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A few questions about Flaine,

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
We have changed our plans and are going to Flaine, for four days rather than Chamonix. We fly into Geneva and our flight doesn't land until 5 pm. My husband is looking at shuttle transfer which is working out expensive, but on the other hand car hire is not cheap either. ( we haven't skied france in several years, and Italy, Austria, and Germany seem to have better rates on hire cars) not only that but which side do we hire the car from should we hire? any tips on how you manage would be appreciated, ie shuttle transfers you reccomend etc.
Second question while I understand Flaine is fairly new resort, all since 1968, it won't have the pretty village look, ( doesn't matter we only see the place at night) are there many supermarkets? we are staying in the Pierre & Vacances Les Terrasses d'Hélios, according to some reviews people are complaining about it being a long walk to anything, I don't mind walking but is there nothing close by? I don't mind walking a mile or so, to eat go for beer whatever but it's better to be a little closer. Also on average how expensive is Flaine? some have left reviews on eye watering prices for beer etc.
I suppose what I really want is just general tips and information.
Last question do they never piste the blacks, I have no problem with a black with bumps, but when the bumps grow bigger than I am I get a little nervous, lol
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google maps shows it about 1km from the lift and street view does show it as basically being in the middle of nowhere :/
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
ah well fudge that!
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We have used Go Massif (gomassif.com) twice, once through the tour operator, once direct. I suspect there are others... about £80 return per person last year, from memory... I have never hired a car from Geneva, so can't help there I'm afraid.

Flaine isn't "chocolate box" pretty (unless you like very strange chocolates...) there are a few places to get bits: I struggle to sleep past 4am in the mountains so can usually be found searching for anywhere that is open and will sell coffee! There is the Galerie Marchand in Flaine Foret which I think would be about a mile from where you're staying: there is a Spar, boulangerie (who do coffee and sandwiches to eat in / take out...) and "posh" deli-type place. (It looks as though there is a Spar on site at the Helios?) In Forum (resort centre) there is a small supermarket and a tabac.

I think there's pretty good free transport around Flaine, either laid on by the resort or the accommodation

I'm afraid I haven't been up the "top" end of Flaine, but there's certainly places to drink eat at Foret (including pizza and bowling), I think a lot of places do special menus on a Saturday evening. Favourite of ours last time was the "Tarti-pizza" in the pizzeria in the Forum (Chez Pierrot?) although you might need to book, there are other fondue / savoyade style places in both Forum and Foret.

I didn't find beer "that bad": the White Pub in forum seems to be the place to head to, and from memory they have two happy hours to cover après-ski and après-diner, so time it right and you should do okay, although it does get busy. Other good places to stop at the end of skiing are the bar at the bottom of the DMC(?) bubble, or there's a place with a veranda on the right as you come to the end of Faust.

I don't recall (intentionally) ever going down a black in Flaine, so don't know this, I'm afraid!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I've stayed in the Odalys which is even further up that way. There's a cat track you can ski down (assuming snow) to get to the lifts, but then it's a bus back up (there is also the bus down especially for beginners of if there isn't good snow cover). The supermarket we went to was also down that way, so at the end of the day we would send 1 person back up with the skis on the bus and someone else would do a supermarket sweep and then get the bus back up with the shopping. All seemed to work out reasonably well for us. There were also restaurants nearby so we didn't need to get down to the village for that.
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Re: blacks in Flaine/GM- Only tackle diamant noir if you are a very confident/experienced skier. It was unpisted with massive hard packed moguls when some of my family skied it last Easter. We saw a bad accident and someone stretchered off.

Some of the blacks in Les Carroz and Samoens are pisted. Eg. Veroce in Les Carroz but that is more like a steep red.


Last edited by You'll need to Register first of course. on Mon 4-12-17 14:20; edited 1 time in total
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Thanks to both of you, great information there. Thanks for the heads up on which bars for apres ski. We like to finish the day skiing and go for a beer, then eat, and bed early , so apres ski for us is usually done as we come off the mountain. We will manage fine with the supermarkets .
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
During the day the free resort bus stops right outside the Helios & Eos apartments (every 15 mins) and in the evenings there is a small fleet of free "navettes" (i.e. minibus!) operated by P&V to ferry residents to and from the resort centre. They will also come and pick you up from your restaurant/bar like a taxi service, if you call them. Having said that, it's not really all that far to/from Flaine Foret on foot from there (quite a nice walk as long as the weather's okay) and they are ski in/ski out most of the time. We were in Eos, first week of Easter this year and despite near-tropical temperatures and ever-receding snow, the resort did a heroic job of keeping the runs and lifts to/from those apartments open. They finally succumbed on the day we were leaving and closed the ski in/ski out.

Prices for beer etc are no worse than most French Alps resorts (and considerably better than some!).

I have no direct experience of transfers, as we've driven on previous visits, but brother-in-law used Go Massif multiple times with no complaints.
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We haven't been to Flaine since 2012 but drove there most years from 2000 until then. Your accomodation was built later than the older and more basic apartment blocks in Flaine Foret but it is further out of "town" although I believe it to be self-contained with a mini market. It's certainly more upmarket with pool etc. However it's a reasonable walk from the Spar and other shops in the centre of Foret, which we always used and sometimes went in the bars near there. You are also further out from the main lift system, which is easily walkable from the older apt. blocks (but you have a local access lift). If you want the "nicer" accomodation then you're probably in the right place.

I think the blacks tend to be left unpisted but I'm not really that interested in blacks. The blues and reds are fabulous imv.
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Re blacks, depends on the snow conditions and time of year, but if you can face some moguls, the black down into Gers and the Auberge a 5 min pole from the bottom, is well worth the effort. It's like a secret hideaway in a beautiful location far from the beaten track...
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Thanks Perty, I can handle some moguls, but a huge long mogul feild of high moguls would test me. If it's not to steep I can manage but very steep with very high moguls that are hard packed and icy freak me a bit. I can do them but lets just say I get a tad over cautious and end up standing looking for turning spots more often than I would like to. Practice on a shorter spot would suit nicely.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
We went to Flaine in March/April 2014 and 2015, and both times hired a car from the Swiss side of Geneva airport. I looked into transfers, and recall that the cost for four people was about the same as a week's car hire including fuel and parking in Flaine. One advantage of having a car is you can stop off at the supermarket in Balme (just as you come off the autoroute before heading up out of the valley) which is much larger and cheaper than the Flaine supermarkets.
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@biddpyat, Just a note about the blacks, the GM has a habit of grooming the top part and then leaving the rest as moguls, you often meet people walking back up them.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
There is a supermarket within the Hellios complex.

Your accommodation will be very nice. We stayed next door (last Christmas) in the Eos which I believe is a 4 star, where I think Hellios is a 5 star.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Zorrac wrote:
@biddpyat, Just a note about the blacks, the GM has a habit of grooming the top part and then leaving the rest as moguls, you often meet people walking back up them.
The walk of shame so! My DH laughs at me because I have a stubborn nature that will force me not to give up. So I hate those suprises, however most of the hesitation is in my head, and I can do them, just slow..... Laughing. I don't mind the ones that are big and nice and round, but when the gaps are narrow and the moguls high, I get iffy.
We have decided to hire a car, it is 210 euro swiss side, and 84 euro to park in the hotel for four days. We will indeed do a super market shop on the way, and it also means that perhaps we can drive to another resort if we find flaine not to our liking. ( but with only four days I am sure there is lots for us) . With the off piste, I wouldn't be brilliant at it, but can faff about between runs or on soft snow, wouldn't be into massive steep deeps, with lots of rock and jumps. Are there areas we can pootle about? or do you have to have a guide everywhere? I often get off pistes and cut through areas if you know what I mean, and move from one piste to another, but don't carry a kit etc... I have often come down runs along the lift line, ( when I have looked as we go up) and stuff like that but have not yet spent a whole day off piste.. Thanks folks for all your replies they are helping me build a plan for our trip.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Quote:

Are there areas we can pootle about?

Take a look at the areas between the pistes as you are going up the lifts, particularly the Tetes des Verds and Dessert Blanc chairs. If there is sufficient snow those areas can be fun and you are never too far from a piste. HOWEVER, you must be aware that the Flaine bowl has a lot of deep holes and although these may appear to be filled with snow it is still very easy to fall into them. I have seen numerous people being rescued from these holes and I suspect that some of them did not live to tell the tale. Following someone else's tracks is no guarantee of safety - that person may be much lighter than you are may have weakened the snow bridge. Another interesting area in the bowl is off to the left of Mephisto as you're coming down it, but again there are holes.

There are 2 black runs in the bowl, Daimant Noir (mentioned above) and Agate. The latter is not normally open until about February because it needs a lot of snow to make it skiable. Neither of them are ever pisted but both have quite gentle starts before getting more difficult.

Helios is a great place to stay but make sure you take advantage of the navette in the evening to get into town and back again - take the telephone number of the driver with you so you can call him for a pick up.
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Thanks Chris, I don't fancy falling into any holes, Shocked
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@biddpyat, there are lots of 'interesting' displays in the waiting area for the DMC lift that make you realise what risks you take in terms of the holes........
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yeah, its all limestone with big holes in it. Its a great area, but you need to be careful when venturing off piste.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I think I will leave the off piste , lol.
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If your accommodation is near Hameau de Flaine I think that there is a skiable track and chairlift to get you to the centre. You will need Navette back.
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