Skiing and snowboarding
Chalet Cristal is within a five minutes drive of the three télécabines at Morillon, Vercland and Samoëns giving easy access to the Grand Massif, which provides a fantastic range of skiing and snowboarding for all abilities. There is ample free parking at all the télécabines and the ski bus stops at the end of the road from the chalet (a one minute walk away).
The Morillon télécabine is the closest and goes to Morillon 1100 where the beginners' area and meeting points for lessons are located. It's also possible to drive up to Morillon 1100, which takes about 10 minutes. Morillon ESF has an excellent reputation for all levels of tuition and is especially popular for children learning to ski being graced with excellent blue runs, a great red slalom run (Stade) and possibly the best, and certainly one of the longest green runs in the Alps - Marvel, which is 5 km. A new blue piste Doina, which has snow cannons the whole length, goes from the beginners' area in Morillon 1100 back down to the valley next to the télécabine.
From Morillon 1100, the Sairon chairlift takes you straight to the top to access all the Morillon and Les Carroz pistes. Both Morillon and Les Carroz provide a wide choice of tree-lined runs - perfect at any time but particularly when the weather is more closed in, or for a morning if you have to meet people at the end of ski school. There are also ample opportunities for skiing off the side of the pistes and through the trees with new fun zones for freestyle and boarder cross.
All links to Samoëns and Flaine go via Tête de Saix. New for Winter 2017 is a 3.6 km blue piste and an express lift up to Tête de Saix from Morillon. From Morillon it takes 45 minutes to get to the top of Les Grands Platières above Flaine, which is the highest point in the Grand Massif. Flaine is a great sunny bowl for skiing when the weather is good as the majority of runs are above the tree line. It also provides access to some excellent off-piste skiing, notably the Gers bowl and the famous 15 km Cascades run all the way back to Sixt; ski buses run back to Morillon from the bottom of the piste.
As an alternative to the Morillon télécabine, both the fast Samoëns, and the more charming, and old fashioned, Vercland télécabines go directly to Samoëns 1600 where the beginners' area and meeting points for lessons are located. From Samoëns 1600, the Chariande Express lift takes you to the top of Tête de Saix to access the Samoëns runs or for the link to Flaine.
Pistes and links between the ski areas are all well signed across the Grand Massif.
The area provides a great selection of nordic / cross-country pistes for all abilities. Within the valley it's possible to ski from Lac Bleu, very close to the chalet, to Samoëns, and beyond as far as the reserve at Fer à Cheval. In total there are over 38 km of tracks with five green, three blue and two red pistes.
If there is insufficient snow for the valley routes to open then the Col de Joux Plane sector offers seven runs (three green, two blue and two red) at an altitude of 1700m. There is also a designated tobogganing area suitable for all ages and stunning views over the whole of the Grand Massif to Mont Blanc. The Col de Joux Plane sector is accessed via a shuttle bus running between the Morillon and Samoëns tourist offices.
Samoëns has a new, covered ice-skating rink with bleachers seating 450 seats. Throughout the winter season there are special sessions for children, hockey matches, gala and disco evenings. Dates of the local ice hockey team's matches can be obtained from Tourist Information.
The rink is located next to the market square by the main car park. Costs vary but it's around €7.50 including skate hire.
Local guide RidetheAlps organises half day or longer rides away from the pistes and provides the fat bikes. If you enjoy mountain biking then fat biking in the snow is a huge amount of fun.