24th January 2019 | James Cove. Les Carroz, Grand Massif
PlanetSKI editor, James Cove, spends a day skiing with his son in the Grand Massif area in France. It’s been a while since he’s done either. UPDATED
Now I haven’t had a full day’s skiing with my 24-year old son, Alex, for a few years.
He’s been in Canada for the past three seasons working as ski instructor at Sunshine Village, Banff.
And he’s been teaching at Perisher in Australia too.
I have skied with him in both, but it’s always just been a few hours in between his lessons.
And it’s a good few years since I blasted round the resorts of this fabulous French ski area: Les Carroz, Samoens, Morillon, Sixt and Flaine.
It is one of my favourite ski areas in France, for reasons I will detail later.
Putting the two together should be a bit of a treat.
And so it turned out to be.
I was staying in the village of Les Carroz, which is my preferred base as it sits in the heart of the ski area.
It is also a pretty village, perhaps more reminiscent of Switzerland than France.
There was fresh snow to be had – we planned a piste and powder day.
First the pistes, as the visibility was limited and the sun was forecast around lunchtime.
We shot off.
Oh dear, seems I would be trailing in his wake for much of the day.
So I did.
The slopes are fabulous for hard and fast piste skiing and with limited crowds ahead of the weekend it was superb.
I managed to haul myself up a gear.
Le Grand Massif is the 4th largest linked ski area in France.
- 142 pistes
- 67 ski lifts
- 592 snow canons
- 15 Fun Parks
To our left some more pistes:
Ahead Mont Blanc:
And as is was lunchtime we had a skiers’ lunch.
“I’ve got a stuffed baked potato and you’ve got a bit of chocolate plus some water in your rucksack so why don’t we just have that and carry on skiing,” said Alex.
“This is fun, lets not break the spell.”
So we did.
And this was our lunchtime view.
Close to heaven in my opinion.
And with that we headed into the powder.
It was a bit chopped up, but there was enough to be found.
We obviously had our avalanche gear with us (transceiver, shovel and probe) but decided just to cruise the easy stuff to the side of the piste.
And there is plenty of it in the Grand Massif.
In fact I would say it is one of the best areas to learn and improve one’s off piste skiils.
There is so much terrain and it does not get skied out too quickly.
There are pockets of powder beside the piste and much is under 30 degree so is less at risk from avalanche.
And I am not the only one who thinks this – The Ski Club GB bases its Freshtracks off piste instruction courses in the area.
And with that we did a bit more father and son bonding on the ski slopes.