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Moving on from Le Chinaillon, where next? La Clusaz?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi,

We've been to Le Chinaillon (Grand Bornand) 3 times now. Pre kids we used to do the big resorts and mileage. Now we have ski schools and February half term! But, we're loving the new dynamic and the kids are learning fast. I don't think we'll fancy another year at Chinaillon but can anyone recommend where to next? We liked Chinaillon as it's very family friendly, the French go there, accommodation and passes not too expensive and we drive. We'd like to keep the drive length about the same. Did wonder if the sensible move would be to La Clusaz? Thanks for any advice!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I would also consider Les Saisies, Morillon and Les Carroz. you might be better off going in the first week of the Easter hols though as the snow is usually good enough and slopes less busy.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Kettonsnowmum, hi and welcome to snowheads. LGB is our local hill, so we know it well. I think my advice would depend on your children's ages. La Clusaz is great and more varied than LGB but also more spread out. When our three were small we took them to Flaine for a number of years. Also close to drive to and higher and slightly more snow sure than the other Grand Massif stations mentioned above. Also all the runs lead back to the central village which we found reassuring if they had become separated.
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Hi,

Many thanks for your replies and really sorry for not replying sooner (was not notified of replies and forgot to check!). Not sure if you will see this message but my kids are 10 and 8 - I'm really looking at 2019 (as we are back in Chinaillon for 2018) in which case they'll be 12 and 10! We don't need apres ski as we tend to flop and chill at the end of the day - so low key isn't a problem. However would like to keep the drive under 8.5 hours. Looked at Flaine and seems nice - suppose prices will be a lot higher?
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Kettonsnowmum, I think Les Carroz is probably more reasonable than Flaine.

Have you thought about Montalbert? Small village feel with access to a large area - Paradiski
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Les Saisies should suit you well though like all French resorts it's busy at half term. 195 kms lift linked.
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Hi, brilliant - thanks!! I do like to find resorts that the French keep quiet. Having had a quick look at Les Saisies it does seem to be a hidden gem. My husband and I are pretty good intermediates - would it be a resort that keeps us happy? The kids are coming on fast but believe it would suit them. Prices seem very reasonable too. Assume the best area to stay in would be Les Saisies itself?
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Yes, we've had a couple of day trips over to Les Saisies and it really is an intermediates' paradise. Covers a bigger area than LGB as well. I'm sure you'd have a great time there.
Just a little bit further to drive from GVA airport or the channel than the Grand Massif or the Aravis.
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The French don't exactly keep quiet about Les Saisies! I've met French people all over the place and they always know Les Saisies! Generally LS village itself would be the best place to stay in terms of altitude and facilities (swimming pool etc). But it might not be the very best area at half term as the key lifts out of LS get busy. In some ways it would be good to be in the top level of Notre Dame de Bellecombe (Mont Rond 1350) or even down in Praz sur Arly - both have rapid access to some of the best of the skiing. Something to think about nearer the time.
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@Kettonsnowmum, Like @gvj, LGB is our 'home from home' these days but we also know Les Saisies reasonably well and often have a day over there when we are out in LGB. When our kids were similar ages to yours we spent a week there and had great fun together. Lovely bowl area to play around in. When coming from LGB we access the area via Crest Voland and have often thought that would be a nice place to be based - seems a small and friendly sort of place.
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Hi, That's really funny. Just been looking at some lovely rentals in Crest Voland. Wondered if this might be a good second option if not staying in Les Saisies itself. Hard to tell from the piste map but is it well connected to get to all the other areas? Sorry about all the questions (and really appreciate the responses!). Took ages to find a nice ski in/ski out in Chinaillon and now looking for something similar elsewhere - want to try and get it as right as possible so that we can keep going for another few years before thinking about moving on again! Trying to look for a place around the 1300m mark to stay as the kids love to play outside the rental in the snow early evening so want to guarantee snow where we stay. Plus a good ski school for the kids but I don't think that's a problem in that area!
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@Kettonsnowmum, when are you going, February half term?
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@Kettonsnowmum,
You've had some good suggestions already but I think you should add Les Contamines de Montjoie to your list - similar drive and atmosphere I think.
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You know it makes sense.
jedster wrote:
@Kettonsnowmum,
You've had some good suggestions already but I think you should add Les Contamines de Montjoie to your list - similar drive and atmosphere I think.

Only problems are the steep drag lifts and that it's not quite ski, ski out.
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Sorry - yes, the only thing I really haven't mentioned is that we have to go in Feb half term week. Don't really want to chance Easter for snow quality.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Kettonsnowmum, Yes, Crest Voland is well connected - takes a few lifts to get over to the main bowl area in Les Saisies but the Crest Voland area itself has some nice runs and would be really nice to end your day there. There's a bar at the bottom of one of the slopes where you could keep an eye on the kids from and from memory it was sunny in the late afternoon too which is always a bonus and one of the things we like about Chinaillon! Out of interest, where did you stay in Chinaillon?
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Quote:

Only problems are the steep drag lifts and that it's not quite ski, ski out.


Interesting - didn't see either of those in the OPs criteria. It's pretty easy to avoid the two tough drag lifts in resort if that's not your bag. Agree that there is precious little ski in ski out if that is important.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
jedster wrote:
Quote:

Only problems are the steep drag lifts and that it's not quite ski, ski out.


Interesting - didn't see either of those in the OPs criteria. It's pretty easy to avoid the two tough drag lifts in resort if that's not your bag. Agree that there is precious little ski in ski out if that is important.

The drags can catch out the unaware, I know from personal experience. The OP said "Took ages to find a nice ski in/ski out in Chinaillon" further down the thread. I really like the place but it would remiss not to point out certain issues. Nowhere is perfect. And besides you want to keep the riff raff out jedster. Not that I am saying the OP is riff raff of course. What do they say about a hole and stop digging....
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Very Happy
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As @loatie says Crest Voland is lift linked to Les Saisies (slowish chair though) and there are also (reliable but infrequent) buses to Flumet. But I still reckon that Notre Dame de Bellecombe (Mont Rond 1350) would be better in terms of fast access to some of the best of the skiing. Not the easiest - Crest Voland or Saisies itself would be best from that point of view. Praz sur Arly has good snowmaking at resort level and when there is a long-term temperature inversion (as has happened several times recently) their snow-making works much better than at higher altitude. At half term you should be pretty much guaranteed resort level snow though. And Praz sur Arly has a fast 6 man chair (Cret du Midi) which in my experience seems to have shorter queues than some. And two very nice restaurants easily reached from the top of it. Les Saisies has plenty of restaurants too - not the case in Notre Dame, which has only one above resort level.
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Thanks Pam. Must admit the kids will be in ski school in the morning so quick access to good runs where we can put in some serious mileage would really help. Not after the easy slopes (more reds/blues) as we're competent skiers and the kids have 'no fear'. It may ultimately come down to where we can get accommodation availability. I like your continued recommendation of Notre Dame de Bellecombe and will also look at Praz. Excuse my lack of geography but when you mention Mont Rond 1350, I take it this is higher up that the main village? We tend to go home for lunch (not sure if that makes any difference) and only eat out lunch a couple of times so not having a local place to walk to at night isn't an issue.
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Loatie - I did reply to your question about Chinaillon but can't see it was posted - and don't want to be rude. We've been staying in an appartment within a chalet in Les Outalays (rent off a French family who have a few properties). Ski in/out to about 50m courtesy of the Serpentines green run (with a lovely crepe restaurant to end on!).
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@Kettonsnowmum, Nice spot - know it well!
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We're big LGB/Chinaillon fans as @loatie knows but missed skiing last year and were considering a change too - I was looking at Valloire - a bit further to drive but liked the look of it when I drove through in the summer - would that fit the bill? - anyone been to both to compare?
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I think N D de B would suit you well, @Kettonsnowmum, and you'd be more quickly onto more challenging runs there than out of the Saisies bowl. The main chair has been seriously upgraded a couple of years ago - was super slow, but now a fast 6 man. But you would need to be at 1350 - the village, down at 1150, has a long drag up to a not particularly convenient spot, and then a tediously slow two-way chair to 1350. There is a superb blue (Reguet) to lap on that drag - super gradient and very very wide. One to hurtle down and fancy yourself a skier!

In N D de B the runs around the two chairs (Plan des Fours and Lac) including some good reds and a super blue too. And accessible off piste and inter-piste. Usually much quieter than the Saisies bowl.

In snowy/foggy weather the runs down in the Arly Valley between the bottom of N D de B, Flumet and Praz sur Arly are ideal. One mogully and steep black, some good reds, lots of trees. Lots of drags, including the "Seigneur" - one of the steepest in France, with only one route out if you fall off - skis off, hike through the forest to the black, then back down to the same lift (or wait for an infrequent bus to Crest Voland). Not for the faint-hearted. Skiing like it used to be!

I have an apartment in Bisanne 1500 and know the area well - but I don't rent it out so have no axe to grind!
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@MazDave, Hi! Funnily enough our close friends have a place in Valloire........ I've skiied there a few times and Phil several times more as they tend to have a 'boys' week there most years. The town and skiing area is bigger and more spread out than LGB but I'm sure you'd have a nice time there. Relatively unknown to the British market so mostly French voices to be heard and some nice bars and restaurants in the town. Points we've noted in the past are that it does suffer a bit from lack of restaurants on the slopes (no chalet Maroly for you to enjoy!) and although there are some nicely treelined runs, there are quite a few which can get a bit windswept. Obviously that is dependent on weather conditions when you are there and none of us can predict that - and I expect your boys are way beyond worrying about that sort of thing now anyway (!) You do get some longer runs in Valloire. If you want to know any more specific details I can ask Phil.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Thanks @loatie, when we narrow it down will drop you a note for any Phil pointers. Sorry to the OP for the thread derailing.
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
We spent 5 weeks in Valloire this year and have previously spent about the same time during several trips to Les Saisies. I'll always go back to Les Saisies but I don't think I'd go to Valloire again (though the early season pass was a bargain!). In Valloire/Valmeinier an awful lot of the pistes are cat tracks winding around the mountainside, we also experienced 80/90% closure due to strong winds on 3 or 4 days. The town is nice though and a bit more "happening" than Les Saisies.

Saisies is a dream for novices and intermediates, never been anywhere else like it (20+ resorts visited). A couple of lifts over to areas like those Pam mentioned and it's very quiet with lots of more serious runs to explore. I fondly remember hiring a powder board and in the morning getting 7 consecutive runs down the red piste below the Chamois lift before anyone else put tracks on it!

ps. I'd say LS/Espace Diamant is a lot more like LGB than Valloire.
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A massive thanks for everyone for the advice I've had the last couple of weeks - lots more than originally expected! We've set our minds on Notre Dame de Bellecombe (Mont Rond 1350) so time to look around the area for holiday rentals. Take it the best ways are via abritel/airbnb/owners direct?
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@Kettonsnowmum, I have always just used the tourist office website in the Val d'Arly, no idea how it compares with your list.
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