All you need to know about ski holidays by train

Val Cenis - introduction

Daniel Durand/ OT Haute Maurienne
OT Haute Maurienne
OT Val Cenis

The faces of family skiers arriving at Val Cenis for the first time say it all.  This is an excellent family-friendly resort that isn't nearly as well known to the British market as it should be, and as such is wonderful discovery for first-timers here.  Meanwhile, those that know it tend to return regularly. 

The Val Cenis ski area enjoys a sheltered position in the Haute-Maurienne Vanoise valley at the Franco-Italian border, where the ancient route to Turin via the Col du Mont-Cenis meets the legendary Route des Grandes Alpes. Meanwhile the villages that make up the resort are friendly, unpretentous and very attractive, all linked with shuttle bus and a secured hitch-hiking system.

In a typical season Val Cenis receives substantial snowfalls, a factor which has seen it growing steadily in popularity and edg-ing its way upmarket in recent years. On the other hand, being spread among year-round, working village communities has ensured that this is one ski area with a relaxed, friendly atmosphere and whose prices remain refreshingly down-to-earth. Despite this, the lift infrastructure shows clear signs of continuing substantial investment, and you’ll also find a snowpark, a boarder-cross run and an ‘Easy Park’, combining boarder/skiercross with a timed-run system.

It’s an attractive option then, with plenty to keep skiers and ‘boarders of most abilities entertained – but if you should feel the urge to explore a change of scenery, Bonneval sur Arc (of-ficially classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France) is just up the valley - officially classified as an exceptional, high-altitude, off-the-beaten-track resort, and a real find for nature lovers.  Meanwhile, in the other direction, lie the welcoming family ski resorts of Aussois, La Norma and Valfréjus (take the Eski-Mo lift pass option to ski them all).


  • Varied terrain among dazzling, unspoilt scenery.
  • Friendly year-round village community, with affordable food prices - even on the mountain.
  • Healthy snow record, with extensive snowmaking.
  • Self-catering accommodation for most budgets.
  • Short transfers from high-speed rail services into Modane.
  • Eski-Mo Sk Pass adds a further four nearby ski areas, linked by shuttle buses (free to Pass holders).


  • Val Cenis ski pass doesn’t include Bonneval sur Arc.
  • Nightlife is decidedly on the quiet side
  • Few black runs (but lots of off piste)

Val Cenis piste map

Ski area
Village Altitude
Ski Altitude
1300m - 2800m
Green Runs
Blue Runs
Red Runs
Black Runs
Total Runs 57
Terrain Park
Cabin Lifts
Chair Lifts
Drag Lifts
Total Lifts 28