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RE-INVENTING THE SKI HOLIDAY - James Cove, Les Carroz, Grand Massif
Friday February 1, 2019 - Email this article to a friend

The French resort of Les Carroz is making a huge effort to attract non-skiers and offer people other activities. Is it the future?

If you speak to people that run ski resorts about what things may look like in the next decade or so then expect a pessimistic answer.

Decreasing levels of snow is one factor to worry their brow.

People opting for other types of holiday is another - city break, beach, cultural, cruise, adventure or many others.

The ski holiday is apparently in danger from Mother Nature and it has some serious man-made competition too.

Some think many aspects of a ski break are becoming somewhat past their sell-by-date - the ski holiday and ski resorts need to re-invent themselves.

Here at PlanetSKI we are not quite in that camp as we believe sliding down the hill on a pair of skis or a snowboard is perhaps the finest way to spend your time on Earth.

But not everyone agrees with us and overall numbers of skiers continue to decline across the alpine nations.

Some resorts are doing something about it and Les Carroz in France is one.

It is not especially low at 1,200m and the resort is part of the Grand Massif ski area that goes up to a respectable 2,480m.

It has extensive snow-making with 165 snow cannons and 25% of the slopes are covered.

This week conditions are good with plentiful snow.

Les Carroz, Grand Massif, FranceLes Carroz, Grand Massif, France

But there are concerns about the future and the sustainability of the traditional ski holiday.

"At 1,200m sometimes it is not very cold and we have no snow in the winter and we have to propose to the tourist other activities than just ski," said the head of the tourist office, Philippe Poettoz, to me.

"Also some people ski for three to four hours and want to spend time on other activities," he added.

See lower down this article for a full video interview with Philippe about what is on offer in Les Carroz... and why.

Here at PlanetSKI we have looked at this question before as resorts try to reinvent themselves.

Our Chief News Reporter, Jane Peel, posted this article last autumn:

Les Carroz is on the case and focusing on its alternative offerings.

It has one of the biggest programmes on offer in the mountains, see here for more:


Trampolining with bungy cords, paragliding, farm visits and visiting a goat barn.

If the weather closes in then there's a cinema, bowling alley and swimming pool.

On the slopes as well as skiing/snowboarding there's sledding, snowmobiling for kids, snowshoeing and quad bikes.

There are starlit treks and husky dog excursions.

And its alpine coaster - for small children and grown-up children alike.


The list is seemingly endless.

On snow there is fat biking, snowmobiling, snake tobogganing and ski joering.

Then there is cross-country skiing or you can hire a mountain guide for off piste powder excursions.

Up in the air you can try paragliding.

On ice there ice skating and ice quad.

There are mountain walks and photo courses.

You can even spend an evening or a weekend in an India tepee.


Spas, saunas, pools and solariums and steam rooms.

Then there's aqua biking and aqua fitness,

Across the winter there are dozens of events including ski shows and fire & ice shows.

This list is only a selection - check out the resort web site for the full details.

And here, as promised, I speak to Philippe.

So, what was the evening ski touring like?


I set off as dusk fell and the aim was 644m of vertical ascent.

Les Carroz, Grand Massif, FranceLes Carroz, Grand Massif, France

The trick with skiing uphill is to get into a rhythm.

Then just plod on and don't forget to admire the views:

Les Carroz, Grand Massif, FranceLes Carroz, Grand Massif, France

Les Carroz, Grand Massif, FranceLes Carroz, Grand Massif, France

But it was with some relief that I reached the top well over an hour and a half later.

I felt elated, excited and exhausted in equal measure.

Les Carroz, Grand Massif, FranceLes Carroz, Grand Massif, France

Had it been worth it?

You bet.

Another of the extra activities I sampled also took place in the dark: 

The alpine coasterThe alpine coaster















And the experience itself...

Now, as I mentioned, PlanetSKI heads to ski resorts primarily for the skiing and my first day was spent with my son.

See here for the details about the on and off piste skiing in the area:

"Les Carroz is a traditional village and has a really authentic French feel in comparison to some of the more modern purpose built resort. Our clients love it as it links in to the Grand Massif ski area and is one of the shorter resorts to drive to from the U.K. or Geneva," said Jane Bolton from the UK tour operator, Erna Low, that offers Les Carroz to its clients.

See here for what Erna Low offers

But as I sped round the pistes the next day under perfect blue skies I wondered why anyone would want to do some of the other activities when there is skiing to be had.

And these views to soak up:

Les Carroz, Grand Massif, FranceLes Carroz, Grand Massif, France

Les Carroz, Grand Massif, FranceLes Carroz, Grand Massif, France

Les Carroz, Grand Massif, FranceLes Carroz, Grand Massif, France

But a quick canvass of the opinions of other random skiers on chairlifts proved me wrong.

Completely wrong:

"I simply don't want to ski all day any more and it was such fun having a go on the fat bikes."

"I took the kids out for a ride with the huskies and the look on their faces made it all worth while."

"My husband wants to ski all day and I am quite happy spending all morning in the spa and then a long lunch."

"I didn't know they even offer all those activities - what a fabulous idea. I'm not going to do them all, but I will try a couple."

"Bit expensive for us - we're just going to make full use of our lift pass thanks."

So, what have here in Les Carroz seems to be the best of both worlds.

Fabulous sking and a whole range of other activities if you chose to do some and I recommend you do at Les Carroz.

What's not to like?

Er, nothing springs to mind...

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news

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