Resort Profile: Flaine

By adamrowden, 21 Nov '13 at 13:28

Flaine is a small, family resort and one of the friendliest places to spend a season. Many of the visitors return again and again as they feel apart of the community after only one week.

Flaine’s tourists are mainly from the Netherlands, Belgium and Britain. They come to ski the vast array of slopes in le Grand Massif area.

Flaine is family orientated resort so it’s not the place to go if you’re looking for a crazy season. But like any resort a party can be found most nights of the week and it usually starts and ends in the Flying Dutchman pub.

History

There are two main centres to Flaine, a short distance apart connected by free 24 hour lifts. Flaine Forum is the busier and lower at 1600m, whilst the higher Flaine Foret is located at 1700m.

Flaine opened in 1968 and was the brainchild of Eric Boissonnas and Marcel Breuer. The latter was a leading exponent of the Bauhaus school of design and the resort reflects heavily on this modern art theme.

Some see the concrete blocks as eyesores; others see them as art. If the resort splits opinion, most would agree that from a distance, the grey concrete walls and dark wood balconies blend into the narrow tree lined valley setting.

During the 1980s a Scandanavian style village, Hameau de Flaine, consisting of 70 traditional chalets was built 2 km away at 1800 m. Just above Flaine Foret you have the Montsoliel Apartments and near the Hameau the new Refuge de Golf complex.

Bars

There are only three pubs in Flaine - le White Pub in Flaine Forum, and the Flying Dutchman and Vie (formally the West Mountain) in Flaine Foret.

- The Flying Dutchman is the main bar for British and Dutch seasonaires in Flaine. They have a great pub quiz every Tuesday and an amazing snow BBQ on Wednesday, among other fun events. This place is a vortex – you go in for one drink and then stumble out at closing time having had one of the best nights of your life.

- Le White Pub is where most of the French seasonaires hang out. They have great live music during the season. Half the resort can be found in there every Wednesday to hear the latest band in town.

- Vie is a lively bar that attracts a younger crowd and is run by friendly, fun staff. It’s underground and all the Belgian and some Dutch seasonaires hang-out there. ‘Shag tag’ and other fun games are run in the bar each week.

Food

There are loads of lovely restaurants in the resort if you fancy eating out some evenings.

- In Flaine Forum, Pizzeria Chez Pierrot serves pizzas, traditional specialties and homemade pastries with take away possible for pizzas. They always made sure we were well fed after a long transfer day.

- Chez la Jeanne is another great pizzeria, restaurant and takeaway in Flaine Forum between the Tourist Office and le White Pub.

- Les Chalets du Michet allows visitors to sample Savoyarde cuisine in one of the few original and traditional buildings left in Flaine. It’s located on the piste past the Grands Platieres.

- Restaurant la Grande is a traditional restaurant right next to the Yoghurt Pots in the Forum.

- Perdrix Noire is a laid back comfortable bar-restaurant in the Foret with grills, rotisserie, fish and meat dishes among its specialties. It’s also a lovely place to go for a quiet drink.

- Snow Burger is the only late-night burger place in Flaine run by Vincent, a longtime seasonaire to Flaine. It’s located in Galerie Marchand in the Foret.

Other après ski

There’s not a great selection of non-drink or food après ski activities in Flaine.

The resort offers outdoor ice-skating, an ice-driving circuit (short season), snowshoeing, paragliding, an indoor climbing wall, segway safaris, ice quad biking (short season), a cinema that shows English versions of the latest releases and bowling.

The tourist office runs fun events throughout the season including…

Flaine Poker Nights - January

Flaine 80's week - February

Made by me! - February

Girl Session – February/March

Jazzy! – March/April

Children's reign – March/April

Le Grand Massif

Flaine’s at the heart of the fantastic ‘Grand Massif’ ski area with over 265km of pistes. Flaine’s neighbouring resorts are Les Carroz, Morillon, Samoens and Sixt.

Flaine itself is a huge snowsure bowl encompassing 140 km of slopes which break down as follows: 8 green, 28 blue, 22 red and 5 black.

The region has varied runs to suit all levels. Plenty of greens and blues for beginners – including the longest blue run in Europe at 14km that opens for 3 to 4 weeks each season. And challenging reds and blacks for intermediate and advance skiers and boarders.

Flaine has a wonderful board park - the Jam Park. They sometimes bring an air bag to the park so you can safely try those crazy tricks you always want to.

There are also facilities for Salome and grand Salome practice and racing.

The best pistes


Mephisto – blue, Flaine Bowl
A favourite warm up run with seasonaires. It holds the snow very well throughout the day. You can really bomb down this run.

Belzebuth onto Jonction onto Crystal – blue, Flaine Bowl
Another fun, long blue run. There’s lots of fun to be had on the off piste down the sides of the run as well.

Perce-Neige onto Sairon – blue, down to Morillon
One of the longest runs in the area, a real leg burner!

Serpentine – red onto blue, Flaine Bowl
The red part is a former downhill racing piste. If you get enough speed up down this section you can get some great air over the jumps in the blue half.

Faust – red, Flaine Bowl
A wonderful long run that brings you from the top of the resort right back down to the bottom. The terrain changes from open to tree-lined as you descend.

Marmotte – red, to Samoens 1600
A great run that ends at a two man chair up to Samoens 1600, home to Mimi’s Crepes, the best and cheapest restaurant on the mountain.

Cupoire – red, towards Les Carroz
If the snow is good, this is one of the best runs in the area as no one knows about it. You can carve some great high-speed turns as you race your way down.

Diamant Noir – black, Flaine Bowl
The drop into this run really tests the men and women from the boys and girls! Only do this run after a dump of snow otherwise it’s just an ice and rock field.

Off piste
Flaine is a dangerous area for off-piste skiing and boarding due to crevasses everywhere in the limestone rocks. Only go off piste with someone who’s got great local knowledge of the area.

Written by Janet Chute

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