Samoens Ski Resort
The centre of Samoens is a charming medieval village, but its lifts connect it to Flaine, Morillon, Les Carroz and Sixt Fer-a-Cheval, forming the Grand Massif ski area. You can’t ski back to the main village though.
The Grand Massif ski area caters for all standards. It has over 60 lifts and about 140 different runs including the famous Gers bowl for advanced skiers and freeriders, and this makes it large enough for most skiers for a week’s holiday. It’s not particularly high by French standards (the top lift in the Samoens sector reaches 2120m and the highest in the Grand Massif ascends to only 2480m), but a microclimate ensures a decent snow record. And most of the slopes, including those closest to Samoens, face north which means the snow stays in good condition longer.
There are also advantages to being at the foot of the Grand Massif ski area like Samoens, rather than higher up the mountain like Flaine. For a start Samoens is quicker to get to – Geneva airport is only about an hour away and Samoens is one of the easiest ski resorts to drive to from the UK or Northern Europe. And it’s easier to get out of as well, if you want to visit other ski areas: Les Gets and the Portes du Soleil are less than an hour’s drive away.
But judging Samoens purely on its skiing rather misses the point. This is a village that since medieval times has been famous for its stone masons who left their mark with charming old buildings, fountains and an interesting church. (It’s the only ski resort in France to be listed as a Monument Historique.) Add to this a regular market, a pedestrianised centre, plenty of cosy bars and restaurants, and even a 500 year-old lime tree, and you can appreciate how Samoens feels very different from a normal ski resort. Its setting is beautiful too; Samoens takes its name from the seven dramatic mountain peaks that overlook the village.
No resort is perfect, however, and Samoens is now very spread out. You can stay up the mountain at Samoens 1600 in a purpose-built, modern ski-in/ski-out complex, or 650m lower at the very bottom of the slopes in Vercland, but these are effectively mini-resorts and cut off from the old village. If instead you stay in the main village, the Grand Massif lift is on its far southern edge, so it’s a long walk or a bus ride from the historic centre, and even further from its northern suburbs. Therefore choose your accommodation in Samoens carefully and weigh up which is more important – quick access to the slopes or charm.
- Accommodation in Samoens. Hotels, Chalet Holidays, Self-Catering Apartments, ClubMed… Read more >>>
- How to get to Samoens. Nearest Airports and Railway Stations, Airport Transfers… Read more >>>
- Ski Schools & Guides in Samoens. Ski & Snowboard Schools, Mountain Guides, Private Instructors… Read more >>>
- Discounted Ski & Snowboard Rental in Samoens
Samoens Pros and Cons
+ Beautiful, charming historic centre
+ Big enough ski area (Grand Massif)
+ Skiing to suit all standards
+ Decent snow record
+ Quick and easy to get to (good for weekends)
– Too much traffic outside the pedestrianised centre
– Village is spread out: you may have to take buses
– Weekend crowds and queues
– Unless you’re staying at Vercland or Samoens 1600, you can’t ski back to the resort