From the super little town of Beaufort you can:
- Ski the Espace Diamant from Les Saisies (our visit to Crest-Voland is here)
- Visit Les Contamines from the back door entrance at Hauteluce
- Ski the local slopes above the town at Areches-Beaufort. Which is what we did
The resort isn't particularly high (slopes to 2300m) but then it's not that low either. And the ski area is small. But it does have two (loosely connected) mountains, and so it feels bigger than you might expect. Here's the official blurb from the tourist office, which includes some videos.
All in all, it's well worth a look - a good mixture of moyenne montagne and haute montagne, with serious views across the valley and towards Mont Blanc.
|Park at Le Planay (1200m), and take the lift up.|
Looking back into the Beaufortain
|The slopes around the Col des Combettes (2100m)|
feel higher than they actually are.
Taken from the cosy restaurant half way down
The point about it being a serious mountain is a serious one. Areches hosts the famous Pierra Menta ski alpinism race every March, and has been making real efforts to build its credentials as a base for ski randonée. For example, there are a couple of avalanche-secured tracks now in place on the mountain that you can now follow.
It's nothing like the ski in, ski out convenience you get in fancier resorts. For example, the link from the Le Planay side to the Le Cuvy area at Areches involves a walk through the car park that would get some mollycoddled skiers seriously aerated:
Then again, you are rewarded withthe spectacular Perches red run back to Planay, far from the hum of any ski lifts:
|The Perches run from Le Cuvy|
It's about 2 hours from Geneva (take the Annecy lake road for a scenic introduction) and for a day trip or a weekend should be a real contender - particularly for the more experienced skier who wants to try something with a more "traditional feel" without wanting to compromise on being in a "proper" ski area.