Wide view of child skier with big mountain backdrop at Albiez-Montrond.

Albiez

Les Sybelles, French Alps

Close the Franco-Italian border, Albiez is reached via the Maurienne Valley. Nearby are Valloire, Valmeinier, Les Karellis, plus the six lift-linked ski villages of Les Sybelles.

North-east is Val Thorens in the 3 Valleys, so Albiez gets heavy snowfalls.

Surrounded by high peaks like les Aiguilles d’Arves, Albiez (a small farming community) sits on a plateau, with a nice sense of openness.

Wide view of family skiers from chair-lift, showing Albiez-Montrond ski terrain

The Ski Area

Although not lift-linked to the huge Les Sybelles ski area, knowing that an undemanding 20min drive from St-Jean d’Arves is all that separates the two might just encourage you to come and discover what Albiez has to offer. If so, you might be surprised.

The ski terrain sits among fantastic scenery and you’ll have plenty of time to appreciate it, thanks to a combination of fixed chairlifts (along with a few drag-lifts) and some surprisingly wide pistes. If you’ve been looking for somewhere in which to perfect your carving technique, you’ve just found it. The majority of the groomed runs are graded blue or red, with a couple of short-and-steep blacks plus a choice of three green-graded novice areas.

Not that it’s all tame, however – the off-piste potential includes a dedicated ‘Espace Rando’ area accessible from the Crête d l’Ane drag-lift and just below the 2470m Tête d’Albiez-le-Vieux. Tucked out of sight in the next valley lies the ski area of Les Karellis, to which Albiez might one day be linked if a longstanding plan finally becomes reality.

Resort Information

Altitude : 1500mm - 2060mm
Albiez
Pistes Total:
35 km
Bar chart showing percentages of ski piste difficulty
5 Green
9 Blue
7 Red
4 Black
Ski Resort Lifts : 12
1 Magic Carpets
7 Draglifts
4 Chairlifts
Les Sybelles
Pistes Total:
310 km
Bar chart showing percentages of ski piste difficulty
25 Green
56 Blue
34 Red
9 Black
Ski Domain Lifts: 73
26 Chairlifts

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Low view of village centre, with snow-covered mountainside

The Ski Village

It’s the real thing. The cosy heart of Albiez-le-Vieux tells you instantly that you’ve arrived in an authentic mountain farming village, but a tourist office, a ski-hire shop and nearby lifts confirm that it’s also been welcoming skiers for many years – in fact, Albiez installed its first lift back in 1957.

The skyline here is as you’d expect, pleasingly traditional, but things haven’t stood still. There’s one of the friendliest and best-appointed child-care/kids’ club facilities we’ve seen. There’s also a range of quality apartment-style accommodation and services just beyond the 1638m Col du Mollard, which featured in the Tour de France 2015.

Mollard is the higher of the two centres, and if anything has an even more spectacular setting, although if you plan on using the child-care centre you’ll obviously need to use the free skiers’ shuttle buses which operate between the two centres.

Staying There

Value for Money Accommodation Dining Out Nightlife Village Charm

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Skie instructor on mountainside with group of young skiers

Best For

A combination of exceptional value for money and a friendly, unpressured environment mean that the most immediately-obvious appeal is to young families. However, the local ski terrain is also perfect for intermediate skiers who just want to cruise on wide, well-groomed pistes while enjoying some of the most dazzling mountain scenery you’ll find anywhere.
That said, there’s also some surprisingly good off-piste potential here, too – while just 20min or so down the road lie some 310km of groomed terrain in the excellent and currently underrated Les Sybelles ski area.
Finally, there’s accessible terrain for anyone who feels like trying cross-country skiing.

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Skiing There

Beginners / Families Intermediates Advanced / Expert Mountain Scenery

Snowboarding

Two areas with a boarder cross and Fun Zone
1 Snowparks
1 Snowboarder Cross


Cross-Country Skiing

Free access to 4 different sectors, guided outings possible.
10km Cross-Country and Nordic Ski Trails

Handiski...

  • 50% off your ski pass including part day tariffs on presentation of a valid invalidity card.

icon-smileyYes please...

  • Friendly, welcoming village with lots of traditional charm
  • Lift pass offers outstanding value skiing
  • Truly spectacular mountain scenery
  • Option of skiing in nearby Les Sybelles

icon-frowneyYes but...

  • You won’t come here if you’re a party animal
  • Not one for high-mileage skiers (but Les Sybelles are nearby)
  • Tortuous access roads need care on snowy changeover days

icon-winkingOur Tips

  • Be aware that our heart ratings take account of the off-piste potential and the option to add mileage by visiting Les Sybelles
  • Adopt a small-is-beautiful attitude, relax and enjoy the exceptional scenery

Practical Information

Getting there

By Car
For Dover-Calais ferry travel, other cross-channel routes, offers and bookings visit P&O Ferries

Take the A43 autoroute to to St Jean de Maurienne and follow the signs to the Vallée de l'Arvan. At the Opinel roundabout follow signs to Albiez-Montrond. An alternative route is to follow signs to St Sorlin d'Arves from the Opinel roundabout. After going through the tunnels take the turn to Albiez-Montrond on your left. You'll arrive in the Mollard area of the village. Make sure you have snow-chains or equivalent in your car.

By air
The nearest airports are Chambéry Savoie Mont Blanc and Lyon. For shuttle services from Lyon see Lys Altibus.

By train
The TGV station at St Jean de Maurienne Arvan is just 15km from the centre of Albiez. Make a connection to the ski village Trans Alpes bus or by taxi. Reserve a seat in advance.

Book your TGV fast train from Paris or Eurostar’s ski train direct to the French Alps with OUI.sncf

Transfers
Visit Ski-Lifts for the best range of ski transfer destinations from airports and main rail stations.


Things to do

Winter Activities

Bureau Montagne des Albiez
Tel: +33(0)9 65 16 55 23

The Bureau Montagne in Albiez lead activities such as snow-shoeing, ski joëring or sleigh rides with donkeys. Explore this beautiful mountain village in the company of local guides and you'll discover a heritage and traditional way of life that you thought no longer exists. Or, be more adventurous and take an exhilarating guided snow-shoe trek to the summit where you'll track wildlife and see the most amazing mountain scenery. There's something for all ages and abilities.


Where to stay

Hameau des Aiguilles

Self-catering apartments in Mollard, with pool and leisure facilities just 300m from the lift and a short shuttle bus ride from the old village centre amenities including nursery and Tourist Office.

Enquiries and bookings:
Peak Retreats
023 9283 9310 (UK)
reservations@peakretreats.co.uk


Where to Eat

Restaurant Lo Sonails

Rue d'En-Bas
73300 Albiez-Montrond
Tel:+33 (0)4 79 59 31 94

Side view of traditional village restaurant

Included in the Maurienne dans l'Assiette (Maurienne on a plate) association, this small family run restaurant serves dishes whose recipes have been handed down from generation to generation and using only quality, local ingredients. After a warm welcome, we chose the menu du jour which started with charcuterie and locally baked bread (with a fresh salad for vegetarians), followed by a hearty cheese dish and fruit tart to finish.


Insight: Albiez

Wide view of family skiers from chair-lift, showing Albiez-Montrond ski terrain

Insight: Albiez

Over the years we’ve visited all kinds of ski areas, both large and small. While the big names are undeniably impressive, we have to say that we’ve also developed quite an attachment to many smaller, more traditional areas. Albiez popped up on our radar when we finally managed to plan a visit to Les Sybelles, and decided to base ourselves in La Toussuire, from which Albiez is clearly visible just across the next valley.
It looks tantalisingly close, in fact, but in winter the drive between the two villages isn’t exactly direct, involving a drop down to Saint Jean de Maurienne, followed by a wayward ascent on the other side. Around 45min later the climb finally eases, the landscape opens up and we find ourselves on a plateau at whose far end we roll into Albiez-le-Vieux.

The panoramic views to our right are sensational, and we gaze at them in awestruck silence until they’re finally obscured by a snow-covered ridge just before our arrival at the top station.
View of children's ski school groups on mountainside
Two skiers on wide piste on sunny day
View of two skiers looking at spectacular mountain scenery

Albiez: authentic mountain village style, pure and simple

It’s late March, so things are looking more springlike than wintry, but while there’s little snow remaining in heart of the village the cover elsewhere still looks very skiable (proving that altitude alone isn’t always a reliable indicator of snow-reliability). Not surprisingly, we have no problem at all finding a convenient parking space – everyone is obviously up there somewhere on the mountain, leaving barely a soul to be seen in the heart of the village. After picking up our lift-passes at the tourist office we walk to the nearby Grand Loup chair-lift and sit back for a first look at the ski area.

The leisurely ride gives us time to look across at the Loup draglift to our right, which serves a blue-graded return run plus a red traverse over to the base of La Blanche 4-seater chair, visible over on our left. The latter hauls skiers up to 2060m and is a surprisingly high-capacity lift for just a couple of runs, but was conceived with an interesting possibility in mind, namely to be extended to the ridge above the top station. Doing so would neatly link the terrain of Albiez to that of its neighbour in the next valley Les Karellis, whose own topmost lift is just visible on the ridge. So far it remains a project, but might still happen one day.

Today, though, its close companion the Crête de l’Ane drag-lift is closed, since the terrain it serves is south-facing and hence the first to lose its snow cover towards the end of the season. It’s a shame, as this steep, easternmost sector has an enticing-looking sense of wild remoteness, and is home to an area designated as an espace rando exclusively for the pleasure of off-piste skiers.

When we reach the end of our haul we ski off and head right on Crête Corbeau, a wide blue-graded run to the base of the Les Aplanes drag-lift. While riding the drag the panoramic views to our right are sensational, and we gaze at them in awestruck silence until they’re finally obscured by a snow-covered ridge just before our arrival at the 2100m top station. From here we take Plan Corbé, which serves up a swirling red-graded descent which brings us to the base of the La Blanche 4-seater chair. On the haul back up we get a closer view of the officially-closed eastern sector and spot a couple of skiers who have obviously made their way across from where we’re currently heading and are having fun working their way down on the sections which have best retained their snow cover.

Back up to 2100m for more, this time via a chairlift

When we reach the top we find ourselfves back at the point to which the drag-lift had towed us, so we re-ski the enjoyable scenic blue cruise beside it. This time, though, we ski past the base of the drag-lift and continue onto Prés Perroux, for a spot of high-speed carving down this safe and super-wide blue. It’s the perfect run for this kind of fun, which continues all the way down to 1490m, where it finally flattens out. What’s more, we have it virtually to ourselves, mainly as it’s now well past midday. Having by now put a reasonable distance under our skis (with over 600m vertical drop on the run we’ve just skied) we’re more than happy to break for lunch, and to unwind during the leisurely stroll which brings us to the welcoming Lo Sonails restaurant in a narrow street at the lwoer end of the village.

View from chair-lift of mountain chalets
Skiers with instructor above traditional mountain village

Skiing over to drop in on Albiez Le Mollard

When we head back out it’s just a short stroll back to the La Vernette 3-seater chair-lift which departs from the foot of our previous run. Once aboard we glance to our right at the steep pitch of the upper section of the Le Chatel drag-lift and decide that this is one lift we’re not going to be taking this time, even after our leg muscles have finally re-awakened from their lunchtime slumber. The chair is the longest in the ski domain, and drops us at 1820m. From here skiers have a choice of blue or red graded runs down to Albiez-le-Vieux, or alternatively taking our old friend the Les Aplanes drag-lift up to 2100m. Other possibilities include a modest cross-country foray into La Plaigne at 1720m, but we take Chanes, a wide red piste which soon turns to blue for its lower section.

It brings us back to Le Mollard, from which we ride the Les Echaux chairlift for a spirited run down the Loup red, and finally onto Impène, another enjoyable blue, whose width we exploit to carve our way back to Albiez-le-Vieux (Chef-Lieu on the piste map).
Sadly we’ve just completed our final run here, for we want to try the route to Saint Sorlin d’Arves, to see whether it’s really a 20min drive. It is. So, parting thoughts? Lots really, the first of which is that we’re really glad we came to Albiez, which we think is absolutely worth skiing. While it’s true that the piste-map is small, the quality of the skiing, among all that stunning scenery, is proof that sometimes quality is more important than quantity. We love it here, and we’ll be back.MountainPassions heart icon