Val Cenis Ski Resort

Val Cenis is a quiet, affordable, family-friendly ski area that links Termignon, Lanslebourg and Lanslevillard and has 125km of mostly gentle pistes. There is some good off-piste and Nordic skiing, but strong skiers should buy the Eski-Mo lift pass that covers four other Maurienne valley resorts as well.

Near the Italian border in France's isolated Haute Maurienne valley, Val Cenis consists of three mountain villages focused on downhill skiing (Termignon, Lanslebourg and Lanslevillard) and two focused on Nordic skiing (Bramans and Sollières-Sardières). They line a road running from West to East that has very little traffic in the winter. To the North is the huge Vanoise National Park; and to the South, on the North-facing slopes of the Mont Cenis Massif, is the Val Cenis ski area. If it all sounds remote, mountainous, slightly strung-out, quiet, unpretentious and sometimes very cold, that's exactly what it is, because these are resorts for visitors who want to concentrate on skiing, not dancing.

For beginners, Val Cenis is an excellent place to learn to ski on nursery slopes before moving onto high-mountain, gentle green runs. For improving novices and less confident intermediates, there are long well-groomed blue runs, above and below the tree line, plus the odd optional red and black piste when they fancy a challenge. Advanced skiers won't find many steep pistes, but there is interesting off-piste skiing, and the combination of North-facing slopes and relatively few skiers means the powder here stays in good condition much longer than it does in resorts like Chamonix. And whatever your level, there is a choice of ski schools and guides if you want to learn or improve.

In total Val Cenis has 125km of downhill pistes, most of which are easy blues and greens. For strong keen skiers who don't like off-piste or Nordic skiing, that won't be enough, so they should invest in an Eski-Mo ski pass. This covers at least one day in the neighbouring resorts of Aussois (45kms of piste), La Norma (65kms of piste), Val Frejus (65kms of piste) and Bonneval-sur-Arc (25kms of piste), and includes a ride in the shuttle bus that links them all to Val Cenis. They all make worthwhile day trips, but for experts, Bonneval is the real treat. It's a picturesque village about half an hour away from Val Cenis with lifts rising to 3000m and phenomenal freeride, off-piste and ski touring opportunities.

in the evening the Val Cenis villages tend to be cold outside but with enough warm, cosy bars and simple restaurants to be pleasant palces to stay in. Just don't expect cutting edge nightclubs.

Ski hire and equipment rental in Val Cenis

There are plenty of ski hire shops, mostly concentrated around the lifts and the village centres, but they can be quite pricey if you just walk into them. SKISET has six outlets covering Val Cenis and will give discounts of up to 50% if you book in advance. Check SKISET shop locations in Val Cenis and advance booking discounts >

ALPINRESORTS.COM also works with several shops in and around the main Val Cenis villages. It can secure discounts of up to 60% if you book online in advance here.

Val Cenis Pros & Cons

+ Good value - especially wit Eski-Mo pass
+ Snow-sure upper slopes
+ Choice of skiing through trees or open bowls
+ Uncrowded pistes, even at weekends
+ Long green and blue runs for novices
+ Good off-piste with Eski-Mo/Bonneval-sur-Arc

- Very few challenging pistes
- The Eski-Mo resorts are linked only by bus
- Often cold and dark in mid-winter
- Quiet nightlife.

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Val Cenis Rating

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Val Cenis Statistics

  • CountryFrance
  • RegionHaute-Marienne
  • Total Lifts14 
  • Gondolas
  • Surface Lifts11 
  • Riders per hour35,707