Le Plateau du Semnoz en hiver


Mount Semnoz

Family-oriented by nature, accessible to all by choice
Jan. 2023
3 min.

This small mountain recreation area with a big heart is truly like no other. Rising high above Lake Annecy, locals simply love to recreate on Mt. Semnoz. A quick escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, this well-preserved natural environment offers a cornucopia of outdoor activities to enjoy in a genuinely family-friendly atmosphere.

Gateway to the Bauges Mountains (which earned Natural Regional Park status in 1995 and Geopark* certification in 2011), Mt. Semnoz provides a great place to spend time in the great outdoors through its truly unique mountain landscapes, local environmental protection policies, and concerted efforts to preserve the area’s natural, cultural, and economic heritage.

A popular, well-known geographic point of (extraordinary) interest, with breathtaking views of the Bauges Mountains, Mt. Semnoz possesses a singular natural mountain environment that the local authorities work to protect and preserve. Brennan Cochetel, who manages sales, marketing, communications, and event organization for the mountaintop recreation area, explains in detail the area’s strong identity.

(*Designated by UNESCO for areas with international geological significance.)

Ski de piste au Semnoz

© Gilles Piel

If there is one ski area that took the initiative to implement a four-season strategy, it is Mt. Semnoz. The recreation area has an uncanny ability to adapt to any weather or climate conditions, is well-diversified to offer a wide variety of fun activities any time of the year, and sticks to a set of guidelines that focus on accessibility and variety. Protecting and preserving the natural environment are also an integral part of this entire approach.

Instead of viewing the issue of unpredictable snow conditions with gloom and doom, Mt. Semnoz has always chosen to embrace any challenge as an opportunity to reinvent itself.

Site managers like to experiment in both summer and winter, which means that Mt. Semnoz offers an entire world of possibilities.


Mt. Semnoz

Lever de soleil sur les alpages du Semnoz

© Yan-Gaetan Olivo

They choose to focus on simply having fun in the great outdoors. In winter, visitors enjoy alpine skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, as well as lesser-known activities such as snowkiting and sliding downhill on a “paret” or “yooner” (traditional and modern sled-like devices designed with a single ski, an inclined plank to sit on, and a handle for turning). In most cases, each activity has its own designated area, and visitors can partake in one or several of these activities in a single day.


Mt. Semnoz Winter Activities

Station de ski du Semnoz

© Monica Dalmasso

During the summer months, visitors can choose between leisurely strolls and hikes to explore the area’s alpine pastures, stomach-dropping thrills on the alpine slide (no advance booking required), or two-wheeled adventures on an all-terrain kick scooter. The three new orienteering courses, each focusing on a specific aspect of the mountain environment – botany, grazing, and summer mountain sports – expand the number of activities that focus on the natural environment.

The most recent innovation, From’athlon, organized in partnership with AFTALP (Savoyard Traditional Cheese Association), a summer biathlon of sorts that includes an obstacle course on foot and shooting at targets with a laser rifle, offers a truly unique way to learn about the essence of the surrounding environment and its long-held pastoral traditions. A win-win combo.


Mt. Semnoz Summer Activities

Table d'orientation au Semnoz

© Gilles Piel

It is really no surprise at all that Mount Semnoz figures among the area’s most pleasant places to visit. The locals who create such a unique welcoming atmosphere, along with the visitors who enjoy themselves season after season, have all been won over by the location’s incredible beauty and all-natural soul.

Vaches dans les alpages du Semnoz

© Gilles Piel

If Mount Semnoz was…

According to Grégoire Chaganel, Director of the Mt. Semnoz Recreation Area

A local product?

  • Tome Cheese from the Bauges Mountains.

A flower?

  • The globeflower, which anyone can see in the Semnoz alpine gardens.

An animal?

  • The salmon, of course, which inspired the name Semnoz. According to local legned, Roman cartographers named this “Salmon” Mountain, due to the fact that its shape reminded them of the aforementioned fish.

A dish?

  • Matouille, a local specialty made with garlic, white wine, and Tome des Bauges cheese of course!

A color?

  • The one and only Semnoz blue!

An emblem?

  • Crêt de Châtillon (the name of the high point of Mt. Semnoz).

A value?

  • Family and social well-being.

An activity?

  • Bringing visitors to the top of Mt. Semnoz to walk around the summit plateau to marvel at the 360° views of the Jura Mountains, Bauges Mountains, Aravis Mountains, the Mt. Blanc Range, and so much more…

An event?

  • The Semnoz winter trail Run (“Trail Blanc du Semnoz”) held once per year on the last Saturday of January. See you this year on January 28, 2023.

Great ideas for getting to Mt. Semnoz

Mt. Semnoz bus lines

Seasonal bus lines between Annecy and Mt. Semnoz – winter buses run from December 14, 2022, through March 26, 2023.

Sibra fare: €1.50/single ride – free for Sibra pass holders.


Getting Around Annecy


  • © Gilles Nulli

Journalist: Gaëlle Tagliabue

Translation: Darin Reisman