Les Gets, France: as good as it gets for family skiing?

By Tim Scrafton, a Travel Enthusiast

Read more on Les Gets.

Overall rating:5.0 out of 5 (based on 1 vote)
Enjoyable
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Useful
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Inspirational
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Recommended for:
Activity, Family, Winter Sports, Budget, Mid-range

Les Gets is no longer such a hidden gem of a ski resort. Families in particular are returning to the pretty little hamlet year after year, for a weekend's skiing just an hour's drive from Geneva

One of the dozen small towns and villages that make up the Portes du Soleil, Les Gets is a part – though only a peripheral part – of the giant linked ski area that straddles the French border with Switzerland above Lac Léman. Nevertheless, it connects to Morzine and Avoriaz higher up in altitude, so does theoretically offer access to this vast ski area. However, there is plenty of great, scenic skiing to be had right on the doorstep.

The resort has a high influx of repeat visitors every year, which speaks volumes for its appeal – especially to families. They typically come for short weekend breaks, arriving from Geneva only an hour's drive away. Charmed by the Christmassy atmosphere and nocturnal illuminations, they think Les Gets is as good as it gets.

THE RESORT

Once a traditional farming village, Les Gets is a lovely, picturesque family resort with a relaxed atmosphere. The action is centred around a cute, picture-postcard village centre complete with ice rink. A toy-like train runs between the lift stations, adding to the family ambience. In short, Les Gets has a charm all of its own.

THE CONTEXT

The skiing is in three main areas. Mont Chéry, a single peak on the other side of the village to the nursery slopes, is a quiet tree-lined area with a couple of secrets. One of them is the best mountain restaurant in the Portes du Soleil, La Grande Ourse (see The Dining, below); the other is the most challenging run in the resort – the black Bouquetin, where excellent off-piste powder is available after a good dump of snow.

Back on the other side of the main street, there is easy access (via high-speed chairs and gondolas) to the main skiing area of Chavannes, towards the peaks of La Rosta and La Ranfoilly. From here, you can ski on towards Le Pleney which in turn links into Morzine via Chavannes. With 400km of skiing available in the Portes du Soleil, you will not run out of new runs in a hurry.

THE SKIING

Les Gets is truly excellent for beginners, with convenient access to the floodlit nursery slopes running right down to the main street, and long green and blue runs further up the mountain. However, there is plenty for intermediates and experts, too, making this a resort for everyone.

Beginners

There are good nursery slopes in the village, and more in snow-sure Chavannes. Higher up the mountain, there are some long green routes – but also some relatively easy blues lower down that are floodlit at night. Piste maintenance is excellent. If looking for a ski school, try Ecole du Ski Francais (00 33 0450 758003, www.esf-lesgets.com). Group tuition costs €105 for six half-day sessions.

Intermediates

For nice, long scenic tree-lined reds, head for quiet Mont Chéry. The main areas of La Ranfolly and La Rosta have an abundance of rolling blue and relaxed red cruises. Heading higher up to Point Nyon there are some perfect reds both in the Chavannes Bowl on the Les Gets side and more heading down the Arbis red on the Morzine side.

Experts

The black runs from, and on the back of, Mont Chéry are quite challenging, with off-piste opportunities in good weather conditions. There are some steep mogul challenges at Point Nyon, the Aigle Noir and the equally bumpy Creux. More expert challenges in the Chavannes Bowl include the Yeti and Rosta mogulled blacks.

Three favourite runs

Bouquetin (black). Take the gondola up to Mont Chéry for this, the most challenging run in the resort. Alternatively, head along the red route back into the village from Mont Chery. Its wide open spaces allow you to express yourself before winding down between the picturesque tree-lined slopes down to Les Gets.

Chamoisière to Morzine (black, red and blue). As Les Gets is rightly becoming renowned as a resort catering for all levels of skier, it seems befitting to choose a run that fulfills all requirements. This one starts with a steep (black) descent at Creux. Once over that, the challenge gradually eases into a wonderful twisting red and then a relaxed cruising blue. Enjoy!

Another bonus of the Chamoisière run is the wonderful scenery. The views from the top are among the best vistas in the Alps. From here you can see Mont Blanc, and as far as Lake Geneva in the distance with the whole of the Morzine valley leading up to it – truly a spectacle; and once viewed, never to be forgotten..

Morzine Pleney Slopes (blue, easy red). This is a whole area of wide, forgiving blues and reds where you can perfect your turns. The downside is that it gets a bit congested with ski-school traffic, especially in the morning. It is at its best mid-season, when the snow is consistent nearer the valley bottom at Morzine.

LES GETS AT A GLANCE

The facilities

Number of lifts (in Les Gets) 48
Number of lifts (in Portes du Soleil) 206
Cableways 14
Chairs 82
Drags 110
Lift capacity per hour 242,000
Snowparks One
Mountain restaurants 11

The terrain

Altitude 1,170m
Number of pistes 68
(four green, 26 blue, 29 red, nine black)
Beginners pistes 30 per cent
Intermediate pistes 60 per cent
Expert pistes 10 per cent
Linked area Portes du Soleil (400km of prepared pistes)

Pros and cons

For +
Charming village, ideal for families.
Friendly and personal feel to village.
Stunning scenery.
Perfect for beginners and intermediates.
Few local queues.

Against -
Low altitude means not always snow-sure. 
Few challenging pistes. 
Weekend crowds. 
Heavy traffic.

THE DINING

If dialling from the UK, prefix all numbers below with 00 33 and omit the first zero.

Mountain restaurants

La Grande Ourse  (06 79 42 58 86) Location: Mont Chéry. My top recommendation. Take the Mont Chéry cabin lift, then the two-person chair lift . La Grande Ourse is right near the top. This absolute gem of a mountain restaurant, owned and run by the Cornish family Venning, has spectacular views of Mont Blanc. Phone ahead early to book.

Les Crêtes de Zorre (0450 79 24 73) Location: Morzine. This comfortable restaurant serves hearty portions of reasonably-priced, Savoyard cuisine.

Les Mines D'or (0450 7981 52) Location: In the Vallée de la Manche. Rustic, traditional Savoy food.

Belvedere (0450 79 81 52) Location: Mont Chéry. A welcoming, comfortable mountain hut with traditional food and generous portions.

Chez Nannon (0450 79 24 73) Location: on the blue piste beneath Point Nyon. An intimate, old-style restaurant serving hearty local food.

Village restaurants

Ferme de Montagne (0450 75 36 79) My personal favourite, with some of the finest food in Les Gets. The French chefs here are former students of Alain Ducasse, the acclaimed multi-Michelin star-winneer. Reservations essential.

Hotel Mont-Chéry (0450 75 80 75) This place lso comes highly recommended. Situated on the main street at the foot of the slopes, it is a real treat – serving gourmet cuisine at reasonable prices.

Le Flambeau (0450 79 80 66) Excellent for traditional Savoyard food.

Le Tourbillon (0450 79 70 34) Again, excellent for Savoyard cuisine. Recommended.

Best for pizzas

Tyrol  (0450 79 70 55) and Le Schuss (0450 79 71 67).

THE APRES-SKI

Nightlife in Les Gets is fun but civilised. This is a lovely, cosy village with a smattering of bars and one nightclub; it may be family-orientated, but it isn't a place where everyone is tucked up at 7pm. There is a friendly buzz about the place in the evenings.

Best bars

Le Pub Irlandais (0450 75 86 02) A bit of Irish craic and a draught Guinness, right in the middle of Les Gets at the foot of the slopes. Serves really good pub grub too!

Zebra 3 (0450 79 78 50) at 610 rue du Centre. At this cool zebra-themed bar, check out the flaming cocktails. Just don’t tell Health and Safety, as it involves setting the bar alight…

Urban Café (by the old church) Very popular with the resort workers, this place has a great vibe. It has a big screen with live Sky sports.

Le Bowling (0450 79 87 77) at 507 rue du Centre. This is a great hangout, with pool, darts and two lanes of bowling. Excellent music is played until 2am.

Bar Bush (0450 79 86 62) Internet access and Sky sports are among the perks at this popular small bar.

The Canadian bar (0450 75 40 81) Has a nice outdoor terrace with patio heaters, and an inside pool table. Laid-back, quiet and cool.

Boomerang (0450 79 80 65) The liveliest fun bar in the village, with regular live music and DJs. Also has internet access.

L'Igloo (0450 75 85 00) Les Gets is really a late bar town – so L’Igloo has the nightclub disco scene to itself. It’s small, but starts to rock from 1.30am until dawn.

Best for families

Open-air ice rink (0450 75 80 84) A great way to keep the kids happy after skiing is to head for this village focal point. It all adds to the fun family-orientated atmosphere. Open daily until 9pm.

THE HOTELS

Hotels in Les Gets are family-run and comfortable, offering excellent service – and most are within a stone's throw of the lifts. Don’t expect four-star international trappings, though. These hotels reflect the fact that Les Gets is a true, traditional ski village majoring on friendliness. That's why so many visitors return year after year.

Hotel Le Labrador 3* Quiet, nice location on outskirts of village. Indoor swimming and great views. 

Ferme de Montagne 3* Fantastic place for families with very friendly and welcoming staff. Comfortable rooms, superb food in restaurant – and in a great location just above the village.

Chalet Hotel Crychar 3* Wood-styled chalet hotel. Excellent bar with log fireplace, and friendly staff. Highly recommended for families with young children. 

La Marmotte 3* Great location next to the main chair lift. Great restaurant and bar with very friendly staff. Good for families. Highly recommended.

Hotel Mont-Chéry 3* Close to main lifts – and close to shuttle bus for access to Mont Chéry ski area. Excellent restaurant (see Village restaurants, above).

Hotel Le Nagano 3* Great location. Right across the road from the ice rink. Has a swimming pool.

Hotel Chamois 2* Basic but good value. Aimed at winter sports enthusiasts. Not recommended for families. 

GETTING THERE

By air

Geneva airport is 55km from the resort, roughly an hour's drive.

By train

Travel to Cluses, with regular bus transfer from station.

By car

From Geneva (35 miles), the nearest airport, take the A40 to Cluses, then the D902 to Les Gets. For car hire, try Alamo (0870 400 4562, www.alamo.co.uk); Avis (0844 581 0147, www.avis.co.uk); Budget (0844 581 2231, www.budget.com); Easycar (08710 500 444, www.easyCar.com); and SIXT (0844 248 6620, www.sixt.com).

From Lyon (116 miles), take the A42 to Pont-d'Ain, the A40 to Cluses, then the D902 to Les Gets.

From the ferry at Calais (500 miles), take the A26 to Reims, the A4 from there to Châlons-en-Champagne, then the A26 to Troyes. From there, follow the A5 to Langres, the A31 to Fauverney, the A39 to Bourg-en-Bresse, then the A40 to Cluses – and finally the D902 to Les Gets.

FURTHER INFORMATION

Tourist office

Office de Tourisme des Gets (0450 75 80 80, www.lesgets.com). Open daily 8.30am-12.30pm and 2pm-7pm.

Buses and taxis

Buses are free with a valid lift pass. Taxis are available from Alp Services Heritier (0450 75 81 05).

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More information on Les Gets, France: as good as it gets for family skiing?:

Author:
Tim Scrafton
Traveller type:
Travel Enthusiast
Guide rating:
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Total views:
834
First uploaded:
4 November 2009
Last updated:
4 years 27 weeks 5 days 2 hours 45 min 32 sec ago
Destinations featured:
Trip types:
Activity, Family, Winter Sports
Budget level:
Budget, Mid-range
Free tags / Keywords:
ski, apres ski, portes du soleil

Tim recommends

Hotels

Price from Rating
(out of 5)
1. Hotel Labrador
£194
N/A
2. Chalet Hotel Crychar
£206
N/A
3. La Marmotte Hotel (les Gets)
N/A
4. Ferme De Montagne
N/A
5. Hotel Mont Chery
N/A
6. Hotel Nagano
N/A
7. Hotel Chamois
N/A

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Community comments (4)

Rating:
5
1 of 1 people found the following comment helpful.

I'm not a skier, Tim – but I'm tempted to take my family to Les Gets, based on what you are saying. This guide is exhaustive, accurate and extremely useful as the ski season gets under way – but it hasn't become too detailed and unmanageable like a couple of your other tomes. This is very much at the utilitarian and less colourful end of the Simonseeks spectrum – but your sparse, succinct style and nice turn of phrase deliver enough interest to keep us reading. All I would ask you to double-check are the hotel prices. Are they really, almost without exception, in exactly the same €75-125 bracket? You missed out a price for Chalet Hotel Crychar – and when I checked, it was in a different bracket and quoted per room, not per person. I'm not disputing it, since your guides have always been accurate – but it seems unlikely. Since many of these hotels are linked to a booking button where prices are displayed, it is very important to get these right – or not mention a price range at all.

Was this comment useful?

Hi Andrew,

Thanks for the feed back, which is always helpful.

I plan to submit more anecdotal pieces in the future about individual experiences, inviting comment from others and in shorter pieces and to give more personal detail after the initial 'blizzard' of ski guides, which are created as timely - seasonal reference material that someone might read to help choose a destination, but then also to save as valuable info, for the locations and telephone numbers etc. Especially useful for ski holidays are appraisals and telephone numbers of mountain restaurants and their locations, as typically most people ski for 6 days.. they might as well stop and enjoy six hearty meals in the best surroundings while they are there!

Regarding the hotel prices, this is something that I had actually decided not to include as it is as you say very difficult to pin point the prices accurately and keep up to date... this is a one-off.. I actually intended editing out the prices, but obviously forgot to!

I have now edited the prices out accordingly.

Cheers Tim

Thank you; that does the trick.

By the way.. if you were tempted to try a ski / boarding break - I would highly recommend this resort for a first time family ski adventure.. it really is.. as the guide says .. as good as it gets.