La Clusaz

The picturesque, traditional village of La Clusaz is one of Haute Savoie’s best-kept secrets. It has lost none of its deeply rooted French charm despite being only about an hour away from Geneva, and its underrated ski area is large enough and high enough for most skiers for most of the season.

La Clusaz lies in a valley beneath the serrated peaks of the Aravis mountain range on the western edge of the Alps. Its own ski area, shared with the small ski resort of Manigod, stretches across five connected sectors, culminating at the 2,477m Col de Balme, where the highest lifts and pistes are.

Keen skiers should buy an Aravis lift pass which also covers Le Grand-Bornand, 6km away from La Clusaz. Free ski buses shuttle between the resorts in about 15 minutes, and the combined ski area has approximately 210km of slopes, split into 130 different runs and accessed by 75 lifts. This makes the Domaine des Aravis a mid-sized ski area by Alpine standards, and large enough for most skiers on a week-long ski holiday.

The slopes mostly suit relaxed intermediates and beginners but there are challenges for experts with notable off-piste freeride routes and steep moguled black runs. Ski touring, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing are also popular.

La Clusaz has grown considerably but has retained the look and feel of a traditional French mountain village, surrounded by dairy farms, with its own weekly market and a skyline still dominated by its 18th century church tower. Accommodation is reasonably priced. At weekends and peak holiday periods the resort fills up fast (transfers from Geneva airport only take about an hour) but midweek it’s quiet and friendly, and there’s a good choice of bars and restaurants.

Part of the charm of La Clusaz and Grand Bornand is that they are authentic villages with year-round populations, but they are less elevated than modern, purpose-built ski resorts. La Clusaz is sited at an altitude of just 1,100m, Le Grand Bornand is even lower at 1,000m, and much of their skiing is below 2,000m. Their pistes generally face north and lie on grassy meadows which require less snow than rockier terrain, so most of the slopes stay open from Christmas through to Easter, but there might be more ice and slush than in higher ski areas.

 La Clusaz Pros & Cons

+ Pretty village in a pretty setting.
+ Aravis ski area is big enough for a week’s skiing.
+ Short transfers / good for ski weekends.
+ Good variety of slopes if off-piste is included.
+ Rural, relaxed and friendly.

– Not snow sure / can be very icy.
– Very few steep groomed pistes.
– Weekend crowds.


La Clusaz Resort Stats

Base: 1100m
Peak: 2600m
Vertical: 1500m
Ski Area: 125km
Longest Run: 4km
Beginner: 67% %
Intermediate: 24% %
Advanced: 9% %
Number of ski lifts: 49
Lift Capacity: 59036
Ski Season Starts: Early Dec
Ski Season Ends: End April
Nearest Airport: Geneva
Transfer Time: 1 hour 30 mins

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La Clusaz Resort Ratings

Ski Area star rating
Lift System star rating
Snowsure star rating
Beginner star rating
Intermediate star rating
Advanced star rating
Scenery star rating
Charm star rating
Apres Ski star rating
Other Activities star rating
Getting There star rating

Total Ratings = 11

Ratings sum = 35

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