Winter can be a miserable time, as the days get shorter and the rain barely seems to break. It’s enough to make you want to curl up and wait for spring – but don’t start hibernating just yet! One of the best ways to beat the blues is to head into the mountains, where resorts such as Flaine offer a great time for skiers and non-skiers alike.
Read on for a guide to the resort – by the end, you’ll be excited enough to book your flights to Geneva airport, transfer to the resort and get your ski on right away!
One of the most important things about any winter getaway is snow quality – after all, it’s not worth the bother if you arrive to find disappointing grey slush! Well, you don’t need to worry about that in Flaine. The main bowl in which the resort sits boasts a great record, with high average snowfalls and favourable conditions granting great coverage well into April.
Still, some areas are better than others: coverage is better higher up, and good runs at different altitudes accommodate this. Snow can also be patchy further away from the main bowl, as piste grooming isn’t as intense away from the most popular areas.
Made up of several villages organised around a central bowl in the enormous Grand Massif area, Flaine boasts 265km of piste between 700 and 2,480m in altitude – a huge range, with runs descending all the way from the highest peak in the area, the Grand Platierés.
Flaine boasts its share of decent, challenging black runs, but as always the real action for experts is off-piste. Be careful, though – deceptive conditions higher up, especially on the Grand Platierés, mean you shouldn’t ever go off-piste up here without a guide.
At the other end of the spectrum, the resort caters well to beginners of all ages, with nursery areas and ski schools as well as some easy blues and greens. Best of all, there’s enough of these runs at different lengths to allow learners to test themselves and build their skills and confidence.
Flaine is perhaps best, however, for experienced but not expert skiers. The big open bowl lends itself to challenging, but not impossible, reds and blues, and the variety of slopes means you can access everything from long, winding cruises to relatively steep descents.
Standout Run: The Cascades
For those who like a long trek, however, the area’s standout attraction is the Cascades. One of the longest runs in the Alps, Cascades runs a shocking 14km all the way down to Sixt Fer-á-Cheval.
It’s a long journey and will certainly test your endurance, but you’re rewarded with beautiful views as you wind your way down – and with a well-earned sense of accomplishment.
Activities for Non-Skiers
While it was designed and built around winter sports, Flaine has a lot more to offer now, as it’s expanded to meet growing demand. If you want to get out into the mountains, snowshoeing and dog-sledding are great ways to see the sights – especially on crisp and clear sunny days.
When you want to relax, though, you can head to the pool and spa, where you’ll be able to get pampered while staying warm and dry. Bliss.
Food and Drink
No resort would be worth the visit without great après-ski, and while Flaine might not be as lively as some others, it still punches above its weight when it comes to food and fun.
There’s a decent number of restaurants in the various villages, and most are worth a try. Brasserie Les Cimes and Chez Pierrot pizzeria both come recommended, while the area’s mountain restaurants offer a unique experience. It’s quite a way out, but you should absolutely make the journey to the Gite du Lac de Gers. Just make sure you leave yourself plenty of time, as the only way back is to ski.
Top Tip: To avoid disappointment, book in advance for any restaurant, whether it’s up in the mountains or down in the village. Despite the range of choice, all of these can get busy.
As always, there’s a mix of quiet and lively pubs and bars in the area. The Hôtel Terminal Neige in the main village is perfect for a quiet drink, with its large windows offering great views and a trendy, easygoing atmosphere.
The other villages, meanwhile, are a little livelier, with Flaine Foret’s Flying Dutchman and Flaine Forum’s White Pub both recommended for a fun night.
Where to Stay
Hôtel LAPIAZ de Flaine – Just 200 yards from the ski school, this hotel is well located, with a terrace that lets you look out over the snow-covered area. A spa, wellness centre and hot tub ensure you can kick back and relax, while continental and buffet breakfasts give you energy for the slopes.
B&B Chateau Hameau de Flaine – Each room here comes with a private bathroom, and a continental breakfast is again provided in this well-placed B&B. It’s also close to an 18-hole golf course, providing something to do outside of mountain sports.
How to Get There
Flights from the UK to Geneva Airport are affordable all year round. Prices climb in the busy season and around school holidays, but the range of airlines flying the route keep prices competitive.
Once you’ve landed, take a Geneva airport transferstraight to the resort without any hassle. The journey takes a little over an hour and a half, and you’ll want to make it as comfortable and stress-free as possible.
- UK to GVA Flight Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- GVA to Flaine Distance: 94 kilometres
- Shuttle Direct Transfer Time: 1 hour 32 minutes
About Shuttle Direct
We at Shuttle Direct are proud to be Europe and North Africa’s best rated shuttle operator. When you need a quick and easy Geneva airport transfer, look no further: our drivers are experienced and friendly, and we’ll get you where you need to go on time and without fuss.