A good choice for beginners, with high quality ski school options in an unintimidating atmosphere, in a ski resort with a friendly ambience and with high value services. In short, a better and more affordable place to learn in than most of the better known resorts.
There are nursery slopes in the village and up on the plateau d’Arrondaz at 2200m, where dedicated lifts serve special beginner slopes. Once you’re confident at turning and stopping, there are lovely green trails winding down from the plateau back to the village through the trees, and these are accessed by the fast new gondola, so it’s as close to ideal as you can get really.
Three quarters of the trails at Valfréjus are of intermediate standard, with a dozen long blues and reds, indeed the longest is an impressive 9.9km (over seven miles). There’s a great variety of terrain with the higher slopes well above the tree line providing open snowy slopes and fast cruising trails, the lower runs directly above the resort carved through the forest providing some more technical challenges.
The regional ‘Ski Pass Maurienne Sans Frontiere’ ticket allows you to ski at any of about 20 neighbouring ski areas in the Maurienne Valley, some easily accessible by bus, others better to reach by car. The closest ski areas are La Norma and Aussois.
Valfrejus does have rather limited on-piste terrain for experts with 9km of runs, divided in to four trails, the most difficult usually the Pigniers run. There is also lots of potential for off piste skiing and ski touring, local mountain guide Bruno Cobus (+33 (0)6 74 07 43 60) will be happy to take you to the best of this during your stay.
Valfrejus is quite a good base for visiting other resorts nearby. As well as Maurienne Valley, several other ski centres can be included in an area lift pass: a long gondola link from Orelle (20 minutes drive away) allows you a ‘back way’ in to the Three Valleys at Val Thorens, the cult off-piste ski haven on Bonneval-sur-Arc at the head of the valley, or pop through the Frejus tunnel a quarter of an hour away and you are in the Italian resort of Bardonecchia, a 2006 Turin Olympic venue, and the ‘Milky Way’ resorts of Sauze d’Oulx and Sestriere are not much further away. You do really need to have a car to easily access all this though.
Snowboard / Freestyle Skiing
Boarders will enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of Valfréjus and the high speed new gondola and six-seater chairlift to speed their ascent to the powder fields at the top of the area for great open freeriding terrain, or bouncing through the trees on the lower slopes. Freestyle skiers and snowboarders have a small terrain park to enjoy with a number of terrain features although no regular half pipe.
Cross country skiing is not a major attraction at Valfréjus which has just one easy 2km loop locally. However it is a big draw in the wider Maurienne Valley where the beautiful scenery is filled with trails both through the forests and on the altitude slopes above.
The French National Nordic training centre at Bessans is a little way further up the valley. Here you will find state of the art training facilities, including a biathlon centre, on a wide plateau that is one of the most snowsure in the Alps.
Valfrejus Average Snow And Weather Conditions
Valfréjus is at a relatively snowsure 1450m although at the start and end of the season coverage may be limited at resort level. The slopes do rise high above however and there’s extensive snowmaking on key routes between the mid-station plateau at 2200m and the resort itself so top-to-bottom skiing is normally guaranteed all season, so long as it does not get exceptionally warm, when cover would be a problem here as it would be at any resort in the Alps.