Overview of Les Carroz
If you’ve been yearning for a French Alps ski holiday in a traditional village with authentic Savoyard ambience with stunning views over the valley, Les Carroz is sure to satisfy.
This is also one of the most easily accessible Alpine resorts ̶ around 45 minutes’ drive from Geneva Airport, it’s conveniently close to the A40 motorway exit, 2 hours from Lyon and less than 5 hours from Paris.
Perched on a plateau at 1140m and offering high-altitude skiing up to 2480m, the abundance of brilliant blue runs in Les Carroz make it a magnet for novice and intermediate skiers and there are several terrific tree-lined pistes which provide sheltered skiing when the weather closes in. If you’re a snowboarder, this is a fantastic freestyle area and there’s a decent snowpark that’s fun too.
Meanwhile, if you’re an advanced enthusiast, you can find plenty to satisfy you in the surrounding 265km Grand Massif ski area, which includes 141 groomed runs and plentiful off-piste opportunities. Neighbouring resorts include Morillon, Samoëns, Sixt and Flaine, and we recommend you opt for a ‘Grand Massif’ ski pass that packs Flaine into your holiday too.
While the modern architecture in Flaine isn’t to everyone’s taste, accommodation in Les Carroz tends towards the chocolate box chalet style and the newer developments are slope-side while there’s a reliable shuttle bus service that comfortably ferries residents in apartments a little further out to the slopes in a few minutes.
This is an excellent resort for families with small children and babies, because its reasonably low altitude and westerly setting make it more pleasant for little ones who can sometimes find skiing in very cold temperatures off-putting. Furthermore, the nursery and intermediate slopes mean families of mixed abilities can enjoy the slopes together, local ski schools cater for kids as young as 3 and there’s off-slope entertainment available for youngsters too.
Les Carroz also caters for skiers with disabilities, with Handiski facilities, equipment and lessons, discounted lift passes and access to many slopes in the local and wider Grand Massif area. Après-ski here is cosy and laid-back rather than pulsating, but there’s a handful of traditional bars, one late-night spot and an excellent choice of cafés and restaurants serving delicious Savoyard specialities as well as international dishes.
For families heading to the Alps together for the first time and anyone prioritising village-style ambience over a more commercialised atmosphere, Les Carroz definitely delivers.
Skiing in Les Carroz
Les Carroz is a paradise for intermediate skiers, but there are skiing pleasures to be found here for all aptitudes ̶ here are some pointers for you:
If you’re an adult or child beginner, you’ll adore Les Carroz ̶ there’s a laid-back, welcoming, unpretentious atmosphere, a superb ski school and plenty of nursery slopes around the village where you can find your feet. Once you build your confidence, hop on the gondola and drop off at several long green cruisy runs that take you back to base through the trees, and if you don’t want to shell out for a full pass, you can buy a ‘Carroz Beginner’s Pass’ on a by the day basis which includes unlimited use of the Crêtes and Plein Soleil lifts and two returns by cable car.
The gondola also whisks intermediate skiers up to the higher runs in Grand Massif ̶ there’s a network of over 100 brilliant blue runs here. The wide open runs that permeate the expansive powdery snowbowl above Flaine are definitely worth exploring and the fun continues with wonderful long runs through the woods returning to Les Carroz and nearby Samoëns and Morillon.
Les Carroz isn’t synonymous with advanced skiing, but there’s plenty of excitement here if you’re an expert. There are 15 black runs in the area, the most famous of which locally is the Piste de Cascades, and there are some challenging blacks above Samoëns and in the neighbouring Molliets Valley.
If you’re an off-piste enthusiast, you’ll enjoy the Vernant Valley between Les Carroz and Flaine and you shouldn’t miss Flaine’s fantastic Combe de Gers. Alternatively, sign up for a ski touring trip with a qualified guide and head to Chamonix to tackle the Vallée Blanche which, at a whopping 25km, is the world’s longest lift-served run.
Cross Country skiers are well catered for at the Col de Pierre Carée ̶ the 17km of trails here at an altitude of 1844m are believed to be the world’s highest and offer breath-taking views of the Arve Valley. As you can see, Les Carroz is inspirational for intermediate skiers, but there’s legendary skiing available here for every level.
Snowboarding in Les Carroz
With plenty of off-piste freestyle areas and parks, Les Carroz and the Grand Massif are great for snowboarders ̶ here’s the lowdown:
There are lots of wide, easy runs here for carving and a good snow park with a decent half-pipe.
There are ample free riding and off-piste areas around Les Carroz and across the Grand Massif (particularly in the Gers bowl after a dump of fresh pow) but always hire a local mountain guide to stay safe.
The Jam Park up at Flaine is fab fun and features kickers, rails, boxes, hips, waverides and a boardercross area.
Snow Conditions in Les Carroz
The ski season in Les Carroz lasts from mid-December through to April and the resort is reasonably snow-sure except during the latter part of the season, when conditions can be variable ̶ here’s a little more information:
In the deep midwinter months of January and February, you’ll embrace the light and warmth of the south-facing runs in Les Carroz, while in April and May the cool and shade of the resort’s north-facing trails are conducive to the best skiing.
If the natural snow cover needs to be topped up, there are 63 snow cannons on 27km of the pistes here, which is around a quarter of the total runs.
The most recent official seasonal snowfall statistics for Les Carroz reveal a total snowfall of 407cm, a total of 38 snowfall days, a largest snowfall of 38cm, average base depth of 9cm, maximum base depth of 40cm, maximum summit depth of 208cm and average summit depth of 140cm.
Apres-Ski in Les Carroz
If you’re a foodie with a penchant for French cuisine and enjoy a few refreshing drinks after a hard day’s fun on the slopes, the après-ski in Les Carroz will be right up your alleyway. Here are a few highlights:
L’Alpage de l’Airon restaurant near the Kédeuze gondola serves sumptuous local traditional fare and you can tuck into your lip-smacking meal while gazing across the stunning Arve Valley.
La Chouia is an ambient rustic restaurant set in a Savoyard farmhouse at the bottom of the Molliets chairlift ̶ it serves local cuisine but also bakes a mean takeaway pizza.
Aux Petits Oignons Restaurant is a bistro-style family-run restaurant which has built up a brilliant reputation for fine food and exceptional customer service since it was first founded in the 1980s.
The Marlow is an après-ski bar bang in the middle of Les Carroz where you can while away a few hours people watching while enjoying beers and cocktails.
The Pointe Noire is next to The Marlow and occasionally hosts live music acts, but you’ll always have fun here with pool, air hockey, video games, gallons of beer and great company.
Carpe Diem is a lively bar open late but it tends to get busy from around midnight when The Pointe Noire packs up for the evening and revellers head over to continue the party.
Club 74 is the only nightclub in Le Carroz and it’s a rather lively spot, especially given the resort’s slightly reserved reputation ̶ think bass-thumping tunes, walls adorned with tropical fish tanks, cage dancers and laser shows!
Facilities in Les Carroz
Les Carroz is a well-appointed ski resort that’s set up superbly for all types of visitors, from families to couples and solo skiers. There are plenty of off-slope activities, shops and medical services ̶ read on for more info on the facilities here.
Ski Hire in Les Carroz
Naturally, you won’t struggle to find ski hire shops in Les Carroz, but the most convenient way to grab the right gear is by letting Erna Low take care of it for you. We have long-established connections with the most reliable operators and can easily source the highest quality kit for the skiing style and ability of each member of your party, as well as arranging pickup from an outlet near your accommodation. If you’d like to include ski hire in your holiday, contact us via live chat. about your requirements anytime.
Ski Passes in Les Carroz
You can also prearrange your ski passes through Erna Low and we often have discounted deals for different types of groups, free child passes and early booking discounts. With your passes pre-ordered, there’s no need to queue for them on arrival and you can hit the slopes straight away.
Spa and Pool in Les Carroz
Balancing out your skiing with beauty treatments, massage, swimming and saunas is part and parcel of a cathartic Les Carroz ski holiday where you’ll refresh your mind, body and spirit. Many of the accommodations have in-house spas and pools, some of which are open to non-residents, but in the middle of the village you can grab a facial, Moroccan black soap scrub or seaweed wrap at Fini-tifs or a Thai massage or Indian hot stone treatment at Hotel Arbaron. However, the Aquacîme Mountain Spa might be the main attraction with its refreshing outdoor pool and waterslides for kids of all ages.
Shops in Les Carroz
There’s a good selection of shops in Les Carroz ̶ at Saveurs des Alpages you can pick up artisan Savoyard preserves and wonderful wines and cheeses, Tearoom Ballin has premium pastries and home-made bread, Carrefour supermarket has everyday shopping essentials for self-caterers and you can grab some stylish soft furnishings from Heidi Boutique.
Facilities for Children in Les Carroz
Les Carroz is a family-focused resort with lots of innovative and inspirational services for kids ̶ find out more below.
Ski Schools in Les Carroz
The convenient Kid’O’Ski service at Les Carroz is open Sunday-Monday from 8:30 to 4:30pm and drops off children aged 3 to 12 years old at their ski school of choice (ESF or ESI) in the morning then returns them home when lessons are over. Half days with and without meals can be arranged, as well as full days including lunch and packages for 5 and 6 consecutive days. This is a great service for parents who want to explore the slopes on their own as it provides peace of mind for the duration.
Entertainment in Les Carroz
Off the slopes, there are several other activities for kids ̶ for example, the Parenthèse Lending Library has thousands of books, comics, DVDs and games to borrow for cosy nights in, there’s an ice rink with promotional deals every Wednesday, and the Alpine rollercoaster at the Speed Dragoz circuit in the forest close to the Kédeuze gondola offers virtual reality runs as an alternative to the scenic surrounding view ̶ kids don VR headsets to enjoy the physical sensations of a traditional rollercoaster while experiencing immersive adventures in environments like the wild west.
Childcare in Les Carroz
Les Loupiots Children’s Club caters for kids aged 3 to 12 years old on a full or half-day basis and offers ice skating and tobogganing as well as indoor craft and educational activities. Alternatively, La Souris Verte is a day nursery that looks after children aged 6 months to three years old in comfortable surroundings but please note that it only offers full day care to kids aged 16 months and over.
A traditional Alpine village set at 1140m but with slopes up to 2480m with south facing pistes and a number of north-facing runs, Les Carroz is snow-sure up until the end of the season, when some slopes can get rather slushy. In the event that there’s not enough natural snow cover, there’s snow-making capacity here to cover a quarter of the resort’s slopes.
It’s an excellent choice for families with young children and intermediate skiers, there’s a terrain park with pipe for snowboarders and experienced skiers will find lots of on- and off-piste opportunities in the surrounding Grand Massif Ski area.