Popular with French and Swiss skiers, the resorts of La Clusaz and Le Grand Bornand are found about 2km apart in the Aravis region of the French Alps. These delightful resorts have avoided the consumerism which has engulfed many other French resorts, and offer a great opportunity to enjoy quieter pistes.
A convenient destination
La Clusaz is less than an hour away from Geneva airport, so is an ideal destination for a short break, or for those who do not enjoy sitting on a coach for hours! At an altitude of 1100km, La Clusaz is not the most snow-sure resort but snow records are reasonable, and snow making and pisting activities ensure that good skiing is generally available throughout the season
The ski area
The combined area of the two resorts offers a generous 220km of pistes, providing plenty of variety and enough to keep you busy for a week. There is a rich array of beginner and intermediate runs, although the provision of advanced black runs is limited. La Clusaz is however establishing an excellent reputation as an off-piste haven for the freestyle skier and snowboarder.
English speaking ski schools are available, and there has been significant investment in the ski lifts, including the installation of the world’s first Telemix lift, which carries both chair lift seats and covered gondolas. Best of all, as the resort is not overcrowded you will not need to spend long queuing to ascend the slopes.
These are not the resorts to choose if you are fond of a wild apres-ski provision. Both villages have a range of bars for an evening out, but night life is limited. The villages both offer a number of shops and restaurants, and have a traditional French feel, with charming churches and village squares. Food is reasonably priced and generally of a high quality. Make sure you pack a phrase book though, as English is not widely spoken.
There are a number of special events taking place throughout the season including Full Moon skiing, a carnival in March and traditional folk dancing evenings.
Accommodation is available throughout the region and includes Aravis Lodge: a large and friendly chalet run by an English couple in St Jean de Sixt, between the two ski areas.
A week’s ski pass for the Aravis region, which includes both resorts and the ski bus which links the two is only 172 Euros. Likewise, expect other costs to be less than you would find at some of the more popular resorts: mountain restaurants are not astronomical so you can enjoy vin chaud and lunch on the mountain without breaking the bank.