Why Flaine Ski Resort?
- Located at the heart of the vast Grand Massif ski area
- Doorstep skiing with excellent snow records
- Great car-free ski resort for families
- All amenities and services close by
- Close proximity to Geneva Airport
Flaine is a family friendly car-free resort, with all the shops, services and amenities grouped together just a stone’s throw from all accommodation. For your convenience, there is also a free resort shuttle bus service. Flaine is the largest of the Grand Massif ski villages and is in continuous renewal and expansion. This lively resort at 1600m already attracts lots of ski enthusiasts and has become even more sought after during recent years thanks to the construction of more high quality, modern and stylish residences.
Flaine ski resort is part of one of the largest skiing areas in France: the Grand Massif. With one of the best snow records in the French Alps (and the most snow-sure), Flaine is very often called the ‘Big Snowy Bowl’. Because of this, skiers and snowboarders will enjoy excellent ski conditions all winter, along with stunning scenery.
Flaine is conveniently close to Geneva airport (1 hour 15 minutes by car) and with snow on the doorstep of most accommodation, Flaine is also described as a ‘Fly-in, Ski-out resort’. Flaine is one of the most easily accessible resorts in the French Alps.
Flaine and the Grand Massif are the first ski area in the world (as at 2017) to bear the Green Globe certification; recognition of the efforts made by companies and organisations that are committed to sustainable tourism.
‘Le Flaine Historique’ was awarded the "20th Century Heritage" label by the French Minister of Culture. Flaine’s eucumenical chapel is classified as "Historic
Monuments". "Le Flaine" and "Bételgeuse" buildings are listed on the "Supplementary Inventory of Historic Monuments in France".
FLAINE SKI AREA
The resort of Flaine is nestled in the peaks of the 5th largest interconnected ski area in France, Grand Massif, with 265km of slopes which are carefully maintained and suitable for all abilities and levels, especially beginners and intermediates. This impressive lift-linked ski area is formed of 5 ski resorts:
- Morillon/Morillon 1100
- Les Carroz d'Araches
- Sixt fer a Cheval
At an altitude of 2500m and facing Mont Blanc, the Grand Massif ski area is lucky to be blessed with one of the best snow records in the whole of the French Alps. Flaine's altitude and geographical location guarantee exceptional snow coverage until the end of the winter season in 2,500m of height.
There are plenty of wide and open snowy boulevards, moguls and sunny cruising motorways - offering excellent skiing and snowboarding for all. The tree-lined pistes of Flaine are also perfect on bad weather days, offering shelter and much better visibility when the snow really starts to fall.
From Flaine, you can access the highest point of the Grand Massif ski area by gondola, which takes you to Les Grandes Platieres at 2480m. From this point, you will be able to enjoy a wide series of runs from blue to black all going back down to Flaine. The most famous run from this point has to be the Cascades blue slope which is an impressive 14km long! This run will take you on an altitude drop of 1800m right down to the village of Sixt Fer-à-Cheval, with glorious scenery in the Ger Valley - not one single ski lift all the way down and the reward of seeing the frozen waterfalls at the bottom! At a relaxed pace, you should allow approximately 4 hours for the round trip. From Sixt the free shuttle bus will take you back to the main cable car in Samoens or Morillon – be sure to check the bus and lift closing times before you head off as we don’t want any stranded skiers!
Access to the Grand Massif ski area from Flaine is very easy via the 8-seater Grands Vans lift. This is a high-speed lift and so queues are very short. The blue Dolomie run will then start you off on your journey into Samöens, Morillon and Les Carroz.
In 1973, Flaine was the first French resort to install snowmakers. The innovations have continued to this day: snow factory, hill reservoir, new snowmakers…
Flaine is great for beginner and low-level skiers/snowboarders. Good nursery slopes are located in Flaine and the rest of the Grand Massif, making this an ideal ski resort for beginners and families with young children.
A few tips to get the most out of the Flaine beginner zones:
- Start off learning to ski on the Pré or Bissac pistes,
- Move on to the Mélèze green slope accessed via the Ballacha draglift
- Improve your technique by taking the Gèrats chairlift to get to the Balaken fun zone on the Opale green slope and ski on your first blue slope
- You can take chairlifts or even the Grandes Platières cable car to admire the view of Mont Blanc
There are 4 free ski lifts in Flaine: 3 covered magic carpets - Le Pré, Le Michalet and Le Bissac, as well as the Télébenne gondola lift.
There is an excellent range of blue slopes. Serpentine and Cristal are wide and gentle and great for progressing beginners to start practising their carving turns.
A must! Starting from the Grandes Platières, follow the 14km famous long blue Cascades piste and meet the unexpected landscapes bordering the Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval Nature Reserve. Created in 1994, it is the longest ski run in the Grand Massif. An elevation drop of 1700m separates the start of the run from its arrival in Sixt. Winding through alpine pasturelands and forests, the start has a panoramic view of the Mont Blanc peaks, then throughout the descent views emerge of the peaks around Sixt (the Fiz range, the Fer-à-Cheval cirque, the Pointe d’Anterne, the “Pas de Sales” passage and more). It is not uncommon to spot chamois or ibex from the piste as well which is a nice little bonus. From Sixt, you need to take a 20-minute bus to Samoens or Morillon and catch the lifts back up to Flaine.
Flaine is very good for intermediates, the majority of the slopes being blue and red. The challenging Faust red slope runs from the top station all the way back down into the resort, with a few short and fairly steep sections that are sure to get the adrenalin going!
Good blues include Tourmaline and Mephisto (blue verging on red).
Runs not be missed include the Fred red run and the Styx and Le Diamant Noir blacks. By taking the Aup de Véran gondola you will find the steep terrain below the Tête des Lindars at 2561m and from here you can cross Le Diamant Noir and take the long Almandine red which will take you back towards the village. Another great red from this sector is the Célestine run which takes you on a lovely winding, twisting and turning run through the forest and will bring you back right beside the village.
The semicircular Combe de Gers offers a great off-piste location for freeriders who love steep slopes, thrills and spills. The Grand Massif ski area overall is a huge playground for freeriders and off-piste thrill seekers. As always, for your complete safety and to get the very best out of the whole ski area we would strongly recommend always hiring a mountain guide when partaking in off-piste skiing.
Flaine Fun Zones
- ZE BALAKEN - a veritable family zone covering the entire Opale green run; a fun course to enjoy in the company of Balaken the octopus and his friends the Tootizz.
Access: Gérats chairlift
- ZE CROSS - a genuine boardercross on the Méphisto run. Fun route comprising moguls and banked turns. Have the thrill of your life, individually or in a group.
Access: Aup de Veran cable car
- ZE FOREST - it features a mix of black country and snowpark. The routes criss-cross, giving you the chance to take a new path as you continue down the run.
Access: Aup de Veran cable car or Bois skilift
- URBAN’Z - a protected and accessible zone dedicated to kids and beginners. This learning area, which is served by a covered moving walkway, allows you to discover woops and banked turns in a gentle slope.
Access: Beginner’s area of Pré
FLAINE RESORT RUNS
Flaine's bowl shape means that there are a plethora of pistes that run back to the resort. A few of these run through the forest for sheltered skiing. The pistes are blue and red so suitable for most levels of skier.
Snowboarders will enjoy the Grand Massif thanks to the variety and good snow record of the skiing domain. Throughout the Grand Massif, 3 snow parks are at the disposal of all snowboarders.
Flaine’s Ski Nordic is situated at 1844m at ‘Le Col de Pierre Carrée’. This cross-country skiing area is one of the highest in Europe, with the best snow cover in the French Alps. You can enjoy 5kms of marked tracks for skating and traditional cross-country skiing. The ‘Agy’ area, about 30 minutes from Flaine offers 30km of additional tracks. Pedestrians and snowshoe walkers can also enjoy 5km of marked footpaths.
The free shuttle bus provides easy access to the area and tickets are on sale locally.
FLAINE SNOW RECORD
Flaine has a high level of natural snowfall averaging close to 6m per season at resort level and 15m (annual average) at the top of the 2500m Grandes Platières, making this one of the snowiest skiable mountains in the Alps. One of the reasons the top of the mountain at 2500m is so snowy is that it is one of the highest points on the windward side of Mont Blanc. So this means that not only does it get the full force of storms moving in from the north-west but also Flaine benefits from its proximity to the mountain which forces the air to rise (on a more macro scale) and purge itself of extra moisture.
Flaine also has excellent snow preservation qualities which is partly because most of Flaine's slopes face north or north-west but also because of the ring of high mountains that surround the village. This partially protects the main bowl against the worst effects of mild west or south-westerly winds.
With thanks to Fraser Wilkin for the technical information