5 experiences to discover in winter in the Val d’Arly

The snow in the Alps sometimes takes on a completely different color. For that, you have to go to the Val d’Arly, a small valley at the foot of the Aravis massif, between the Bauges and the Beaufortain. In its four resort-villages, you can obviously ski there, especially since they are connected to large ski areas. And, above all, in the Val d’Arly, we take the time to live. Here are 5 experiences to discover in winter in the Val d’Arly.

Located at the crossroads between Savoie and Haute-Savoie, crossed by the Route des Grandes Alpes, Val d’Arly is a very special little region. It is of course geared towards tourism – hiking and mountain bike in summer, snow and sliding in winter – but without losing any of its soul. Agriculture and breeding are more present than ever. The concepts of slow tourism and slow food, with all that this implies, seem to have been invented for the Val d’Arly which champions them.

Skiing on large areas

Skiing is one of my great pleasures in winter. I love it: whether it’s hiking, off-piste or down the slopes. And in the Val d’Arly, I’m spoiled. The four village resorts that make up this pleasant little region are all connected to one or the other of the two large ski areas in the sector. For me, being housed in Crest-Voland, it will be the Espace Diamant: some 192 km of slopes around a well-known resort, Les Saisies. So there is plenty to do. The lifts and slopes – rather easy – follow each other quickly. We often ski between the fir trees, which is very pleasant. Soon enough here I am at Mont Bisanne. From there, as from all the summits of the domain, there is a 360° view. Attractive ! In the distance, if Mont-Blanc is not visible today, I can see the Pierra Menta, a very large pebble known for its famous ski mountaineering race.

© JP Noisillier Nuts

On snowshoes to an old chalet

A walk on snowshoes is always nice. This allows me to go to places where I probably wouldn’t go on foot or on skis. This leads me at the end of the afternoon to the heights of La Giettaz towards an imposing and venerable alpine chalet, “Stié Barna”, more than two centuries old. It belongs to the instructor of the ESF (French Ski School) who leads our hike. The old building is amazing: nothing, or not much (a bathroom has been fitted out), has changed since it was built. It still features the high and impressive smoking room, and of course the original layout where men and animals harmoniously share the space. It’s not a museum, but just like. Even the tools passed down from generation to generation are still there. The short visit is both moving and instructive. Then, after being reinvigorated, we attack the descent at nightfall for the return to the village, in the moonlight. Magical.

© JP Noisillier Nuts

Swincar ride

What a funny machine! With its four wheels fixed at the end of articulated arms, the Swincar is as much a quad as a buggy. If it is just as efficient, even on snow, there is one major difference: the Swincar is electric. Not a sound, nothing that disturbs the calm of the mountain. With its 4-wheel drive, it is very comfortable on the snow. I really enjoy driving this amazing machine. First a short tour to get started, then we leave the village. On small paths, I let myself go, taste the charm of the snowy landscapes around La Giettaz. Sitting behind me, my passenger is thrilled too. A great discovery.

Resources for traveling

Here are some resources for planning your trip:

  • Find your travel guides on Amazon, at Fnac or on Nostromo
  • To book your hotels, holiday rentals and gîtes, there is of course Booking but I also invite you to discover GreenGo (responsible accommodation in France), Feelingo (sustainable accommodation in France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece) and Abracadaroom (accommodation unusual in France)
  • Compare the price of car rentals on Rentalcars or Autoeurope. Rent your van/campervan on Yescapa.
  • Compare flights with Skyscanner or Kayaking
  • Compare the price of your journeys by bus, train, ferry and plane with omio
  • Rent your photo equipment at Pixloc instead of buying it
  • Book an activity, tour or skip-the-line ticket with Civitatis Where Get Your Guide and your adventure or sports activity with Manawa.
  • Are you looking for insurance and/or assistance? I personally use the one from Chapka Assurance.
  • Send a quote request to a local English-speaking travel agency

Visit a goat farm

Above the village of La Giettaz, here is the farm of Azalée et Alexandre, the Chèvrerie des Aravis. In very modern facilities, the young couple raises some 150 goats. All of their milk is processed on site: PDO cheese (protected designation of origin) chevrotin -their main specialty, they produce about forty a day in season- but also tomme and raclette, yoghurt, flans… In summer, everyone migrates to the Plachaux mountain pasture, well above the Col des Aravis. Passing hikers get their supplies there, taste its ice cream. These young breeders and all the others – a good dozen producers of goat’s milk and many more of cow’s milk – testify to the reality of agriculture in Val d’Arly.

© Cedric Cruchon

Read also on I-Voyages

Slowfood, with its fork

Slow food is a spirit that is increasingly emerging in Val d’Arly. All the ingredients are there to promote it: on the one hand an ever-present agriculture, breeders, on the other, restaurateurs and service providers ready to play the game, always more numerous. A good example is the Toi du Monde, atypical gite and restaurant near Flumet. In a large family farm dating from 1886 renovated from top to bottom, chef Thomas Tricault revisits regional dishes with produce from the vegetable garden, when possible, and local producers. The vast residence, a veritable wooden cathedral, also regularly hosts concerts.

Useful information

The website of theVal d’Arly tourist office presents the valley, its four village resorts, the ski areas (Espace Diamant with its 192 km of slopes and the Portes du Mont-Blanc which notably includes Megève/Combloux), serves as booking center, gives all sorts of ideas for outings.

Good to know

The ski area of ​​La Giettaz, moreover rather sporty, is turned towards the Portes du Mont-Blanc. The three other village resorts, Crest-Volland/Cohennoz, Flumet/St-Nicolas-la-Chapelle and ND-de-Bellecombe are connected to Espace Diamant.

Good addresses


  • Swincar ride with Alpiness at La Giettaz. A new and interesting experience, 100% electric and quiet to discover nature aboard this amazing machine very comfortable on all terrains, summer and winter, accompanied hiking. Accessible to people with reduced mobility. Several formulas are possible, in particular with a picnic.
  • The Aravis goat farm in La Giettaz, near the Col des Aravis, welcomes the public: you can watch the milking, visit the farm. And of course taste the production (AOP chevrotin, tomme and raclette, yoghurts in winter and ice cream in summer…) at the direct sales store.

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5 experiences to discover in winter in the Val d’Arly