Not exactly known for its delightful mountain architecture or willingness to allow foreigners to teach, but you can't argue with the amazing resorts this country has to offer
Sixty million French people are the lucky owners of some of the best snowboard resorts in the world, (Chamonix and Serre Chevalier should be on the calling card of all snowboarders) and without doubt, the most extreme and largest areas in Europe.
Resorts vary from the old to the new, but what makes them stand out is the variety of resorts themselves. Some are ugly, semi-modern dumps, whilst others are olde worlde hamlets. What is common however, are the facilities on offer. Fast-food and good bars are plentiful and all help to create a good snowboard scene.
Getting to French resorts is no problem; most are reached by road, although please note that motorways have expensive tolls. Flying to France offers a number of routes, with the principal airports to resorts being Grenoble, Lyon, Chambery and Geneva in Switzerland.
Train services in France are affordable, excellent and fast. Furthermore, during the winter months there is a direct train service from London's Waterloo station to Bourg St Maurice station, a short five minute walk to the funicular that serves the resort of Les Arcs. Most resorts can be reached indirectly by train and bus.
Working in France. EU national won't need a visa to work in France, however it is not as simple as passing a couple of snowboard exams. In order to obtain official stagiaire status, you will require ISIA-level qualifications and a certain number of FIS points. SnowSkool snowboard instructor courses offer BASI qualifications - check out their advice here. However, more mundane forms of work such as bar work are permitted. Many opportunities do exist, especially at the bigger resorts.
Accommodation in most places consists of apartment blocks sleeping any number from 1-21, which are usually quite easy to overload with floor scammers, provided they pay up with some beers.
On the money side, France is expensive, but you can get by if you eat fast-food or buy in supermarkets (where alcohol is really cheap). Avoid the overpriced discos as late night bars are just as good.
French Snowboard Association Route du Parc du Souvenir 06500 Menton France tel+33 492418000 web:www.afs-fr.com Email:[email protected]