Vallée de la Maurienne, French Alps
In the Maurienne Valley, and readily accessible by road from Albertville, Chambéry Savoie Mont Blanc and Grenoble.
It shares its ski terrain with Valmorel, which lies in the Tarentaise.
Snow cover is helped by the presence nearby of peaks surrounding the 3V resorts of Méribel and Saint-Martin de Belleville.
The Ski Area
Known as Le Grand Domaine, the groomed terrain sits roughly equally on either side the 1993m Col de la Madeleine (a celebrated climb in the Tour de France) with Saint-François Longchamp to the south and Valmorel to the north. It might sound dull but in fact it’s anything but, since along the way lie ridges and valleys to break things up and give variety to the skiing. The terrain is mostly reassuring, with plenty of wide blue cruising runs for intermediates who like to cover some distance. There are some scenic reds, too, along with quite long greens. Blacks are more limited, though, but there’s off-piste all around, plus some good cross-country terrain around the village of Celliers.
As for getting around, Saint-François has the technological edge over Valmorel, much of its terrain being served by three high-speed chairlifts, whereas on the other side you’ll encounter twice as many drag-lifts. Happily, things there are now improving.
Pistes Total: 70 km
Pistes Total: 165 km
The Ski Village
Most accommodation is located around Saint-François Longchamp 1650, chalet-style development predominating at Plan Mollaret, while Le Hameau has convenient front-de-neige apartments. There’s more, but with a slightly dated, no-frills look, down at Saint-François Longchamp 1450, to which you can ski down and get a chairlift back, making the other villages effectively ski-in/ski-out. Saint-François’ image as “La Montagne Conviviale” is well-founded, and we found a friendly atmosphere both on and off the mountain. The resort might have been long overlooked by style-seekers, but the relaxed, unpretentious approach to things grows on you (and keeps things affordable).
See Practical Information below for accommodation suggestions.
Why go skiing in Saint-François Longchamp ?
For anyone looking for quality, family-friendly skiing in the French Alps yet which offers olid value with few obvious compromises, this has to be a serious contender. The terrain isn’t for the most part overly-demanding, but you can cover some distance around the combined ski area, cruising much of it on wide, reassuring blue-graded pistes. The front-de-neige is a fun place to be, too, with lots of organised activities and safe play areas for children. But if you’re solo or child-free don’t discount it, for the skiing is great, and this side of the mountain has a lot going for it as a base from which to explore it all.
Snowboarding4 fun zones
1 Snowboarder Cross
Cross-Country Skiing40km à Montaimont, 20 km à Valmorel
60kmkm Cross-Country and Nordic Ski Trails
- Hosted the French Alpine Ski Handisport Cup in 2014
- Specialist ESF instructors for sit-ski and dual-ski
- Parking at the foot of the slopes
- Central reservation service for accommodation advice +33(0)4 79 59 10 56
- Quality linked-domain skiing.
- This side of the mountain has the better lift system.
- Full lift pass means you ski in both the Maurienne and the Tarentaise.
- Friendly, welcoming and unpretentious ambiance.
- Programme of family activities.
- Pedestrian-friendly villages.
- Short transfers from Chambéry Savoie Mont Blanc & TGV high-speed rail links.
- 1450 village now looking tired.
- Nightlife on the restrained side.
- Explore the topmost and outermost pistes, for peace and big views.
Le Lac Bleu 3* hotel has recently refurbished rooms now with Savoie style cosy decor and modernised en-suite bathrooms. We loved the superb view over the slopes from our 4th floor room. The hotel restaurant and bar share this unrivalled view over the front de neige. Take the half-board option and you dine here every evening. Friendly staff serve a varied 3-course fixed menu, although there’s little understanding of vegetarian options. Those with special diets need to consult with the chef well in advance. All drinks are extra.
A couple of downsides - there’s a drop-off point but no hotel parking (outdoor public parking is nearby), and there’s no hotel lift. If you’re on the top floor you’ll need to be fit! On the upside, the hotel owner and the staff are helpful and welcoming, it’s warm and comfortable, and just 50m from the lift, with convenient ski lockers on the ground floor.
Enquiries and bookings:
023 9283 9310 (UK)