Skiing in Samoens
It is the only French mountain resort classed as a national heritage site, with a church that dates back to the 12th Century and distinctive ancient buildings that reinforce its reputation as a centre for stone masonry.
Samoëns is also part of the impressive Grand Massif ski area with sister resorts Morillon, Les Carroz and Flaine ̶ equidistant from Chamonix and Geneva, this great area has 265km of pistes supported by 70 efficient ski lifts and also offers off-piste opportunities for more capable and confident skiers. The snow conditions and skiing quality in Samoëns are superb ̶ the resort’s altitude of 1600m and geographical location means it’s snow-sure, the ski season runs from December to April, and all pistes are proudly maintained throughout.
The après-ski here is authentic and organic rather than the slightly formulaic options you might find in more modern resorts ̶ so while you’ll still be welcomed with open arms, think sipping vin chaud listening to an oompah or swing band by the ancient Linden Tree in the heart of the village, rather than downing toffee vodkas and dancing on tabletops (which can be great fun in the right context, mind you!).
Accommodation options are comfortable and convenient for reaching the slopes and town centre, ski schools are on hand to provide lessons for child and adult novices, and there are shops for self-caterers and quality cafés and restaurants if you prefer eating out. It’s hard to think of another Alpine resort that has such a magical mixture of history, culture, ambient authenticity and super skiing ̶ once you’ve sampled a Samoëns ski holiday, don’t be surprised if you fall in love with this great village!
Samoëns has 133 groomed pistes, is served by 16 ski lifts, and since it has a plenty of easy green, blue and red runs, it’s a great place for beginners and families. If you’re an advanced skier, there are a few black runs to challenge you and you’ll also be more than satisfied by the on- and off-piste challenges on offer in the wider Grand Massif area. Here’s a little more information about skiing in Samoëns:
Novices can hop on the Grand Massif Express Lift to Samoëns 1600, where there are some manageable nursery slopes that are ideal for polishing your technique and building your confidence. If you want to be thrifty, a beginner’s-only lift pass is also available at a lower price than a regular ticket and this provides access to all the slopes that are appropriate for your level.
Intermediate skiers can also reach the rest of the Grand Massif ski area from Samoëns 1600 and if you class yourself in this group, there are ample snow-kissed adventures here to keep you entertained. The expansive powdery bowl above Flaine dominates the Grand Massif and it’s blessed by bountiful fast wide pistes descending into it from all directions, including incredibly long, snaking runs that commence above the treeline and swoop down through the lower altitude forests before ending in the small villages at the end of the valley.
The 14km Piste des Cascades runs all the way down to Sixt Fer à Cheval and is probably the most famous run for Samoëns skiers ̶ you can access it from the Grandes Platières cable car and the good news is that it’s graded blue, so you can feel confident tackling it if you’re an intermediate.
La Combe de Gers is a natural basin between Samoëns and Flaine where you’ll frequently find fresh powder if you’re a fan of off-piste, the steep Styx run is always a thrill to take on, and the Marmotte and Chamois slopes in the Croix area above Samoëns are also worth exploring for advanced skiers.
The 3.1km Diamant Noir is officially the toughest run in the resort itself, but if you’ve got the guts, guile and experience, the Vallée Blanche run above Chamonix is also within reach (with a guide and the right equipment) starting from a heady altitude of over 3800m, you can descend as far as 25km!
Samoëns is a major centre for cross-country skiing and there are over 90km of trails here. The main area for this discipline is the Upper Griffe Valley, which is split into two areas ̶ one which runs from Morillon to Cirque du Fer à Cheval on the valley floor and another located at altitude on the Col de Joux Plane mountain pass. The slopes above neighbouring resort Les Carroz also offer scenic Nordic skiing tracks suitable for all abilities.
As you can see, skiing in Samoëns is great for novices and intermediates, but advanced skiers don’t miss out due to its excellent connectivity to the rest of the Grand Massif.
The Grand Massif is a great place for riders ̶ here’s the lowdown on ripping up the slopes in Samoëns:
The efficient lift system means you can easily reach the boardercross Jam Park in Flaine’s Vernant sector and the terrain parks above Morillon, which feature boardercross areas and various rails, kickers and boxes to suit riders of all aptitudes.
There’s a fun park in Samoëns on the Soleil slope which also has various obstacles and features for all abilities.
The snow park at Les Carroz is also worth exploring ̶ it has a half-pipe as well as various rails, boxes and kickers.
Savoie and Haute Savoie are excellent for freestyle snowboarders ̶ chip in with your friends to hire a local mountain guide for the day and they’ll help you find the freshest powder and great ungroomed runs.
Snow Conditions in Samoens
With a good altitude and great location, snow conditions in Samoëns are generally excellent ̶ here’s the lowdown:
Samoëns’ Grand Massif location in the north of Haute Savoie means that it enjoys bountiful snow falls throughout the season and the resort is renowned for its snow quality in spring
Around 80% of the slopes here are north-facing, which means the snow is longer-lasting and stays in good condition for skiing and snowboarding.
On the rare occasions when the natural snow cover in Samoëns needs to be topped up, the resort has 143 snow cannons capable of making snow on 35km of its runs.
The latest official seasonal snowfall statistics for Samoëns reveal a total snowfall of 300cm, a total of 31 snowfall days, largest snowfall of 50cm, average base depth of 32cm, maximum base depth of 103cm, average summit depth of 80cm and maximum summit depth of 165cm.
Covey's Pub is an Irish pub in the centre of Samoens with a lively atmosphere, live music, sports screenings, and a selection of beers and cocktails. Open until 2 am every day, it is a resort favourite. La Clarine is a modern and stylish bar located near the main square with a cosy fireplace, a terrace, and a DJ. It serves tapas, pizzas, and drinks and is open until 1 am. The Melting Spot is a friendly bar and restaurant located near the ice rink in the resort. It has a lovely atmosphere and offers tasty pub grub and a wide array of drinks. Nightcrawlers should head to the Le King Club in the resort's square for an evening of partying. Open until 5 am, it plays various music genres and hosts themed nights. It is located near the main square and is open until 5 am.
If you want to make the most of your holiday in Samoëns, you'll be pleased to know that the resort offers a wide array of amenities to suit all kinds of preferences. From shopping and dining options to recreational activities, you're sure to find something that suits your taste. And if you're looking for some helpful tips to enhance your experience, we have a few suggestions that we think you might find useful
In Samoëns, you'll find an abundance of ski rental shops offering various types of ski and snowboarding equipment for rent. To avoid the hassle of carrying your equipment, it's advisable to pre-book your rental equipment as part of your ski holiday package. This way, you can collect your gear upon arrival in Samoëns and start your skiing adventure promptly and hassle-free.
When it comes to skiing in Samoëns, you have the option to purchase your ski pass directly from the ticket offices or tills situated at the base of the lifts. However, booking your ski pass online as part of your holiday package with us can save you valuable time and energy upon arrival. Not only will you be able to bypass the queues and head straight to the slopes with your pre-booked pass, but you'll also have the convenience of collecting your pass at the resort without any delays. This way, you can make the most of your skiing experience in Samoëns right from the get-go.
Samoëns has a awesome selection of swimming and spa facilities to choose from.Nothing beats an evening swim before dinner after a long day on the slopes. You can start by checking out the Aquacime; a large aquatic center located in Samoëns that features multiple swimming pools, including a heated outdoor pool, indoor pool, and children's pool, as well as a wellness center with sauna, steam room, and massage services. For something a bit more private, Hôtel Neige et Roc has features an indoor swimming pool, sauna, and hot tub, as well as a spa offering a range of beauty treatments and massages. An additional option would be Les Chalets de Laÿssia which offers an indoor swimming pool, sauna, steam room, and hot tub, as well as a spa offering massages and beauty treatments.
If you're looking for a shopping experience in Samoëns, you'll find a variety of options to choose from. From small local stores selling groceries to charming bakeries and cafes where you can treat yourself, as well as souvenir shops that offer unique and memorable items to take home with you. Whether you want to stock up on supplies for your stay, indulge in local treats, or find a special souvenir, there's something for everyone in Samoëns.
Samoëns is renowned for its excellent facilities and activities designed with children in mind. With a range of options catering to their entertainment and well-being, Samoëns provides a safe and enjoyable environment for families with children.
Samoëns has a range of ski schools designed to cater to children's needs, where they can learn and improve their skiing abilities in a secure and enjoyable environment. You have the option of choosing between private instructors or organized ski schools, and to save time and hassle on arrival, we can assist you in booking your children's ski lessons in advance.
Samoëns offers a range of entertainment options both on and off the slopes for children. From tobogganing on designated slopes during the day, to night-time tobogganing for an added thrill, children are sure to have a blast. In addition, the resort features an outdoor ice rink in the heart of Samoëns that's open to the public, providing a fun and memorable experience. Children can also try dog sledding with a variety of companies in the area.
If you're traveling to Samoëns with young children and need English-speaking childcare services, you're in luck. The resort offers a variety of options, including multilingual childminders and childcare services that can be arranged through the tourist offices. Simply request the services you need, and you can rest assured that your children will be well-cared for while you enjoy your ski holiday.
With a resort height of 1600m, a summit peak of 2500m and a strategic location within the Grand Massif ski area, Samoëns has many natural blessings that mean it’s extremely snow reliable. In addition, most of the resort slopes are north facing, which means they’ll stay in prime condition and hold their powder well. Conditions here are conducive to first-class skiing and snowboarding for beginners and intermediates, while there are plenty of black runs and off-piste areas for advanced skiers to explore in the wider Grand Massif.