Samoens Ski Resort Guide
Samoens ski resort is a charming mountain town where local shops, bars & restaurants sit nestled in narrow pedestrianised streets. This traditional resort was a thriving centre for stonemasons during medieval times and they have left their mark amongst the buildings, fountains and the 16th century church. Samoens can actually trace its origins back to the 12th century, and is the only French ski resort designated and protected as a Monument Historique.
Samoens often goes under the radar of foreign skiers & snowboarders – and 90% of winter visitors come from within the French borders. For those that do find it though, Samoens can provide a perfect ski holiday combination; All the charm of a traditional Savoyard village set amongst the huge snow-sure Grand Massif ski area.
Samoens sits within the beautiful Giffre Valley at an altitude of 720m. It takes its name from seven dramatic mountain peaks that overlook the town, while the landscapes natural East-West orientation makes for glorious sunshine all day long.
The resort is becoming more popular with international tourists slowly. It has been named as one of France’s best kept secrets – which generally sees a subsequent boom in visitors. It is certainly one of France’s most convenient resorts for international skiers & snowboarders with Geneva airport located around an hour away. Samoens isn’t known for its wild nightlife though – here you will find cosy apres-ski bars and traditional French restaurants rather than table dancing and nightclubs.
The resort of Samoens has gradually been stretched by development and has become somewhat spread out nowadays. The centre is a very attractive area still with a good range of independent shops and traffic-free streets. Accommodation to suit most budgets can be found around the resort – with families particularly well catered for.
Samoens is a charming village resort with heaps of intriguing history. With access to an incredible range of skiing terrain, an ultra-convenient location for Geneva airport, and beautiful sunny weather – it has plenty of ski holiday advantages that better-known resorts can only dream of.
Skiing in Samoens
The Grand Massif ski area is the fourth largest in France and comprises of Samoens, Flaine, Morillon, Sixt & Les Carroz. With 265km of pistes this area is know as one of the most well preserved ski areas in France. The majority of slopes are North-facing meaning fantastic snow conditions throughout the day as well as a varied terrain to keep all levels active.
Samoens relatively low altitude of 720m means it is necessary to take a bus and then a gondola lift upwards towards the skiing area rather than starting directly around resort. For many people the fact that there is no direct ski run back to town at the end of the day might be one of Samoens biggest drawbacks.
Skking from Samoens starts at the Plateau de Saix found at 1600m. These slopes hold the snow well despite the large amounts of sunshine around the area. The top altitude of the Grand Massif ski area is relatively low at 2480m (compared to 3,220m in Val Thorens) but a local microclimate ensures an excellent snowfall record during the majority of the winter season.
In 2017 work started to improve the ski infrastructure to bring the resort up to a world class level. Vast improvements have subsequently been made all over the Grand Massif at a cost of millions of €. All levels of skier & snowboarder are well catered for here – with beginners needing to stay closer to Samoens itself, while more advanced skiers will want to head higher for a range of black runs and superb off-piste. Away from the pistes a wide range of activities can also be found including ice climbing, snowmobiling and helicopter flights.