Flaine has pros and cons for first time skiers. It does offer the typical convenience of French purpose-built ski resorts of season-long, snow-sure nursery slopes right next to accommodation, but these are also at the base of the slopes through which all the other skiers and boarders pass en route back to the resort. The lift pass cost is among Europe’s most expensive because this is one of the world’s biggest resorts, but there are four completely free ski lifts for beginners - the Bissac drag lift and ski tow, the Flaine Forum bucket lift and Le Pre chairlift,so you may not have to buy a lift ticket at all for your first few days. There are also discounted rates for families buying tickets together (see Families section). So all in all the pros have it.
Intermediates have the most to enjoy of the hundreds of kilometres of easy and moderate runs that drop in to the Flaine bowl or continue for miles radiating out to the surrounding villages. One such is the 14km long, blue 'Cascades' run that takes you from the summit of the 'Grandes Platieres' to the foot of the Sixt Fer a Cheval waterfall, one of the world’s longest runs. You follow the 'Cascades' run through the forest, on the edge of the Sixt Fer a Cheval Natural Reserve, so look out for ibex or marmots on the way.
The return to the resort is via a free shuttle bus which takes skiers from the Sixt Fer a Cheval to the Samoens Grand Massif Express gondola back up to Flaine.
There’s a good range of advanced terrain for experts who certainly won’t get bored during a week or two’s stay in the Grand Massif. Styx is popularly regarded as the toughest run but Diamant Noir which descends from 2500m to 1800m above the resort is quite a challenge as you look in to the top part of this near vertical piste on to 'man-high' moguls.
La Combe to Gers is also worthy of note, accessed from the summit of the Grandes Platieres or the Col de Plate chairlift. Gers is a north facing, semi-circular bowl and the upper part of the slope is very steep. Due to the fact that much of the slope is in the shade, it usually guarantees excellent snow conditions throughout the season. The Gers chairlift takes you back to the Flaine.
The local mountain guides (+33(0)4 50 90 06 55) will be happy to take you on the best off piste routes, or ski touring or even on an excursion to one off the neighbouring areas, including the option to tackle the Vallee Blanche at Chamonix.
Snowboard / Freestyle Skiing
Flaine is a great choice for boarders with fast chairlifts accessing the snowbowl that surrounds the resort, meaning you can drop in and ride on or between the pistes.
There are three terrain parks in the Grand Massif but the biggest is the Flaine Jampark Pro in the Aujon sector which is recommended for ‘competent’ freestylers only. It features a quarter pipe, tables, rails and a boardercross course.
Events, parties and barbecues on the slopes are organised there regularly and it even has its own website: http://www.jampark.com
Although not a major cross country ski destination, Flaine does none-the-less offer 13km of marked Nordic trails with the benefit of altitude, 1844m up at the Col de Pierre Carree. This can be reached by a free ski bus, here you’re welcome to enjoy cross country skiing in the skating or classic style. It is the highest cross-country area with the best snow cover in the Alps. In addition there’s a larger cross country ski area at Agy, 30 minutes away, which has 30km of tracks.
Average Snow And Weather Conditions
Flaine has an extremely good snowfall reputation, benefitting both from its high altitude and its proximity to Mont Blanc’s positive influence on colder weather.
So the resort typically closes each April with deep snow still lying all around and even publishes figures which show it has had 2-4 metres of snow lying at 2500m when it has closed over the past few seasons.
To view all of the accommodation available in Flaine, please click here.