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Skiing in the Grand Massif

A vast ski area with an excellent snow record

Whatever your level Samoens and the Grand Massif has something for you.

Beginners

The ski school complex at Samoens 1600m is truly excellent, with a nice flat (and sunny!) plateau leading onto several nursery slopes for those first tentative slides. It is the largest beginners ski area in the Haute Savoie. The progressive blue runs mean skiers can develop at their own pace before heading up to the top of the mountain when they have developed their ability & confidence. There is a good selection of Bars and Restaurants on the Plateau, as well as sledge runs for the children. So if you run out of steam, there’s always a deck chair to hand to take in those views.

Intermediate

Skiers are spoilt for choice, with many long cruising blue and red runs dropping some 1000m in altitude. For the more technically minded there are tree-runs, easy reds and slightly steeper runs on which to practise your skills. Playing besides the pistes is easy with lots of opportunities to dip your ski’s for the first time into the fresh fluffy white stuff that introduces you to off-piste skiing. Or try the 14km Cascades run for a taste of backcountry skiing that all intermediate skiers can manage right to the valley bottom.

Expert

Expert skiers will want to try the network of black runs around the top of Samoens and also across in Flaine, where there are several un-pisted slopes with hairy descents. But best of all is the Lac Gers bowl, a play-ground of off-piste terrain where all routes eventually lead to the same lift and is still covered by the local safety personnel.

Snowboarders & Freestyle skiers

Will love the piste and powder opportunities that abound right across the Grand Massif, especially across around the Flaine and Les Gers bowls. On top of that there are two areas dedicated to jumps where you can watch the best or even try them out yourselves

Take a closer look at the piste map for the Grand Massif.

Piste information

Some Facts & Figures from the Grand Massif

The Pistes
Ski areas Samoens, Flaine, Morrillon, Les Carroz, Sixt
Max height 2480m, vertical drop 1780m
Total ski area
265km (135 pistes)
Green runs 15 pistes
Blue runs 53 pistes
Red runs 51 pistes
Black runs 14 pistes
The Lifts
Gondola’s 7
Chairlifts 30
Buttons / tows etc (mostly nursery areas) 39

An impressive snow record

Probably even more important than it’s size is the snow record for the area, which is impeccable. Even though Samoens village lies at a relatively modest altitude nearly all of the skiing in the Grand Massif is between 1600m – 2480m, and this together with it’s close proximity to Mont-Blanc means it gets impressive levels of snowfall. As they say…. location, location, location!

And then once the white stuff has fallen, many of the slopes are north facing too, which means it lasts much longer, and virtually guarantees excellent late-season spring skiing.

Here are the Snow depth records to impress your friends with, as you will see skiing right up until late-April is usual in the Grand Massif

A great chair-lift system

From Samoens itself the Express Gondola runs up to the heart of the skiing area at Samoens 1600m in just 8 mins. Built recently in 2005 these are fully enclosed 8-seater cabins so whatever the weather you’ll be snug inside.

In December 2009 Samoens then opened it’s new Chariande Express 6-seater char-lift which means that from the top of the Samoens gondola you can reach high-level altitude skiing at 2400m in super-fast time. It takes just 18mins to get from Samoens village to this altitude…. that’s quick!

Investment in the lift network across the Grand Massif means you can get from one corner of the Grand Massif to the other easily within a couple of hours. So no excuses not to try out the whole area.

What’s happening out there on the slopes?

You can keep an up-to-date look at both current piste conditions and the local weather forecast as your holiday approaches. Or why not take an even closer look at the web-cams set up to cover the Grand Massif; there are plenty to choose from to whet your appetite