Our Hidden Gems – Samoëns, France

Categories France

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Sitting pretty up in the Savoy region in the midst of a glacial valley is a ski area that by the end of this blog you will be dying to try. I’m talking about the village of Samoëns.

In comparison to its more notable Grand Massif neighbour, Flaine, Samoëns is an attractive, more traditional Alpine resort with still-strong old market traditions. The resort doesn’t sit that high up so it’s not always deep in the thick of a winter wonderland (it’s only at 720m altitude) but this is no reason to fear, the Red Devil gondola will soon whisk you away to the main ski area, with variety and choice to spoil all grades of skier.  And how – there are over 260km of pistes with about 25 km of the tough black stuff,  185 km of medium, and 50km of easy runs to cater for all beginners and beyond.  And you can make your way across it all with 70 mountain lifts.

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The village has consciously maintained its Alpine charm – it even has the honour of being an official historical monument. Away from the slopes, if you’re looking for clubs and pubs, this is not the place for that. Instead, you’ll find plenty of restaurants serving a host of excellent local dishes.

From the centre of the resort, the Grand Massif Express fires you directly up to the 1600 plateau in just eight minutes. From here skiers and boarders, ranging from passable to perfect in ability, will be able to begin their assault on a variety on runs. The skiing can be superb with highlights including the 14km long blue Piste de Cascades through to Sixt, and the rarely pisted, rarely crowded black Styx run in the Combe de Gers sector.

Crucially for mixed parties, boarders need not be wary. Flat drags part-way through runs are rare in Samoëns and the Grand Massif, but thankfully tree-runs, natural kickers and scope for off-piste tomfoolery are not.

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It’d be remiss not to mention the near-mythical Vallee Blanche runs which traverse descents of up to 25km back into the valley. Not something to be missed.

So now you know, Samoëns is a marvel. The skiing will keep you on your toes with variety day after day, Geneva’s around an hour or so away and we didn’t even mention that the kids will remain entertained and catered for. Come see for yourself.

These posts have been written by one (or several) of the Ski-buzz team.

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