La Clusaz lies in a valley beneath the jagged peaks of the Aravis mountain range. 132km of groomed trails stretch out over five inter-connected ski areas which La Clusaz shares with the even smaller resort of Manigod. Keen skiers, however, should buy an Aravis skipass which also includes Le Grand-Bornand (and the tiny resort of St Jean-de-Sixt) which boosts the amounts of runs to 220km, which is not huge but is not small either, and should satisfy most visitors for a week. There is no lift linking Le Grand Bornand to La Clusaz but they are only 6kms apart, and frequent shuttle buses make it an easy journey.
La Clusaz itself is attractive and has the look and feel of an authentic French mountain village, complete with its own weekly market. The centre is traffic-free, and whilst not all the buildings are as old as the church, most have been built in a sympathetic style. Accommodation in la Clusaz is reasonably priced. At weekends and peak holiday times the village gets quite lively (and the slopes can get a little crowded too) but midweek it's quiet and friendly, and there's a good choice of bars and restaurants to suit most budgets and tastes.
The skiing includes tree-lined runs and open bowls. It's mostly aimed at intermediates and beginners but there are some challenges for experts and interesting off-piste and freeriding terrain, much of which can be reached with very little climbing. The resort is situated at 1100m (Le Grand Bornand and St Jean de Sixte are even lower) and a lot of the skiing is below 2000m, so La Clusaz is not 100% snowsure. But its snow record is better than many of its neighbours. Most of its slopes face North or North West and lie on top of grassy meadows which require less snowcover than rockier terrain. And the top lifts at La Balme reach 2470m which is comparable to the highest lifts in nearby modern, purpose-built resorts like Flaine and Avoriaz, which have none of the charm of La Clusaz.
Ski hire in La Clusaz and Les Aravis
There is a good choice of ski and board rental shops in La Clusaz but less options in the smaller resorts. wherever you stay, however, you won't get the best price if you just walk into the nearest when you arrive. It really pays to book online in advance. It also saves you time when you arrive in the resort, because your ski rental equipment is reserved, fully prepared and ready and waiting for you.
ALPINRESORTS.com works with several ski shops in La Clusaz and the other resorts, and can get you discounts of up to 60% if you book online here.
SKISET has two shops in la Clusaz and more in the other resorts. It will give discounts of up to 50% if you book online via this link.
La Clusaz Pros & Cons
+ Pretty village in a pretty setting.
+ Just big enough for a week's skiing.
+ Easy to get to/popular weekend option.
+ Good variety of slopes if off-piste is included.
+ Rural, relaxed and friendly.
- Not really snowsure.
- Not enough steep pistes.
- Weekend queues on the roads, in restaurants and for ski lifts.