Flaine Review

by: Tom Destry - Feb 19, 2008

  • Overall Rating 4
  • Family Friendly 4
  • All Mtn. Terrain 5
  • Terrain Park 4
  • Nightlife 2

    Date Visited: Feb 19, 2008


Full review

Just to confirm what a previous reviewer said about the ecole de ski in the grand massif... Last year, my 9-year-old son fainted while in a class and the instructor picked him up by the scruff of the neck and attempted to shake him back to consciousness, all the while berating him loudly and scornfully for the amusement of the rest of the class. Aside from what my son told me, I know this because one of my daughters witnessed it from a chairlift above. In the end he escorted him down with a very bad grace. When I picked him up, he was lying on a bench in the ski school, groggy and miserable.

On another occasion I saw an instructor shouting at a child in a queue for a lift because she was larking around. The girl looked rigid with fear. She was about six.

At the end of my eldest daughter's last class, the instructor assembled the group and commented on each skier in turn. When he reached her he said, "You have improved this week." Once she had smiled and said thank you, he added: "Not much."

I will never use the ecole de ski francaise again and I would not recommend leaving children in their care. I understand the instructors only have to ski a slalom run within a certain time to qualify and have no further training. I am not saying there are not plenty of good ones, but there are too many who just want to show off, have no interest whatsoever in teaching, and are only doing it because it gets them ski time.

Oh yes, and Flaine is fabulous. Huge skiing and a great place to learn off-piste. I even like the weird architecture -- a great change from the dinky alpine chalet look and somehow in keeping with this vast and gorgous bowl of snow-covered granite. I scared myself silly among the monster moguls in the couloir going down the Diamant Noir, which were late-season hard and crusty, but the rest of the run was thrilling. Going back for a long weekend very soon.

Morillon is a very handy resort for families -- lots of nice skiing and easy for children to find their way around. The village is a bit dull. There is a brilliant restaurant with a sun terrace at the top of the Bergen chair lift.

Just avoid the ecole de ski francaise at all costs!

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