Haute-Maurienne, Savoie, French Alps.
La Norma is situated in the Haute-Maurienne valley just 10 minutes’ drive from Modane, with one of the easiest and shortest ascents to a ski station we've come across.
Beyond the head of the valley lies Val d’Isère, so snowfalls here tend to be dependable.
It’s easily accessible via the A43 autoroute which penetrates the valley almost to the town of Modane, on the French side of the Fréjus tunnel and last stop for TGV high-speed trains before reaching Italy.
The Ski Area
- Varied skiing on north-west facing slopes.
- Families with young children will love La Norma.
North-west facing slopes, some high altitude and snow-making should assure skiing here until the end of the season. Experienced skiers and boaders will find entertaining black and red runs off the Norma II chairlift which climbs to 2750m. Take the Piste des Crêtes Red run over to the Clot sector for a steep but wide Red, a more demanding Black (Arcosses) or a Red cruise through the trees (Arlette). There's a freeride area below the top of the Carrelet lift and some challenging off-piste around Arcosses.
Alternatively, intermediates can take the Red-graded Perdrix from the top of Norma II. It's worth the ascent as the snow quality here is superb, as are the magnificent panoramic views over the Massif de la Vanoise. Below is a choice of Red and Blue routes back to the village, or a gentle Green to take you over to the Arlette sector. There's a small leaner's area above the Plateau de la Repose, with a choice of short Green and Blue pistes or the long Sainte Anne through the forest and right back to the village.
The ESF children's ski school is situated where infants can be easily observed by parents. They quickly progess to the nearby learner's slope, then the mid-mountain debutante area.
Good skiers will probably want a change of scene after a few days. You can purchase a combined forfait for La Norma and Valfréjus, a super ski station not far from Modane. Alternatively, with a 6-day ski pass l’Espace Haute Maurienne Vanoise you can enjoy one day skiing at Aussois, Val Cenis, Bessans, or Bonneval sur Arc, making a total of 350 km of downhill skiing. Check the details for regulations and see the La Norma website for exclusive online deals.
Pistes Total: 65 km
- A new gondola, perfectly integrated into the mountain landscape will open this winter 2022/3. With discrete stations and pylons, it will run on 100% renewable electricity produced locally thanks to Haute Maurienne dams and hydro-electric power stations.
The Ski Village
- Purpose-built ski village with easy access from Modane.
- The "cosy station", is friendly, convenient and compact.
La Norma calls itself "the cosy station" for good reason. It doesn't take long to arrive, unpack and settle into an apartment here and feel very much at home.
Opened in 1971, the village is perched on a plateau surrounded by larch forest at 1350m. It was well planned so that none of the accommodation is far from the lifts and the shops. All are centrally located just behind the front de neige. Traffic management is good, giving convenient access to accommodation, while keeping things car-free elsewhere. The majority of buildings are 4-5 storey timber-clad apartments, with chalet style homes occupying a quiet area away from the village centre. Visitors enjoy free parking, including in the covered car park.
The village centre has shops, bars and restaurants, crêche and Tourist Office, which also serves as a post office and internet point, and whose friendly staff offer a varied programme of family activities every evening.
There's a pretty good small supermarket in the village, although Modane is an easy 10 minute drive, for a good selection of shops, supermarkets, bars and restaurants.
See Practical Information below for accommodation suggestions.
Why go skiing in La Norma ?
Families return here because they know that this small ski station is unpressured, safe for children and has some surprisingly good skiing. It has a safe and friendly car-free village, excellent child care and ski school, moderate prices and free family based activities. We frequently saw three generations enjoying the relaxed atmosphere, and the steeps make this an option for mixed-ability groups. There's plenty for all ages and non-skiers to enjoy too with well-marked snow-shoeing routes, soirées in one of the mountain restaurants, cultural visits and activities. Couples and young people should not be put off - the La Norma friendly welcome extends to everyone – and where else can you eat on-mountain for as little as €5, with panoramic views over the Massif de la Vanoise?
- Experience the sensation of skiing in a Tandemski with a qualified ESF instructor
- Traffic-free village centre with easy access to front de neige.
- Friendly, relaxed atmosphere.
- Free WiFi throughout the village.
- Budget accommodation with easy access to the slopes.
- Free underground and overground parking.
- Reasonable prices.
- Ten minute transfers from Modane (TGV high-speed rail link).
- Family-friendly activities.
- Snow-making helps keep things moving.
- Not enough skiing to entertain good skiers for a week.
- Some apartment accommodation now needs updating.
- Visit Aussois on the opposite side of the valley for a day's skiing.
- Relax - there's plenty of time to ski everywhere.
Las Balcons d'Anaïs
We stayed in a cosy 2-bedroom apartment with balcony and views over the beginner's slope and front de neige. Easy access to the front de neige from the ski-locker room is really convenient, and ideal for families with small children in ski school. In fact, most of the apartments overlook the ESF children's learning area, which is one of the safest and most well supervised we've seen.
The accommodation is quite basic, the bedrooms in particular being disappointingly bare. The twin beds are also narrow (we actually switched to the sofa bed in the lounge). However, the bathroom was good, with bath and overhead shower, the apartment was warm and the kitchen well-equipped. The apartments are great value for money, though beware extra charges such as linen hire, TV (French channels only), and WiFi (€20 per week). Washing machines (€5.50) and driers available. There's free roadside parking outside the residence and there's free covered parking at the village entrance.
After the slopes have closed toddlers play on the snow, and the sledges come out or there's a little luge run which is very popular. Most evenings there are fun activities staged by the Tourist Office aimed at families. Evenings are quiet (there's no nightclub for example) but there's a nice range of restaurants to suit all budgets. For shopping there's a very good mini-market and a couple of bakeries, plus shops selling regional specialities.
More information and booking:
023 9283 9310