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 is l‘Espace Lutins for small children;
- there are 6 drag-lifts (no cable-cars, bubble-lifts or chair-lifts) and a NEW (2018) magic carpet Le Gypaète;
- 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;
- 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, the yearly Fête des Lutins, 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 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 Area – 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 and 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!
Ecole de Ski Français (ESF Passy) – private or group lessons can be booked for children and adults alike (skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, télémarking).
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;
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/snow-shoe away: Le Chatelet d’Ayères; the Restaurant du Lac Vert, which is on the Lac Vert snowshoe trail, is NOT open over the winter, so you’ll have to wait until springtime for a visit!
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 to the Chatelet d’Ayères (for which you don’t normally require raquettes). 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;
The February holidays 2018 flyer:
Winter events for children/families up at Plaine-Joux
- Sunday 14th January 2018 – Fête des lutins – 11h to 17h – FREE!
- Sunday 11th February 2018 – Journée du Camp de Base Blanc – 11h to 17h – try out different winter sports activities;
- Sunday 25th March – closing party of Plaine-Joux / fancy dress!
*For more information about events, or the full programme, see online or the Passy Tourist Office.*
321, chemin des Parchets
Passy Plaine Joux
Tel: +33(0)4 50 58 83 89