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Winter Season Activities

Live Life with APASSION

Whilst winter visits to the Alps are traditionally focussed on the downhill pursuits of skiing and snowboarding, increasing numbers of visitors are discovering that the mountains provide a range of alternative alpine pursuits, so whether your heart is set on carving fresh tracks down corduroy pistes, gliding through untouched powder fields or you fancy experiencing something a little different on your next visit, there is sure to be something to get your heart racing!

Skiing and Snowboarding

The Grand Massif ski region features some truly exceptional skiing including the ‘Combe de Gers’ – famous for its dizzying 800m drop and untouched snow – and the ‘Blue Cascades’ which runs for 14 km from the summit at Flaine into the village of Sixt-Fer-a-Cheval.

As a result of the region’s closeness to Mont Blanc and its many north-facing slopes, the Grand Massif ski region regularly enjoys abundant snowfalls throughout the season, with Flaine in particular having one of the best snow records in Europe.

In addition, the area is renowned for its snow quality later in the season allowing the resort to remain open until late April for those seeking great Spring skiing. As added insurance, the region has over 140 snow cannons to keep the Grand Massif snow-sure throughout the season.

For the snowboarders, there are three parks in the Grand Massif region for the enjoyment of beginners and experienced freestylers alike. Whilst the parks in Samoëns and Morillon are more appropriate for those just looking to build their confidence, the snow park in Flaine offers boarders the opportunity to really test themselves with a varied selection of jumps, rails and pipes.

Access to the ski domain is via one of two large gondolas that serve the Samoëns valley. Guests staying at Chalet APASSION benefit from a complementary in-resort shuttle service taking them to / from their preferred lift whilst guests at Chalet ALLURE and Apartment ACCORD have just a 200m walk from their ski room to the 10-person Vercland gondola. 

Ski de Fond (Nordic Skiing)

Ski de Fond, or Cross Country Skiing, offers the opportunity for experiencing the dramatic beauty of the Alps in a more gentle and peaceful manner, away from the downhill pistes of the Grand Massif . In Ski de Fond, skiers use their skis and poles (as opposed to gravity) to propel themselves so they are always in control of their own speed whist also benefitting from some aerobic exercise!

There are 2 forms of Ski de Fond each with their own unique technique and involving quite different levels of effort;

 – Classic – The more gentle form of Ski de Fond is a technique called “Classic” which is easier to learn and is more akin to walking than traditional alpine skiing. Specific tracks are carved in the dedicated Ski de Fond pistes and participants push themselves along through a combination of their ski poles and their skis.

 – Skating – A more energetic form of the sport uses a technique called “Skating” with participants propelling themselves along using a motion similar to that of ice-skating.

For those who enjoy a physical challenge, Ski de Fond (or cross country skiing) can certainly provide a full body workout and it is great for getting your heart pumping whilst also enjoying the stunning mountain scenery!

Ski de Fond: Morillion to Sixt Fer à Cheval

Following the route of the river Giffre this piste of 46km can be used for both Classic and Skating Ski de Fond with different sections of the piste being suited to different levels of ability. Piste maps with details of all the routes and grading are available.

Ski de Fond: At the famous Col de Joux Plane

At times in the season when snow conditions no longer support the maintenance of the pistes in the valley, the Nordic Skiing centre at the Joux Plane is opened. Set at 1700m, with magnificent views over the Giffre valley to Mont Blanc, the pistes offer more challenging intermediate and advanced tracks but there is also a small dedicated beginner area.

Ski passes can be purchased from the Tourist Offices in Samoëns, Morillon and Sixt and at the Nordic Skiing Centre at the Joux Plane.  Equipment can be rented from most ski rental shops in the Valley and at the Nordic Skiing Centre at the Joux Plane. 

Snowshoe / Racquets 

If you fancy getting away from the slopes for a day or if skiing just isn’t your thing, then why not explore the pristine beauty of the Giffre Valley on foot.

Long gone are the days of strapping tennis rackets to your feet – the modern light-weight snowshoes make mountain hiking accessible to all levels of ability and fitness.

Whilst marked trails allow those with their own equipment to explore by themselves, there is nothing more relaxing and rewarding than joining a local mountain guide on a walk, discovering areas only frequented by mountain wildlife and sitting in the sun with a mug of warming tea just gazing in wonder at the peaks of the Grand Massif and Mont Blanc ranges.

A real hit with family groups is to combine snow shoeing with igloo building – a great way for all the family to enjoy the snow together!

Half Day guided sessions, including all your equipment and transport can be organised from as little as €40 per person.

Other Alpine Activities

Fat-Biking / Snow Bikes

Access the back-country by bike, or rather Fat-Bike; With their over-sizes tyres and suspension Fat-bikes are perfect for those looking to get away from the pistes and making their own tracks – it doesn’t even have to be hard work with the E-bike option! 

With guided options ranging from exploring the river valley by day to cycling up to mountain refuges by torch-light there really is something to suit all levels of fun seeker!

Igloo Building

If you fancy a day away from the slopes but still want to get out and enjoy the fresh air and the stunning views, then building an igloo is a great activity that can involve all the family regardless of age! Work with a guide to find the ideal location for your project and then follow their lead in compacting the snow into the blocks required to construct the igloo. 

Whilst the building process is always great team-building fun the highlight of the hard-work is in enjoying the finished article; Taking up residence in your newly built igloo with a well deserved mug of hot toddy! 

Ice Skating

Samoëns benefits from a full size ice-rink which, built in 2016, is modern in it design and whilst having the benefit of a closed roof, the rink is open on 3-sides, affording those on the rink stunning views of the surrounding peaks. 

Dedicated times are available for those either looking for the safely of a beginners-only session or for those slightly more experienced skaters looking to combine some time on the ice with some disco tunes!  Equipment is available to rent on-site.

The rink is also home to the local Samoëns Lynx ice-hockey club; Why not join the vocal supporters on what is always an exhilarating evening when the first team are playing at home, especially if one of the local rivals from the Portes du Soleil are in town! 

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