La Clusaz, but not as you know it. Part 1: tough terrain and an Olympic tradition
La Clusaz is best known as a pretty mountain village, exuding an authentically rustic charm, that caters well for beginners. And indeed both of these things are true. The resort is located in the Aravis valley (home to the Les Aravis ski area) in the French Alps near the border with Switzerland. It is certainly picturesque, and La Clusaz's buildings, many of which are in the traditional wood-clad style, spread out from the bell tower that stands in the centre of the village. It's not surprising that the resort has a great reputation as a place to learn to ski, with about 60% of the skiable area accounted for by beginner-friendly runs (there are 23 greens and 30 reds in La Clusaz's ski area), and a choice of ski schools offering both group and private tuition. On top of this there's a snowmaking infrastucture with over 190 snow cannons to make sure you've got a snow-sure guarantee for your ski holiday in La Clusaz.
So far, so familiar, but there's a whole lot more on offer in La Clusaz...
With a history of snowsports that stretches back over a century (it celebrated 100 years in 2007) and La Clusaz regulars that visit year after year, it'd be surprising if there wasn't something to keep experienced skiers busy. And of course there's plenty, all you need to do is look beyond the headline figures. It's true that the majority of the piste map is coloured green or blue, but there are some challenging reds and blacks that will keep you coming back for more. For instance, there are the Mur d'Edgar ('mur' is French for 'wall'...) and Vraille pistes, both of which are seriously steep and will have you skiing them repeatedly, determined to cope with their gradient better than the last time.
And this is before you've taken into account what the piste map doesn't show you. There are plenty of off-piste opportunities that will challenge even the most hardcore skiers - there are a number of specialist guiding and off-piste ski schools in La Clusaz, and their staff are living proof of the appeal of La Clusaz's off-piste. You'll certainly feel intrepid as you drop off a cornice and make a trail through virgin powder, all set against the stunning backdrop of the Massif de Balme and Massif de L'Aiguille. The unusual rock formations in La Clusaz mean that there's remarkable terrain that is sure to test your ability.
Given the challenges on offer, it's not surprising that Le Clusaz has a rich skiing heritage. Not only have snowsports been taking place in the area since the beginning of the 20th century, the French Olympic board paid testament to the resort's quality by naming it the French Candidate for the 2018 Winter Olympics (it eventually lost out to Pyeonchang in South Korea). Prior to this, La Clusaz hosted the cross-country World Cup in 2004 - the 52km trails at Plateau des Confins are unmissable for Nordic skiers. And on top of this, the smallish French resort has a fine tradition in producing world-class skiers. Vincent Vittoz, who was born in La Clusaz, is one of the most successful cross-country skiers of recent times, having placed first in 7 World Cup individual events and 1 team event. Candide Thovex, also born in La Clusaz is a free-style skier who has won multiple gold medals at the Winter X-Games, including the Big Air and Half-Pipe events; he has also organised the Candide Invitational free-riding event, held in La Clusaz. Other international athletes located in La Clusaz include Seb Michaud, a competitor in the mogul and freestyle events.
To find out more about skiing holidays in La Clusaz, head to ChaletFinder's La Clusaz page. You'll find a great range of accommodation on offer, including beautiful wood-clad properties, and there's something to suit whatever your holiday requirements may be. If you're looking for a luxury ski holiday in La Clusaz then consider Chalet Les Martinets, which has an outdoor jacuzzi with amazing views of the mountain. And if you want the flexibility of a self-catered chalet then consider Chalet Le Paret, conveniently located just five minutes from the town centre.