Ski holiday 2018: The best family ski resort is one you’ve probably never heard of


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les saisies ski holiday 2018 best resort family

Getty ImagesSki holiday 2018: Les Saisies in northern France offers something for all the family

A range of mountain runs, delicious french food and fantastic prices make Les Saisies one of the best choices for families looking for a varied ski holiday.

Just 35km from the famous, flashy resort of Chamonix is the much less in-your-face (but no less beautiful) Les Saisies.

Visitors to the pretty resort, which is around two hours drive from Geneva, are mainly French or Swiss - but Britons should not overlook the Chard du Beurre.

Our group, which included complete beginners and more experienced skiers, were instantly welcomed by the friendly locals, all of whom were fiercely proud of the beauty of their region and the amazing activities on offer.


The whole group was kitted out at Piccard Sports, owned by local celebrity and four-time world champion skier Franck Piccard. Ski hire, including helmet and polls, starts at 50 euros for two days. A five day ski pass cost 190 euros - significantly more affordable than the ritzier resorts.

Lessons, which start at 30 euros for one afternoon at ESF school, were not only necessary for the beginners in the group, but welcomed by the slightly more experienced.

The excellent instructors, Alex and Huguette, patiently showed us the ropes and had those who really thought they would never be able to do it skiing down mountains by the end of the day.

Alpine skiing is not the only thing on offer here, and there is plenty for the Nordic skiers in the group. We tried the Olympic sport biathlon, which encompassed cross-country (read, flat) skiing with a round of rifle shooting. If you have a downhill pass, it’s free to access the Nordic domain at Les Saisies, otherwise the pass is a very affordable 10 euros - cheap enough just to give it a try one afternoon.

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Ski holiday 2018: The pretty area of Les Saisies is not well known in the UK - but it should be

Chalet d’Emeraude, a four star hotel. My room was actually more of a mini apartment, with a small kitchen area, balcony with seating and generous bathroom. Prices start from 1000 euros for a week stay for two people.

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Ski holiday 2018: Skiing legend Franck Piccard put his hometown on the map at the 1988 Olympics

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Ski holiday 2018: A stunning setting, friendly people and great snow make this a great ski holiday


Classic french food is the order of the day - and excellent it is too. After our first morning skiing, the group headed to Le Chalet des Marmottes for a hearty lunch. Accessible only by ski or snowmobile, the temptation to load up on cheese, bread and schnapps is strong - but probably not advised if you face another afternoon on the slopes.

Dinner is when you can let loose, and for the full French experience, there is no better stop than the restaurant in the Calgary hotel.

Also owned by the Piccard family, the restaurant was packed when we dined there, and for good reason, as every dish was delicious. A extensive cheese board, featuring local beaufort cheese, was a highlight.

Anyone wanting a slightly different evening should head to newly opened La Table des Armaillis. A Japanese-French fusion menu was as surprising and indulgent as it sounds. As you would expect in a restaurant of this calibre, every detail is perfection, from the extensive wine list, to the melt-in-the-mouth bread.

The meal started with amuses bouches of beetroot marshmallow, salmon sushi and a mini “apple” filled with liquid, and only got better from there.