Loveskiing’s La Clusaz Review
The picturesque, traditional village of La Clusaz is one of the Haute Savoie’s best-kept secrets: this lively and friendly ski village has lost none of its deeply rooted French charm over the years. Though not offering a huge ski area, there is a wonderful variety of skiing and boarding to suit everyone.
La Clusaz lies in an open, sunny valley beneath the jagged peaks of the Aravis mountain range. 132km of groomed trails stretch out over five inter-connected ski areas, each with its own unique character. Beginners will revel in the variety, with over 60% of the pistes at La Clusaz dedicated to them. Woodland trails give way to open bowls and much of the off-piste can be reached from the lift stations, involving very little climbing. We recommend that more advanced skiers explore the off-piste opportunities along the many Cols of the Aravis range. Off the slopes, La Clusaz offers rustic charm in an unspoiled French mountain town. A good selection of restaurants cater for the weekend skiers from nearby Annecy, and prices reflect this…search around and you’ll find something nice.
• Picturesque village and stunning scenery throughout, one of the unspoilt traditional villages
• Excellent beginner and intermediate resort, with over 60% of the runs falling into this category
• Good quality French food served in local restaurants
• A good sized ski area is on offer with over 130km of runs
• Plenty of opportunities for tree skiing with many of the runs surrounded by them
• Low altitude of the resort can lead to snow problems on the resort runs
• Due to the close proximity to Annecy weekends can be very crowded and long queues for lifts can be a problem
• Lack of advanced slopes
• The snowpark is small and often becomes crowded
• The links to some sections of the ski area are very flat and require a lot of poling – work on those arm muscles!!!
• Young Families – The friendly locals, variety of beginner and intermediate runs and fun to be had weaving in and out of trees makes an ideal resort for families.
• A weekend away – the size of the resort offers plenty to explore for a weekend of skiing whilst the unspoilt charms of the village offers a sanctuary to relax in.
• Tree lovers – the low altitude of the resort brings the benefit of plenty of tree-lined pistes perfect for those who love skiing through or beside trees.
• Drivers – there drive up to the resort is one of the easiest of any Alpine resorts we have been to
• Advanced and expert skiers who are searching for extreme off piste or mogul filled blacks
• Cruisers – if you like covering a lot of miles on the piste then you may soon run out of space at La Clusaz
• Early or late season snow addicts – the low altitude of the resort can result in poor snow coverage
• Snowboarders – to access some parts of the ski area there are extremely flat linking pistes that are a nightmare for snowboarders
La Clusaz Aprés Ski
A lively resort, La Clusaz has an Entertainments office which arranges events daily to help the village maintain its feeling of being a lively community rather than just a place with a lot of bars. The Monday evening welcome nights, with free vin chaud at the tourist office are a good place to pick up information on what’s happening during your stay and informally meet a wide dross section of village residents.
Regular events include weekly torchlit descents for both adults and children which you can participate in through the ESF during high season. There are also displays of past skiing techniques, fashions and equipment by the ski school and special Christmas and February carnival events. For the normal selection of bars, restaurants and night clubs, La Clusaz has it covered. The Pressoir bar stocks over 80 beers and is open until 2am as is Les Caves du Paccaly and Le Grenier. Night Clubs include L’Écluse and Club 18
How to get there
There are several convenient ways to reach La Clusaz:
The three nearest airports to the resort are Geneva in Switzerland (50 miles away), Lyon Saint Exupery in France (150 miles away), and Annecy in France (30 miles away).
Return flights from London to Geneva start at £35 if booked well in advance. Return flights between London and Lyon start at £50. Annecy is a small airport and only receives flights from Paris Orly airport. There is a shuttle bus which runs between Geneva and La Clusaz during the ski season.
Lyon Saint Exupery airport offers a shuttle bus service which travels via Annecy airport. A single trip costs €60 and a return trip costs €90. There are discounts available for groups, young people under the age of 24, and children.
The nearest train station is 32 kilometres away from the resort in Annecy. It receives TGV trains from most major cities. Upon arrival at Annecy you will need to take a taxi or a bus transfer.
If you are travelling from northern regions of France, you should take the A39 motorway from Dijon towards Geneva. If weather conditions are bad, it may be necessary to travel through Annecy. You should then transfer to the A40 (Autoroute Blanche) and continue for 20 kilometres before exiting at exit 16 (Bonneville).
Follow signs towards Stations des Aravis before taking the A41 and exiting at Annecy Nord. You should then follow signs to Thones. La Clusaz will be signposted from this point.