Flaine's ski area is located in a vast snowy bowl above the different areas of the resort with views out over the mountain panorama of the Haute Savoie from the top of the main cable car at around 2500 metres.
It is linked into the Grand Massif ski area, which can boast 265km (165 miles) of pistes served by 75 lifts. The bowl of Flaine offers the widest range of skiing and good access to the resorts which make up the rest of the area.
The smaller area on the right of the basic Flaine ski map below consists of the race course run (the Stade red run) and, above it, the boarder park with its blue runs off the Aujon lift.
The Aup de Véron gondola (departing from the Front de Neige area below Flaine Forum) leads up onto typical Flaine cruising red runs and provides access to the Lindars Nord chairlift and the highest point of the lift system at 2500 metres.
From here it is possible to take a black or red run to head over to the Lapiaz drag or down to the DMC Grand Platières cable car at Flaine Forum, which provides stunning views of Mont Blanc in good weather.
Both beginners and expert bump skiers have a choice of shorter runs from the top. Those of a nervous disposition can enjoy the views down into the resort from the easy green Amethyste run, while those who are looking for a good pounding can take the sometimes fierce bumps of the Diamont Noir piste under the chair of the same name.
The area to the left of the cable car is a vast interconnecting choice of red and blue runs either back down the resort (Serpentine and Cristal are favourites for easy cruising runs) or connecting into the link to Sixt (see lower).
Skiers heading back down to Flaine can also connect onto the Grand Vans chair, which not only gives access to Samoëns, Morillon and Les Carroz, but also to the red and black runs on the Tête de Véret drag.
The Grand Massif area consists of Flaine, Les Carroz, Morillon, Samoëns and Sixt. Together these villages form what is normally reckoned to be in the top four of French ski areas by size.
Flaine sits at the centre of the area and has good access to the other villages, which tend to be slightly more charming than the modernist architecture which features so strongly in the main resort. However, they are also at a substantially lower altitude than Flaine, and have more difficult access to other villages on the other side of the area.
The village of Sixt makes much of its accolade as one of the most beautiful settlements in this part of France and offers skiers two completely different experiences.
The Cascades blue run, reached via the Serpentine blue from the top of the Grandes Platières cable car, is a 14km cruise through fabulous scenery to the valley below and a regular shuttle bus down to the village of Samoëns and a reconnection into the Grand Massif area.
Alternatively, there are two black runs around the Gers draglift for those who are looking for powder in the right conditions.
Sixt also has its own ski area, which consists of four drags and two chairs and which reaches an altitude of just over 1500m.
Another lovely village, Samoëns does have connections into the main Grand Massif area via the Grand Massif Express (which is where the shuttle bus mentioned above stops). This gives access to a large area of intermediate runs at Samoëns 1600, as well as the harder runs above at the Tête des Sais connection to the Vernant area - which, in its turn, connects to Flaine, Morillon and Les Carroz.
An old agricultural village down in the valley, Morillon is connected to the main ski area via a cable car to Morillon 1100 and from there by a selection of chairlifts and drags giving access to the connections to Les Carroz and the Tête des Sais area.
In a similar way to some of the villages above, Les Carroz has marketed itself in a clever fashion as the "attractive" accommodation centre in the Grand Massif area, and has acquired a name as a small centre for chalet holidays (although it also boasts hotels and apartments).
The village lies at a healthy altitude of 1200m and has a good selection of easy and intermediate runs connecting into the main Flaine area, which are good confidence-builders for the more hesitant skier.
Visitors can download a large-scale piste map of the entire Grand Massif area from the official Flaine Tourist Office site (link opens new window).
Note that there is also a Massif ski pass which excludes Flaine but includes the other villages mentioned above.