The Grand Massif is a great all round ski area, perfect for ski holidys. It is the 4th largest ski area in the French Alps that is fully interconnected and it is is located less than 2 hours from Geneva airport. There are five ski resorts that make up the ski area of the Grand Massif: Flaine, Les Carroz, Morillon, Samoëns and Sixt Fer à Cheval. In total there is 265km of linked piste which cater well for all levels of skiers from beginner through to advanced.
Flaine is the highest of all the resorts in the Grand Massif, with a resort height of 1600m. It sits in the middle of a bowl so nearly all of Flaine's local pistes run back into the centre of the village making it great for families as it is hard to get lost. The skiing on offer is great for beginners and intermediates but there is plenty to keep experts busy as well. It also has a pretty decent snowpark called the JamPark.
Les Carroaz is a lovely little village at 1200m which is just 10 minutes from the motorway giving really easy access for weekend skiers. They provide piste side ski lockers which is handy for those who want to dump their skis and head straight for a bar or for people who want to use lockers to store items during the day.
Morillon is located at 700m and is a quaint little village. The runs down to Morillon through the fir trees are lovely and it is great place to stop for a coffee if you are staying in one of the other resorts in the area.
Samoëns is located down in the valley at 720m. To get to the skiing you have to take one main gondola out of the village and up to the pistes, and likewise this gonola is used to get back down to the village at the end of the day (unless you are up for a serious off piste ski). Once you are at the top of the gondola there is good varied skiing for all abilities and you can easily link over to Flaine and Les Carroz.
Sixt is a lovely little ski resort which is ideal for families with young children that are not looking for too much adventurous skiing. There are nine pistes to choose from. It is linked into the Grand Massif as you can ski back down to Sixt from Flaine. However, there is no direct link via lift to the full ski area. If you are staying in Sixt and want to experience the whole of the Grand Massif then you will have to get the bus to Samoens and take the Gondola from there.
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* Locations are for guidance use only.
There are 5 different resorts that make up the ski area of the Grand Massif and there is 265km of piste in total. The skiing that is on offer is varied and good for all abilities although it does have to be said that the area is probably more suitable to beginners and intermediates that expert skiers due to the size of the area. Skiers who love areas with 400-500km of piste might find the Grand Massif to be a little small but if you appreciate quality skiing over quantity and don't like to venture too far afield for fear of missing the last lift home then the Grand Massif will be right up your street.
The Grand Massif ski area is brilliant for beginners, especially if you have chosen Flaine to stay in. There are loads of easy access blue runs as well as a couple of areas designated for beginners. There are also plenty of red runs to progress onto which are also easy access from the resort centre. The fact that Flaine is located is a big snowy bowl is also very beneficial for beginners as it is very hard to get lost. No matter where you are, as long as you are within that bowl nearly every run will take you back to the resort centre.
Indeterminate skiers will be in heaven when skiing in the Grand Massif, with 265km of piste and an abundance of blue and red runs to choose from. There are also a selection of resorts within the area for you to ski to and from and stop at for lunch or a coffee. The 14km blue from down from Flaine to Sixt will be of particular interest. It is a lovely run from 2600m all the way down to the valley at 700m. It is a lovely ski but be prepared to have to get a bus from Sixt to Samoens in order to get home. So plan your day to make sure that you don't miss the last lift!
In total there are 14 black runs and 46 red runs in the Grand Massif, so there is plenty of skiing to keep advanced and expert skiers happy throughout the course of a weeks ski holiday. The Grand Massif might not be the biggest ski area in the world but the skiing on offer is great. It is also just a short transfer from Geneva and the prices are nowhere near as high as they are in the other major ski areas in France.
The Grand Massif might not be massive on the freestlye skiing and snowboarding scene but there is plenty of suitable terrain on offer. In fact Flaine actually has a ski school which is dedicated to freestyle (Ecole de Ski Internationale). They have specific freestyle instructors and regularly do freestyle park lessons for those looking to brush up on their skills. If you are not after lessons then there is still plenty on offer. There are 3 snowparks spread throughout the area the Jam Park in Flaine is very well maintained. There is also a whole manor of natural terrain to be found with loads of wooded areas and natural jumps and pipes. There is a lovely natural half pipe which can be found close to the Serpentine piste.
There is loads of off piste skiing to be found in the Grand Massif. Flaine has an abundance of off piste opportunities, most notably the Gers Bowl and the Corbalanche freeski zone. There is also great tree skiing on offer on the way down to Les Carroz and Samoens.
If you are looking for lively night life and a serious apres ski party then you are looking in the wrong place. The Grand Massif is most definitely not party central. Flaine has a couple of apres ski bars and a nightclub but that is about it. However, if you are after activities to do as your apres ski then there is plenty on offer.
Dog sledding - Ice Diving - Helicopter rides - Indoor Climbing - Snowmobiling - Snowkiting - Paragliding
There is also plenty to keep yourself busy in the lovely historic town of Samoens. It is easy to spend hours just wandering around and there are plenty of quite bars, coffee shops and restaurants. They also have an ice rink, just in case a days skiing was not enough expertise for you.