Saint Francois Longchamp Off Piste

Ski-Areas > Northern Alps > Savoie (73) > Tarentaise > Saint-François Longchamp > Saint Francois Longchamp Off Piste

St Francois Longchamp has a large and varied off piste area that is ideal from beginners to advanced intermediates. Despite the reputation as an intermediate area the slopes are not without dangers which are not always easy to judge. Ski instructors and even the head of the piste patrol have been involved in fatal avalanches in recent years. The resort is linked with Valmorel and there is a new gondola lift to the village of Celliers.

Col de la Madeleine

From the Frene drag head for the col de la Madeleine (Tour de France riders cross this 2000m mountain pass in July), look for the mountain restaurant. All of the between the piste (blue Panoramique piste on map) are skiable. The open south to south-west facing slopes are around 25 degrees. Ideal for snowboarding as well as skiing. You can find spring snow from mid-morning later in the season.

Lac Bleu and Cote

Situated between the Frene and Cote lifts. Take the Cote lift and follow the slopes to the right of the Mur red. The start of the slope is open and clear but relatively steep, between 30 and 35 degrees but flattens. You can avoid the steeper section by traversing under the drag lift.

From the summit of the Cote traverse to the left and ski beyond the Reynard red. Slopes are around 25 degrees but risk of triggering avalanches under the Cheval Noir. Wide and open slopes.

Roc Noir / Roc Cornue Sector

Ideal for freeriders equipped with touring gear. From the summit of the Marquis then Schuss traverse towards the the Balcons to descend the north-west to west slopes of 30 to 35 degrees offering 400m of vertical. Continue via the Burian valley (marked as Nant Burian stream on the IGN maps) to add another 200m to return to the station.

From the summit of the Marquis you can ski to the left of the Marquis blue.


From the summit of the Mollaret lift or from the Lac Bleu drag this off piste is between the Platiere and Frene blues. The area is open and relatively flat with around 250 meters of vertical.

Decente du Paradis

A major off piste in the resort. From the summit of the Marquis lift follow the Rimollard piste at the start but continue south skiing wide and open slopes to the spot known as le Paris (1650 meters). Attention do not ski too far down the valley to the south-west or you will arrive at Montaimont (1100 meters) and need a 10km taxi ride back to resort. At the Paradis cross over the ridge onto north-west facing slopes to ski back to St Francois by mountain pastures then a valley (a tributary of the Ourtier river). As you come out of the valley traverse to the right without losing height to reach a road below l’Arpettaz which you cross then the teleski des Clochettes. The south-west slopes are gentle: 20-25 degrees followed by a 30 degree slope after the Paradis.

Cheval Noir

The Cheval Noir can be reached after 650m climbing from the summit of the pistes and offers some interesting steep descents. The normal route is by the col de Cheval Noir is rated 3.2/E2 with slopes of 30 to 35° under the col and the summit.

At 2650 an evident north facing couloir (see IGN map) offers 150m of descent at rating 4.2 before exiting into the Grand Combe. Couloir NW is 4.3/E2 with passages at 45 degrees. The north-west side requires good, later season snow cover as the entrance is rocky. Couloir ENE rated 4.3/E2 offers 300 meters of steep skiing before joining the vallon de la Chambrette by the slopes and valleys traversing to the right. The versant ESE (3.3/E1) joins the Combe Pierreuse then the Chalets d'Orgentils and the Belleville valley. Couloir SE (4.3/E2 - narrow sections of 45+ degrees). Follow the south-east shoulder from the summit, to the right hand side of the ridge the shoulder opens out into a steep funnel (2775 meters), the couloir opens into the combe Noire at 2550 meters. Follow the Combe Barral to arrive at the Deux Nants in the Belleville valley (return by skins or taxi + bus to Valmorel).

<< | Parent Page? | >>