The small ski resort of Aussois, only a short distance from the XXL ski region of Trois Vallées, looks more or less like many of the other typical Savoyard villages. Traditional stone houses and charming alleyways fan out from the central fountain, which forms the focal point. Where it differs, however, is that a long line of village traditions are preserved and proactively kept alive, meaning guests can enjoy everything from some bread fresh from the old bakery, through to various festivals that celebrate the village’s rich culture.
Aussois is a destination of choice for children and families, not least because of the fantastic range of easier ski runs, which are particularly suited to both younger skiers and to beginners in general. The resort also offers various other helpful services and facilities for families, truly putting its motto “family plus” into action.
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Special family ski passes are available, with many family-friendly areas around the ski station and ski area including practice runs, picnic areas and much more besides. In addition, there is a regular and full programme of events for children to enjoy, and a wealth of sports shops which have equipment for both kids and sledging-lovers alike available to hire. A ski school, ski kindergarten and day nursery complete Aussois’ comprehensive catalogue of family-friendly services.
Aussois also has plenty on offer for both young and old away from the slopes. Nature lovers can discover the fascinating landscape around Aussois from the back of a dog sled, or on a snowshoe hike. Those that prefer to move a bit faster can take a ride on a so-called “snow scooter”, or have a go at tobogganing. Sledging fans will feel right at home in Aussois, as they will not only find a selection of “normal” toboggan runs, but also a so-called “snow tubing” run, whereby riders slide down a slope on an inflatable, and if they want to, negotiate a jump before landing on a giant air cushion. Thundering down the toboggan runs doesn’t have to be a lonely affair either – sled trains allow up to 10 people to head down the run as a group.
For the most adventurous of holidaymakers, for whom even the excitement of Aussois’ toboggan runs isn’t quite enough to set the adrenalin pumping, there remains the ultimate challenge: a visit to the “Devil’s Park”, which is the largest climbing course in all of France. The park affords adults and children from the age of 3 a bird’s-eye view of the spectacular landscape at the foot of the Dent Parrachée, but is certainly not for the faint-hearted.
Of course it is just as possible to have a fantastic holiday whilst still keeping both feet in contact with the ground. For example, a great way of learning more about the region is to take a historical discovery tour through Aussois itself and the surrounding area. The oldest relics of the area’s history are undoubtedly to be found at the “Parc Archéologique des Lozes”, located about 1km to the east of Aussois, at which some of the engravings date all the way back to the Iron Age. Also well worth a visit are Esseillon’s five forts, which were built by the Kingdom of Sardinia between 1817 to 1834 to protect the region from the threat of French invasion.