If you’re getting ready to book your next ski trip, then check out Monts Jura. With a good snowfall record, beginner-centric slopes, and lots to do both on and off the mountain, this hidden gem might be exactly what you’re looking for.
Residing just 20 minutes north of Geneva, Monts Jura keeps good company geographically. This area is a hot zone for high-quality skiing thanks to not only its location in the Jura moutains, but also due to the deep troughs that comprise its many valleys, as well as it's well-kept and preserved nature areas, which make it an idyllic place to ski. Just a stone’s throw from the likes of Chamonix-Mont Blanc, Verbier, the Ports Du Soleil Area, Zermatt, Flaine, and many more, it benefits from the same prevailing wet weather fronts that roll through from the west, to create steady snowfall all throughout this region.
At Monts Jura, you will find three separate downhill ski areas; Lélex-Crozet, Mijoux-la Faucille, and Menthières, who all benefit from this natural phenomenon, resulting in significant snowfall despite its lower situation than some of its high altitude neighbours. Monts Jura also possesses the highest peak in the Jura moutains with the Crêt de la neige, which goes up as high as 1720m in altitude. This placement is especially beneficial to Monts Jura’s extensive network of Nordic ski trails, one of the largest in France, in fact: La Vattay.
Despite this, though, you won’t find droves of holiday-makers clogging up the lift lines. Monts Jura remains a hidden gem, easily accessed from Geneva airport or by road, that’s guaranteed to offer plenty to do for the whole family. The mountains offer beginner-friendly, wide-open ski slopes, as well as steeper, tree-lined glades for the more advanced riders, but also play home to a host of other attractions at resort-level, along with plenty to do in the off-season, too.
In this in-depth review, we'll provide you with everything you need to decide if it's the right destination for you, and in case you're in a rush, we'll start by sharing the main points you need to know about Monts Jura:
Thanks to the wide range of attractions both on and off the hill, there's activities to suit all interests.
It's a great spot for those learning to ski with its wide-open, gently graded slopes and high quality grooming.
Famous for it's extensive network of Nordic skiing and snowshoe trails, it's paradise for those who want to do more than ski downhill.
A host of nearby resorts mean high-altitude and powder skiing is within easy reach.
It's just short transfer from Geneva, making it great for those who don’t want long bus journeys.
Lélex is recognised as a green and ecological ski resort.
La Vattay is recognised by its unique tag as a ''Nordic France'' cross-country resort.
Monts Jura houses the steepest zip-line in France. It is also the ranked 2nd amongst the steepest in Europe. The zip-line is open all throughout the summer and winter.
As well as the steepest zip-line in France, you'll also find one of the longest rail toboggan runs in Europe, which is also open throughout the year.
Before you set off on your trip to Monts Jura, be sure to check the latest ski apparel trends at Ridestore. Men's ski pants come in a variety of styles to keep you warm, comfortable, and stylish on the slopes. From insulated designs to highly breathable options, we've got you covered. For women, our collection extends beyond traditional ski pants. We offer a wide selection of high-performance women's salopettes. These garments are designed for mobility and warmth, ensuring a perfect blend of fashion and function.
Key resort statistics and information for Monts Jura ski resort, including Lélex/Crozet, Mijoux/La Faucille, and Menthières ski areas.
While the altitude is lower than some other resorts, at 900m, even Lélex receives a solid covering of snow, meaning that skiing back to the resort via the home runs is often possible. At the beginning of the season, however, this isn’t always guaranteed. But with a good lift network that runs throughout the day, you'll have no trouble getting back home at the end of the day. At 1680m, the peaks receive more snow, and if you are looking for fresh powder and steeper terrain, this is where you’ll find it.
With a comprehensive infrastructure, Monts Jura is a great place for the whole family. Restaurants can be found in the towns of Crozet and Lélex, as well as at the Menthières, Mijoux, La Faucille, and La Vattay base stations. Accommodation is easy to find in the surrounding towns, and a bus transfer station takes skiers between resorts base stations for easy access to other ski areas.
For the days when you are not skiing, you can venture down the mountain into the other regions of Pays de Gex, where you'll find excellent restaurants, a casino, a theatre, and museums such as the Château de Voltaire. However, with Geneva such a short distance away, this is the best place to go for more dining and shopping options.
Ski schools can be located at the Menthières, Mijoux, La Faucille, and La Vattay base stations, and in Lélex itself.
If you are travelling by air, flying into Geneva is a good choice. With less than an hour transfer by bus from the city (and less if you’re renting a car and driving), Monts Jura is an ideal destination for families with children for whom long transfers aren’t ideal.
If you are travelling by train from France, then Geneva or Bellegarde-sur-Valserine, are the best destinations to connect from via a bus transfer. The TGV from Paris is the most direct route into the Pays de Gex region, and it only takes about 3 hours. If you are travelling within Switzerland by train, then Geneva is also the best destination.
If travelling by car, the route is simple. If coming from the north, the A6 to A40 to D14 roads will take you directly there. If coming from the south, the A41 or A40 routes will take you to the D14 or D991 junctions, which will also take you to the resort.
If skiing doesn’t get the excitement flowing, or if one of your group doesn’t partake, then you’ll be glad to know there’s a lot to do both on and off the mountain at Monts Jura. This giant playground offers up a host of activities suited to both children and adults, making it a perfect place for families when skiing isn’t the top priority.
Dog sledding may seem more at home in Northern Canada or Norway, but here in France, it’s a great way to spend a morning. With a traditional sledding set up, you and the family can blast through the serene winter landscape, pulled by a team of real sled dogs. Blasting through the forest in this way is a truly unique experience and one not to miss!
Whether you’re striking out on your own to follow the marked snowshoe trails, or you’re travelling as a group on one of the many excursions available, this is a great way to see the mountains and experience the rarefied air they offer. Many organised hikes are also complemented by post-hike drinks, dinners, and fondue tastings! You can even book night-hikes to experience the Jura in a different light altogether. Seeing the stars from a snow-capped mountaintop is an experience you won’t believe is reality.
As well as dog sledding, there is also the possibility of horse-drawn sleigh rides. In this unique way of getting around, you will have a very enjoyable time admiring the mountains and it's surroundings.
Come and try and the thrill seeking zip-line course at Monts Jura. The zip-line will take you down at high-speed and give you the experience of a lifetime.
One of the longest sledging on rail trails in Europe.
If you are looking for other activities away from the ski resorts, such as culinary tours or museum visits that don't require an enormous amount of planning, then look no further than the options below:
AT Skis are a bespoke ski company based out of Pays de Gex, and make high-quality, hand-crafted skis from locally sourced wood. Championing their process of utilising ash cores from the Jura Massif and veneers from the Tarentaise Valley and Isère, these skis are all made with love and care. Whether you want an off-the-shelf pair, or you’d like them to turn a fallen tree in your own backyard (no, really!) into a pair of custom planks, the guys at AT Skis can, and will, do it for you. Go and visit them to learn more about the processes and products.
Ferney-Voltaire, a small commune to the north of Geneva is home to Château de Voltaire, a 18th Century manor house that was home to Voltaire himself. He bought the property in 1758, and then razed and reconstructed it with the help of Geneva architect Jean-Michel Billon. He moved there in 1761, adding to the property over the next decade, with the addition of two wings, including an expansive library to house his 7,000 books! He remained there until his death in 1778. It has changed hands several times since, but as of 2007 is now owned by the Centre des Monuments Nationaux. They have restored it to its historical state, and is now open to visitors.
Divonne-les-Bains is a spa town located in Pays de Gex, and is home to several natural hot springs. Since the 19th century, the town has seen significant development, including the addition of a casino, hippodrome, open air swimming pool, as well as a world-renowned golf course, and the Lac de Divonne, an artificial spring-fed lake. For a small town, it’s packed full of things to do, so it’s well worth checking out if you’re in the area.
There are several restaurants close by to the resort that are sure to get your taste buds tingling. With local delicacies and dishes such as Bleu de Gex raclette and Gexiflette, you’ll find lots to enjoy. For those looking for some more upmarket dining, there are twenty-nine restaurants noted in the Michelin guide in Geneva, eight of which are Michelin-star restaurants! Just in case you wanted something a little fancier …
If you’re a cheese lover, then be sure to check out Fromagerie de l'Abbaye, a local cheese factory in the Ain area, famous for its Bleu de Gex (AOP/AOC), known to be the finest standard of cheese produced in this region of france. This factory won the gold medal in 2017 and 2018, and the bronze in 2019 at the Bleu de Gex interprofessional competition, which means they know a thing or two about cheese!
If you want an experience of a different nature, why not check out the Savonnerie Ferrone soap factory? This all natural, organic and vegan-forward soap factory offers a wide array of products made using local ingredients, all without the use of chemicals or other nasty compounds. You won’t help but fall in love with what’s on offer here, and you’ll be sure to take plenty of them home!
There are several types of passes available during both the winter and summer seasons at Monts Jura. Below we outline the open dates for various activities, as well as the pricing you can expect. Deals, discounts, and further information can be found on the Monts Jura website.
Winter Opening Dates: 17th December - 26th March
Summer Gondola Opening Dates: June - September
Toboggan Rails & Zip Lines:
- Summer: May 26th - September 30th
- Winter: 17 December - 27 March
These dates are subject to change based on snow and weather conditions, so make sure to check before you go.
Adults: 3 hour pass €31.50 // €35 per day // €196 for seven days // €455 per season
Children (5-15): 3 hour pass €25 // €28 per day // €157 for seven days // €364 per season
Teens (16-24): 3 hour pass €28 // €31 per day // €174 for seven days // €403 per season
Seniors (65+): 3 hour pass €28 // €31 per day // €174 for seven days // €403 per season
Monts Jura is located in a stellar position for exploration, both inside and outside the resort. Primarily, it’s located in the Parc Naturel Regional du Haut-Jura, an expansive regional park home to lakes, forests and rivers. There are many hiking trails to explore, and a visitor’s centre which outlines them all.
For explorers who wish to hike up to the highest peak in the Jura, the Crêt de la neige, you can find trails that will lead you to it. From the top, you'll witness amazing views of the surrounding countryside. If you're in the mood for a cultural visit, then the Château de Voltaire is an excellent day out. You'll be able to see the whole are and visit the most inner workings of the château.
In Mijoux, you'll be able to explore the stones and lapidary museum, which retraces the interesting job of finding and polishing off gemstones in their most natural form. You will even able to see the artisans working in the workshop area to get a unique perspective of how it is all done.
Many will come to Monts Jura exclusively for the Nordic skiing, and for good reason. La Vattay is classed as a ‘Site of Excellence’ by Nordic France, and this title is deserved. Many champions train at this facility thanks to its 130km of expertly maintained tracks. But on top of its high quality snow, the scenery is just stunning. While the gently graded landscape may not be best suited to the hardcore alpine ski crowd, it’s perfect for crosscountry and Nordic skiing.
Ten separate loops, ranging from green to black in grade, make this an ideal place to learn, develop, or perfect your skills regardless of your ability level. At La Vattay, you’ll also find a restaurant, two ski schools, as well as a ski rental and sale store, and a picnic room, changing facility, and showers.
From the peak of the resort above Mijoux, the Grand Mont Rond, you’ll get to drink in one of the most expansive vistas in the Alps. Looking south, you’ll gaze down over Lac Léman and Geneva, and then across to the Mont Blanc Massif, cutting through the ski, snowcapped and majestic, all throughout the year. To the north, you’ll see endless forests and rolling hills, making this a worthwhile excursion no matter the season.
If you’re visiting the area in the summer, then there’s still plenty to do on and off the mountain. Monts Jura is home to the steepest zipline in France, so if you're looking for a thrill, you're sure to get one.
If you prefer to be in control of your speed, then the rail toboggan is also a great option at Monts Jura, and is even more cost-effective and child-friendly than the zipline. Of course, if you’d prefer to trust your own legs to get you up and down, there’s plenty of hiking and biking to be done.
The gondola is cheap and accessible and can be ridden in both directions, so if you’d like to walk up and take the gondola down, you can, or vice versa. The same goes for mountain bike access, with a variety of trails available for descending. Or if you’d prefer to ride up, drink in the scenery, and then ride down, that’s on offer, too!
Whether you want to hike or mountain bike, you can purchase a summer gondola pass either online or at the gondola stations.
You can purchase gondola passes for three hours or for a day . You can also get season passes at discounted rates.
Hiking and paragliding:
Gondola rides can be purchased as a single return, two rides, a single descent, or 10 rides
Prices are charged for 1 ride, 6 rides, 12 rides, or a private one hour session.
For this unique adventure, you can get a 10% discount for groups of ten or more, and a 20% discount for groups of twenty or more people.
There is plenty to do for everyone at Monts Jura. If you’re looking for a more relaxed alpine ski experience, then it’s a great place to visit. Similarly, if you’re a mixed ability and interest group, family, or you just want to get more out of a ski holiday than just skiing, then it’s one of the best places to be! And if you do need to get some thrills in on steep terrain with deep powder, Verbier and Mont Blanc really aren’t that far away!
Check out the Monts Jura website for more information about the area and all the wonderful things to do there.