Samöens is the largest of the villages in the Giffre Valley, and proud holder of the 'Coq D'Or', recognising its status as one of the prettiest in France. The old livestock-droving lanes make for peaceful pedestrian access into the town square, where many of the old buildings remain in use today. Winter sports are a big part of village life, but not all of it. Samoëns is an all-year-round rural working village, not just a seasonal ski resort. Wednesday mornings see one of the biggest markets in Haute-Savoie take place in the village. Lots of local cheese, sausage & local crafts to tempt you.
The square in the heart of the village lives up to its name - La Place de Gros Tileul - with an enormous ancient lime tree at its heart. There’s plenty of shops, bars and restaurants to enjoy. Its very much a french family resort, with gentle après ski, rather than a hardcore party town. Its at its buzziest from 4-7pm, when lots of families are out enjoying the events put on by the local tourist office & local ski schools - torch light parades, welcome drinks, skiing medal ceremonies. The new enlarged floodlit ice skating rink is proving popular, but if you don’t fancy getting on the ice, there’s often a weekly ice hockey game to watch.
Samoens is one of the 5 villages that form the huge Grand Massif ski area, with its 265km of pistes. The main skiing plateau starts 1600, rising up to 2500m and connecting with the lifts over to the Flaine sector. There are two Samoens lifts getting you upto the plateau. The Grand Massif Express is an 8 seater bubble, that zooms up to the plateau in just 8 minutes. You emerge from the lift directly on the ski school meeting area, so its perfect for beginners. The older (some would say vintage) egg-shaped 4 seater bubble, runs from Vercland, a hamlet just outside the village. Its smaller and slower, but a perfectly charming way to start a day on the slopes. It drops you just above the main plateau, so there’s a short green run to get down to ski school rendez vous points, or you can take the shuttle bus. Courtesy of the new canons installed in 2017, its now routinely possible to ski to the bottom of the Vercland bubble, meaning that Vercland & the environs are one of the few ski-in-ski-out parts of Samoens. And the après ski bar in Vercland is popular with the locals!
There’s a free ski bus service that runs all over Samoens to the Grand Massif Express, the Vercland bubble, and the other villages in the Valley Morillon & Sixt.
Its really easy to book an Independent Ski holiday in Samoens. The independent chalet owners can hook you up with easy to book online transfers, ski hire, ski lessons and lift passes. All the convenience of a big operator, but all the quality of an owner-run establishment
26/12/2017 via Pure Alps
After a week of blue skies and beautiful cold powder... its snowing again in the Grand Massif. Down in the village of Samoens, its a super fine light drizzle. Up top, more of the fresh white stuff is coming!
27/11/2017 via Pure Alps
Super dump last night, snow level down to about 1,000m, which means good snow cover at the main plateau at 1600m... Its a beautiful sunny day, and more snow forecast this week. Shaping up to be a great start to the season :)
06/11/2017 via Pure Alps
Woohoo. The snow line is coming down the mountain, looks like its around 1,000m now. We had a good dusting on the Grand Massif last night, and more forecast on Wednesday :)