Flaine – a hidden secret in the French Alps
Flaine is known by few as a hidden secret of the French Alps and after visiting you will soon understand why. As they say: beauty is only skin deep, and once you see past the unsightly structure of the resort’s buildings, which are in fact listed historical monuments and protected buildings and head up the vast lift system you will soon see why.
Flaine is located in the Grand Massif ski area which is under 2hrs away from Geneva. The Grand Massif hosts 267km of piste which is accessible and enjoyable for all ages and all abilities! The variety of runs here is huge, you can choose to head down challenging tree runs, narrow steep reds and blacks which will push the most experienced skier or enjoy wide cruiser runs such as Tourmaline blue that descends from the top of Grands Vans (first 8seater high speed chair lift in Europe!) back down into resort, a great first run of the day to use as a warm up, as recommended by Christophe Boujon, the head of Ecole de Ski Francais in Flaine.
For more experienced skiers, head up Les Grandes Platieres at 2480m with super views over the Mont Blanc, a perfect place to stop for that family photo snap or a bite of lunch! Then descend down one of the aptly named reds runs that are known more for their short step sections rather than overall difficulty. “Faust” is great carving territory, or take a warm up down the easy blue “Sepentine” before dropping down “Lucifer”: a red run which feeds back onto a medium blue to allow you to catch your breath back before heading back to resort!
The Grand Massif itself is connected to the neighbouring resorts of Les Carroz, Samoens, Morillon and Sixt. All offering fantastic trees runs to hide in during bad weather days and exceptional off piste opportunities to challenge even the most experienced of skier. One run I would definitely recommend is the “Cascades” blue which starts at the top of Les Grandes Platieres at 2480m and drops through some beautiful scenery, with the top of the run offering wide, clear and effortless skiing and dropping through the trees all the way down into Sixt at 760m, an impressive 14km of piste and 1720m decent, the Cascades gets its name from its waterfall like feel.
As well as the exception ski area Flaine also has one of the best snow records in the French Alps, its bowl – like structure catches and holds the snow, offering some of the most consistent piste conditions available! Flaine really is underestimated by many skiers due to its architecture, but beyond that is some of the best skiing in France!