While the children are young and learning how to ski, or if you have beginner skiers in your group, then ⛷ Plaine-Joux in Passy is the ideal ski station 🗻 au Pays du Mont-Blanc for multiple reasons:
- ⛷ it’s a small, family-oriented ski resort;
- ⛷ there are 12km of wide, gentle, sunny pistes (green, blue and red) with stunning views of the Mont Blanc Massif;
- ⛷ this is an affordable ski resort, with different ski passes available for your different needs (2 hours, 4 hours, day pass, multi-day pass, family pass, seasonal pass . . . ) / you can now charge up or buy your forfait online;
- ⛷ there are 6 drag-lifts (no cable-cars, bubble-lifts or chair-lifts) and a NEW (2018) magic carpet Le Gypaète;
- ⛄️ there is l‘Espace Lutins for small children;
- 🛷 there is a designated sledging / snow-tubing area;
- ❄️ there are TWO great snow-shoe trails through the woods for non-skiers to enjoy while the little ones have their ski lessons / see here;
- 🚲 you can try out FAT-BIKING (rental at Lou Pachran restaurant);
- ☕️ there are lovely restaurants with sunny terraces and 🗻 a view of the Mont Blanc Massif for a hot chocolate, snack or lunch;
- 🍏 there is a Salle Hors-Sacs for indoor picnics, for when it starts snowing or gets too cold to be al fresco;
- ⛷ there is a ski shop at hand (Skifiz Ski Skimium), for when you leave gloves / sunglasses / snowboots at home (yes, we have done this on several occasions!) or to rent out 🛷 sledges and snow-tubes;
- 🚗 there is easy and FREE parking; ideal when you need to make a hasty exit for toddler naps!
- 🦌 there is the Maison de la Réserve Naturelle de Passy;
- 🌈 there are lots of animations for the children, throughout the ski season: Santa’s arrival (24th December), the yearly Fête des Lutins in January, weekly themed walks . . . see the Passy Tourisme website for more details;
When is Plaine-Joux open for skiing?
⛷ Plaine-Joux Ski Station is normally open from mid-December to mid-March, depending on the snow conditions.
⛄️ L’Espace Lutins ⛄️
⛄️ L’Espace Lutins is a play area for small children and their families. It is open every day (except Mondays) until mid March, from 11h to 16h45. It consists of :
- ⛄️ La Maison des Lutins – a wooden house, ideal to warm up, to have a snack or to play games / there is also a baby changing area;
- ⛷ ski zone – a designated ski area for children and accompanying adults, with a magic carpet and rope-tow;
- 🌈 snow play area & terrace – to play in the snow, make snowmen, play on the soft-play toys etc . . . (once our littlest saw this, it was
hardimpossible to get him to resume skiing!);
[ NB – you will need either your forfait or a special pass to access this area! ]
⛷ Beginner and Nursery Skiing ⛷
Even when there are poor snow conditions, Passy makes a huge effort to keep the Beginner & Nursery slopes operational, with the help of snow cannons. There is one drag-lift (Beudeix 1) and the new covered magic carpet (Le Gypaète) servicing the Bambi and Oursons pistes.
[ NEW for 2017 / 2018, Le Gypaète magic carpet ]
⛷ Intermediate & Advanced Skiing ⛷
Plaine-Joux is very much a small, friendly family resort; you will find red pistes, but advanced skiiers and thrill seekers might need to go further afield!
⛷ NEW for 2020 – Boarder Cross on the Martre piste, leading down from téléski de Barmus ! Prepared by the dameurs and the entraîneurs du Ski-Club Passy-Varan, twists and jumps . . .
⛷ Ski Lessons ⛷
⛷ Ecole de Ski Français (ESF Passy) – private or group lessons can be booked for children and adults alike (skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, télémarking) / our kids took their first lessons here and we loved how they developed their confidence in a quieter, smaller resort!
🌈 Club Piou Piou – lessons are available for children from 3 to 5 years, in the designated Piou Piou area and on the nursery slopes.
tel: +33(0)4 50 58 83 89 / website: www.esfpassy.com;
☕️ Restaurants & Cafés ☕️
There are ☕️ plenty of lovely places to eat at Plaine-Joux and sitting at one of the sunny terraces – relaxing and admiring the view – is surely one of the reasons that parents sign up their children for ski lessons here! There is:
- ☕️ a small refuge on the pistes called the Refuge Barmus, serving small snacks; great for a break or to keep an eye on the little ones!
- ☕️ restaurants at Plaine-Joux: La Bergerie (lovely, family-run restaurant, with toys and books) / Lou Pachran (la bougnetterie) and Chalet Lilly;
- ☕️ . . . a short walk or snow-shoe away: Le Chatelet d’Ayères and Restaurant du Lac Vert, which is on the Lac Vert snowshoe trail (now open in WINTER!);
🛷 Sledging & Snow-Tubing 🛷
There is a designated sledging zone at Plaine-Joux, with a snow-tubing piste (snow-tubes for hire at Skifiz).
❄️ Snow-shoeing & walking routes ❄️
If sitting at one of the sunny terraces doesn’t appeal, why not go for a ❄️ short snow-shoe hike while the little ones are having their ski lessons? There are various snow-shoe circuits up here, as well as the walk that begins towards Chatelet d’Ayères (for which you don’t normally require raquettes) / note: you cannot walk all the way along this trail anymore, due to rockfall) . . .
There are two marked snow-shoe trails leaving from Plaine-Joux:
- Boucle du Lac Vert (4km);
- and Boucle du Barmus (8km);
[ see passy-mont-blanc.com for more details and other snow-shoe trails in the environs ]
A picnic en-route on the Boucle du Barmus, with a magnificent view . . . or stop for a crêpe at the Refuge du Barmus?
⛷ Cross Country Skiing & Ski Touring ⛷
There is a FREE cross country skiing loop, the blue Lac Gris, at Plaine-Joux.
There are also ski rando trails.
🦌 Maison de la Réserve Naturelle de Passy 🦌
Right behind the ticket and ESF offices is the 🦌 Maison de la Réserve Naturelle de Passy , an area to learn about the area, its history, flora and fauna and our Alpine mountains. Throughout the year, the Réserve Naturelle de Passy puts on lots of activities for children and families & themed outings during the school holidays . . . you’ll find the latest flyer on their FB page;
❄️ Winter events for children & families up at Plaine-Joux ❄️
- Sunday 12th January 2020 – Fête des lutins – 11h to 17h – FREE!
[ for more information about events, or the full programmes, see online or the Passy Tourist Office ]
Further activities nearby
- visit the beautiful church in Plateau d’Assy, Notre-Dame-de-Toute-Grâce – this quirky church is well worth a visit. It was made famous by the work of several renowned artists: the façade’s mosaic was created by painter and ceramist Fernand Léger; Georges Braque added a bronze tabernacle and Marc Chagall a baptistery. You’ll also see some unique sculptures gracing bends in the road on the drive from Passy to Plateau d’Assy.;
- walk across the NEW Passerelle Himalayenne in Plateau d’Assy!
address: 321, chemin des Parchets, Passy Plaine Joux, 74190, Passy / tel: +33(0)4 50 58 83 89;