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La Clusaz, France

kitzbuhel

A mere hour from Geneva, La Clusaz has five well-connected mountains, complemented by the lively, rustic town offering plenty to see and do off the slopes

The Mountains

The 130km of piste in La Clusaz ranges from 1100m to 2500m and has something for everyone. Three main lifts from the town centre lead to the Beauregard Plateau, from where you can access the other sectors of Manigod, Merdassier, Col Froix and Aguille. The plateau is a great spot for learners with spectacular views towards Mont Blanc, and there are also nursery areas at village level, at Manigod and La Balme. The majority of the runs are blue and red, perfect for intermediates. Advanced skiers should head for the north-facing slopes of La Balme, with long reds, steep blacks and a natural playground of bowls, kickers and some superb off-piste on a powder day.

The Town

It's close to the Swiss border, but you can't get more French than La Clusaz, and despite being surrounded by mountains, the town, at 1100m, is open and sunny. Built around a traditional church and market square, even the new buildings are faithful to the traditional style, and the whole place is very easy on the eye, and genuinely friendly too. It's been a winter sports centre since 1907, so skiing is in the fabric of the town, plus there's a luge and various other winter sports to turn your hand to. And if you're through with snow and fancy retreating indoors? The aqua park with stunning mountain views is well worth a visit.

Accommodation is mainly in traditional old wooden buildings, or new chalets built in a traditional style, and there is a fairly equal mix of catered chalets, self-catered chalets and apartments and hotels, as well as a good variety of food on offer in town. Aprés-ski tends towards the cosy, with no shortage of sofas and cellar bars to pass the evenings in. Proximity to Geneva is always a good thing, what with the high chance of bagging a budget flight. However, La Clusaz is also one of the better resorts for driving to, and getting the train is no great hassle either – the TGV goes to Annecy, from where there are regular buses.

La Clusaz La Clusaz
Five things about La Clusaz
  1. The name comes from 'cluse' meaning a narrow path between mountains

  2. There's fine food in them hills – La Clusaz has way more than its share of good quality and decently priced family-run rustic mountain restaurants

  3. Check out the L’Ecluse nightclub, if only for its impressive glass dance floor which reaches over the river Mure

  4. There are some other great adrenaline-filled things to do. Try pareting, sledging on the single blade sledge famous in this region, or go ski jouring – skiing behind horses

  5. The best way to see as much of the 200km of piste as possible is to challenge yourself to do a circuit of all five mountains – a satisfying day's skiing with a lot of long descents

Brought to you by Kate Whittaker and the team at Mad Dog Ski     mad dog ski logo