It’s in the impressive shadow of the snow-capped Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the beautiful, French Alps, that you’ll find the ski resort of Flaine.
Located in the Haute Savoie region, and part of the Grand Massif ski-ing area, Flaine has earned itself the nickname of “big snowy bowl”, as it boasts one of the best snow records in the French Alps. My family and I were fortunate enough to spend a great week here over Easter, and we can certainly confirm that it delivered excellent snow conditions. For, despite being close to the end of the ski season, we enjoyed two snowfalls, and, with the days in between topped up by 110 snow canons, we had no issues at all with ice on the resort’s very well maintained pistes.
Skiing in Flaine for families
And for those travelling with children in tow, Flaine is a perfect ski spot for families.
Just one of several reasons for this is that it’s actually possible to ski purely blue runs if wanted here, and yet still take in the best views of the Grand Massif area – which has 70 lifts taking you to no less than 148 runs.
This makes for a perfect afternoon treat for children still honing their skills in ski school to be able to enjoy showing off their new-found talents with their parents, without having to tackle taxing pistes with tired legs. There’s also a nursery school for newcomers with a magic carpet.
But Flaine is also great for more experienced families too because there’s no chance of getting bored of the pistes here. And that’s because as well as the resort of Flaine – which boasts 64 runs reaching an altitude of up to 2500metres – the Grand Massif ski-ing area also includes the interconnected areas of Les Carroz, Sixt, Morillon and Samoens.
Overall you’ll find 8 green runs, 26 blues, 25 reds and 5 blacks at your ski tips in Flaine and across the Grand Massif area a total of 20 greens, 65 blues, 50 reds and 13 blacks. And if that’s not enough to keep you entertained there’s something for the more daring too as there are also 13 fun spaces, including three in Flaine, as well as a slalom area.
My family’s home for a luxurious week was in one of the five-star, self-catering apartments that can be found at Les Terraces des Helios – run by Pierre and Vacances, part of the Centre Parcs group – at Flaine’s Mont Soleil level. Not only was the ski in, ski out a much-needed plus for our family, we also had access to every single thing we need for our week’s stay literally at our fingertips.
For also at slope level, and in the same complex building, was Ski Shop Helios to hire ski equipment; there was a Spar supermarket to stock up on supplies (although if you wanted freshly baked croissants and pain au chocolat without leaving the apartments you could opt for them to be delivered to reception at 8am every morning); a cafe; and a restaurant.
And as if that wasn’t enough in itself, the French Ski School ESF – Escole Ski Francais – even has an office on slope level too to book any lessons and the instructors also pick up children right outside the building at 9.30am and return them at 12.30 each day!
What more could a parent ask for? Perhaps, somewhere to chill out after a hard day’s ski-ing? Well, there was another tick in this box too.
For the Helios Apartments, which also runs the hotel Eos opposite too, also boasts a nice pool (with two immersed exercise bikes), separate toddler area, sauna, steam room and outside hot tub where you can bask in the beauty of the surrounding snow-covered mountains, as well as a spa offering a range of treatments.
But if you still want to enjoy the great outdoors after the pistes have closed then the apartments can also loan out a range of sledges without any extra charge. There are several levels at different altitudes in Flaine, there are the Forum, Foret and Mont Soleil. While other levels were more of a concrete block-style, Mont Soleil, where Helios is based, was, for me, definitely the more aesthetically appealing, as it’s more alpine, with a more pleasing wood and natural stone look.
My family and I enjoyed a thoroughly comfortable stay here, and a week of fabulous ski-ing so I’ve no hesitation in recommending other families to follow in our snowy foot prints.
Justine Halifax and her family stayed in the Les Terraces des Helios at Mont Soleil in Flaine www.pierreetvacances.co.uk
For more info about Flaine visit: www.flaine.com