© OT Samoëns
One of France’s best-kept secrets, Samoëns is quickly becoming one of hottest winter destinations, particularly for families. We’ve been in touch with Louise from the highly reputed ZigZag Ski School in Samoëns, who has collated her top tips for getting the most from your time in the area.
A gorgeous medieval village within the expansive Grand Massif ski area, Samoëns is conveniently located just an hour’s drive from Geneva airport. With incredibly easy access and an authentic mountain village atmosphere, it’s surprising this stunning resort has flown under the radar for so long. While the ski resort has been operating for over 60 years, Samoëns’ ultra-convenient location, sunny weather and incredible range of skiing is now ticking all the right boxes for skiers from all over the world.
Samoëns village sits at 720m altitude within the beautiful Giffre Valley, which is a flat-bottomed farming valley with a brilliant East-West orientation, which means it's sunny all day long, even in deepest winter. Skiing in the resort starts at the Plateau de Saix at 1600m. The Grand Massif Express cable car carries skiers from the village up to a beginner zone, from where all the pistes depart.
The resort also links directly to the vast Grand Massif (France’s 4th largest ski area), offering direct access to Morillon, Les Carroz, Flaine and Sixt, which means there is an incredible 265km of pistes to enjoy.
© S Rickards / ZigZag Ski School
Depending on the size of your party and the level of luxury you’re looking for, you’ll find a wide range of accommodation on offer. Here are some of PowderBeds' favourite residences in Samoëns:
La Reine des Pres - situated just 300 metres from the Grand Massif Cable Car and five minutes from the village centre, this residence offers the perfect location, along with stunning chalet-style apartments and a lovely indoor swimming pool.
Les Chalets des Layssia – located right in the centre of the village, this stylish residence provides high-quality apartments with an excellent spa area.
Lagrange Vacances Les Fermes de Samoëns – ideal for those looking for budget-friendly accommodation, these great-value apartments are just a short shuttle bus ride from the resort centre and the ski lifts.
The pool area at Chalets des Layssia
If you have the option, we recommend visiting outside of school holiday periods in order to benefit from quiet pistes and discounted rates on pretty much everything. UK, French, Belgian and Swiss school holiday dates will impact how busy Samoëns is during specific periods, so ZigZag has prepared a European school holiday calendar to help you identify which periods will be busy and which will be quiet.
Eating & drinking
There’s a lovely range of dining options in Samoëns but be aware that booking is essential during peak periods.
On the slopes, there is a fantastic selection of restaurants, although many are tucked away, so if you’re new to the area we do recommend booking an instructor for a tour of the resort. It’ll help you to find your ski legs – and your new favourite lunch stops!
Back in the resort, while Samoëns isn't known for its wild nightlife, there are a selection of great bars and restaurants that offer the perfect excuse for a cosy après-ski wander through the medieval streets. Plus, if you wish to indulge in a unique local dining experience, we recommend a visit to the Ferme Dunoyer for a traditional Savoyard meal in a farmyard environment (you’ll dine with the cows in their winter barn!).
© OT Samoëns
For wine connoisseurs, Samoëns hosts the Semaine Vigneronne for one weekend in January (18th to 22nd 2018), an annual event where winemakers from all over France are invited to present their wines throughout a week of festivities, including dégustations, fine dining events, culinary workshops and more.
Skiing in Samoëns
We have so many favourite ski spots to recommend and we’re really excited to see the changes that this year’s incredible resort developments will bring, with millions currently being invested in the ski infrastructure in order to bring the resort up to world-class standard.
This winter we’re particularly excited about Samoëns’ new Coulouvrier chairlift – the longest of its kind in Europe! This technologically advanced new Doppelmayer lift will open up an entirely new ski area between Samoëns and Morillon, increasing the skiable terrain significantly and offering a whole new range of options for skiers and boarders.
The plateau at Samoëns 1600m is a fantastic place to learn for those new to skiing. Offering wide, gentle slopes with panoramic views over the entire valley, Samoëns’ beginner zone gets direct sunshine from dawn until dusk, making it a really enjoyable place to practise your first turns.
© ZigZag Ski School
For intermediates, there are a huge number of blue and red runs to try in the Grand Massif area, but we particularly recommend allocating a full day to ski the majestic 14km Piste de Cascades.
Advanced skiers will adore the range of off-piste options available in the Grand Massif. From the immense Gers Bowl, to Flaine’s lunar landscapes and the Narnia-like forest skiing of Les Carroz, there’s something for every level of off-piste ability and suited to all kinds of weather conditions.
© N Mine / ZigZag Ski School
ZigZag Ski School Samoëns
At ZigZag Ski School we love helping our customers get the most from every minute of their ski holiday here in Samoëns. Don’t hesitate to get in touch for local advice and recommendations to make your next ski holiday the best one yet!
Posted on Thursday 23 Nov 2017