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Cross Country skiing

There is a significant amount of cross country skiing (ski de fond) locally.  Grand Bornand has produced several Olympians and is justly proud of their achievements, one silver and a bronze medal in the 2010 Olympics and 1 silver and 2 bronze at Sochi in 2014 (1 alpine and one skicross).  There are 2 areas where you can do this locally, the Vallee Bouchet with 20+km of pistes and Chinaillon with12+km. It is also possible to ski over to the Lac de Confins in La Clusaz and to try your hand at Biathlon in Grand Bornand.

You can skate or do traditional (Nordic) in most areas and the tracks are always well prepared. There are several other places close by, thePlataeu de Glieres (30mins), La Clusaz (20mins) and Manigod (25mins) which looked beautiful when I skied past it recently. So there is plenty of choice of location and types of activity, there are also, for the more adventurous half and full marathon races in most of these locations during the year.

Skating

There is a skating rink in Grand Bornand which can be reached by the free local buses or by a 10 minute drive. You can hire all you need and those who don’t want to ski can watch and laugh!

Swimming

There is a lovely swimming pool in La Cluzas with indoor and outdoor heated areas. It is easiest to reach this by car (20 mins) but you can use local buses to get there too.

Shopping

There are many local markets during the week, the one in Grand Bornand is on a Wednesday morning with traditional sausages and cheese!

Annecy is 40minutes away by car and is a beautiful old French town, once the capital of Savoie, on the shores of the lake.  There are many shops of all types and traditional café’s along the banks of the many canals.

Cycling

Mountain biking and road cycling are both polupar locally. The famous Col-de la Columbier is just above Chinaillon and is frequently part of the tour de France.

Walking

There are some lovely walks whatever the season. You can use snow shoes when the snow gets deep or stick to the paths. Many of these take you to on piste restaurants so meeting up with skiers/ boarders for dirnks and lunch is never a problem. For those who would like to try ski touring there are many great routes and guides can be booked locally

Annecy and Geneva

Both these cities are beautiful with many historic buildings, beautiful streets to explore and some fabulous shops. Annecy is 40 minutes away and can be reached by bus from Grand Bornand. Geneva is an hour away and is best reached by car although there are buses during the ski season.

Flora & Fauna

 There are many birds of prey in the area, lammergeyers (largest European bird of prey), golden eagles, short-toed eagles, buzzards and red kites.  Black vultures have also been spotted occasionally.  Apparently 10 yards from the chalet is one of the best places for bird spotting in the alps according to a twitcher from Geneva.

There are ibex, marmots and badgers that I have seen in the area.  There are also wolves and chamois though I haven’t seen these.

There are many alpine plants too, especially good in the spring - gentian, several types of saxifrage, semperaverum, anemone, verbascum,astrantia,  crocus (white and purple), several types of orchids, euphorbia, violas, to name but a few.