Aravis / Ski

A beginner skier’s guide to the Aravis

Getting on skis for the first time is not always easy. However, your efforts will all be worthwhile with the great feeling you get skiing in an exceptional natural environment. The Aravis Massif is home to several ski stations with all the ingredients beginners need to make a start.

Here are some of our recommended pistes and top tips to get you started…

Beginner’s Skiing in La Clusaz

This is the biggest ski station in the Aravis, with five mountains and a variety of descents. There is plenty of choice for skiers of all levels, from beginners to the more experienced.

Reaching a height of 2600m, the area has 125km of pistes, with no less than 18 green runs and 30 blues. Beginners are well served!

Where to ski

The Beauregard Plateau, overlooking La Clusaz, offers lots of possibilities.

The Les Riffroids ski lift will take you to a beginners’ slope starting close to the village.

At the top of the gondola, the beginners’ area is served by the Ceutire and Etoile des Neiges, which will take you to the Source and Plateau green runs, ideal for practising in peace. 

From the Etoile and Ceutire ski lifts, the blue runs of Les Prises and Guy Périllat (La Clusaz’s own ski champion) offer you a nice run with wide curves to the bottom of the station.

There you can take the Crêt du Merle chairlift to a choice of other good blue runs.

Beginner’s deals

There’s a special package for beginners which works on a points card system.

It is valid for one or more lifts (you can use one lift several times, and others at special rates).


Ski buses serve the Aravis stations (Grand-Bornand – Saint-Jean-de-Sixt – La Clusaz – Manigod – Thônes).

It’s free with a ski pass or the carte d’Hôtes. Find out more here (website in French).

Useful contacts

Tourist Office:
La Clusaz resort website
161 Pl. de l’Église
Tel: 04 50 32 65 00

ESF La Clusaz:
ESF website
9 Chemin de la Croix
Tel : +33 4 50 02 40 83

Discover self-catered chalets in La Clusaz


Beginner’s Skiing in Le Grand Bornand

Le Grand Bornand Spring Ski Offers

Nestled in the heart of the Aravis, Le Grand Bornand is a traditional village combining authenticity and a prestigious ski area.

With 90km of pistes, of which 16 are green and 13 blue, the station’s highest point is Mont Lachat at 2100m. It’s a paradise for beginners, but there are some really lovely pistes for the more experienced.

Where to ski

At the top of the Rosay gondola, you can get to the beginners’ area via the Les Raîches ski lift and the juniors rope tow, which serve the Serpentine and Violette green runs, which are ideal for gaining confidence and practising.

To measure your progress, take the Languières chairlift to the top of Floria.

From there, two lovely blues, Abondance and Glisse en Cœur offer a lovely long descent, from which you can admire the scenery.

Beginner’s deals

The Mini Domaine pass is ideal for beginners. With a limited area of 13 lifts in Le Grand Bornand (Rosay and Joyère gondolas, Castor rope tow, Les Raîches ski lift).

In spring, it’s worth checking with ESF to see what deals they are offering on group lessons.

Purchase your lift pass here.


Ski buses serve the Aravis stations (Grand-Bornand – Saint-Jean-de-Sixt – La Clusaz – Manigod – Thônes). It’s free with a ski pass or the carte d’Hôtes.

Click here for more information.

Useful contacts

Tourist Office:
Le Grand Bornand website
62 Pl. de l’Eglise
Tel: 04 50 02 78 00

ESF Le Grand Bornand:
ESF website
62 Pl. de l’Eglise
+33 (0)4 50 02 79 10

Book a chalet in Le Grand Bornand


Beginner’s Skiing in Manigod

The station of Manigod is part of the La Clusaz ski area. It offers a good variety of options for families and natural skiing experts.

The station is based around the Croix-Fry and Merdassier cols, allowing you to switch to La Clusaz. With a high point at the Tete du Cabeau (1810m), there are seven green runs and 12 blues.

Where to ski

Take the Rosière ski lift on the Croix-Fry side to try out your turns on the green run of the same name.

The Chevreuil ski lift at Merdassier is a great place to start, as it serves lots of easy blue runs: Framboises, Girolles, Gentiane, Myosotis, which are ideal for learning the basics.

Two Baby ski lifts (Baby-Chou and Perce Neige) are particularly designed for the smallest skiers.

The Croix Fry slope offers some lovely pistes, such as the blue Cabeau.

With a La Clusaz /Manigod pass, you can switch to La Clusaz via the Envers green run.

Beginner’s deals

Manigod have adaptable dynamic pricing for their passes. You can discover their lift pass options here.


Ski buses serve the Aravis stations (Grand-Bornand – Saint-Jean-de-Sixt – La Clusaz – Manigod – Thônes). It’s free with a ski pass or the carte d’Hôtes.

Check timetables here.

Useful contacts

Tourist Office:
Manigod website
Tel: 04 50 44 92 44
3 Route de Thônes

ESF Manigod:
ESF website
Tel: 04 50 44 92 04
CR de Manigod au Col de la Croix Fry

Book a self-catered property in Manigod


More ski schools…

If you want to explore some other ski schools in the Aravis, then check out our blog post about our top recommendations here.

Useful resources for beginners…

Heading to the mountains for your first skiing holiday can be daunting, but luckily we have some fantastic resources to help get you started. Check out other useful posts about beginner skiing…

If you’re yet to book your accommodation for your ski holiday in the Aravis, then check out our extensive collection of partner properties in the area…

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