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Val Cenis Ski Holidays

Two small villages huddled in the Maurienne valley, Val Cenis is pretty unknown but packs a punch. It’s a dream for beginners and intermediates with access to an area the size of Espace Killy. Topped with spectacular panoramas and buckets of Savoyard charm, it also has good-value accommodation at a fraction of the cost of other French resorts.





At a glance: • Part of Eski-Mo ski area • Traditional villages • Tree-lined north-facing pistes

Great for: • Families • Intermediates • Value for money

Two small villages huddled in the Maurienne valley, Val Cenis is pretty unknown but packs a punch. It’s a dream for beginners and intermediates with access to an area the size of Espace Killy. Topped with spectacular panoramas and buckets of Savoyard charm, it also has good-value accommodation at a fraction of the cost of other French resorts.

Val Cenis Resort

Val Cenis is the biggest resort in the beautiful Haute Maurienne valley, which sits on the French/Italian boarder with peaks as high as 3000m. Between the Iseran and the Mont Cenis passes, with the Vanoise National Park right on its doorstep, the whole area is a seriously impressive sight for the eyes.

The resort itself made up of two small, Savoyard villages, Lanslebourg and Lanslevillard which are 3km apart and were connected as one ski resort in 1967. The latter is slightly prettier and more compact as well as being livelier, with a greater selection of bars, shops and restaurants, whereas Lanslebourg is more stretched out. Both villages are knee deep in history, with Baroque art and architecture and charming old chapels. Ski buses regularly shuttle between them as well as the town of Termignon.

Located within 2 hour’s drive of 3 airports and easily accessible by train (the nearest station is Modane) this is an ideal base for mini breaks and family trips. The resort is relatively unspoilt and unknown, which means it’s usually quiet and uncrowded. This paired with massive investments in the lift system make it excellent value for money; lots of things are a fraction of the cost of popular resorts like nearby Val d’Isere.

The Val Cenis Vanoise ski area has a modern lift system giving easy access to 125km of largely beginner and intermediate pistes as well as a snow park, boarder cross and a wide range of alternative sports and activities on offer.

Those after even more skiing can upgrade to the Eski-Mo pass which combines the Vanoise ski area with 4 other resorts: Aussois, Bonneval, la Norma and Val Frejus. This gives you a 325km area: access to each of the other 4 resorts for a day and unlimited skiing in the Vanoise ski area.

Stats & FAQ

Location: France, Southern Alps.

Established: 1967

Open: Mid December – Mid April

Downhill: 125km

View our detailed Val Cenis 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 Val Cenis snow history.

Nearest Airport & Transfer Time:
Chambery135km, 1 ¾ hrs
Grenoble155km, 1 ¾ hrs
Lyon230km, 2 ½ hrs
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • 55km 44%

  • 52.5km 42%

  • 17.5km 14%

Top Altitude:2800m
Bottom Altitude:1300m
Resort Altitude:1450m
Longest run:10km
Slope Orientation:N, W
Vertical Drop:1400m
Skiable Vertical:
Night Skiing:Yes

Snow Report

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Web Cam

Val Cenis web cams
Downhill Runs:125km
Beginner slopes:44%
Advanced slopes:14%
Lift Pass Price: Val Cenis Vanoise: 165€
Eski-Mo Ski pass: 185€
Nearby resorts: Val d’Isere, Val Thorens, Bardonecchia, Sauze d'Oulx, Meribel, La Norma, Val Frejus

Skiing/BoardingSkiing in Val Cenis

Lanslevillard is ideal for beginners thanks to its collection of welcoming nursery slopes – Le Mollard is one of our favourite easy greens. In fact, the whole area is fab for beginner skiing – it has the longest green in Europe (L’Escargot at 10km) and if you take the Colomba or Le Haut lifts you gain access to even more greens.

There are lots of nice long blues to tackle when you get more confident, Girarde is great for practicing turns and Forestiere is a wide and forgiving descent winding through forest.

Intermediates have plenty of challenging reds, especially those above Termignon accessed from the Grand Coin draglift. Try the tricky MJ St Genix for a fun challenge or Solert with its big vertical. If you really fancy a test, ski the Goulet red where you can reach some relatively easy off-piste.

Experts might find the options limited with only 6 short black runs – we think Michele Jacot is the best. Mogul fans should try the short but fun Moraine or make the most of the Eski-Mo pass and test out the long black Balmes in Aussois at 2750m.

What’s lacking on piste is certainly made up for off the beaten track... You can free-ride from top of Mount Jacot or Moraine which is an ungroomed mountain. Hire an off-piste guide, go heli-skiing or explore nearby Bonneval-Sur-Arc for tough challenges and awesome off-piste verticals. The best powder has to be near the Plan Cardinal chair where the rocky terrain and gullies make for plenty of thrills and spills.

There’s a good snow park with a natural half pipe, jumps and rails. You also have the boarder cross and plenty of natural hits and jumps on the sides of the lower forested runs, and the Snow Zone near Lanslevillard has a Big Air Bag.

Val Cenis Apres Ski

The nightlife in the two villages is pretty quiet with the vibe being very relaxed. While it certainly isn’t the place for party animals, there is a handful of fun, inexpensive bars to grab some drinks at après. Le Napoleon, with its pool table and drinks deals is the liveliest spot in Lanslebourg, but Lanslevillard has the bigger après buzz. The Sports Bar and Howard’s Pub (which serves up gigantic burgers and cheap beers) are the most popular joints in town and Bowling 1480 is where the younger crowd like to hang out. The renowned cinnamon mulled wine of Le Petit Chalet might hit the spot or for something a tad fancier, both Alpazur and La Vielle Poste serve up reasonably-priced cocktails.

What it lacks in nightlife it makes up for in food, with heaps of amazing restaurants: Terroir’ does some delicious Savoyard cuisine and La Cordee is the top spot for a cheeky crêpe on the sun terrace.

Most restaurants have a cosy, inviting atmosphere and serve a range of regional delicacies and family favourites; L’Arcelle has a cheerful feel and tasty tartiflettes. For the all important lunchtime mountain break, La Fema and La Ranova have a wide range of food to suit everyone at affordable prices.

The little-known Le Dahut is a refreshing surprise that serves delicious food, perfect for a special occasion or if you’re a fondue fan, La Vanoise is unmissable!

If you’re in self-catered apartments and can’t face cooking, Valpizza is just one of several great places serving up tasty takeaway pizzas.

Not everyone skis dusk till dawn and you’re certainly not short of things to do in either village. You’ll find an indoor pool, bowling alley, 2 ice rinks and 2 cinemas as well as several wellness facilities.

For a relatively small resort, it definitely packs a punch; hosting a huge range of activities and alternative sports including ice climbing, canyoning, mountain biking and paragliding as well as the more unique ice-diving at 1700m. Kids will love the 900m long toboggan run, husky adventures and trampolining but it’s just not the little ones who are looked after... Those with a penchant for culture can visit numerous crafts shops such as La Pignotte, take in a pretty chapel or two, as well as try the local fromageries - you can buy delicious cheese for your own fondue and hire the kit free from Le Plaisir en Vanoise.

Best time to go

Best time to ski Val Cenis

Best time to visit & ski Val Cenis

Val Cenis has a high top altitude of 2800m so is usually a great spot for late season skiing, whilst also benefitting from predominately north-facing slopes. A large volume of the slopes below 2100m have good snowmaking facilities with 200 snow cannons for any necessary topping up later in the season. A big draw of the skiing here is the beautiful tree-lined slopes below 2000m, which are a good when visibility is poor. The resort is quiet year-round in comparison to other French resorts and in past seasons has had barely any queues, even during peak times. This makes it perfect for families or beginners wanting lots of piste to practice on and for those who hate spending half their day queueing for lifts. January is a fun time to go as there is usually great snow coverage, as well as exciting events like the International Cross-Country Skiing Marathon and The Savoie Mont Blanc Grande Odyssee traditionally taking place at this time of year.

Peak Dates

Christmas in Val Cenis is usually a truly alpine affair and what better than to celebrate a white Christmas in a beautiful mountain village. Glide down the slopes in the morning, ice skate in the evening and feast on Savoyard cuisine all week long.

Spend New year in Val Cenis where the priorities are great skiing, filling up on fondue, cosying up with a mulled wine and trying unbelievable activities like snow zorbing and ice-diving!

February Half Term in Val Cenis is your answer for a top family holiday with great skiing, good-value accommodation and virtually no queues… sounds almost too good to be true!

Easter in Val Cenis is a great choice because of its high, north-facing slopes that usually ensure skiing right till the end of the season - soak up the rays on a terrace whilst the kids bomb down the great selection of greens on offer.

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Families in Val Cenis

If Val Cenis had one label to sell itself, it would be its family-friendly nature.

Superb childcare facilities and snow gardens in both villages make sure kids from 3 months - 12 years are well taken care of and have a fun time on the snow. With a traditional feel and lack of thumping bars, you shouldn’t have to contend with a loud party atmosphere come bed time, even in the centre.

The region is famous for its tasty cuisine - the abundance of great pizza restaurants, the pancakes and waffles at La Ramasse and the famous burgers at Le P’Tit Grenier are bound to keep the whole clan happy.

The ski area is almost as if it was designed for families, with a great selection of nursery slopes for children to learn on as well as heaps of reds, off piste and freestyle terrain to keep more advanced family members occupied. There are lots of easy greens and blues for the whole family to ski together - a family outing down ‘L’Escargot’, the longest green run in Europe is always good fun.

Little ones get tired easily and sometimes need a break from the slopes, and that’s where the great non-ski stuff here comes into its own - how do you pick from bowling, ice-skating, watching a film or swimming? If that wasn’t enough then the adrenaline activities on offer including climbing, ice-diving and mountain biking are sure to hit the spot, there’s even trampolining at the Ilot Bungee to have a go at! Val Cenis has an incredible 900m long toboggan run which provides endless fun for every member of the family and the Big Air Park at the Snow Zone is perfect to give the teenage crowd a fun place to spend hours jumping, trying tricks and meeting new people.

GroupsGroup Holidays Val Cenis

Val Cenis is a cracking resort for a group holiday; not only is it very good-value, but the range of opportunities opened up with the Eski-Mo pass means that every level of skier has some pistes to sink their teeth into.

Boarders won’t be left lacking with a snow park and a boarder cross and the ‘Snow Zone’ Big Air Bag on top of plenty of jumps, rails and a natural halfpipe. Advanced snow lovers can cruise the fantastic powder just off the ‘Plan Cardinal’ chair while beginners hone their skills on the quiet and wide greens above Lanslevillard; there’s limited boarding for intermediates who may find the high proportion of draglifts a bit restricting...

Val Cenis doesn’t have a wild night-life, but large groups can make their own fun - bars like Howard’s Pub and Napoleon stay open into the early hours if the clientele are keen (and the drinks are a lot cheaper than in other French resorts).

A big selling point for groups is the impressive range of alternative activities. If you fancy some time off the slopes, you have 2 cinemas, an indoor and outdoor ice rink, a bowling alley as well as more adrenaline pumping things like skydiving and snow zorbing. The Snake Gliss is great for groups as it involves everyone and is unbelievably fun. Those with a love of food and wine have a host of local fromageries (La Cheverie in the town centre is one of the best) and traditional craft shops to peruse for some of the region’s finest artisan work.

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