Low, wide view of skier in piste approaching mountain chapel

Le Grand Bornand

Massif des Aravis, Haute-Savoie, French Alps

A short drive from the lakeside town of Annecy, the unspoilt mountains and valleys of the Massif des Aravis offer relaxed family skiing and solid value.

Along with neighbouring La Clusaz it’s deservedly popular with day visitors from nearby Geneva, while quick flight transfers and easy road access attract increasing numbers of skiers from the UK.

Although in absolute terms altitudes are modest, the location has continued to produce abundant snowfalls in recent years.

The Ski Area

  • Relaxed skiing amid genuinely unspoilt Alpine scenery.
  • Short transfer time from Geneva airport.

Despite the name, the most extensive and most varied terrain actually lies on the slopes above Le Chinaillon, directly accessible from the village via the 6-seater high-speed La Floria ski-lift, or a selection of alternative chairlifts strung along the valley. Those based in Le Grand Bornand village have a choice of two gondolas, the longer of which (Le Rosay) reaches beyond the gentler, lower terrain and drops skiers at the foot of onward lifts serving the steeper stuff. The high-point is Mont Lachat (2100m), which has a dedicated freeride area. Further on, at the far end of the Vallée du Maroly there’s a real sense of remoteness (plus a large snowpark) below the Col des Annes and at the Tête des Annes (1869m). From here you start to appreciate that the terrain is actually much more extensive than it looks on paper. Closer to home, there are reassuringly gentle novice areas just above Le Chinaillon and at the top of the La Joyère gondola, for those based in Le Grand Bornand village.

New for winter 2019/2020 is the creation of new reception structures, a new beginners’ area at the foot of the slopes and the replacement of two older fixed-grip skilifts (the older one dating from 1976) with a modern, high-speed ski lift, along with a programme of renovation work on the nearby slopes. The new Charmieux ski lift features slow boarding for 3,600 people an hour. It features an original design and technical innovations and was undertaken in close collaboration with ecologists to promote a rapid return to pasture at the end of the winter.

And bravo to Le Grand Bornand for re-using the old Gettiers ski-lift to replace and optimise the Taverne line.

Resort Information

Altitude : 1000m - 2100m
Le Grand Bornand
Pistes Total:
86 km
16 Green
12 Blue
16 Red
4 Black
Ski Resort Lifts : 27
1 Magic Carpets
13 Draglifts
11 Chairlifts
2 Gondolas
Massif des Aravis
Pistes Total:
211 km
Bar chart of ski piste percentages in the Aravis ski area, French Alps.
33 Green
43 Blue
46 Red
12 Black
Ski Domain Lifts: 77


Village church and hotels after snowfalls.

The Ski Village

  • The original village has authentic Alpine charm.
  • Large-scale apartment developments at Le Chinaillon enable easy access to the slopes.

Skiers here have not one but two villages from which to select their base: Le Grand Bornand and its slightly higher neighbour in the next valley, Le Chinaillon. Perhaps surprisingly, each has a genuinely traditional feel, although Le Grand Bornand village has a greater sense of being in the heart of things. Both are year-round working communities, so feel alive and welcoming throughout the seasons. The architectural style leans towards individual traditional chalets, and looks set to remain so, if sympathetically-styled large-scale apartment developments like the Village de Lessy are anything to go by.

Connecting the two villages are frequent shuttle bus services used by skiers and residents alike.

Staying There

Value for Money Accommodation Dining Out Nightlife Village Charm


Older skiers being passed by ski school children's group

Why go skiing in Le Grand Bornand ?

It would be hard to imagine a more relaxed and traditional setting in which to ski, and the ease of accessibilty is another plus factor for skiers from the UK. Generations of French and Swiss families, too, continue to return to enjoy the place in which they learned to ski, and you can see why. The terrain accommodates just about everyone, from first-timers up to freeriders and freestyle skiers, while the Famille Plus label underlines a continuing commitment to family skiers. If there’s a limitation then it has to be in the mile-hungry intermediate sector - but add nearby La Clusaz (included on the Aravis lift-pass) and everyone should be happy.


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Alpinresorts.com Ski rental

Skiing There

Beginners / Families Intermediates Advanced / Expert Mountain Scenery


Highly ranked park with half-pipe, boarder cross and 4 jump lines.
1 Snowparks

Cross-Country Skiing

Top class area with big choice of loops and trails. There are also 2 biathlon stadiums but don't be put off, learners are welcomed in fun learning areas and easy village trails.
60km Cross-Country and Nordic Ski Trails


  • Reserved parking available.
  • Access to all lifts except Joyère cable car, Les Languières chairlift, Chatillon and Stadium draglifts.
  • 50% discount for the disabled person and their companion (conditions apply).
  • ESi Starski have different offers and discovery packages for disabled, seniors, or just for fun. English spoken, range of equipment.
  • Adapted lessons for wide range of disabilities with the ESF Handiski Club Loisirs. Range of equipment and accessible meeting points or pick-ups. English spoken.
  • Toilets are available by the cash desks at Chatelet and Gettiers, as well as sectors Maroly and Rosay.
  • Cross-Country skiing accessible with reserved parking in the Village and Les Plans in the Bouchet valley. Easy tracks in Les Plans.
  • Range of adapted accommodation available.

icon-smileyYes please...

  • Relaxed skiing amid genuinely unspoilt Alpine scenery.
  • Terrain for almost everyone, including more timid improvers.
  • The famous Dénivel’Maxx, the longest slope in the ski area at 3km with 1100m of non-stop slopes.
  • 5 hectare freestyle area which regularly features in France's Top 10 snowparks.
  • Dependable recent snow record.
  • Solid value, without compromising the quality of the ski experience.
  • One of the shortest journeys for those driving from the UK.

icon-frowneyYes but...

  • Intermediates will soon hunger for more mileage, satisfied by shuttle transfers to and from La Clusaz.

icon-winkingOur Tips

  • If you don't have a full Aravis lift-pass, a Carte d’Hôte card (from your accommodation supplier) will allow you to travel free on shuttle buses.


Practical Information

Tried and testedLe Village de Lessy

Le Grand Bornand

Le Village de Lessy exterior with view to ski area, Le Grand Bornand, French Alps

Located in the centre of Le Chinaillon and close to the slopes – literally across the road from a lift serving the slopes, ski schools and lift-pass desks.

Each apartment is furnished and equipped to a very high standard of comfort and convenience. Living areas have a double pull-out bed (making up 2 single beds), plus a fully equipped kitchenette. There is also a bathroom and WC (separate in some larger apartments). All apartments have satellite TV, direct telephone line, free Wi-Fi and a balcony.

This prestige residence has a spacious lounge area with open fireplace, a snug family area, laundry room (payable), ski lockers and a luggage room.

Guests may find the complex lift system confusing at first (we had to take 6 lifts from our upper-level apartment to reach the ski lockers), but the high-speed direct lifts are very efficient, the only delays occurring, predictably, during Saturday changeovers.

The village shuttle service to the slopes and the village centre stops outside the Reception area. There is also a half-hourly bus service down to Le Grand Bornand village stopping near the Tourist Office.
Ask at Reception for your free Carte d’Hôte travel card.

Enquiries and bookings:
Peak Retreats
023 9283 9310 (UK)or +44 23 9283 9310

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