The perfect resort for a weekend break.
Only 20km from Annecy and its lake, La Clusaz has long been a favourite weekend and holiday retreat of skiers from Annecy and Geneva. Not as well-known among British skiers as some of its neighbours such as Avoriaz, Morzine and indeed Chamonix, it is currently enjoying a much-deserved surge of attention.
The Ski Area
It is a fairly large resort, offering a total of 132km of slopes. Much of the skiing is best suited to beginners and intermediates, with Beauregard particularly suited to beginners and young children. The longest runs are on the Cret du Loup, where the high slopes are almost guaranteed snow. On the lower slopes there is extensive snow-making, but the low altitude can lead to worn patches.
Advanced skiers will want to spend most of their time at La Balme, with its extensive off-piste opportunities. In good conditions the run down from the Torchere to the car park is as good as many classic Alpine routes, and there are plenty of accessible couloirs and bowls you can find on a powder day. The view from the top of the Col du Balme chairlift towards the Mont Blanc is breath taking on a fine day.
When it comes to the village, La Clusaz's big pull is its traditional atmosphere, with lots of non-ski activities and some excellent Savoyard restaurants. It is a great place to go with children, with a very child-friendly ice-rink and swimming pool. Christmas’s are quiet and private, whilst the whole family sets out to make noise on New Year's Eve.
There is a free bus service in town, but the village is fairly spread out and some accommodation can be little removed from the lifts. Be sure to ask before you book, or make sure you have access to a car or van.
Nightlife is quiet most of the week, livening up on weekends and holidays as visitors’ flock in from Geneva and Annecy. The resort is becoming more popular with British and Dutch weekend visitors, which should mean Saturday nights get a little lively.
Overall, La Clusaz is a very well-rounded resort, with a combination of great terrain, good snow record, and traditional village which is rarely found in the Alps outside Switzerland and Austria. Add this to the convenience of its location and you have one of the best resorts in the world for weekends and a fine place to take the family for a longer break.