Wendy Hollands is our La Clusaz insider and has been writing for us for several seasons. Wendy spent five seasons as a ski bum in Meribel before moving to La Clusaz in 2006. When she’s not hugging trees accidentally in fresh powder, she’s writing or travelling to other ski resorts to in the hope that a tree-free perfect powder run awaits her. Wendy also blogs about about life in France as seen by an outsider on her blog www.lefrancophoney.com.
Get racing with Twizy ice cars
Slide at a different pace in a Renault Twizy car! These electric cars have been adapted to drive on ice for maximum fun. After a briefing and donning the supplied safety equipment, you can enjoy group racing sessions or individual driving lessons. Like many winter sports, Twizy ice cars are available from December until whenever the ice melts.
More information: www.circuit-glace-laclusaz.fr
Create your own Candide Thovex experience
If you’ve ever seen Candide Thovex’s One of Those Days video series, you might want to check some of the spots where they were filmed.
In fact, I wrote a handy guide about the spots in Candide’s most popular video, One of Those Days 2.
Have a coffee on the terrace that Candide lands on and launches off, or visit the lake at Les Confins, where the helicopter scene from One of Those Days 3 was filmed. And don’t forget to look out in La Balme for Candide himself, who regularly whizzes past on his way to his next jump. He’s impossible to miss!
Zoom through the air tandem speedriding
Thrillseekers, look no further: you can go tandem speedriding in La Balme! Skiers can enjoy this sport, which is similar to paragliding but much faster in the air. Take off with an experienced, qualified tandem speedrider and enjoy the exhilaration of a descent in the sky, above the pistes.
If you enjoy it, speedriding lessons are available for confident skiers.
It’s not possible to go tandem speedriding with a snowboard, but snowboarders can still enjoy tandem paragliding for a similar airborne thrill.
More information: www.aravis-speedriding.com
Dance away the cold at the Radio Meuh Circus Festival
Winter festivals are growing in popularity and size throughout the French Alps, and the Radio Meuh festival is one of the originals. Organised by one of France’s most popular online radio stations which started here in La Clusaz, this three-night festival showcases the main acts under a big top. There’s also a second stage in a smaller tent, plus bars, food outlets and other festival stands. Free music and DJ sessions take place during the day at various restaurants on and off the pistes — an unbeatable vibe on a sunny day.
More information: www.radiomeuh.com
Choose your own (evening) adventure
La Clusaz and the surrounding Aravis mountains have some remarkable restaurants and there are some fun ways to access them which will make your night more memorable. Feel the crisp air against your skin as your skidoo taxi whisks you to your destination, or stay cozy inside a covered oversnow transporter (like an army tank but with windows) as the cabin bobs along in the snow. For a slower pace, hire a pair of snowshoes and enjoy the tranquility of nature as you walk to a restaurant. After your meal, try the local paret — a unique sledge with a raised seat invented here in the Aravis. Here are just a few of the options:
Le Bercail (Crêt du Merle, La Clusaz)
Access: Skidoo ride (from the car park on the Crêt du Merle and ask for the ‘moto de neige’ ride when reserving your table).
Departure: Either skidoo back to the car park, or groups can opt to pay extra for organised snowshoeing or paret sledging down to town.
Delicious, hearty meals and mouthwatering dessert table around a roaring fire where the meat is cooked.
Le Relais de l’Aguille (Crêt du Merle, La Clusaz). This is really all about the novelty of the oversnow ride, and the Savoyarde food is a nice bonus.
Access: Oversnow ride (from the top car park on the Crêt du Merle: make sure you book!).
Departure: Oversnow ride back to the car park.
La Ferme du Danay (Le Danay, St Jean de Sixt) Rustic Savoyarde cheese options (think fondue) in a cosy environment. You will need transport to get to the car park and time to walk the distance. This place is best during the snowiest months to ensure the sledge ride down is possible. You can also go earlier in the day and snowshoe an extra 25 minutes past the farm to the lookout point at La Tête du Danay, or stay at the farm overnight.
Access: From St Jean de Sixt, take the road (by car) towards La Tête du Danay and park at the final car park, then snowshoe a gentle 2.7km incline to the farm.
Departure: Descend the full 2.7km with a paret sledge, available from the farm for a tiny fee, with a drop-off point at the car park!