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A snowHead
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Location: snowHeadLand
Resort: La Clusaz

Country: France

Domain: Massif des Aravis (La Clusaz/Grand Bornand)

Author: homphomp

Date: 13 March 2006 to 17 March 2006

Our holiday: A quick grab at a few days time for a whole week away so this was a four night/five day skiing trip. We're strong on piste skiers looking for a challenge and went to La Clusaz as somewhere new we've never been before.

Website : and

Basics : Close to Geneva airport and with fairly easy access from the motorway network. We drove down with an overnight stop south of Dijon, set off early next morning and were on the slopes by 10:30. The road up from the A40 is a bit of a winding, narrow affair....must admit to finding it hard work!

Lift system : Lifts generally ok, the area has one of the most comfortable chair lifts I've sat on! The link between the two halves of the Aravis area was poor. The bus went only hourly between the La Clusaz gare routiers (which is a considerable trek from the slopes) & Grand Bornand lifts. There was nothing to tell you where to catch the bus or what time it left at the La Clusaz end resulting in us wasting almost an hour at each end of the day struggling between one resort and the other. Didn't bother on the other days, which was a shame as the skiing at GB seemed to be pretty good.

The terrain : We were impressed, there were some seriously challenging reds and blacks, more than enough to keep us happy even if we'd been there a full week. We started each day with a blast down the red run from the top of the Etale telepherique....see comments on accommodation....which was a great way to start the day. The runs on the Balme are excellent. The only downside to the resort is that the absolutely spectacular views (and they really were!) triggered off Mr HH vertigo to a massive extent and he spent much of the time trying to conquer his fear as well as the slopes themselves. Piste network signing and the piste map leave much to be desired!

The snow : Utterly fantastic, there had been some massive dumps in the couple of weeks before our arrival, the off piste was getting tracked but generally conditions were excellent. Continuous blazing sunshine added to the pleasure but was beginning to damage the heavier used lower slopes by the end of the trip.

Off-piste : We don't really do off piste but from the slopes it looked like there were masses of easily accessible off piste areas....we saw several hardy groups treking away up the peaks so I assume there was something out there well worth the effort! Scarily there were a couple of signed red runs that petered out into off piste sections....interesting for us, scary for some people!

The resort : La Clusaz has a pleasant town centre with a number of decent restaurants and the usual resort attractions. The accommodation seems to be very spread out and the navette stops running early evening making the trek to town from the outlying areas a pain and we didn't spend a lot of time in the centre as a result.

Food : We didn't have a bad meal anywhere, which is a real result! My memory isn't what it was so I can't remember the names of the restaurants we ate in but we never went anywhere twice and the food was excellent all over the mountain and in the resort centre.

Accommodation : We stayed in the Hotel U'Fredy which is located only four steps away from the Etale telepherique and you could ski back to the door. The downside would be that the only choice of run from the Etale is an unpisted black or a steepish but beautifully pisted red....not a good choice for those who like to warm up on a blue run! The hotel was also a long, long, long uphill walk out of town....evening meals were followed by a 40 minute walk home as the navette stops early evening. That said the food at the U'Fredy is very good so it's a good choice for half board (we don't do HB due to being awkward fussy eaters!!) The hotel is comfortable with a nice bar and friendy management and was good value.

Costs: We paid 72 euros a night for two people B&B, excellent value for a ski to door hotel. Five day lift pass was only 116 euros per person for the full area - excellent value! As for food, 2 Main courses, 1/2 pichet of plonk and two coffees on the mountain ran in at 35 to 40 euros, evening meal (two courses, decent wine, coffees) were 50 to 70 euros. We felt that these prices (comparable with the mega resorts) were a bit steep for a less well known resort.

Conclusion: We enjoyed our stay and will certainly be going back at some point, particularly when we can try some of that off piste that looked such fun. Highly recommended as an alternative to the usual French mega resorts.

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