In recent years the price of air travel has dropped dramatically, meaning that more people can afford to go on reasonably priced skiing holidays. They have become a very popular holiday choice and lots of tourists are taking to the slopes, particularly in the wonderfully picturesque French Alps. The resorts here are very varied and there is something to suit any level of skier or boarder.
St. Sorlin d’Arves and La Toussuire is, for the French Alps, a relatively undiscovered gem of a resort. Previously these 2 resorts were small and self-contained with little communication between them, but now they are a sizeable, good value option for skiers and boarders.
An hour and a half from Chambery airport, the 2 villages are the main resorts on France’s most up and coming ski areas. It is quite a high resort and offers a good snow record and pistes that are not crowded. The area is also very family friendly, La Toussuire is a purpose built resort, while St Sorlin is a more traditional village with a real French atmosphere. Both resorts offer good skiing, excellent value for money and unspoilt alpine scenery.
Although this area is best for intermediate skiers, there are also a few runs for thrill seekers. Beginners are well catered for too, so mixed groups will certainly enjoy St. Sorlin and La Toussuire.
Ninety percent of the terrain is rated easy and intermediate and there are many long, easy blue runs. For boarders, there are a few good runs too and St. Sorlin has a dedicated freeride area with very good open terrain.
The ski-school operates a ski kindergarten for children from 3 years old with a special ski area just for them. Families are extremely well catered for at St. Sorlin and La Toussuire and there is a family-dedicated sledging area at Plan du Moulin.
The experts can challenge themselves on a couple of black runs such as the Casse – Pipe descent and the 1.5km long Vallee Perdue at La Toussuire. There are also plenty of good off-piste skiing areas.
Accommodation in St. Sorlin and La Toussuire is mostly made up of self-catering apartments in attractive chalet-style buildings. Many of the apartments in the resorts are within close range of the piste, so you can just ski on with no need to catch a minibus or walk any distance in your ski boots.
Eating out in St. Sorlin and La Toussuire is excellent value for money and the choice is very good. In St. Sorlin there is ‘La Table de Marie’ for local specialities or if you just fancy pizza, there is the ‘L’Avalanche’ pizzeria. You can expect to pay about 30 Euros for a 3 course meal with and pizza is around 9 Euros.
For a traditional apres-ski meal, expect to pay in the region of 20 Euros for a fondue. In the village of La Toussuire you can visit ‘Les Soldanelles’ for Savoyard specialities. ‘Les Airelles’ also offers traditional fayre. For French crepes try ‘La Gargoulette’. On average a small beer or cup of coffee will cost you 2 Euros, which is very reasonable for a tourist area.
The nightlife in both resorts is pretty low key and informal but after a day on the pistes you will probably want to relax anyway. In La Toussuire there is a great bowling alley – ‘Le Cairn’, which also has a decent bar. St. Sorlin has one night club, the ‘Sybell Club’, which offers late night dancing. ‘L’Avalanche’, the aforementioned pizza restaurant, also has a bar for apres-ski. ‘Les Neiges’ and ‘La Petite Ferme’ are popular bars in the resort.
There are a number of shops selling everything from ski wear to traditional French meats, cheeses and wines in the villages. To see how traditional produce is made in the area, visit the local cheese dairy where you can see cheese being made.
If you want something to do on the piste that does not involve skis or poles, take part in a guided snow-shoe walk, husky dog sleigh ride or skidoo ride. To see the slopes from new heights you could also go paragliding. For children there is a local donkey farm, where they can stroke and ride the donkeys. Go to St Sorlin and La Toussuire for the best kept secrets in the Alps!
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