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Notre Dame de Bellecombe, Bild: macumazahn / shutterstock

The Espace Diamant ski area – a winter sports dream for purists

Espace Diamant is a popular ski resort in the French Alps and attracts numerous winter sports enthusiasts from all over the world year after year. The area has almost 200 kilometres of slopes and offers a variety of different ways to enjoy or learn to ski. There are more than 80 lifts that transport winter sports enthusiasts comfortably through the area. The Espace Diamant winter sports area was created by the merger of six different winter sports resorts: Crest-Voland Cohennoz, Flumet, Notre Dame de Bellecombe, Praz-sur-Arly, Les Saisies and Hauteluce. Each resort has a well-developed infrastructure to ensure a smooth and varied ski holiday.

Since the places are strongly influenced by tourism, there are numerous shops for ski equipment and souvenirs, a variety of restaurants and accommodation in different price ranges. Winter sports enthusiasts can look forward to different types of slopes in the area: from beginner-friendly to difficult, all types are represented. In addition, Espace Diamant offers some special runs for freestyle skiers and snowboarders.

For children, there are various ski schools available in Espace Diamant where they can learn to ski safely. There are also a number of interesting seasonal activities such as snowshoeing or snowmobile safaris. The ski season lasts from the end of November to the beginning of April, which is about four months long.

Geography of the ski resort Espace Diamant

Praz-sur-Arly, Espace Diamant
Praz-sur-Arly, Image: Angus Gormley / shutterstock

The Espace Diamant ski resort is located in the French Alps in the Savoy department, not far from Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps. The area is about 20 kilometers from the Italian border and borders the Rhône-Alpes region as well as Genevois and Haute-Savoie. In total, the area extends over more than 1,000 meters in altitude – from the valley, which is at an altitude of 1,050 meters, to the summit of the “Sommet de l’Espace Diamant” at 2,069 meters.

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Offers for winter sports enthusiasts

Despite its location in the French High Alps, the ski resort has a special focus on beginner-friendly slopes. The appropriately marked blue and green slopes extend over a length of around 130 kilometers (42 kilometers of green and 90 kilometers of blue slopes) and therefore offer beginners the opportunity to develop a feeling for skiing without being endangered by too steep a gradient.
Experts regularly rate these beginner-friendly runs in particular with top marks.

As an internationally sought-after winter sports area, Espace Diamant can also offer challenges to experienced skiers: The “Piste des Sangliers”, for example, is marked as a red slope: This leads down from the 1,889-metre-high Chard du Beurre to the village of Crest-Voland and is considered by many winter sports enthusiasts to be the most beautiful slope in the region.

If you are looking for a challenge, you can try the black slopes. Here, for example, “La Cuberotte” is suitable, which leads from the station “La Légette” at an altitude of 1,865 meters down to Les Carrets. Espace Diamant is now known far beyond the borders of France and the European continent for its excellent alpine skiing design: at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, the cross-country skiing and biathlon competitions were held on the long Les Saisies trails. In the “École du Ski Français”, interested parties can try their hand at introductory courses for biathlon – Raphaël Poirée, who achieved fame as a biathlon star in France , already practiced here.

What can holidaymakers experience off the slopes in the Espace Diamant ski area?

 

Espace Diamant ski area
Skiing in the French Alps, Image: cedric bouchage / shutterstock

For most winter holidaymakers, it’s no longer just about sporting challenges, a ski area also has to provide entertainment away from the slopes: On the one hand, athletes in particular are particularly hungry after a strenuous day and are happy about a wide range of food. On the other hand, a trend towards party holidays in a wintry ambience has been observed in recent decades.

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There are a total of 18 mountain restaurants and ski huts in the ski area, where hungry winter sports enthusiasts are spoiled with culinary delights. The restaurant “Le Serasson”, located at the Crêt du Midi mountain station, with a view of Mont Blanc, for example, invites you to a three-course menu. Here, mainly regional specialties are served, such as the fondue Savoyarde, a cheese fondue. The panoramic view from the panorama restaurant on the summit of Mont Bisanne is also worth seeing and will be remembered by visitors. In the evenings, the cosy restaurants in the winter sports resorts invite you to relax at the end of the day with Savoyard specialities, for example “Les Arcades” in Les Saisies or “Chez Maryse” in Notre-Dame-de-Bellecombe.

As is typical for French ski resorts, however, the range of possible après-ski activities is rather limited. Drinks in good company can be enjoyed at “Le Dava” in Les Saisies. A place to go for winter sports enthusiasts in a party mood is also the restaurant “Le Bistrot de Julien” in Notre-Dame-de-Bellecombe.

It is clear that the Espace Diamant ski area was not designed as a party location. However, this is not to be seen as a shortcoming, but can be a particularly good argument for a trip to this region for holidaymakers who focus more on sporting activities.

Places and excursion tips

The picturesque mountain village of Notre-Dame-de-Bellecombe, part of the winter sports community, is located in the heart of the Val d’Arly and is known for preserving the traditions of the Savoy Alps. Always welcome on the farms, visitors can purchase regional cheese specialties directly from the various farms.

In Praz-sur-Arly, you can take paragliding flights over the nearby valley or take longer balloon rides and enjoy impressive views of Mont Blanc and the surrounding mountain ranges. Saint-Nicolas-la-Chapelle is another place to visit: the eponymous church in Baroque style stands out in this town.

Due to the geographical proximity, winter holidaymakers can also make detours to the neighbouring countries of Italy and Switzerland from the Espace Diamant ski area.