Top Lift: 2100m
Ski area: 90km of piste
Adult lift pass: 163€ for six days
In a Nutshell
Accessible, relaxed and very authentic, Le Grand Bornand is much-loved by generations of French family skiers. Of those Brits who know of it, many learned to ski here, on safe, reassuring terrain which is just ideal. Long upstaged by nearby La Clusaz, the resort is nevertheless steadily raising its game.
Anyone who has ever driven over the Col de la Colombiere on the spectacular Route des Grandes Alpes in summer won’t have forgotten the exhilarating descent through broad Alpine pastures, dotted with authentic timber chalets and contented-looking Abondance and Tarine cattle.
Against the dramatic backdrop of the Massif des Aravis, Le Grand Bornand looks perfect – or almost. For that you have to see it in winter, when the snow lies deep, cattle are tucked away snugly indoors and finally you have the classic chocolate-box image you always dreamed of finding. However, the majority of visitors choose to base themselves in Chinaillon, which has a lot more accommodation while still managing to maintain a pleasingly traditional appearance. Together with La Clusaz – just down the valley – it’s a living, working, year-round community which was here long before the ski industry arrived.
Revolutionary cheese still standing
Cows outnumber humans around here – even in mid-winter when two-legged visitors arrive in their hordes. Le Grand Bornand is home to Reblochon cheese, which is made twice a day in the village farms during the winter. The first Reblochon market opened in the village in 1795 and it still takes place on Wednesday mornings.
So if you are looking to eat typical mountain cuisine in atmospheric restaurants, as well as enjoy the flattering intermediate skiing set against a gorgeous backdrop and a genuine Savoyard mountain welcome, then Le Grand Bornand is the place for you.
See also our feature on What You Should Know About Lake Annecy Skiing.