La Clusaz in the Savoie region of the French Alps has a reputation for freestyle and freeride skiing that spans three decades, with many a champion hailing from this resort. If you and your kids have a passion for skiing or snowboarding and are looking to try some freestyle or freeride skiing, the charming alpine village of La Clusaz is definitely the place to start.
Snowboarding is very trendy right now and I must confess that most teenagers I know would much prefer to don the comfy snowboard boots in favour of the slightly more awkward boots we all associate with skiing. Although the whole idea of strapping both feet to one board might be some parents’ nightmare, if you fancy joining the kids in their pursuit of ‘cool’, you’ll be pleased to know that both boarders and skiers can enjoy the freestyle experience together in La Clusaz.
Places to Let Your Inner Freestyler Loose
La Clusaz Park by Columbia
This is the spot to go if you need inspiration and motivation to get your freestyle skiing or boarding going. Despite the fact that complete beginners will be better off just observing at this park, there are three difficulty levels (intermediate, confirmed and expert) that all meet the required safety standards. It all depends on the amount of snow there is, but there are always between two and four Slopestyle courses open. Through the duration of a season the lines created by the groomers have to adapt as the snowfall and weather dictate certain elements. This provides interest and means that the Big Air, rails and boxes are always changing throughout the season.
The La Clusaz Family Run by Columbia
I just love this place, because the whole family can have a wonderful day out trying new things and no one will feel out of their depth. If you or your kids are just starting out on the freestyle journey, this is the place to come. Designed by professional shapers, the Mini Loup section is a true learning zone. Kids tackling this mini course will soon grow in confidence and will realise the pleasure in freestyle skiing in no time.
This family run includes a green run that separates the two main sections, both of which have been carefully designed to allow everyone to develop their basic freestyle skills.
Boadercross on Beauregard
Ideal for families, the boardercross that has been recently improved offers the chance to experience a completely different type of skiing and boarding. Woops and table tops, as well as high turns, are the name of the game here, and the longer, more imaginative course provides loads of fun for everyone!
Secured Ski Touring
While downhill skiing offers a real adrenaline fix, ski touring is a lot of fun and a great way to explore the area you are staying in at a more sedate pace. The two trails in La Clusaz are only open during certain hours, so check before you decide to try it out.
You will need to hire the equipment, but there are several shops in the resort that have everything that you will need. The Beauregard is the beginner track and the perfect one if you are just introducing your kids to the sport. You can download the PDFs of the routes here.
How to Get to La Clusaz
Geneva Airport is definitely the most convenient airport to fly into if you’re holiday destination is La Clusaz, a mere hour’s drive away. Most budget airlines, such as easyJet and Ryanair, serve Geneva with flights from the UK. After an easy flight that’s only 1 hour and 45 minutes long, you will be eager to get out on the slopes as soon as possible. Shuttle Direct offer a reliable and professional service that can take you from door to door. You can book in advance, and therefore can make the team aware of any sports equipment that you’ll be bringing (which will be transported without an extra charge!) so that a suitable vehicle is provided. A driver will meet you in arrivals, get you and your gear loaded up and have you on the road in no time.
If you choose to travel by train to Annecy, Shuttle Direct can also be on hand from there and provide a driver who will collect you and take you on the 45-minute journey to resort.
Where to Stay
Hotel Beauregard – In a great location, right next to the slopes, Hotel Beauregard is a gorgeous Alpine-style hotel, complete with hammam, hot tub and heated indoor pool, which is great when you need a rest and the kids want to be occupied. Youngsters will appreciate the TV after a long day on the slopes, and while parents are enjoying a pre-dinner drink in front of the fire, the kids can play pool and foosball.
Hotel La Montagne – Charming chalet-style accommodation is offered in Hotel La Montagne. Kids can use the free Wi-Fi while adults lap up the atmosphere in the delightful lounge area next to the log fire. The regional cuisine is another bonus, especially if you want the youngsters to have the opportunity to taste some local dishes.
Résidence – Les Grandes Alpes – If luxury is on your holiday agenda, then Les Grandes Alpes is the place for you. Combining a relaxed atmosphere with high-class facilities, this place is great for families. The chalet apartments are fully set up for self-catering, which helps when you are travelling with hungry teens. While the youngsters are enjoying the indoor pool, you could be relaxing in the hot tub or enjoying a sauna. I feel the free ski storage area also deserves a mention.
About Shuttle Direct
Operating from airports, train stations and ports throughout Europe and North Africa, Shuttle Direct offer a professional and reliable transfer service. Our personal drivers are on hand to meet you at your arrival point and take you directly to your final destination. For clients arriving with extra ski equipment, vehicles of an appropriate size are provided and there is no extra charge. Book in advance and you can relax knowing that the last leg of your journey is taken care of.