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Flaine is a classic 1960’s purpose-built ski resort at the heart of the Grand Massif, France’s fourth largest fully interlinked ski domain.


While the resort's stark architecture might not be to everyone’s taste, the skiing is excellent (for all levels) and snow reliability is a good as anywhere in the Haute-Savoie.

Where is Flaine?

Transfer time:  Geneva 1hr


Flaine is part of the Grand Massif ski area in the French department of Haute-Savoie, not far from Chamonix (to the east) and the Portes du Soleil (to the north).

Flaine - the resort

Resort height:  1600m


Purpose-built Flaine sits at the bottom of a vast snowy bowl, and is split into several distinct sectors - all highly convenient for the slopes.


Flaine Forum is the original centre and home to the Hotel Terminal Neige. Just above it, connected by lift and piste, is Flaine Forêt. Slightly removed from both, but still on the slopes, is the mini resort of Flaine Montsoleil, home to the luxury apartment complexes of Les Terrasses d’Hélios and Les Terrasses d’Eos.


The Bauhaus “block-style” architecture of Flaine Forum and Flaine Forêt may not be to everyone’s liking but, from a distance at least, the buildings to blend into the surrounding scenery and are relatively easy on the eye.


Flaine Montsoleil is more traditionally Alpine and has everything you need on site, including ski hire shops, a supermarket and a ski school meeting point.


Flaine is generally turning more upmarket but ultimately remains a functional resort built for snow and skiing convenience.

Flaine's ski area

Altitude:  700-2480m

Pistes:     265km


Flaine is part of the huge Grand Massif ski area, the fourth largest fully interlinked ski domain in France.


The local skiing is spread around a vast bowl with long runs of around 1000m vertical descending from the 2500m Grand Platierès, where there are stunning views of Mont Blanc.

Snow-wise - Our complete guide to Flaine, France - Flaine's snow record View of Mont Blanc from the Grandes Platières.

There is also a lot more to explore outside the main bowl, including the extensive and highly varied areas of Carroz, Morillon and Samoëns, three traditional Savoyarde villages that make up most of the rest of the Grand Massif ski area.


From Flaine itself, you can also ski one of the longest runs in the Alps, the 14km Cascades, which winds its way through beautiful scenery down to Sixt Fer-à-Cheval, where you take a short bus ride to Samoëns where you reconnect to the main lift network.

Snow-wise - Our complete guide to Flaine, France - Flaine's ski area Plenty of snow on the 14km Cascades run, even late in the season.

Flaine's snow record

Our snow rating:☆☆☆


The main Flaine bowl has an outstanding snow record. Not only does the area have high average snowfall (the summit of the Grand Platières claims to receive 15m of snow annually), but snow preservation is also excellent, with good cover down to resort level virtually assured well into April.


Snow conditions are slightly less reliable outside the main bowl but, considering its modest altitudes, the Grand Massif as a whole punches well above its weight/height!

Lots of wide open snow-sure pistes in the Grandes Platières sector.

Where to find the best snow in Flaine

The best snow in Flaine is nearly always found on the upper half of its main bowl. If snow happens to be poor lower down, the best way of clocking up the miles is to repeatedly ski from the Desert Blanc chair, which offers a selection of well-groomed runs between 2000m and 2500m.

Where to ski in bad weather

In Flaine itself, the best place to head to in bad weather is the thickly tree-lined area served by the drags next to the Aujon gondola in Flaine Forum. There are a few trees close to resort level elsewhere in the main bowl, but most of Flaine’s skiing is open.


If you can get to them (and back), the forests above Les Carroz and Morrillon are the best places to head to in bad weather as these areas offer some of the best tree-skiing in the northern French Alps.

Flaine for experts

Our rating:☆☆☆


Flaine is a better choice for advanced and expert skiers than many give it credit for. On-piste there are a number of genuinely steep blacks including the Diamant Noir and Col Gers.


There is also a lot of satisfying off-piste, though it should be noted that the upper regions of the Grande Platières should never be attempted without a guide due to the number of pot-holes and cliff bands.


Outside the main bowl, the toughest terrain is above Samoëns 1600.

Snow-wise - Our complete guide to Flaine, France - Flaine for experts Plenty of testing off-piste in Flaine, but a guide is essential.

Flaine for intermediates

Our rating:☆☆☆


Flaine is an intermediate’s paradise with lots of reds and blues of varying gradient criss-crossing the main bowl.


For those who prefer gentle cruising, the Cristal and Serpentine from the Grand Platières or Desert Blanc lifts are particularly satisfying. Adventurous intermediates will want to explore the rest of the Grand Massif with its immense variety of terrain.


Our favourite intermediate runs of all are the long descents from the Tête du Saix down to Morillon, as well as the runs served by the new Coulouvrier chair, offering nearly 1000m of fast cruising in the trees.


Don’t forget to also try the picturesque and peaceful 14km-long Cascades run from the top of the Flaine bowl to Sixt, which takes you completely away from the lifts, until you take a short bus ride from the end back to Samoëns.

Snow-wise - Our complete guide to Flaine, France - Flaine for intermediates Flaine and the Grand Massif offer some of the best intermediate skiing in France.

Flaine for beginners

Our rating:☆☆☆


Flaine has excellent nursery areas, both in Flaine Forum and Flaine Forêt, with the added bonus that both areas have free beginner lifts.


Once they have moved off these areas, near beginners also have some longer greens and easy blues to progress.

Snow-wise - Our complete guide to Flaine, France - Flaine for beginners Flaine is an excellent resort for beginners.

Flaine for cross country skiers

There are a small number of cross-country trails in and around the Flaine area, with 5km at the Col de Pierre Carrée pass (claimed to be the highest and snowiest Nordic skiing area in the Alps) on the road into resort. These are accessible by a free shuttle bus from Flaine.There are also a further 45km of cross country trails just 30 minutes away, within the Grand Massif.

Snow-wise - Our complete guide to Flaine, France - Flaine for cross country skiers Flaine has a small yet high and scenic area of cross-country skiing at the Col de Pierre Carrée.

Mountain restaurants in Flaine

Flaine does not have a huge number of mountain restaurants, but there are some good ones dotted around, including the Pente à Jules in the trees just above resort. Over on the Flaine Forêt nursery slopes, the Bissac is popular, though it can get crowded. For something simple but rustic you could also try the Michet close to the base of the Aup de Veran gondola.


Higher up there are fewer good options, but the remote Gite du Lac de Gers comes recommended. You do need to book in advance and allow plenty of time, as returning to Flaine is only possible by skiing down the long Cascades run then re-entering the Grand Massif via Samoëns.

Snow-wise - Our complete guide to Flaine, France - Mountain restaurants in Flaine La Pente à Jules is a popular new addition to Flaine's mountain restaurant scene.

Flaine for non-skiers

Our rating:☆☆☆☆


There is a good pool, gym and spa open to the public at the Centaure apartments. You can also go dog-sledding and ice-driving but, generally speaking, Flaine is very limited for non-skiers.

Snow-wise - Our complete guide to Flaine, France - Flaine for non-skiers Snow-shoeing is one of the non-skiing activities on offer in Flaine.

Flaine's après-ski

Our rating:☆☆☆


Après-ski is quite limited in Flaine. If you are looking for anything remotely lively, head to the White Pub in Flaine Forum or the Flying Dutchman in Flaine Forêt. Otherwise, the bar at the Hotel Terminal Neige is good for a quiet drink.

Snow-wise - Our complete guide to Flaine, France - Flaine's après-ski The bar at the Terminal Neige is the trendiest spot for a drink in Flaine.

Eating out in Flaine

Flaine has a surprisingly large number of restaurants, but they still get busy in peak season so advanced booking is strongly recommended. Among the more popular places are the Chez Pierrot pizzeria, Brasserie Les Cimes and Michet, all of which are in Flaine Forum.

Our accommodation in Flaine

Flaine is dominated by mid-range self-catered accommodation but has started to see an increase in luxury apartments and hotels in recent years.


We offer tailor-made luxury ski holidays and short breaks at some of the resort's finest apartments and hotels, including the 4 star urban chic Hotel Terminal Neige - Totem in the centre of Flaine Forum, and the fabulous Les Terrasses d’Eos and Les Terrasses d'Hélios apartments, right on the slopes in the quieter and more secluded hamlet of Flaine Montsoleil.


Prices in Flaine start from £995 per person for 7 nights or £795 for 3 nights, including flights and private transfers.

Snow-wise's top tip

Never ski off-piste in the main Flaine bowl without a guide as the top section is riddled with cliff-bands and pot-holes.

Considering a luxury ski holiday
or short break in Flaine?


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Email us at: info@snow-wise.com

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