Grand Massif, France
The Grand Massif ski resort was created in 1980 following the amalgamation of five ski resorts: Samoens, Les Carroz d’Araches, Morillon, Sixt-fer-a-Cheval, and the Flaine bowl resort. Grand Massif is the fourth biggest ski resort in France and it is located very close to Geneva. The ski season runs from mid-December until the end of April.
Le Grand Massif has three snow parks which offer various opportunities for skiers and snowboarders. Away from the slopes, visitors can enjoy a natural ice-skating rink, snowshoeing, an ice-driving school, swimming, and visits to the beautiful concert hall. There are also numerous bars, cafes, and restaurants.
The resort offers two different kinds of ski pass. The Grand Massif ski pass allows you to access all 265 kilometres of ski pistes, or you can get an individual resort ski pass, which means you can only use the pistes located within that resort.
How to get there
Since it is one of the largest and most popular ski resorts in the world, transport links to Le Grand Massif ski resort are very good.
- By air: The nearest international airport is Geneva in Switzerland, which is just 59 miles away. Flights from London to Geneva cost from just £35 return if booked well in advance. Upon arrival at Geneva airport, you have the option of hiring a car to drive to Le Grand Massif or taking the ski-bus.
- By train: The nearest train station to Le Grand Massif is Cluses, which is 37 kilometres away. Cluses is served by the TGV so you can get there from London, Paris, and other major European cities. From Cluses you will need to either hire a car or take a taxi to the ski resort. Unfortunately, TGV services to Cluses only run at the weekends, so if you are travelling during the week you will need to take a train to Annecy and then a coach transfer to Cluses.
- By car: From Geneva, you should take the A40 motorway towards Chamonix and exit at Cluses. You should then follow signs towards Sallanches and head towards the Grand Massif ski resort. From Lyon (3 hours away), take the A41 motorway towards Geneva before transferring to the A40 towards Chamonix. It is possible to drive the entire way from Paris by following signs towards the south and Lyon but this will take around eight and a half hours.
- By ski-bus: There is a ski-bus directly linking Geneva airport and Le Grand Massif ski resort. The journey takes approximately one and a half hours. The contact number for the company that runs this ski-bus service is +33 450 536 397.
Who does it cater for?
The advantage of having five different ski resorts joined together is that there is something for everyone. Flaine is a modern resort designed specifically for skiing and snowboarding, whilst Morillon and Sixt Fer a Cheval are more traditional towns which offer a variety of off-piste activities. 97 of the 134 pistes at Le Grand Massif are designed for beginners and intermediate skiers. However, there are also 15 black runs and nearly 100 kilometres of cross-country ski trails which will appeal to the more experienced and adventurous skier.
There are several ski schools in Le Grand Massif but the largest is the Samoens ski school. It offers ski lessons for adults, children, and large school groups, and also provides the option of private one-on-one lessons to make you feel more at ease. For further information on lesson costs and online booking, please click here.
There is a wide range of accommodation available for tourists.
- Hotels: There are hotels located in all five of the resorts that make up the Grand Massif area and prices start at €30 (£25) but may rise to €88 (£74) for a double room per night. For further information on the hotels available at this resort, please click here.
- Apartments and Chalets: There are over 60 chalets and apartments available to rent in the Grand Massif ski resort, ranging from the reasonably-priced to the thoroughly luxurious. For smaller, more basic apartments you can expect to pay €200 (£170) for a stay of a week. For larger, more luxurious chalets, prices can rise to €2,000 (£1,700) for a week’s rental. For further information on all the apartments and chalets available, please click here.
Le Grand Massif ski resort offers 134 skiable pistes spread out over 260 kilometres of trails. There are 16 green runs (for beginners, often very wide), 59 blue runs (marked and perfect for beginners and improvers), 47 red runs (for intermediate and experienced skiers) and 15 black runs (often steep and unmarked).
The resort has over 75 ski lifts meaning that it has an uphill capacity of 74,500 people per hour. There are numerous snow cannons located around the resort to ensure that there is sufficient snow cover for a fantastic skiing experience.
- 265km Downhill Pistes
- 96km Cross Country trails
- 78 Ski Lifts
- 1,780m Max Vertical
- 2,500m Highest Lift
- 720-1,600m Resort Altitude
- 15km Longest Run