After visiting plenty of ski resorts throughout the years, I can say that it is unfortunately common for the little villages around which these resorts were born and developed to eventually – but inevitably – lose their charm and become an impersonal row of streets leading up to the slopes. La Clusaz, however, is a wonderful exception.
Despite its popularity, it is to this day a delightful and beautiful jewel of the Savoie region. Not only does it boast of quaint streets lined by wooden chalets, a lovely 19th-century church, and a peaceful but still entertaining atmosphere that exudes from its Gallic roots; it also offers amazing on- and off-piste skiing opportunities for all abilities, some great restaurants and bars with delicious French food and wine, and even a huge, open air ice rink in the village centre. Perfect for families with teenage children who may get antsy in a boring town!
For more information about this family-friendly ski resort, read La Clusaz: A Thriving, Family-Friendly Village
What Is the Skiing Like?
La Clusaz opens up to five different mountains, offering visitors 125 kilometres of good ski slopes. Most of them are intermediate, which is highly convenient to families with older children who have some experience skiing but who are still reticent to venture out to scarier-looking black runs.
Despite this, there is no lack of excitement here: freeriding is becoming a huge draw to La Clusaz for expert skiers on the lookout for fast-paced adventures. Thanks to its five interlinked mountains, the terrain lends itself amazingly to being explored off-piste, with soft, virgin snow under your skis, beautiful, open blue skies above you, and striking mountainous backdrops all around you. However, if your kids fancy going back to the hotel for a break but you’re not ready to put up the skis just yet, head to the summit of Balme, from where you can ski down one of the biggest vertical drops in the area all the way down to La Clusaz itself.
Besides Skiing, Can We Do Anything Else?
Of course! In fact, La Clusaz has a surprising amount of other snow-related activities to keep your children busy. There is a tobogganing area next to the Nant lift that spans 120 metres and has a 22% inclination that is always a hit with teenagers, giving them the adrenaline rush they are after while sparing you the heart attack. The resort also has spaces dedicated to other new snow sports, such as snowscoots, snowskates, and veloskis – basically scooters, skates, and bicycles adapted to the snow – that guarantee hours of fun and plenty of valuable family memories of hilarious falls and incredible feats.
And let’s not forget about the village’s open air ice rink, which hosts weekly disco nights – perfect for embarrassing your children if they have given you a tough time!
La Clusaz: A Bijou Savoyarde Village
When describing villages as picturesque and quaint, I always worry that people interpret those adjectives to mean boring. La Clusaz, both picturesque and quaint, could not be any further away from boring. Its well-preserved traditional streets are busy with locals and regular visitors alike and are home to a good number of excellent bars, restaurants, shops, and hotels.
Stores sell local produce – ideal as a present for family and friends back home and very useful if you choose to self-cater your holiday – and there is a fantastic outdoor market that makes itself at home on La Place de l’Eglise every Monday morning. The bars are family friendly and steer clear from taking part in any rowdy après ski scenes, which are thankfully absent from the resort as a whole. Les Caves Du Paccaly, for example, is a lovely bar where you can buy a reasonably-priced glass of good, local wine and get a complimentary board of local ham and cheese with it.
As for restaurants, there are plenty of locales that both adults and teenagers will enjoy. For meat lovers, head to La Grolle, a good-looking restaurant serving traditional Savoyarde food like fondues and raclettes. It is renowned for its amazingly cooked, high-quality steak and lamb dishes. And for some more refined dining that doesn’t break the bank, you can try L’Ourson, which offers beautifully-presented set menus every day but Sunday for just €17,50.
So, How Family Friendly is La Clusaz?
Amazingly so. Its intermediate slopes make it great for children who are still learning but don’t want to feel coddled in the nursery slopes; it has great opportunities to explore some very different and fun winter sports you may not have even heard of before; and it boasts great restaurants that will please visitors of all ages.
Moreover, La Clusaz is a quiet, family-friendly resort that is exempt from the après ski scenes that may be making you reluctant to letting your teenage children explore the village on their own. Here, you can let them roam the streets and give them some pocket money for a coffee and a slice of cake without double-guessing what they might be up to every ten minutes. A win-win for the whole family!
How to Get to La Clusaz
There are two very easy ways to reach the resort: by plane or by train. There are two airports from where you can make your way to La Clusaz. Lyon Airport is just over 150 kilometres away and just one hour-and-a-half drive from the resort. Much closer and more convenient is Geneva Airport, which is serviced by budget-friendly airlines such as easyJet and Ryanair, and barely an hour’s car drive to La Clusaz. Shuttle Direct can provide you with an airport transfer service from both of these airports, making sure you reach the resort comfortably and get help with your luggage.
If you would rather take the train, you can catch a high-speed service to Annecy’s railway station, where you can also be picked up by one of Shuttle Direct’s drivers and dropped off at La Clusaz in just 45 minutes.
Where to Stay:
Les Rhodos – A nicely decorated, family-friendly hotel, Les Rhodos offers lovely communal areas where you can relax after a busy day. There is a sun terrace where you can take in the stunning views, and a nice restaurant with plenty of options for even the pickiest teenagers. Plus, there is free Wi-Fi throughout the building.
Chalet-Hôtel du Borderan – Amazingly convenient thanks to its door-to-slope access, Chalet-Hôtel du Borderan offers a pleasant on-site restaurant where you can explore traditional French cuisine but still have a full English for breakfast, as well as free Wi-Fi in all the communal areas and striking views from all the rooms thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows.
Logis La Montagne – Barely over 100 metres away from the slopes, Logis La Montagne has a cosy lounge bar with a fireplace to tide you over on cold nights, chalet-style rooms that will give everyone some much-needed space and privacy, and – of course – the all-important free Wi-Fi.
About Shuttle Direct
Shuttle Direct provides premium quality airport shuttles and taxis at competitive rates. With years of experience, these transit veterans pride themselves on a fast, pleasant and professional service, operating from airports all over the globe.