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Val Cenis

Val Cenis Ski Resort Guide

Val Cenis, France

Rated: 3/5 (from 6 ratings)

Ski Area Highlights
Recommended ForIntermediates, Beginners, Snowboarders and Apres-Ski!
Total Piste Length80km
Highest Lift2,800m
Resort Height1,400m
 Nearest AirportsTurin Caselle and Annecy
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Val Cenis

Located in the heart of the Maurienne region, bordering the National Parc de la Vanoise, Val Cenis is made up of two traditional villages, now combined in to a single resort. A good vertical, uncrowded sunny slopes and a modern lift system, so no queues .

Summary

The French ski resort of Val Cenis is in the French Alps at an altitude of 1,400m, with 80km of marked runs.

Val Cenis has direct access to 80km of downhill skiing, with 43 marked pistes, served by a total of 22 ski lifts.

With ski lifts as high as 2,800m, skiing and snowboarding is assured throughout the season.

Snow and Weather

When will it snow in Val Cenis?

The next notable snow forecast is 4cm, expected on 26 September, with around 5cm forecast over the next 7 days.

See our long-range Snow Forecast for the latest update, or   Join our Snow Mail Here

Snow this week

Snow Forecast by day for Val Cenis
SatSunMonTueWedThuFri
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resort

Ski Area Stats

Val Cenis Ski Area

Piste and Lift Stats
Black Pistes
Expert Trails
 6 
Red Pistes
Intermediate Runs
18
Blue Pistes
Easy Trails
10
Green Pistes
Beginner Runs
 9 
Downhill
Total Length
80km
Cross Country
Total Length
12km
Ski Lifts
Number of Lifts
22

Altitudes

Val Cenis Ski Area Heights

Lift Heights and Resort Altitude
Highest Lift2,800m
Lowest Piste1,400m
Resort Altitude (Val Cenis)1,400m
Max Vertical1,400m

Ratings & Suitability

Ratings for Val Cenis
Intermediate Skiers
Beginners
Snowboarding
Snow
Apres-Ski

Val Cenis Overview

Val Cenis is a less well known internationally that its neighbour Val Thorens. The resort is made up of a string of road-side villages (none called Val Cenis), the largest of which is Lanslebourg. The resort offers a healthy vertical, uncrowded sunny slopes and a modern lift system, so there are rarely any queues. Centred primarily on two traditional villages and located close to the Italian border in the southern French Alps, Val Cenis has a good snow record thanks in part to its comparatively high altitude skiing on north facing slopes.

The two resort villages, Lanslebourg and Lanslevillard, are largely unspoilt with a relaxed atmosphere. The two bases are of a similar size and only a few kilometres apart.

Lanslebourg, reached first as you travel up the valley, is perhaps slightly more compact; the ski area accessed by a high speed six-seater chairlift from the edge of the village.

Lanslevillard is spread out between the main village at 1400 and the newer apartments of Val Cenis Le Haut at 1500m, and has a wider range of village level nursery slopes and routes up to the main ski area, including a six seat gondola.

Off slope facilities including shops, restaurants and apres ski attractions are divided reasonably evenly between the two. A bus service runs every 20 minutes throughout the day around and between the two villages.

 Notable Ski Runs

The longest possible descent in Val Cenis is 10km long and the most difficult run is the 'Michèle Jacot'.

Skiing

Val Cenis is rightly known as a family ski area on the international market, but it does have a wider range of skiing than that classification may imply, as well as better uplift facilities than many ski areas of similar size. Unlike the French norm, more than half of the lifts are chairlifts or gondolas , including a number of high speed detachable six seaters.

The north facing slopes hold the snow, and most of the terrain beneath the 2100m treeline have snowmaking. The upper 700m of vertical is on open, snowy slopes with the 40+ runs divided almost evenly into easy and intermediate terrain, plus few runs for advanced skiers.

Beginners and intermediates will find plenty of good skiing for an enjoyable week.

Beginners have nursery slopes by each village. These are more extensive at Lanslevillard, with the always perfectly groomed green Le Mollard piste from the top of the Val Cenis le Haut bubble, a superb beginners run, and the perfect place for intermediates to perfect their turns.

The only real bottleneck in the lift system may be experienced by beginner and lower intermediate skiers returning to the apartments of Val Cenis Le Haut at the end of the day. This means using the very slow Saint Pierre button lift where queues are almost inevitable in the late-afternoon rush-hour - though better skiers can avoid this by cutting across from the red runs descending from the higher lifts.

But whilst intermediates have the whole area - piste-wise, advanced skiers will exhaust all their on-piste options in a day or two. The six blacks listed include three short bump runs (not always apparent). Five of the six blacks are very short and the 720m vertical of the long Le Lac run from the 2800m top of the La Met chairlift (the area's highest) down to the Col du Val Cenis, is the first to be closed when there is too much, or too little snow.

From the same point, one of the most exciting runs is Michele Jacot e la Met/du Solert/St Genix, which starts with 400m of black before following red slopes (with a short dash of black) for the rest of the full 1400m vertical down to Lanslevillard. Signed 'Vers le Mont Cenis', though graded black for its exposure to a very steep, unfenced drop-off on the right - in good conditions, competent intermediates with a good head for heights should not be put off the easy-angled road leading rightwards from the top of the La Tomba lift to the blue Val Cenis piste - the easiest way to access the slopes above Lanslebourg from Lanslevillard.

When conditions are right, good, easily accessible off-piste can be found close to the higher pistes(particularly to either side of the Michele Jacot black) with a certain amount of tree-skiing at the upper limit of the tree-line. Guided off-piste skiing is also available through the local mountain guiding service, Agence Montagne.

The area participates in the Maurienne area pass which includes more than a dozen ski areas in the area on a multi-day ticket. Although not yet simply a case of waving your ticket at any resort (it needs to be exchanged for a local day pass at the area you choose to visit on each occasion) it is a useful opportunity. Interesting variants include the opportunity to get free or discounted meals in the local mountain restaurant if you choose to visit one of the small ski areas for the day, or to use it (with a supplement payable) to access the Three Valleys via a 'back door' route in to Val Thorens from Oreille in the Maurienne Valley on one of the world's longest gondola rides - a five kilometre (three mile) long ascent.

Val Cenis' immediate neighbours with ski areas are Termingon la Vanoise below (skiing up to 450m) and Bessans (which has a small ski area) and Bonneval (with a larger one) up the valley.

Cross country skiers have more than 85km (53miles) of trails in the Valley, six kilometres (four miles) of them on your doorstep.

Val Cenis offers good sking, particularly, for Intermediate and Beginner skiers.

Snowboarding

There are several terrain parks in Val Cenis, including one just above Lanslevillard. Terrain features include a natural halfpipe, boardercross, jumps and rails. The number of high speed chairs and gondolas makes getting uphill easy and the open freeriding slopes above the treeline gives way to exciting runs down through the woods.

Location and Map

Where is Val Cenis?

This ski resort is in the French Alps in Savoie, Rhône-Alpes.

Map

Tap Show Map in Full Screen for Full-Screen, or see J2Ski's Resort map, showing Hotels and Ski Shops.

How to get there

 By Air

The nearest airport to Val Cenis is Turin Caselle, 86 minutes drive away.

Annecy, Chambery, Turin Cuneo, Lyon St-Exupéry, Lyon Bron, Grenoble, Milan Malpensa, Genoa and Milan Linate airports are all within three hours drive.

Infrastructure

Ski Lift Capacity

The 22 ski lifts are able to uplift 23,309 skiers and snowboarders every hour.

Snow Making

Snow-making is available, on 8km of ski runs, with 84 snow cannons.

Season Dates

When is Val Cenis open?

We don't currently have confirmed season dates, but hope to soon.

Usual opening is mid December, and usual closing is Mid April.

NOTE:- Ski area, lift and piste opening is subject to Current Snow Conditions.

COVID-19 / Coronavirus

We don't yet have specific details of the COVID-19 precautions being taken in Val Cenis, but they are likely to include most of the following :-

  • Face masks required on lifts, and in shops.
  • Social distancing in public areas.
  • Reduced lift capacity.
  • Extensive disinfection / sanitization.

French Ski Resort COVID-19 Measures describes further measures that may also be applied.

Visit the Val Cenis Tourist Office for the latest.

Talking about Val Cenis

Mentions in recent J2Ski News Items and Snow Reports from our users...

Aprés Ski

In common with most small to medium French ski resorts, lively bars and night spots are not the top priority in Val Cenis, although there are a number of bars and pubs in each resort. The one discotheque is La Cle des Champs in Lanslevillard which stays open to 4am nightly and has theme evenings several nights per week.

There's are cinemas in both villages and an ice rink in Lanslebourg. Organised evening activities include snowshoe hikes ad torchlit descents.

Val Cenis