WEEKEND SKI BREAK: DAY 2
17th March 2018 | James Cove, La Clusaz
Last modified on September 10th, 2021
They are growing in popularity as some people don’t have time for a full week or want to squeeze a bonus trip in. PlanetSKI is with Skiweekender. NEW
Day 1 was spent skiing in the resort of Le Grand Bornand near Annecy.
It was a fabulous day in a fabulous resort:
As you will see from my first report I’m staying 4 days with the UK company, Skiweekender, in the village of St Jean de Sixt.
The village gives access to the resorts of Le Grand Bornand, La Clusaz and Manigod.
The first day was Le Grand Bornand and now it’s La Clusaz, the weather though changed on my second day of four.
Some people want to ski a certain resort.
One they have dreamed of skiing for many years… Zermatt, Whistler or Chamonix perhaps.
There are a couple of resorts I want to ski but above all I have always wanted to ski a certain area in La Clusaz: the Balme sector.
It sits at one end of the ski area and doesn’t look much on the piste map.
But these are the home slopes of the legendary freeride skier, Candide Thovex.
He lives in a chalet across the car park at the base of the main lift.
This is where he learnt his craft and where he skis for fun.
There’s a gondola up to the mid-mountain point and then a couple of chairlifts.
The Col de Balme goes to 2,600m and the Torchere to 2,364m.
Friends of mine who know about these matters have likened the lifts to those found in resorts like Kicking Horse, Red and Revelstoke in Canada.
A couple of lifts that give access to multiple ways down and on powder days you can just lap the lift over and over again finding different lines each time.
There were though a couple of problems.
The first was the main gondola didn’t work and the shutters were down.
It would take about 20 minutes to fix so we went for a coffee.
The other issue proved to be more problematic.
There was limited visibility and at times zero.
As we headed up the Col de Balme lift things did not seem promising.
And here is the view at the top.
Couldn’t see a thing.
We struggled down in the deep but heavy powder.
It was simply survival skiing.
There was no sign of it lifting so we took the reluctant decision to head elsewhere in the resort.
It was no better.
Lunch was welcome and prolonged.
After lunch it was worse, if anything.
This is one of the lifts at the base of the resort.
And with rain falling at the base appropriate clothing was worn by some.
We could only guess what it would be like back up at the Combe de Balme at 2,477m.
There was only one decision to make.
Call it a day then go and watch the culmination of the 6 Nations at a local bar.
The Combe de Balme would have to wait till another day.
I’m half Welsh and my allegiances lie firmly with the men in the red jerseys.
It was a good call to curtail the skiing and head to the bar.
England getting beaten at Twickenham by the Irish set things up nicely for the main match.
Watching in France as the French lost to Wales was a treat, even if somewhat tense.
So, what about Skiweekender?
This is the company’s 15th year offering ski short breaks in the Aravis resorts of La Clusaz and Le Grand Bornand.
They have corned the market in short breaks – others offer it but no-one quite like Skiweender.
The transfer time for Geneva is under an hour and they have chosen a spot in the French Alps that people on a budget will enjoy.
It is not high-end, but it is far from slumming it either.
Prices remain reasonable on the mountain, lift queues are rare and the pistes are relatively quiet (particularly so on midweeks); all helping to maintain the excellent holiday atmosphere of these traditional mountain villages.
Here is the Aravis Lodge.
And inside it is comfortably furnished.
After the white-out day and the rugby scores that went my way it was dinner.
And after dinner – hitting the local night spots?
No, there’s some skiing to be done tomorrow and I’m on the road with Skiweekender.
It was just a nightcap in the bar.
We’re off to St Gervais – a resort I have never visited.
“Nestled at the foot of Mont Blanc – and one of the six villages serving the Domaine Evasion Mont Blanc, with its 445km of interlinked pistes – _Saint Gervais is a handsome 19th century spa town, known historically for its thermal baths,” said the blurb
I’m looking forward to seeing it.
And hopefully we’ll have a bit of visibility.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
La Clusaz Ski Resort – Key Facts:
· 130km of amazing skiing & snowboarding (220km on Aravis lift pass)
· Just 1 hour airport transfer from Geneva
· Extensive ski area of 1100-2500m altitude
· Picturesque, unspoiled Alpine village
• Quiet slopes, fast lifts, few queues
See here for further details about Skiweekender.
4 day Weekends run from Thursday to Monday evening and 3 day Midweeks from Monday to Thursday evening.
Prices start from £459pp for 4-day weekends and £299pp for 3-day midweeks.
And, new for this year, the company is also offering two short breaks rolled into one.
We wrote about it earlier on PlanetSKI:
See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.
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