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Samoens

This old mountain village is a real charmer – evidence of historic stonemasonry lines the streets and squares and with seven surrounding peaks, Mother Nature’s thrown in her own masterpieces too. The vibe in town is authentically French and pleasantly laid back; out on the piste, the Grand Massif ski area presents 265km of seriously underrated terrain.

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

At a glance: • "Ville Fleurie" awarded village • Ski the Grand Massif • Short transfers

Great for: • Families • Non-skiers • Intermediates

This old mountain village is a real charmer – evidence of historic stonemasonry lines the streets and squares and with seven surrounding peaks, Mother Nature’s thrown in her own masterpieces too. The vibe in town is authentically French and pleasantly laid back; out on the piste, the Grand Massif ski area presents 265km of seriously underrated terrain.

Samoens Resort

At the base of Criou Mountain by the Giffre River, this original French market town fuses tradition, nature and modern ski facilities. The correct pronunciation has become a bit of a talking point here at Sno... Most say ‘Saa-mwans’ but depending on dialect, it can sound like ‘Saa-mwaz’ and even ‘Saa-muw-an’. If you’re still trying to perfect your Bonjour, don’t fret – smiles go a long way here and they’ll soon have you sounding like a true Septimontain, as the natives are fondly known (referring to the seven surrounding mountains).

The locals are very proud of Samoëns - and so they should be. Worlds away from the densely developed, purpose-built ski towns, this is actually the only French resort that’s classified as a ‘national monument’ by the Cassie Nationale des Monuments Historiques. The town square’s famous ‘Le Gros Tilleul’ or ‘big lime tree’ has seen centuries of change since it was planted in 1438 – these days it overlooks the hub of the resort where you’ll find some lovely shops and a weekly farmer’s market. You can tell the area’s been home to generations of stonemasons: It features some beautiful rural buildings including a 16th century church and 9 domed chapels in each of the surrounding hamlets.

Not just worth visiting for its architecture, the village is linked to Flaine, Morrilon, Les Carroz and Sixt Fer à Cheval as part of the 260km Grand Massif. Being lesser known than the 3 Valleys and Espace Killy areas, you usually get top quality runs with far less disturbance in this neck of the woods... When you’re ready to don the skis, a shuttle service goes between the village, Grand Massif Express and ski lifts every 20 minutes. If you‘d rather drive, the Grand Massif Express and Vercland lift both have car parks.

The resort has hit the nail on the head when it comes to skiing with children, leading the tourist board to award it the ‘Familie Plus Montagne’ label. As well as having tobogganing, skating and dog sledding on the cards, parts of the village are traffic-free making it safer to get around. Less than an hour’s drive from Geneva airport and 18km from the railway station of Cluses, the age-old “are we nearly there yet?” is a thing of the past here too...

Stats & FAQ

Location: France, Alps.

Established: 1980

Open: December - April

Downhill: 265km

View our detailed Samoens snow forecast or snow report and see all live webcams, piste maps, road and travel maps and lift pass prices. For a picture of historic snow conditions see the snow depths month by month with our Samoens snow history.

Nearest Airport & Transfer Time:
Geneva74 km, 65mins
Grand Massif ski area
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • 85runs 57%

  • 50runs 34%

  • 14runs 9%

Top Altitude:2500m
Bottom Altitude:710m
Resort Altitude:1600m
Longest run:14km
Slope Orientation:N, SE
Vertical Drop:1760m
Skiable Vertical:800m
Night Skiing:No
Glacier:No

Snow Report

  • Top
  • 9cm
  • Base
  • 0cm
  • Forecast
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Web Cam

Samoens web cams
Downhill Runs:265km
Beginner slopes:57%
Intermediate:34%
Advanced slopes:9%
Lift Pass Price: Grand Massif: €225 (adult 6 day)
Massif (excludes Flaine and the 14km Les Cascades): €192.30 (adult 6 day)
Nearby resorts: Morillon, Sixt Fer à Cheval, Flaine, La Clusaz

Skiing/BoardingSkiing in Samoens

With instruction from ZigZag ski school and ESF and over 50kms of green and blue runs, there are plenty of opportunities for beginners to get comfortable on the slopes. The aptly named ‘Marvel’ in Morrilon is a firm family favourite, a scenic green that leads you along 6km of tree-lined pistes. If it’s open (being low down, the snow isn’t the most reliable) set your sights on skiing the blue Cascades. The longest run in the area, it starts at Les Grandes Platieres in Flaine, crosses the Sixt Fer a Cheval nature reserve and winds its way through 14km of scenic forest. It’s definitely worth navigating at least once, even just for lunch at Lac de Gers, where the owners usually pick you up from the bottom of the slope by skidoo.

Intermediates should take the Grand Massif Express to the Tête des Saix – pause to check out the views of the Lac des Nuages, “lake of cloud” before coasting down some of the wilder reds. We like Méphisto Superieure for its cliff-top views and challenging terrain. Des Parements is a relative newbie to the area and cuts across the existing Aigle Noir black run giving you exhilarating terrain and an aerial view of the Giffre Valley.

Head high for extensive off-piste as well as a generous network of black runs in every direction. Experts will definitely want to check out Gers, the biggest and best bowl with an 800m drop of often untracked snow. One of our favourites is the Black Styx, which is the main black run here (appropriately named after the River Styx which separated Hades from the land of the living...) and Diamont Noir is another tough, scary must-ski.

Flaine’s Jam Park is one of three Grand Massif snowparks - accessed by the Bois de Flaine lift it has kickers and rails of different difficulties, a hip and a quarter-pipe designed by specialists and a hi-tech sound system = a freestylers dream, whether you’re just learning or honing your skills. Closer to home you’ll also find the Septimountain Jampark, which is great for intermediates with a number of boxes, jumps and rails. For mini park rats, the Kids Park in Morillon has all the fun stuff, just designed for littler legs.

Samoens Apres Ski

As you’d expect from such a good family resort, the nightlife is friendly and relaxed, with 15 bars and 30+ restaurants dishing up a lively atmosphere, hearty food and a proper locals’ welcome.

Covey’s Irish Bar is a top spot for evening drinks with nightly events including bands, DJs, pub quizzes and live sport. For a relaxing drink, take a quick walk to the casual Savoie Bar on the main square for great cocktails and a bit of people watching.

Eating out is usually pretty casual, although you might find a few places worth booking in advance, like Le Monde a l’Envers (close to the main square and popular for its creative twist on traditional Savoyard grub). Head down Cascades piste to Giste du Lacs de Gers for a fabulous mid-ski dining experience - we’ve heard good things about the pig’s cheek with crayfish... If you’ve got a sweet tooth, the homemade raspberry pie is perfect with a glass of the local Chignin Bergeron. Nearly all restaurants are good with children – even some of the fancier ones have extensive kid’s menus. We love Lou Capons which makes good value comfort food - located at the base of the gondola it’s in a perfect location for a quick bite before ski lessons.

A local market usually runs every Wednesday and there’s more than enough to see and do around the town. One of our favourite non-ski activities is dog-sledding and there’s also ice skating, ice climbing, skijoring and helicopter excursions. Just a short walk from the centre you’ll find Lac dux Dames leisure centre. Covering 10 hectares it’s a peaceful spot to start a cross ski trip across frozen lakes or a trip in snowshoes on the Giffre valley riverbanks.

Best time to go

Best time to ski Samoens

When is the best time to ski Samoens?

It’s easy to overlook Samoëns for its lower altitude, but don’t be fooled. It has one of the region’s best snow records, often beating larger (and higher) resorts Tignes and Val D’Isere on snow coverage. Although at the lower end of the region, there is usually generous skiing all season running from early December until late April. This is partly down to its proximity to Mont Blanc, the natural snow accumulation and mainly north-facing slopes (80% of the entire area).

The Grand Massif area has an average annual snowfall of 5m and slopes facing SE and N. For the best snow, head to Les Grandes Platières in Flaine, which at 2500m is the highest part of the area. With 128 snow cannons that have recently undergone extensive improvements, cover can be considerable even when the weather isn’t on your side. As well as the peak weeks below, we love Winegrowers Week (usually the second half of January) which features tastings, workshops and gourmet evenings with local chefs. For dog and sports lovers, January usually sees the annual opening ceremony of the Great Savoie Mont Blanc Odyssey, Europe’s largest sled dog race, featuring ‘La Timba del Mundo’ marching band, igloo building and evening fireworks. Hit the slopes later in the season to check out the Bet on Orbit Invitational Freestyle Event (beginning of March) where Try’Add events team up with the Tourist Office and the Grand Massif to showcase the best of the best skiers and snowboarders in freestyle competitions. Enjoy a BBQ, music from live DJs and test out your own skills on the giant airbag provided specially for the event.

Peak Dates

Be part of the fairytale with Christmas in Samoëns. See the square turn into a scene from a Christmas card with a colourful marketplace. With recent years including visits from Santa Claus, it’s not hard to get wrapped up in the joys of the season. Browse Samoens Christmas ski holidays ‣

Celebrate the New Year in Samoëns and avoid the dreary hustle and bustle – with a history of spectacular firework displays and festivities, be prepared for some top-notch merrymaking! Browse Samoens New Year ski holidays ‣

Visit during one of the best times of the year for amazing snow and fun-packed winter activities over February Half Term in Samoëns. Browse Samoens Half Term ski holidays ‣

The Easter bunny’s back to work and with the school holidays and sunny days giving way to some fantastic outdoor activities, get hopping to book your Easter in Samoëns. Browse Samoens Easter ski holidays ‣

Samoens Ratings & Customer Feedback
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Average Rating 5 out of 5
We had accommodation in Samoens which is near Flaine and I don’t know why everyone stays in Flaine! Samoens has tonnes of places to eat and all the shops and restaurants you need. It’s a quaint French village too. There are two nice bars in Samoens but if you like more of a party in the evening, Flaine is the... + more
James Checkley, Lincolnshire
5 out of 5
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Families in Samoens

This is one of our family favourites and the French Ministry of Tourism seem to like it too – they’ve awarded Samoëns the Familie Plus Label for it’s fantastic facilities and activities. It’s not just what’s going on in the resort that makes this an ideal spot to bring the clan; at just 65 minutes from Geneva airport, the transfer time is barely noticeable - just long enough for one more round of ‘Eye Spy’...

One of the awesome things about the village is that it’s maintained its down-to-earth charm. You get all the benefits of a real, medieval stone setting and the skiing isn’t bad either: 265km of slopes interlink five different resorts in the glorious Grand Massif.

With excellent ski schools like 360 and ZigZag as well as some vast nursery slopes, beginners are given an easy introduction into the world of skiing. At the top of the Grand Massif Express gondola, ESF have a specially designated playground with a covered conveyor belt and cartoon figures to help kids learn in a fun and safe environment.

For children who aren’t quite big enough for ski school, Kindergarten Les Loupiots has child minding facilities in the centre of town, giving you the perfect chance to ski off and explore. It’s also useful to know that there are baby-changing facilities at the tourist office, Samoëns 1600 and the Grand Massif Express cable car.

If any of the brood fancies themselves as freestylers, head to one of the snowparks. Septimountain Jampark is made for intermediates with a solid range of boxes, jumps and rails and the Kids Park in Morillon is brilliant for under 12’s wanting to ace moves over mini jumps and banked turns. Off the slopes, try a family dog-sled ride or the specially designed toboggan runs for ages 2 and up, located just outside the childcare facilities.

GroupsGroup Holidays Samoens

If you’re all craving tonnes of skiing, friendly après and a fascinating mountain town as a base, Samoens might be just what the doctor ordered. Having the whole Grand Massif on your doorstep means different types of snow lovers are well looked after and no one’s left out. Beginners can gain confidence on the easier runs (the ZigZag ski school do great group lessons) while experts head up to Tête des Saix and back down some fiendishly-named runs like Belzebuth, Lucifer and Faust. Any non-skiers joining the party will also be spoilt for choice with all the indoor and outdoor activities available. The village itself has lots to explore, including old churches and some lovely shops around the main square. Snowshoe walking is a super group activity, letting everyone enjoy the surroundings regardless of their skills on skis. After all that physical activity you’ll definitely have earned that pint in Covey’s Irish Pub or better yet a scrummy cake (or two) from La Jaysinia bakery.

With over 30 restaurants and a good handful of bars, there are loads of options for a chilled-out evening in the company of good friends. We like Le Serac for amazing pizzas - the couple who run it are well-practiced in looking after large groups; just remember to book, this place is popular for good reasons!

If you need a hand rallying the troops or getting things organised we can sort everything out with one of our packages including accommodation, flights and transfers. Self-drive holidays are another option including accommodation and channel crossings. It’s also possible to just book your accommodation with us and let everyone find their own way here Get in touch and ask us about group discounts to save some pennies for après ski...

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"Off piste like you get in Canada – couldn’t believe how well it turned out"

James Checkley, Lincolnshire
5/ out of 5
We had accommodation in Samoens which is near Flaine and I don’t know why everyone stays in Flaine! Samoens has tonnes of places to eat and all the shops and restaurants you need. It’s a quaint French village too. There are two nice bars in Samoens but if you like more of a party in the evening, Flaine is the place to be (you can always get a taxi to Flaine if you’re staying in Samoens). I’ve been to most places and people seem to rate fancy resorts like Courchevel and Chamonix but the Flaine area is the best. It snowed while we were there and the week before, so the conditions were really good. The skiing is good for everyone but once you get to the top there aren’t many greens so it’s definitely more intermediate/expert level at the top. If you want to learn, the greens at the bottom are fine. We’re all for off-piste and hard stuff which you definitely have in Flaine – there are some really good gradients and bumps. There’s some awesome off piste through the trees, it’s like being in Canada as you actually ski through pine forests. One of the longest ski runs in France starts up in Samoens, goes through Flaine to Sixt. It’s a long run down and then you stop off at the restaurant in Sixt for a drink and catch the bus back – it makes for a great day and the skiing is like you get in Canada.
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James Checkley