Grand Massif Ski Area
The second week in January is not high season so we never really had a problem with queuing for lifts. Although I think Wednesday is a 'school day' at the resort and you do get a few youngsters at the Telecabine trying to push in front of you.
We struck it lucky with the weather and conditions as well. We arrive in the fog on the Saturday but Sunday dawned bright and clear and the snow was fairly fresh. It was also very cold (-6). We had 3 clear cold days then a day of snow followed by a day of cloud and then our final day was blue skies and much warmer. The conditions on the Coombe blue run down to the bottom of the Telecabine became a bit brown on the last day.
Generally the conditions were very good but obviously varied depending on the amount of snow that had fallen and the temperature. The base depth was quite shallow so stones kept appearing through out the week.
The Grand Massif area links Les Carroz with Flaine, Morillon, Samoens and Sixt. It is mainly red and blue runs which are well groomed and a scattering of black runs. One of the best runs is the green marvel which goes through the forest down to Morrillon. Although we went to Flaine on 3 of the days we were there we didn't manage to experience more than about a third of the runs and we didn't go all the way to Sixt either. This is a long run down from the top of Flaine that is not always open. If it is open then there is a bus that operates to get you back again.
The lift system is being improved year on year with a number of old lifts being replaced with newer and faster ones. In 2010 there were 2 new fast (and long) chair lifts installed to get you around faster.
We found the ridges and valleys between Les Carroz and Flaine a bit complicated to work out to start with, this didn't help when you skiied though a cloud layer between the top and the bottom and caused a bit of disorientation.
We had our morning hot chocolate and lunch in a number of mountain restaurants. They were all very good although the restaurants at Flaine seemed to be a bit more expensive. The variety on offer was very good and we sampled the Plat Du Jour on a number of days as well as the salads, soup and burgers. We had no complaints.
The resort at that time of year was full of British skiiers and borders although there were some Germans, Dutch and even French! There weren't too many borders either - mainly people on skiis.
Generally the lifts opened at 9am and stopped about 4pm.
The black runs we did were very good, just what you would expect a black run to be like. The reds were open and sometimes busy but not too challenging. On the whole it is an area where we still have plenty of runs to experience and I wouldn't think twice about coming back to.