Samoëns is a beautiful village just a one-hour drive from Geneva airport. Often overlooked as people head to nearby resorts such as Chamonix and Megeve, Samoëns offers a more relaxed and affordable option without compromising on the skiing. Located within the Grand Massif ski area, the resort is linked to Sixt, Morillon, Les Carroz and Flaine, and offers more than 265km of pistes. If this isn’t enough, the off-piste skiing here is a locals’ secret and the north-facing slopes hold their snow well into spring. First established in the 11th century, it is one of the prettiest alpine villages you could find yourself in, and the market square is still very much a centrepiece of village life.
Though the ski area is not directly next to the village, the Grand Massif Express gondola located just outside of town carries skiers up to the slopes in just 8 minutes. Samoëns has skiing for everybody – the highest areas of the resort are made up of black slopes for the more experienced skiers, the intermediate freestyle zone is great for riders of all abilities, particularly those looking to progress and there is a great beginner’s area too. The blue Cascade run is one of the most beautiful pistes in the alps. At 14km long, you depart from Grandes Platieres at 2500m and wind your way through ancient alpine forests and pastures to the village of Sixt over 1700m down.
Samoëns has a large year-round population, and the summer season is firmly established. The lift system opens up hundreds of kilometres of hiking trails to walkers keen to explore the mountains. There is climbing, mountain biking, road biking (the Tour de France frequently passes by Samoëns), water sports at the nearby lakes and if you are prepared to make the short drive to Chamonix, some of the most famous mountaineering routes in the world. Add to that the free outdoor concerts and the region’s biggest outdoor market which occurs every Saturday, and you have the summer in Samoëns. Completely different from the winter season but every bit as enjoyable.
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