Samoëns is a beautiful Savoie village that offers easy access to the huge Grand Massif ski area with a large beginners area and plenty of intermediate cruising. Set amidst forests and nestling at the foot of the imposing mount Criou, the delightful resort has remained wonderfully unspoilt in spite of the development of both summer and winter tourism. The many traditional bars and restaurants in Samoëns add to the authentic French atmosphere.
At the heart of the picturesque Giffre Valley, Samoëns is only a 20 minute drive from the motorway exit near the TGV train station of Cluses, and only 80km from Geneva airport, making your ski holidays in Samoëns easily accessible and with a short transfer time. The traffic free centre with is full of narrow streets, an old stone fountain, church, an ancient linden tree and many other traditional buildings and each Wednesday there’s a market in the square.
Although Samoëns is at an altitude of 720m, the ski area actually starts at Samoëns 1600m. There’s a large beginners’ area at Samoëns 1600, which is ideal for those who are just starting out on their skis or snowboard. A free shuttle bus operates around Samoëns and offers rides to the slopes at Morillon and Sixt every 20 minutes. Non-ski activities in Samoens village include dogsledding, indoor climbing and skating as well as some more unusual activities such as archery in the forest, caving, ice climbing or diving under ice!
Intermediates skiers and snowboarders will enjoy the 49 red pistes and 15 black pistes that are part of the Grand Massif’s extensive intermediate slopes and large lift network. There’s also more testing terrain for experts with the steep north-facing mogul slopes from the Tête des Saix, the central point of the entire Grand Massif system, down to Samoëns particularly enjoyable. There’s also extensive off-piste to explore with a Guide.
One of the highlights of this ski area is the Les Cascades run. This 14km long piste takes you from the summit of Les Grandes Platières at 2,500m down to the village of Sixt 900m further down the mountainside. This great descent through Alpine meadows and forests is one of the finest ski slopes in the Alps. The piste finishes on the edge of the Sixt Fer-à-Cheval Nature Reserve where it’s not unusual to come across mountain goats and where you are surrounded breathtaking views.
The slopes above Samoëns face due north, so above 1600 the snow is fairly reliable. Thanks to its geographical location, the Grand Massif enjoys abundant, regular snowfalls throughout the season, and the area is well known for its snow quality in spring. Some 80% of the slopes are north facing, allowing the snow to lie for longer and remain in good condition. For those looking for a charming ski resort full of character and with access to extensive and varied ski slopes, then Samoëns is an outstanding choice for a ski holiday.