Val Cenis - Ski Resort and Snow Summary
Val Cenis - Ski Resort in French Alps - 80km of Piste (1400m to 2800m)
Located in the heart of the Maurienne region, bordering the National Parc de la Vanoise, Val Cenis is made up of two traditional villages, now combined in to a single resort. A good vertical, uncrowded sunny slopes and a modern lift system, so no queues .
Key Facts for Val Cenis
|12km||Cross Country Pistes|
The French ski resort of Val Cenis has direct access to 80km of downhill skiing, with 43 individual pistes, served by 22 ski lifts.
With pistes above 2500 metres, skiing and snowboarding is assured throughout the season.
Snowmaking :- Val Cenis is able to augment natural snow, on 8km of ski runs, with 84 Snow Cannons.
Ski Lift Capacity :- The 22 Ski Lifts of Val Cenis are able to uplift 23,309 skiers / snowboarders per hour.
There are three Airports within two hours drive, so ski weekends, snowboard breaks and short ski holidays to Val Cenis are perfectly feasible.
Skiing in Val Cenis
Val Cenis is rightly known as a family ski area on the international market, but it does have a wider range of skiing than that classification may imply, as well as better uplift facilities than many ski areas of similar size. Unlike the French norm, more than half of the lifts are chairlifts or gondolas , including a number of high speed detachable six seaters.
The north facing slopes hold the snow, and most of the terrain beneath the 2100m treeline have snowmaking. The upper 700m of vertical is on open, snowy slopes with the 40+ runs divided almost evenly into easy and intermediate terrain, plus few runs for advanced skiers.
Beginners and intermediates will find plenty of good skiing for an enjoyable week.
Beginners have nursery slopes by each village. These are more extensive at Lanslevillard, with the always perfectly groomed green Le Mollard piste from the top of the Val Cenis le Haut bubble, a superb beginners run, and the perfect place for intermediates to perfect their turns.
The only real bottleneck in the lift system may be experienced by beginner and lower intermediate skiers returning to the apartments of Val Cenis Le Haut at the end of the day. This means using the very slow Saint Pierre button lift where queues are almost inevitable in the late-afternoon rush-hour - though better skiers can avoid this by cutting across from the red runs descending from the higher lifts.
But whilst intermediates have the whole area - piste-wise, advanced skiers will exhaust all their on-piste options in a day or two. The six blacks listed include three short bump runs (not always apparent). Five of the six blacks are very short and the 720m vertical of the long Le Lac run from the 2800m top of the La Met chairlift (the area's highest) down to the Col du Val Cenis, is the first to be closed when there is too much, or too little snow.
From the same point, one of the most exciting runs is Michele Jacot e la Met/du Solert/St Genix, which starts with 400m of black before following red slopes (with a short dash of black) for the rest of the full 1400m vertical down to Lanslevillard. Signed 'Vers le Mont Cenis', though graded black for its exposure to a very steep, unfenced drop-off on the right - in good conditions, competent intermediates with a good head for heights should not be put off the easy-angled road leading rightwards from the top of the La Tomba lift to the blue Val Cenis piste - the easiest way to access the slopes above Lanslebourg from Lanslevillard.
When conditions are right, good, easily accessible off-piste can be found close to the higher pistes(particularly to either side of the Michele Jacot black) with a certain amount of tree-skiing at the upper limit of the tree-line. Guided off-piste skiing is also available through the local mountain guiding service, Agence Montagne.
The area participates in the Maurienne area pass which includes more than a dozen ski areas in the area on a multi-day ticket. Although not yet simply a case of waving your ticket at any resort (it needs to be exchanged for a local day pass at the area you choose to visit on each occasion) it is a useful opportunity. Interesting variants include the opportunity to get free or discounted meals in the local mountain restaurant if you choose to visit one of the small ski areas for the day, or to use it (with a supplement payable) to access the Three Valleys via a 'back door' route in to Val Thorens from Oreille in the Maurienne Valley on one of the world's longest gondola rides - a five kilometre (three mile) long ascent.
Val Cenis' immediate neighbours with ski areas are Termingon la Vanoise below (skiing up to 450m) and Bessans (which has a small ski area) and Bonneval (with a larger one) up the valley.
Cross country skiers have more than 85km (53miles) of trails in the Valley, six kilometres (four miles) of them on your doorstep.
Snowboarding in Val Cenis
There are several terrain parks in Val Cenis, including one just above Lanslevillard. Terrain features include a natural halfpipe, boardercross, jumps and rails. The number of high speed chairs and gondolas makes getting uphill easy and the open freeriding slopes above the treeline gives way to exciting runs down through the woods.
Val Cenis Aprés Ski
In common with most small to medium French ski resorts, lively bars and night spots are not the top priority in Val Cenis, although there are a number of bars and pubs in each resort. The one discotheque is La Cle des Champs in Lanslevillard which stays open to 4am nightly and has theme evenings several nights per week.
There's are cinemas in both villages and an ice rink in Lanslebourg. Organised evening activities include snowshoe hikes ad torchlit descents.
Val Cenis Snow Reports by e-mail
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Val Cenis in brief
Val Cenis Ski Resort is:
Ok for Expert Skiers.
Good for Intermediate Skiers.
Good for Beginners.
Good for Snowboarding.
Val Cenis Season Dates
Open from : December 21, 2013.
Closes : April 20, 2014.
Usual opening - Late Dec.
Usual closing - Late April.
NOTE:- Opening subject to Snow Conditions in Val Cenis.