La Clusaz ski resort
About La Clusaz
La Clusaz, one of the most northerly resorts in the French Alps, has a ski heritage dating back more than a century. The charming resort has been welcoming ski holiday makers since the mid-1920s, making it one of a handful of famed French resorts that was not purpose-built during the boom period of the 1950s to 1980s.
Although the village itself has grown considerably over the years – and is now a bustling resort with frequent traffic congestion on its sloping main street – it has retained much of its Savoyard charm and traditional architecture. Today, somewhere between large village and small market town, it preserves a clear connection to the local agricultural sector – famed for its delicious Reblochon cheese – through traditional shops and markets.
The resort, which is internationally renowned – having staged World Cup downhills and the Freestyle and Telemark Ski World Championships – provides extensive skiing divided between five main sectors. Each of these areas is interlinked, allowing skiers to explore the whole resort from various parts of the mountain, with one or more lifts within easy reach of most accommodation options. Additional terrain at neighbouring Le Grand Bornand is available on the Aravis regional pass.
La Clusaz is located in the Haute-Savoie region of France, in the Aravis district of the western Alps.
On the slopes
This classic resort has something for all skiing and boarding abilities with its varied slopes spread over five mountains. For example, Beauregard (the closest mountain to the village) is home to easy runs as well as the more challenging tree skiing. These slopes are linked to La Croix-Fry Manigod Merdassier with its more gentle slopes, while the steeper runs of L’Étale lie largely above the treeline.
For expert skiers, the Aiguille Mountain across the village provides steeper slopes and some of the biggest verticals, including the Grand Crêt with its 1,200m (3937ft) descent. The popular black/red Combe du Fernuy run takes skiers from here to the highest and most snowsure mountain, Balme. There is also a ‘Summit Circle’ route for advanced skiers, which incorporates only red and black pistes.
La Clusaz has a relatively good reputation for snow cover, despite being lower than most other major French resorts, as most slopes are north facing and snow-making facilities are widespread.
The resort has good facilities for freestyle skiing and boarding including a terrain park centred on Crêt du Loup. La clusaz, was an early adopter of snowboarding, having previously hosted the Freestyle World Skiing Championships and it was one of the first to offer a boardercross course.
The local regional Aravis lift pass covers more than 220km (136 miles) of piste shared between the resort and its neighbours Le Grand Bornand and smaller Manigod and Saint Jean de Sixt, linked by a bus service.
Cross-country skiing is also very popular in the area with 86km (53 miles) of trails in total.