. Alternatively, you could take the A43 through the Frejus tunnel towards Italy. This will take you through Claviere and back to France.

    Unfortunately, you’ll be charged €40 (each way) to travel through the Frejus tunnel.

If you’re booking a journey to these resorts from Geneva or French airports, be sure to speak to your transfer operator about their preferred route.

N90 Between Moutiers and Bourg St. Maurice

The N90 road presents a different kind of problem to the ones previously listed here. Despite being a good quality road, it’s the only route leading to many of the large ski routes including Valdisere, Tignes, La Rosierre, Les Arcs, La Plagne and more.

If you’re taking this road at peak times (especially on Saturdays), you’re going to experience nightmarish traffic. The queues between Moutiers and Bourg St. Maurice are especially long, we’d recommend allowing an extra few hours for the journey.

There is an alternative but this presents its own issues…

D88 Through Notre Dame du Pre

Some transfer drivers will avoid the N90 by taking the D220. This is a narrow serpentine road but it’s easily manageable. This all changes when you approach the D88.

We’d highly recommend avoiding the D88 wherever possible. Only the best drivers, in good weather conditions should take the journey. The road is very narrow, incredibly steep and one of the most dangerous roads in the region.

This is actually the road where a lot of transfer drivers are trained for mountain driving – though this is only done in good conditions. If it’s snowing or raining, avoid it. If you’re unsure about the driver’s skill or the condition of your vehicle, avoid it. Most drivers will know it well and do their best to keep away when possible.

A41 / A43 Motorways to the Three Valleys

When travelling from Geneva airport to the Three Valleys, a lot of customers will ask us to travel via the A41 / A43 motorways for speed.
In fact, the D1508 road which travels along the lake of Annecy is shorted by 40km. The drive is a little slower but more relaxed and with beautiful landscapes. In normal conditions, this road will only take around 7 minutes extra.

Often, taking the motorways will see you caught in traffic. On some Saturdays, these can be 2-3km long. If your driver suggests taking the road through Annecy instead of the motorway, we’d recommend agreeing with them.

D1090 to La Rosiere

The D1090 road to La Rosiere is a very old, narrow and steep. It’s another French mountain road which doesn’t benefit from the added comfort of safety barriers. This is not a safe road though if you’re confident enough to brave it, you’ll benefit from some exquisite views of the valley.

All High Mountain Resorts (1950m+)

Getting to high altitude resorts above 1950m (Val Thorens, Valdisere, Les Arcs 2000, Alpe de Huez, etc.) present their own unique issues. The altitude can cause some problems for passengers. Changes in air pressure is often accompanies by headaches, nausea and dizziness. This can make the journey very unpleasant.

Every ski transfer driver in the Alps would have faced situations where children vomit as a result of the combination between steep, serpentine roads and air pressure. This can be made worse from sickness tablets, travel sweets or mobile phone gaming during the journey. If you or members of your party are struggling with this, we suggest asking your driver to lower the temperature in the car. We’d also recommend not using phones or games as a distraction. Often the mountain scenery is special enough to remove any feelings of nausea.

Safe, Verified Transfer Operators

When travelling on roads like this, you need to be able to trust your tour operator. Every quote from Ski Transfer will arrive from an operator who has been approved and fully verified – passing all safety standards and local regulations. Travel with confidence, get your low-cost ski transfer quotes here.