Our blog:

Back off the beaten track in the Haute Savoie

by Fraser Wilkin, 9 January 2013

Where can you buy a season pass in France for just 140 Euros?


Answer:  Hirmentaz, a low-key family-friendly resort in the Vallée de Bellevaux, just south of Lake Geneva.

Hirmentaz, France Family-friendly Hirmentaz - Photo: weathertoski.co.uk

Ok, it’s not the biggest ski area in the world, but if you want to know where the locals take their families skiing at weekends without paying through the nose, this is the perfect example.


There are other similarly small resorts in the area - Bernex, Les Brasses to name just a couple - but Hirmentaz is as close as any to the major centres of population along the south shore of Lake Geneva, including Thonon Les Bains.

The area is not high, and is vulnerable to rain. However, when it snows it really snows, and thanks to the big storms earlier in December, there was plenty of snow on my visit last week.

Hirmentaz, France Uncrowded scenic slopes with views to Lake Geneva - Photo: weathertoski.co.uk

What I love about small ski areas is the complete lack of pretence, something which is reflected in the prices - just 9 Euros for a Saucisse-Frites, a drink and a coffee, about half what you might pay in a more mainstream resort.  


The slopes aren’t bad either, linking to nearby Habère-Poche to offer 50km of surprisingly open terrain that, in good conditions, is enough to amuse most skiers for a day. The views are impressive too, and from the top you can see Mont Blanc to the south and Lake Geneva to the north with the Jura behind.

Hirmentaz, France Plenty of scope for off-piste in good conditions - Photo: weathertoski.co.uk

Weathertoski’s verdict:


Hirmentaz makes a refreshing change from the mega-resorts and is a great insight into where regular French families actually go skiing -you won’t hear a word of English spoken here.


The resort is best suited to beginners, early intermediates and families, but in good conditions would also make a perfectly adequate day out for the more adventurous.

Key facts: Hirmentaz, France

Resort height:





50km (43 runs)

Transfer time:

50mins - Geneva

Further info: