The Centre of French Skiing; The Tarentaise Valley

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The Centre of French Skiing; The Tarentaise Valley

To most skiers the idea of touring to find the perfect snow in the Alps that day sounds like an option for the heli-skiing crowd and the ultra rich. Or it sounds like a lot of hard work. This isn’t necessarily the case, with an ideal location & a knowledgeable ski chauffeur, skiers can get up each morning within 30mins of a mind-boggling range of ski adventures.

Nowhere offers the variety & range like the Tarentaise Valley & surrounding areas. The Valley itself plays host to the world famous resorts of St Foy & St Bourg Maurice resorts of Les Arcs, Vallandry & La Plagne. Within 30 minutes you’re in Paradiski with the likes of Tignes & Val d’Isere or heading the other way you’re in the Three Valleys with 620km of world beating pistes to enjoy. The Italian border is very close, with resorts like La Thuile & then onto the Aosta valley with it’s own weather systems often bringing powder when the French side hasn’t seen recent snow.

If you’re to go exploring where should you be based?

The Tarentaise valley is vast & the resort choices within it are broad but the best locations to explore them all are in the valley itself. Owner operated chalets were often bought for their ideal living location rather than to be a ski ‘factory’ putting guests as close to the bar & the slopes as possible, to buy out of a major resort is to get a larger place in more space & at a better price. These chalets are increasingly offering guests prices a level lower than a resort centric chalet but with a ski chauffeur on call included in the price. The owner’s nearly always know the area incredibly well & often they’re the ones taking you to your resort of choice each morning, so you get huge variety & expert local advice all included.

If you had to choose the ideal spot in the valley you might settle on Bourg St Maurice. It’s located down in valley at 800m and similar in location to Chamonix, but in fairness less lively and smaller. It’s at a crossroads of the high Alps and therefore if you want choice and access to the best piste and off piste areas you can imagine, not too mention access to multiple glacier skiing areas , this is the place to get your boots and skis/boards to.

Where is Bourg?, as it’s called locally and how do you get here, well get yer google maps out and have a look, it’s right next to the French-Italian border just on the Southern extent of the Mont Blanc massif. The nearest airport is Chambery at 57 miles but Geneva, I suppose, is the most accessible in that the choice of flights and a distance of 84 miles make it only a 1 hour and 45 minute transfer.

Just outside the town limits of Bourg is a lift up a north facing valley that takes you from 1100m to the twin resort of La Rosiere (France) / La Thuile(Italy) collectively known as the Espace San Bernard. There, straddling the Petit Saint Bernard pass and in the shadow of Mont Blanc, you will enjoy 150km of piste skiing and also get to experience the wonderful off piste opportunities in the border area at 2200m and above. For me one of last seasons highlights was whooping with joy as we descended from the frontier down into Italy via a deserted and virgin powder off piste valley that was ideal to introduce the pleasures of out of bounds!

On a good snow year you can also ski all the way down from the same border area to the edge of Bourg St Maurice.

Steve & Connie knew what they were doing when they bought Chalet La Bas in the village of Bonconseil, today they operate their chalet as a catered ski lodge with Steve standing by to chauffeur his guests to local resorts with a combined piste length of over 2200km!

“Bourg St Maurice is the best place in the Alps for good intermediate / advanced skiers! No so much of this ski in ski out, jacuzzi, canapes and champagne namby pambying, but gigantic white mountains , big cojones and down to earth real France stuff.” Steve – Chalet La Bas

As if to prove the value of local knowledge Steve has contributed a wealth of advice on lift passes & how to play it smart & get the most piste for your buck.

If you’re looking to test your limits & yearn to explore it’s hard to imagine a better style of ski holiday and a better base than Bourg in the Tarentaise Valley.


Chalet La Bas

Chalet La Bas

Chalet La Bas; a traditional 4 bedroom catered chalet run by the owners Steve & Connie.

Our “on demand” transport service extends to getting you into and from The Funicular in Bourg and whilst  I am writing this , I’m waiting for a call from our current guests to tell me they are on the funicular and about to come down. In the time it takes for them to descend ( 6 minutes), I’m there with the 4×4 transport to pick them up. They only have a few metres to walk to a comfy seat home.

What are you waiting for, come and see for yourself!
All the best
Steve and Connie

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