The Grand Massif is a great ski area, but the best skiing is normally considered to be in Flaine’s snowy bowl and the peaks encircling it – which is quite a trek to reach from Morillon and Sixt for anyone who isn’t a particularly strong skier. If you’re skiing outside the immediate Morillon area, make sure you leave plenty of time to get back to the resort at the end of the day.
The main skiing starts from Morillon 1100 Les Esserts, the modern ski centre on the mountain above the resort. Highlight of Morillon’s immediate ski area is the 14km Cascades run (‘the waterfalls piste’), a wonderful route for an unforgettable day’s skiing: you start at the top of the Flaine cable-car, cross the Sixt Fer a Cheval Nature Reserve and the Gers bowl, and at the bottom a free shuttle bus takes you back to Morillon.
If you are staying in Morillon village, you can take the Doina red run home, that winds underneath the gondola to the bottom. If you are staying in Morillon 1100, the green Marvel and blue Charnia and Sairon runs come directly down into the resort. If you’re staying in Sixt you’ll have to take one of the regular free buses in the morning to Samoens or Morillon to begin the day’s skiing; you can however ski back.
Freestylers have a choice of three terrain parks in the area, and there’s a big air bag up at Les Esserts. Sixt has its own small ski area with six lifts, but not connected to the main Grand Massif area.
Reverse heli-skiing in Le Grand Massif
Those searching off-piste terrain might be better to stay up in Flaine rather than down in Morillon and Sixt, since you’re more likely to get the best snow in Flaine’s powdery bowl.
Heli-drops are illegal in France, but reverse heli-skiing isn’t. This means that you go up the mountain by conventional lift and, at the bottom of the descent, a helicopter picks you up and takes you back to the resort. For the operation through ZigZag in Le Grand Massif, a typical day might involve descending the Gers bowl from the Samoens side, returning to Flaine by helicopter, descending Pas de Sales for a picnic in the abandoned Sales village, skiing to Sixt and then returning to the Grand Platieres by helicopter.