It is a mystery why Le Grand Bornand isn’t better known when you consider the ease of access at under an hour’s drive from Geneva. The resort itself is a typical French market town, steeped in history and full of traditional alpine charm, with regular markets and shops that make it a lively summer destination too. The long ski season runs from December until April and the resort is just a few kilometres’ shuttle-bus-ride from La Clusaz, a more extensive ski area that is covered on the same Aravis ski pass.
At just 1000m, Le Grand Bornand is low by French Alps’ standards, and the village runs can suffer, although good grooming and snowmaking, plus the Aravis region’s favourable microclimate all help. The traditional 17th century farming village of Chinaillon is 6km away by road, and linked by piste and lift. It sits a little higher at 1300m and is the start point for a lot of the best skiing. Mt Lachat rises up from the centre of the village, and has good long cruising runs for intermediates and experts. La Clusaz is better for après ski, but Le Grand Bornand is so charming that you might opt to settle into a quiet corner and get chatting to a local instead.