Flaine Ski Resort

Flaine's brutal architecture puts some people off, but the resort has good skiing for all standards, is easy to reach, ideal for families and relatively inexpensive. And if you really can't stand the modernist buildings, try the newer suburbs or one of the lower, lift-linked villages like Les Carroz.

It is easy to see what attracted Gerard Chervaz when he found the Flaine site in the Giffre Massif in 1953. It's a naturally snowy bowl and perfect for skiing in. What architect Marcel Breuer and the wealthy Boissanas brothers did with the main buildings, however, is less easy to understand. They are best summed up as a product of the 1960s, and a brave experiment with 'shadow and light' (and a lot of concrete) that failed. But lessons were learnt and the newer suburbs of Hameau de Flaine and Montsoleil are much nicer. And there are more traditional villages lower down to which Flaine is lift-linked that are easier on the eye, such as Les Carroz, Morillon and Samoens.

And the ugliness at its centre doesn't stop Flaine from being a very convenient and good value ski resort, especially for families. It's one of the closest ski resorts to Geneva airport and one of the easiest to drive to. And once you're there, the lifts, shops and ski hire outlets are all close to the accommodation, which is mostly inexpensive self-catering apartments. The bus service is good but you will only need to use it regularly if you're staying in Hameau de Flaine; otherwise you can walk or ski everywhere. The resort is mostly car-free. 

And the skiing is good too. Despite its modest altitude, Flaine is one of the snowiest resorts in France. The Grand Massif ski area has about 80 lifts and 265 kms of pistes, and covers all of Flaine plus Les Carroz, Morillon, Samoens and Sixt. That's enough skiing for most intermediates for a week. There are also cheaper ski passes for for less confident skiers who don't want to venture out of the main Flaine bowl; and beginners in both Flaine and Les Carroz have handy nursery slopes with free lifts and good ski schools, making both resorts great places to learn to ski.

Experts are also provided for, with genuinely challenging black pistes, the famous Gers bowl and plenty of off-piste best tackled with with a guide. There is also a long list of extra-curricular activities away from the slopes, including one of the best concert halls of any ski resort in the Alps and a full ice-driving circuit. 

Ski & Snowboard hire in Flaine

There are plenty of ski rental shops, but their prices are quite high if you simply walk into them when you arrive. ALPINRESORTS.COM works with several shops in Flaine and and the other Grand Massif villages, and can secure discounts of up to 60% if you book online here.

SKISET also has four outlets covering Flaine Foret, Flaine Forum and Le Hameau de Flaine, and more in the lower villages. It will give discounts of up to 50% if you book online in advance here.

Flaine Pros & Cons

+ Big enough ski area
+ Slopes for every standard
+ Good snow record
+ Easy to get to
+ Compact and convenient
+ Good value

- Ugly in the centre
- Not much nightlife
- Few hotels and chalets

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Flaine Rating

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Flaine Statistics

  • CountryFrance
  • Base1,600 M
  • Peak2,480 M
  • Vertical1,660 M
  • Ski Area547 M
  • Longest Run14 km
  • Ski Lifts29 
  • Cable Cars
  • Chair Lifts10 
  • Surface Lifts13 
  • Riders per hour31,290 

5 Day Snow & Weather Forecast

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  • 19th ModRain 11° 6° Moderate rain New Snow 0cm
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Best Hotels in Flaine