Les Gets Ski Holidays
Les Gets is a smart, attractive looking and friendly town located in the Haute Savoie region of the French Alps that combines a traditional village feel with that of a modern winter sports resort. Set at 1200 metres in altitude, and with slopes that face a variety of different aspects, the resort benefits from having a good snow record and a relatively short transfer time from Geneva Airport in what typically takes an hour by car. There’s an excellent selection of shops, bars and cafes that run through the centre, separated from the main road that runs through to neighbouring Morzine and therefore pedestrian friendly. The ski area is part of the huge Portes Du Soleil network with Les Gets producing some of the finest terrain, especially for beginners and intermediates.
The resort has a more upmarket feel than some of its Portes du Soleil counterparts and attracts families in particular, with the good choice of nursery slopes and easier runs above the village that are ideal for children. But, there’s also some interesting off-piste and steeper skiing when the conditions are right and it’s easy to drop down into Morzine and link up with the larger ski area of the Portes du Soleil.
Approximate Transfer Time
Geneva - 1hr 30mins
Skiing in Les Gets
There are two main ski sectors that head out of Lets Gets, Des Chavannes on the more north facing side and Mont-Chery on the south facing side. Beyond Chavannes, there’s the Chamossiere area and Le Pleney, which links over into Morzine. Most of the slopes are below the tree line, but there’s a good mix of blues, reds and black runs – with a good nursery slope area close to the town and another located near the top of the Chavannes Telecabine that’s good for kids.
There’s enough to keep most skiers and snowboarders happily occupied within the Les Gets and Pleney area without venturing across Morzine to access the wider Portes du Soleil. There’s approximately 107 kilometres of ski runs in Les Gets alone, a large resort in its own right. Des Chavannes is the largest and most well developed sector of the resort, served by a cable car and high-speed chairlift straight out of the town. From here, blue and red runs dominate and the area is generally made for intermediates, with well-groomed, wide open slopes seemingly available in all directions. There’s some interesting and varied skiing on Chamossiere and around the Point du Nyon, that is generally trickier and steeper, with a few off-piste possibilities after fresh snow – it’s also the highest point of the area (2002m) and comes with some great views across to Mont Blanc and the Chamonix Valley. On the other side of town, Mont-Chery (1826m) might not be that high, but has some of the most interesting and challenging terrain for experts, especially over the ‘back’ north facing side, down towards the Col d’Encrenaz (one of the routes used by riders in The Tour de France). There’s some easily accessed off-piste terrain and black graded runs the quickly become mogul fields after a snowfall. The south facing side back towards the village has some really nice, wide-open reds at the top, and some tighter slopes from the mid station downwards.
The Les Gets-Morzine-Pleney sector of the Portes du Soleil is enough to keep most skiers and snowboarders happy for a week or more, but the huge interlinked area that includes 650 kilometres of ski runs is easily accessible by crossing the town of Morzine. Getting across to Avoriaz and beyond to Chatel (France) and Les Crosets, Champoussin, Champéry and Morgins (Switzerland) is really only possible in a day for confident intermediates and above. There’s two choices to link up with the Portes Du Soleil – firstly, it’s possible to take a bus to Morzine and link directly into the system via the Super Morzine cable car and then over into Avoriaz. It’s also possible to change buses and start at the Prodains cable car that takes you directly to Avoriaz itself, although you end up missing out on lots of skiing in-between if you decide on this option. If you have a vehicle, then it’s easy to drive from Les Gets to Prodains and use the large car park at the base of the cable car to Avoriaz. Otherwise, ski over by heading straight towards Le Pleney from Les Gets and descend into Morzine, walk across town (approximately 5 minutes) and onto the Super Morzine cable car – or take the bus to Prodains.
From Avoriaz, the choices are to ski over into the Lindarets Valley and then over to Chatel. Lindarets can be a busy area but there’s some really interesting terrain, including The Stash, a kind of terrain park built out of wood and meandering through a tree-lined run. It’s very popular with teenagers. Chatel offers some of the most varied skiing and snowboarding in the whole Portes du Soleil area and with a new (three years old) link across to Super Chatel, it’s now possible to cover that area in a day which would have previously been very demanding to achieve from Lets Gets.
Heading from Lindarets in a different direction, up to Pointe de Mossettes (2277m), means a descent into Switzerland and the resort of Les Crosets, via a red run, is relatively straightforward. There’s also a blue run option further along the ridge, but the only other way across is via Chavanette, AKA the Swiss Wall – one of Europe’s steepest black runs, usually heavily moguled with lumps of the size of upturned bubble cars quite normal. It’s a true test for even the very best skiers and snowboarders. If you find yourself a little late running back to Morzine, then at least there’s a bus back to Les Gets if the lifts have shut, but don’t get stuck in Switzerland or Chatel, as it will end up being an expensive taxi ride home, or an overnight stay in a new ski resort!
Les Gets Resort Overview
Les Gets is a smart, sophisticated and lively village with a friendly atmosphere that especially suits families and those looking for a calm, relaxed holiday. The centre is fairly compact, with accommodation spreading out along the road that runs from Cluses to Morzine. The altitude of 1200 metres ensures that snow normally stays on the ground throughout the winter, although because it’s not excessively high, it never becomes a major problem. There’s plenty of smart shops, especially ones selling local food specialities – some nice cafes and an interesting and varied choice of restaurants for lunch and evening meals.
The local population is a mere 1260 people, but during the winter season, this number is obviously far greater and whilst the town is essentially built for tourism, it still seems to retain a local charm that gives it a soul far greater than many purpose built resorts might. Les Gets has a more upmarket feel than the other resorts linked to the Portes du Soleil and the buildings and shops reflect that, but it’s certainly not a pretentious place and never gives off the vibe of ultra-exclusivity. The semi-pedestrianised area in the centre makes it a pleasant place to stroll during an evening after a day on the mountain, but don’t expect après ski bars pumping out load music, Les Gets is a far more mellow resort than some of its neighbours in that respect. Overall, Les Gets has a calm, relaxed atmosphere that could be called understated sophistication – not brash, not swanky, but smart and pleasant, rather like its skiing.
Restaurants & bars
There’s no lack of restaurants in Les Gets and whilst many of them serve traditional Savoyard food, there’s some interesting international options too, including O Kariboo, with a menu that includes creole inspired food and curries. On the upper end of the eating spectrum, try Le Saint Laurent, located in the Hotel Labrador, it has a ‘Chef’s Hat’ in the Gault & Millau restaurant guide, similar to a Michelin star. Or there’s the La Fruitière des Perrières, a traditional restaurant with accompanying shop selling local cheeses, that’s also considered to be one of the best places to eat in the area. There’s several pizza places that serve good food at reasonable prices here, including Pizzalino, Le Tyrol and La Taniere. For good burgers, La Case K2 has an excellent reputation. Les Notes Gourmands is a great café style eatery in the town centre. You’re not going to go short of eating out options in Les Gets and the best thing is the wide choice to suit different budgets and a reasonable variation of cuisine types. There’s several bars in Les Gets, including an Irish Pub (Le Pub Irlandais) serving craft beer, with the more mountain orientated Black Bear above it. The Bush is a good après ski option and the nearby Alpine Tavern has a traditional feel.
You won’t grow hungry in Les Gets on a ski holiday and there’s an amazing choice of mountain restaurants on offer both in the local and wider PDS area. For a real treat, La Grande Ourse is a good bet but it’s certainly on the more expensive side – yet, not overpriced for a mountain restaurant. Le Vaffieu is mid to upper range, but typically French with a varied menu without too much of the usual meat and cheese dishes on offer in many mountain restaurants. Chez Nannon is good for meat, burgers and steaks. Le Belvedere at the top of the Mont-Chery cable car has a decent self-service restaurant as well as an a la carte option – plus non-skiers can reach it via the lift. If you travel further afield then try an authentic Swiss cheese fondue or croutes at the Corbeau near Morgins.
Les Gets isn’t renowned for its après ski party scene, but there are some really nice options for relaxed drinking at the end of a day on the mountain. Later at night, the Igloo Chalet Club is a popular disco which first opened its doors for dancing back in 1938, although some of the bars do stay open late too. Le Pub Irlandais occasionally has live music on and serves homemade craft beers. If you’re looking for a resort to party hard in then we’d recommend staying clear of Les Gets, but if you still like to head out and have a good time then at least the resort has some nice bars to choose from.
Les Gets has several other on-mountain activities on offer other than skiing or snowboarding. There’s winter walking trails and snowshoeing opportunities, with or without guides, but also some more adventurous options such as, snowmobiling, electric snowmobiling (an eco-friendly alternative that’s good for kids), paragliding from Mont-Chery, Ski Joëring (being towed on skis behind a horse, yes really), and of course sledging. Cross country ski trails are also available in Les, whilst further afield in Morzine, it’s possible to try the sport of Biathlon with the ESF (Ecole de Ski Francais), which combines cross country skiing with shooting.
There’s a museum of Mechanical Music in the village, which is something to do on a bad weather day, and with a car, it’s possible to reach Chamonix in less than an hour’s drive. In the village itself, there’s an outdoor ice rink in the centre throughout the winter and non-skiers can also access the Mont-Chery area via the gondola and enjoy the restaurant at the top. There’s some nice winter walking around Les Gets that doesn’t have to get too serious, although snowshoeing trails are also available higher up the mountain. The buses provide a reliable service around the area, so heading down to Morzine and up to Avoriaz, where you can visit the Aquariaz indoor waterpark, would make a good day trip. There’s a huge choice of cafés and restaurants in town and a particularly nice selection of local speciality food shops that stock cheese, honey, wine and meats, amongst other goodies.
Who is Les Gets Suitable For?
Les Gets is highly regarded as a family ski holiday destination, with its excellent nursery slopes, including Les Mappys, a dedicated beginner’s zone on the mountain and easy, relaxed atmosphere. The short transfer time makes it easy to get there – always good with kids in tow, and the village is well set up for children, with plenty of things to do. Because there’s so much choice in terms of the skiing throughout the Portes du Soleil area, the whole family can enjoy the slopes, whatever level they might be. There’s a variety of ski schools in Les Gets too, with the ESF and British owned schools all providing comprehensive children’s programs for all levels and ages from 4 upwards. It’s hard to beat Les Gets as a family ski destination and it’s one of those resorts that people tend to go back to over and over again with their families once they have experienced what’s on offer.
Short transfers and weekends
The fact that Les Gets is so close to Geneva Airport makes it a popular choice for short breaks as the drive takes just over an hour from terminal to resort. It’s one of the fastest transfers in the Alps, from airport to slopes, especially when busy weekend transfer days are avoided.
The nursery slopes and blue runs close to the town and the Mappys dedicated beginners area higher up the mountain, make Les Gets one of the best ski resorts for beginners. The resort is very well set up for learning, with a good choice of ski schools and lots of English speaking instructors. There’s also a good progression for skiers and snowboarders starting to move ahead – with well-groomed easy slopes dominating parts of the ski area.
There’s no doubt that Les Gets is one those ski resorts that seems to be perfectly set up for the vast majority of holiday skiers who have progressed from the nursery slopes and want to start tackling harder blues and red runs. The local area alone will satisfy most, but if you’re feeling a little more adventurous then heading further afield into the Portes du Soleil area offers the chance to really explore and get some serious mileage in. For more experienced skiers who might not consider themselves experts, but want to at least try some tougher slopes, there’s some relatively easy black runs that in the right conditions can be taken on by anyone who can perform confident parallel turns.
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