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La Clusaz

La Clusaz is a tradition Alpine resort situated in the heart of the Aravis mountains yet just under 1 hour from Geneva Airport.

220kms of marked piste are linked by an efficient network of 53 modern lifts covering a ski are ranging in height from 2600m down to 1100m all on what is perhaps one of the best value ski passes in The French Alps.

La Clusaz likes to think of itself as being laid back yet lively resort! As the village has developed with skiing since the 1950’s it has managed to maintain the original charming mountain character. The village has a wide range of shops, bars and restaurants. There is a stunning heated outdoor swimming pool for those who still have the energy after a day on the slopes.

 

The Skiing

The two resorts of La Clusaz and Le Grand Bornard for the Aravis ski area which is made up of 5 mountains and  53 lifts connecting 220kms of marked piste. With a 1500m difference in altitude the skiing here is fabulous. Also being one of the closest resorts to Geneva Airport, La Clusaz is an ideal resort for short ski breaks. The ski area is open from mid December right through to the end of April. !90 snnow cannons ensure that the lower runs remain open all season.

The area is now just about downhill skiing and snowboarding; they have developed the Scandinavian art of Ski Joering which involves being pulled along by a horse – shorter skis are worn as you hang onto a long bridal and carve your way though the pastures; The Radikal Mountain Event brings together the World’s craziest extreme skiers for the annual extreme ski contest; Le Grand Bornard is the French Alpine home to adaptive skiing for the disabled with many lifts able to transport the new range of sit skis that are opening up the slopes and joys of skiing to everyone no matter what their respective disabilities are. Cross country skiers – so often forgotten about in the larger French resorts have over 150 kms of prepared tracks in two separate Nordic ski areas and 1 dedicated Nordic ski school

Beginners

Under the careful eye of the ski school beginners will soon master the art of turning and more importantly stopping. This will allow them to explore the gentler slopes around Cret du Merle above La Clusaz, as well as taking the bubble lift up Beaugard to head over to Manigod and Belvedere.

Intermediates

Take the Beaugard Bubble lift then ski down toward sCroix Fry; a seris of lifts brings you out at The Tete de Cabeau. Some gentle blue runs then open up the Domaine de Merdassier. This all provides a great warm up before tackling the red runs on Belvedere.


The Aiguille massif opens up long red and blu runs from 2300 m back down to Combe des Juments or La Clusaz. Just below Cote 2000; take the red piste Fernuy down to La Balme. Here take the lifts up to either Col de La Barme or Torchere – exileratting wilderness skiing that intermediates can revel in on marked pistes! To get home either the new Fernuy bubble lift back to Cote 2000 or there are a choice of 2 wooded green runs from La Balme right back to the heart of La Clusaz.

Unique to la Clusaz is moonlit skiing on the Crete du Merle slopes – open on clear full moon evenings, ski by the light of the moonlight between 9pm and 1am – a wonderful experience with DJs and parties to help you through the evening!

Take a day or two to explore the Grand Bornard ski area. Well worth the short bus trip from La Clusaz.

Advanced

Surprisingly advanced skiers and boarders are well catered for in the Aravis ski area. Each of the 5 massifs have technically difficult black runs as well as shoots and gullies where fresh tracks can be found well days after the last snowfall! Start on Beaugard with a fast run down La Neve – jump on the drag back up to the top then it’s La Noire back down to Champ Giguet. We’d head back up Beaugard then over to Croix Fry to check out any off piste away from the Crete Blanche or Tete de Cabeau lifts.  Then use the blues down to Col de Merdassier (quick coffee in L’Etale first!). The Grand Chamois drag opens up some steep terrain of fto the right, or head left down the black before picking up the lifts to Belvedere. From Belvedere there are a choice of eiher a red or a steep black which connects eventually into the Aiguille sector.

 

The Aiguile sector has primarily reds and blues runs , but don’t miss out La Mur Edgar – it’s not called Edgars wall for nothing short but steep! Jump on the Aiguille quad chair to the summit then head into Combe du Fernuy – either follow the black all the way down to La Balme or head right for some great freeride terrain.

At La Balme there are 2 upper combes that have to be explored – take the quad to Col de Balme at 2477m – two red pistes make there way down either side of the combe, the off piste under the chairlift is fabulous – take care not to face plant or suffer the consequence of abuse from the chairlift! Torchere the combe to the right of La Balmeis accessed by a steep drag. Here a choice of two reds back to the bottom of the drag or a long steep knraly black which eventually ends up down at the bottom of La Balme beckon.

If you are prepared to hike then there are endless off piste possibilities. Don’t neglect Grand Bornand – even though it is a short bus ride away it is well worth a day to explore.

Le Grand Bornand

The Grand Bornand is definitely worth the short ski bus ride for intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders. The ski bus stops in the original Grand Bornand village at 1000m 

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