You will pay a premium for properties in good locations in fashionable ski resorts so why not look at some lower-profile examples if you seek an affordable ski home? One Dutch-owned Alpine agent/developer has found that two smaller French resorts prove to be consistently popular with overseas buyers...
Vallandry: a French ski resort worth a look
It's may not be as well known as the Meribels and Verbiers of the ski world, but the pretty village of Vallandry in the vast Paradiski ski region of the French Alps is worth a look if you want to buy a ski property.
Vallandry is part of Peisey-Vallandry, a collection of villages that have a very different atmosphere from their next-door purpose-built resorts of Les Arcs and Le Plagne.
At 1600m, they are a good height for reliable snow conditions and offer mainly traditional chalet-style buildings with an authentic Alpine ambiance.
The "Vanoise Express" lift linking Les Arcs to La Plagne lands at Plan-Peisey making it a great place to stay if you want to explore both resorts.
Dutchman Henk Dop from Dop Real Estate Projects fell in love with the Paradiski area around 1995 during a family ski holiday. In collaboration with a French bank, a contractor and a local architect, he decided shortly after his first visit to begin the development and sale of Les Chalets de Bellecote.
These 25 luxury detached chalets directly on the slopes were sold in just one winter season to mainly Dutch buyers. This region has been loved by the French, English, Belgians and Dutch for years because of the huge ski area (one of the top three in the world), the accessibility for families and the picturesque French villages.
Now 13 years after completion of the project, these chalets are still popular, says Henk Dop. They change hands for around €450,000 - not bad for an Alpine chalet these days.
"Despite the economic conditions, these chalets continue to sell and rent well, with international demand. It's also hard to be bored there. Apart from skiing, there is an incredible amount to do in the winter and summer months," says Mr Dop.
St Francois Longchamp in the Grand Domaine: chocolate-box village
Dop also have properties in another popular French ski area, Le Grand Domaine, where the new Les Chalets de la Madeleine development offers 25 chalets and 12 apartments in the picturesque village of Saint Francois Longchamp 1650 that, together with Valmorel, is part of Le Grand Domaine.
The apartments cost from €210,000 and the chalets from €449,000 - and are pictured here.
Here the three to five-bed chalets are also located over 1,600 metres high and right on the slopes.
Henk's son, Benjamin, says, "People come here for various mountain sports, the lovely weather and for the peace and comfort. The houses are built in the authentic chalet style and that adds to the atmosphere of the area."
Let you ski property pay for itself
Rental is not obligatory in the Les Chalets de la Madeleine project, but buyers opt for it in many cases, says Benjamin.
"If you are here one or two months per year, it can generate a good rental the rest of the time, especially in the winter season. This can be arranged by recognised international tour operators and the local managers. Owners can thus have everything taken care of for them."
Exchanging wet days elsewhere in Europe for long days in the snow and enjoyable evenings by a crackling fire, all against a backdrop of snow-capped peaks. Investing in a chalet in the Alps isn't such a bad idea?