Le Grand Bornand firmly falls into this category of Geneva-friendly ski stations. As does its slightly bigger neighbour La Clusaz. You can be in the car park below an hour or so from leaving the airport.
|Free parking at La Balme|
The car park at La Balme is gateway to the highest skiing. There's also a link to the Cote 2000 area from here on a different gondola. There's a restaurant, but oddly for a base station of this size, no ski hire shop. You can rent Alpine skis close by in the Confins valley, which is a charming centre for ski de fond.
|Looking back to the resort, during the |
"snow famine"of early January 2015
Everyone drones on about how low La Clusaz is, and on our visit, it's true that you couldn't ski below mid-station at La Balme (there being no artificial snow in this sector). But La Balme's summit of 2477m is comparable with the top lifts of Flaine, Avoriaz and Valmorel, and the reds from the top are genuine reds. What's more, the views are A-MA-ZING, even by Alpine standards.
|View 1: towards Mont Blanc|
|View 2: back towards Geneva, with the Jura in the distance|
The restaurant at La Balme is perfectly serviceable, albeit shady given its north-facing orientation. We also made it over to the Cret du Loup restaurant below Cote 2000, which has a sunny terrace and friendly staff. You can also look at one of the resort's curiosities from here, namely a hybrid lift which gives you the choice as to whether you want to sit on a chair or enjoy the shelter of a gondola cabin.
For some stats on La Clusaz, click here, and for the WeLove2Ski review, click here.
For a tour of the resort, here's a nice overview from the Mail.
And for some history, see the English-language Wikipedia page, which charts some of the key dates since the first road into the valley was opened in 1902, click here.
To get the latest news from resort, follow @LaClusazChalets.