Flaine Ski Holidays
Flaine is one of the most popular ski areas in the Alps and it’s easy to see why. One of the closest resorts to Geneva airport, it sits at the heart of a huge snowbowl that benefits from its closeness to Mont Blanc (30km away as the crow flies) for an abundance of the white fluffy stuff.
The ‘Flaine Bowl’ contains dozens of wonderfuly long, cruising easy and intermediate runs – as well as some more challenging stuff – with uplift provided by ever more high speed chair and gondola lifts in which the resort has invested in the past few years. There are also good nursery slopes by the resort and more gentle runs up at the top of the ski area so beginners aren't confined to the "bottom" of the bowl!
From the edges of the bowl, once you take in the spectacular views, there’s a whole extra dimension to Flaine – the Grand Massif. That’s the name of the huge ski area surrounding and including the bowl, with descents back down to the treeline and on to traditional valley villages below, each rich in lovely, French ambience – Morillon, Sixt, Les Carroz and Samoens. Any skier of intermediate standard or above can ski on down to one of these for a traditional Savoyard lunch before riding the fast lifts back up and skiing back down to Flaine. Or you could stop at one of more than a dozen mountain restaurants dotting the slopes throughout the area, many also boasting great views of Mont Blanc.
The resort of Flaine itself is an interesting proposition. Purpose-built in the 1960s, the original buildings are like Marmite – you love them or you hate them. If you’re in the latter camp, before passing judgement, look again because these were a work of architectural art designed by a master of the stark Bauhaus school, and endorsed by Picasso no less, who sent some large scale works of public art which you’ll still find (in a rather tired state 50 years on…) on the slopes. Believe it or not, many of Flaine's unique buildings are classified as French Historical Monuments!
Besides Flaine is much more than just those apartment blocks (whose interiors have been extensively renovated by the way). Largely car-free, most accommodation and most of the cafés and shops are slopeside, or just a few steps away. It’s all got a safe, laid back and family-friendly vibe running throughout - there’s no pretentiousness to Flaine despite its artistic aspirations.
Along with the expansion of the original village over the years, new neighbourhoods have appeared a short ski or shuttle bus ride away. Most interesting is Flaine Montsoleil, built by the same company that created Whistler over in British Columbia, Canada. In Flaine, they put the same thought into resort design and layout, thereby recreating the same high quality, spacious standard of accommodation which has made Whistler a global success but is rarely found in the French Alps.
Skiing in Flaine
The ski area offers a great range of terrain for all standards and a large and very popular terrain park, regarded by many as one of the best in the Alps. All in all more than 140 runs, more than 260km of pistes and over 70 lifts.
Intermediates will be particularly spoilt for choice with a network of lovely wide blue and red runs flowing down into the bowl; there are wonderfully long runs too, with the famous Cascade piste 14km (nine miles) long, running all the way from the top of the Grand Platières cable car down to the bottom of the Grand Massif Express lift in Samoëns. For more advanced skiers, there are some challenging slopes too, like the infamous Diamant Noir and Styx runs; the semi-circular Combe de Gers is also a great off-piste location though please always remember to ski with a guide if going off-piste.
Beginners are well looked after with nursery slopes right next to the resort base and a choice of ski schools competing to offer the best service. But it is also possible for beginners to get higher up on the slopes early on and ski the green Amethyste run whilst enjoying the views, via the Grand Platières cable car which they can just catch back down at the end of the day.
Families with young children have non-ski nursery care available for babies as young as six months and skiing is possible for kids who want to give it a go from the age of three and above.
- Important information
Ski Area Grand Massif: 265km Ski Range 1600-2500m Green Runs 23 Blue Runs 60 Red Runs 46 Black Runs 11 Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Off-season Off-season Off-season Off-season Off-season Off-season On-season On-season On-season On-season On-season Off-season
- Featured accommodation
- Distance from airports
Geneva 1hr20mins Chambery 1hr55mins4 Calais (ski drive) 550 miles