It’s a common misconception that a ski resort can’t have it all. However, skiing in Samoens in France will provide you with that. How often do you come across charming mountain resorts with cobblestone streets and wooden chalets, free of huge apartment buildings, mass tourism, or a long drive to the nearest ski area?
Samoens, a lovely traditional village with connections to the Grand Massif vast ski area, might be the ultimate best-of-both ski resort. Samoens is also a perfect destination for families or parties, as it is just 75 minutes from Geneva Airport.
The mountain village of Samoens is the quintessential authentic mountain village. With the mountains looming gloriously overhead, its quaint, streets, packed with charming boutiques and cafés, looks like something out of a postcard. In reality, the name Samoens and the people who live there come from a medieval word that means “seven mountains,” a reference to the peaks surrounding this old farming village. It’s a place that exudes atmosphere, that cosy, laid-back Alpine vibe that we’ve only seen in a handful of ski resorts. One of the most frequently asked questions before beginners take to the slopes for the first time is: Is Europe the best place to ski? Let’s say it’s one of the best!
This may be due to its past as a winter retreat. Established in the 14th century, the beautiful traditional market square is home to covered market halls open on all sides. This square now serves as a focal point for the village, hosting activities throughout the year. A historic church from the 13th century stands on one side of the square, providing tourists with a rare insight into the town’s history. A modern gondola connects Samoens’ centre to a spectacular ski resort, firmly establishing Samoens as a ski resort that offers the best of both worlds, small-town charm and big-mountain skiing.
Samoens ski area
Samoens is the starting point for skiers who want to explore one of France’s largest ski areas (the fourth-largest, to be exact). Les Carroz, Morillon, Flaine, and Sixt, and Samoens are all part of the Grand Massif. Because of its proximity to Mont Blanc, the region has an excellent snow record and 265 km of runs. The 142 slopes (23 green, 60 blue, 47 red, and 12 black) provide a wide range of options for all skiers’ levels, from beginners to experts.
Many skiers come here because of the large number of green and blue runs available. Since there might not be a wide range of choices near enough to the resort, it’s not unusual for many novice and intermediate skiers to assemble on the same few blue slopes in some larger ski areas. With over 80 blue and green runs on the mountain, runs are always delightfully empty.
Samoens for beginners
With a lovely gentle green track and a 120-metre magic carpet, ‘Ze Septisnake’ is the ideal place for those just learning to ski, it’s suitable for those who might be overwhelmed by ski lifts at first. The ZiziiPanPan forest fun spot, a magically themed area with a small zip line that offers the perfect mix of adventure and skiing, is a tried and true favourite for younger learners.
Les Cascades, one of our favourite races, is ideal for those looking to practice their turns on a long blue path. With a length of 14 km, it’s not only an excellent place for a novice to intermediate skiers to develop their skills. The varied black routes and endless opportunities for epic off-piste experiences (thanks to the area’s consistent snowfall) make this a perfect destination for a week of skiing for more experienced skiers.
Away from the slopes
Suppose you want to experience the snow differently. In that case, Samoens has 15 snowshoe trails that allow visitors to experience the still magic of the mountains away from the adrenaline rush of the slopes. One guided snowshoe walk is designed especially for families, with the ability to learn about the mountains you’re in the middle of, from snow science to landscape geology.
Après ski in Samoens
Afternoons in Samoens usually consist of a relaxing glass of wine by a crackling fire rather than a wild party. Still, the tourist office organizes various free activities in the season, such as Friday evening entertainment and treasure hunts around the village.