Val Cenis

Val Cenis is a quiet, affordable, family-friendly ski area that links Termignon, Lanslebourg and Lanslevillard and has 125km of mostly gentle pistes. Those wanting more should buy the Eski-Mo lift pass that covers four other Maurienne valley resorts linked by a shuttle bus service.

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 enormous wild expanse of the 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, strung-out, quiet, and sometimes very cold, that’s exactly what it is, because these are resorts for visitors who want affordable skiing, rather than dancing or fine dining.

For beginners, Val Cenis is an excellent place to learn to ski on nursery slopes before moving on to high-mountain, gentle green runs. For improving novices and less confident intermediates, there are long 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 are off-piste freeride and ski touring opportunities best explored with a guide, and the combination of relatively high lifts (the highest reaches 2800m), north-facing slopes and fewer skiers means you have a much better chance of finding good snow than in more famous resorts. And whatever your level, there is a choice of ski schools and private instructors 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 experienced 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 freeriding and ski touring.

in the evening the Val Cenis villages tend to be cold but have enough warm, cosy bars and simple restaurants to be pleasant places to stay in. Accommodation is relatively inexpensive for a high-altitude ski resort, with some surprisingly luxurious hotels and apartments as well as more basic establishments. Just don’t expect nightclubs.

Discounted Ski & Snowboard Rental in Val Cenis:

Ultimate-Ski partner works with several equipment rental shops in and around the main Val Cenis villages. It can secure big discounts if you book online in advance here.

Val Cenis Strengths & Weaknesses

+ Good value – especially with 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 Resort Ratings

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Total Ratings = 11

Ratings sum = 33

Val Cenis Map

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