Loveskiing’s Samoëns Review
Samoens is a charming French farming village set in the Savoy region. It is part of the extensive Grand Massif ski area which is one of the largest in the alps boasting over 260km of pistes; 25 km difficult, 185 km medium, 50 km easy), reached by 70 mountain lifts. 4 resorts create the Grand Massif: Flaine, Morillon, Les Carroz and Samoens. Older and larger than neighbouring Morillon, Samoëns retains the friendly charm of an ancient market town, still strongly influenced by its farming and masonry traditions.
- Traditional farming village which is aesthetically pleasing and you will always receive a friendly welcome
- Large ski area when you purchase the Grand Massif area pass
- Much of the ski area is above 2000m so snow is normally reliable
Samoëns is one of five resorts in the grand Massif lift-linked circuit of more than 265 kms (160 miles) of ski runs. It was formerly linked to the circuit a few miles from the village so a ski bus trip was needed to reach the slopes. A new high-speed gondola was completed in 2004, the Grand Massif Express, lifts skiers from the village centre up to a key plateau on the circuit, 1600m up, in just eight minutes.
Runs to try include the Piste des Cascades which from Samoëns 1600 you need to go to Flaine and take the
Grandes Platières cable car. The 14km (9 miles) long, blue rated wonderful Cascades run descends to the resort of Sixt Fer à Cheval. Expert skiers looking for tough skiing take the same lifts but head for the Combe de Gers sector and a black slope called Styx which is never bashed. This rejoins the long Cascades run at its end. Closer to home the Croix area at Samoëns 1600 has the black slopes Marmotte and Chamois, both really enjoyable runs with jumps and ramps at the end of the slopes.
One of the best known areas is the Combe de Gers reached from Samoëns 1600 by heading up to Flaine and then taking the Grandes Platières cable car over to Combe de Gers. Here a black slope called Styx is never crowded. This can take you over to join the Piste des Cascades or take a lift back to Flaine. Heliskiing (into Italy, not legal in France) is possible through the ski school, minimum of three participants of at least level three ability equivalent on the French scale. The Ski school also organises excursions to the legendary Vallee Blanche above Chamonix where descents of up to 25km (17 miles) off piste are possible from 3842 metres.
Snowboarding in Samoëns
For the snowboarders out there, there is plenty on offer with very few flat “drags” and plenty of scope for off piste, tree runs, little kickers, plenty range for vertical descent and overall the area is snowboarder friendly.
Freestyle in Samoëns
There are three snow parks in the Grand Massif region. Above Morillon the park is especially for children, above Samoëns on the Soleil slope there’s a park for all levels of ability, whilst -Flaine’s The Jam Park in the Vernant area contains a Boarder Cross and other features. The snow park’s construction depends on snow conditions and its location is changed accordingly on occasion. It is aimed at experienced freeskiers and boarders. If you are looking for huge jumps, halfpipes, rails and a large expansive park area you will be dissapointed… not the best area for freestyle.
Samoëns Aprés Ski
Not a great après ski destination if you’re lucking for the night owls out there, but a good selection of traditional restaurants and bars provide a relaxing social atmosphere in the resort. The Clarine Bar is very modern and has created an original selection of entertaining cocktails as well as a big choice of beers. Le Savoie is another good bar with internet access and sometimes live bands during the ski season. Worth checking out is a game of ice hockey in the local arena.