Manigod – A Small Resort with a Big Heart
It may not be the biggest ski area in France, but Manigod has a growing reputation with French, British and other European skiers. Why’s that? Here we’ll let you into the special charm of Manigod…
Something for all the family…
Comprising the ski areas of Col de la Croix Fry and Merdassier, the ski area of Manigod offers something for all levels. Beginners and Intermediate skiers will love the blue runs that cover the mountain, with a choice of both chair lifts and button lifts. Quiet, tree lined runs, stunning views, and fun parks for kids mean all the family will enjoy skiing here and that is what makes this resort so special. There’s nothing better than skiing under a blue sky, with fresh snow, as a family – and this is where Manigod really excels. It is a perfect family resort. Not too big, a great choice of runs, and fantastic tuition.
But Manigod isn’t just about blue runs. The resort links into the famed La Clusaz ski area – home of freestyle skier Candide Thovex. From Merdassier head up the Choucas or Grand Chamois button lifts and you’re on Etale. Here you’ll find some challenging red and black runs, while for more experienced off-piste skiers head to Happy Valley – simply called as it is sure to put a smile on your face!
If you have an Aravis pass you can also jump on the bus from La Clusaz to Le Grand Bornand (about 10/15 minutes) and ski there for a day or more. There’s fabulous skiing for everyone and you can vary it depending on the day, the weather and how you’re feeling.
Everyone’s Friendly in Manigod!
I’ve skied elsewhere in France, in Switzerland and in Canada, but I honestly think the people here are some of the friendliest I’ve ever found. Got a young child? They slow the lift, help them with the button lifts and always have a ‘Bonjour’ or a ‘Bonne journee’ for you. Everyone who works here seems to genuinely love not just the mountains, but this particular resort and this is infectious. It’s a very welcoming place, where everyone wants you to have the best possible experience no matter your age or your ski level!
The warm welcome extends to the instructors as well. While I can’t speak for everyone, over the years my kids have had a good mix of tuition with both private and group lessons, and every instructor they have had has been excellent. From getting them comfortable on skis at Club Piou Piou, to starting their parallel turns, and taking part in competitions, the ESF instructors here have really helped to ensure my kids absolutely love skiing.
Value for Money
Think of the Alps and you may think of paying a fortune for a coffee or a salad, but not here. The resorts of the Aravis offer much better value for money, and perhaps that is partly why they are so well loved by French skiers. Not only do you get fantastic skiing, but you also enjoy quality accommodation, food at a good price and a very warm welcome.
Views to Inspire You
One of the most beautiful Alpine areas I’ve ever seen, the whole of the Manigod valley and ski area is breathtaking. With views of majestic Tournette, Etale, and Sulens, the views as you drive up and while you’re skiing are hard to beat. Take the Merle button lift up, in the Merdassier area, look left and I challenge anyone not to fall in love with that view!
Having young kids, one of the biggest things I appreciate about Manigod is how safe it feels. Put them into ski school and you know they’re in good hands, with qualified instructors and friendly lift staff. But the whole area has a really caring feel about it and the chances are that while you’re skiing you’ll see your kids out practicing on the slopes.
Night Skiing in Manigod
With one of the biggest night skiing areas in the whole of the Haute Savoie, Manigod sets the standard for skiing under the stars. If you’ve never given it a try, it’s definitely worth a go. Huge flood lights light up the slopes and you’ll find it beautifully quiet. Taking place on Friday and Saturday evenings, and every night except Sunday during the holiday periods, it can get chilly so remember to wrap up warm. The restaurants on the slopes do special night skiing dinners, so you can ski and then head into the warmth for a vin chaud and speciality such as tartiflette.
If you fancy lunch, dinner or just a vin chaud or crepe, then there is a choice of restaurants in the Manigod ski area. A favourite is Happy Chalet, set on the slopes at Merdassier. The chef offers a great value plat du jour and other specialities such as tartiflette, salads, burgers, pastas and steaks, and don’t miss the cafe gourmand – a coffee served with taster portions of about five different desserts! Also at Merdassier is La Vieille Ferme, which offers a choice of good value food, with many traditional dishes such as raclette and fondue. At Croix Fry try Chez Fon Fon or Les Rosieres, both of which offer snacks such as crepes as well as their plat du jours and standard menus.
Alternatively, in the village of Manigod – about 10 minutes down from the ski area – you’ll find Lo Garajo, a concept cafe. As well as serving delicious coffees and teas, you can also enjoy an apero, and shop from a great range of gifts and homewares. Very family friendly, you can easily while away an hour or two playing games such as solitaire, happy families or mikado, with a drink in hand.
The symbol of Manigod is the Paret, a traditional wooden sledge that is hugely popular here. You can get lessons from the expert Paret riders, and even take part in one of the Paret Championships at Merdassier. Great fun for all the family and a brilliant atmosphere at the competitions.
If you fancy a break from skiing then there is a choice of spas/massage therapists in the valley. Try Akwaba Spa, where Magali – an experienced physiotherapist – provides a range of massages to relax you. Alternatively there’s Chalet des Sens, or try Aravis Massage, which provides massage in your chalet.
If shopping’s more your thing, then don’t miss a chance to visit one of the two potteries in Manigod – Polkadot or Les Anges des Manigod. Both offer a range of wonderful, hand-made creations, such as bowls, jugs and coffee cups. You can also buy beautiful, one-off hats at Myne or visit Le Loup Sort du Bois for a range of gorgeous accessories and gifts.
Discover Annecy – just 25 minutes from Manigod
If that’s not convinced you to give Manigod a try, then the icing on the cake is that Lake Annecy and the beautiful medieval town of Annecy are only about 25 minutes away. If you’re coming with non skiers, or if you just fancy a day doing something different away from the slopes, then having easy access to this famed part of France is a real bonus. Picturesque lakeside villages boast wonderful restaurants and stunning views, while Annecy itself is known as the ‘Venice of the Alps’ for its waterways and charming buildings.
With so much going for it, it’s no wonder Manigod and the whole Aravis ski area is becoming increasingly popular with those in the know. Each year we see a few more British, Dutch and other European visitors here, and many are buying homes in the area too.