It’s that time of the year when the powderhounds are dusting off their skis and snowboards and are heading out to carve up the slopes of Europe. Oh, that’s you? Well, power (and powder) to you if you’ve discovered La Clusaz, in the Haute-Savoie region of the French Alps. And if you haven’t, you’re in for a pleasant surprise.
Don’t let the relatively low altitude location of La Clusaz fool you into thinking it’s devoid of challenges for the expert skier. There’s a good selection of black and red runs, as well as some pretty spectacular off-piste skiing amongst the dramatic rock formations that make it one of the most unique parts of the French Alps.
Best Skiing for Experts
At first glance on a map it might not look like there are all that many opportunities for experts, but you just have to know where to go – and in La Clusaz, that means a lot of off-piste. There are more than 1200m of outstanding, fast vertical descents through an amazing landscape of open bowls and drop-offs. If you get yourself one of the local off-piste guides, you’ll be able to explore the places other skiers don’t usually get to go. (Perhaps this is why this is such an under-rated resort for experts.)
There are seven official black runs and, because of the awesome rocky terrain, every ride is different, so you won’t feel like you’re simply doing rotations. Black runs like La Noire and Tetras (recently reclassified) will get the adrenaline flowing, but it’s over near Balme and L’Aiguille that most of the magic happens, with a bunch of blacks and reds that include Blanchat, Le Vraille (hold on to your stomach for this one), Lapiaz and Fernuy.
There are some amazing high-altitude untracked bowls overlooking Mont Blanc up to 2600m to wrap yourself around, and you’ll also get some incredible views from up there – if you slow down enough to enjoy them! Which is doubtful…
If you’re keen to work on your freestyling and jumping skills, the excellent snowpark at La Clusaz has everything you need get your game on point. There’s always plenty of great snow coverage (it’s serviced by five snow cannons), and its aspect means the quality of the snow stays consistent. Three draglifts ensure a good, steady flow of traffic.
As well as a gnarly half pipe there are four lines of rails and jumps – ranging all the way from blues and greens up to reds and blacks.
Plenty of Après Fun
It may not be the most out-there party resort when it comes to the après scene, but La Clusaz more than makes up for that with its laidback, casual ambience. There’s a great selection of venues from which to choose, whether you’re looking for a few beers and a bite or plan on partying all night on the dance floor.
For live music, Les Caves du Paccaly offers a fantastic atmosphere right in the heart of the village. The owner also doubles as a pretty handy DJ, so there are always great tunes, good food and fairly cheap drinks.
Nightclub L’Ecluse is open until 7am, so if you’re having too much fun on its unique glass dance floor (over the top of a river) you can just keep on going!
Le Salto, situated right on the slopes, is the perfect pub-style place to stop for a roadie – or several. With a huge range of familiar beers and sports playing on the big screens, you might find it hard to drag yourself away. And you don’t have to, because they also serve up good, hearty food.
Discover La Clusaz
If you’re looking for something a little different this season, with a genuine French feel and plenty to keep you occupied on the slopes, La Clusaz could be your next favourite place!
Tip: By the way, if you’re thinking about doing things a little differently this year and trying some train travel on for size, have a look at this blog post to give you some inspiration. Take a slow journey there and save all that speed for the slopes…
How to Get to La Clusaz
To get to your ski break by air you can fly into either Lyon or Geneva airports. Geneva is the more popular option, with a number of carriers flying regular scheduled routes from the UK. Flight time is about 90 minutes.
Whichever airport you choose, the best way of getting you and any ski equipment directly to La Clusaz (we’ll carry it free if you mention it at the time of booking) is on a prebooked shared or private transfer with Shuttle Direct. From Geneva, a friendly Shuttle Direct driver can get you to the resort in around an hour, and if you fly into Lyon the journey takes about 90 minutes.
If you fancy making the journey an adventure, you can also arrive by rail on a high-speed connection from Paris to Annecy, then book Shuttle Direct to transport you and your ski gear to the resort in around 45 minutes.
Where to Stay:
Logis Hotel les Sapins: Waste no time with the ski-in, ski-out location of the Logis Hotel les Sapins. Along with its authentic chalet-style décor and magnificent views over the valley, hotel guests enjoy free Wi-Fi, hearty buffet breakfast and a great bar area in which to relax after a hard day on the slopes.
Alpen Roc: Just a short distance from the ski lifts, the Alpen Roc is everything you need for your ski break and more. Carve up the slopes all day, then come home to the sauna, steam room and swimming pool to relax. You won’t have to worry about going out to dinner with the onsite dining room (meals included), then wrap up with a game of pool and a drink around the fireplace.
Beauregard: Located in a prime position at the foot of the slopes, the upmarket Beauregard offers the ultimate chalet-style accommodation. Iron out the kinks in the onsite spa, hammam, sauna, heated pool and hot tub, then relax in the bar and lounge with a game of pool and a drink around the fireplace. With its authentic ambience and excellent service, the Beauregard provides a luxurious winter sports home-from-home.
About Shuttle Direct:
If you’re looking for a low cost, reliable airport transfer, Shuttle Direct is one of the most trusted names in the business. For fast, efficient transfers to and from any destination in Europe, you can make an easy online booking and Shuttle Direct will take care of the rest.
We can provide a service for any group size and to suit any budget. If you’re bringing your own winter sports equipment with you, just let us know at the time of booking and we’ll include it in your transfer price at no extra cost.
The friendly, expert team at Shuttle Direct will make organising your travel arrangements easy.