The best thing about skiing in France is that it’s overloaded with fantastic resorts. From the snow-sure giants such as Val Thorens or Tignes, to the luxurious chalets of Courchevel, you’re guaranteed a great time wherever you go. But for a really special holiday, there’s a couple of resorts that I think take it to the next level.
Morzine and Les Gets both have access to a massive 360km of piste. You can ski two countries in one day, and bomb down wide, tree lined runs. In a week you can give the 6 snow parks, notorious challenges and wide treelined cruisers a go. Both are only 1 ½ hours from Geneva airport – one of the shortest coach transfers in France. Les Gets is a pretty gingerbread village whereas Morzine has a much bigger bar and après ski scene. Read on and find out more about why Morzine and Les Gets are my favourite places to ski.
One of our favourite areas is Nyon. It’s only accessible via Morzine and has brilliant wide runs to practice those carves. The mountain bar here, Infernos, is great for some lunch and a cheeky spot of après ski. Mont Chery is the equivalent in Les Gets but with more wide, open runs. Even better, it’s usually completely dead. On a clear day the views are spectacular and you’ll be able to spot Mont Blanc. Another quiet area nearby is St. Jean d’Aulpe. It’s fantastic if you’re looking for a ski away day. The circuit is great to bomb around, and if you mix it up with dotting about through the trees then you’re in for a perfect day.
For wide tree lined runs, the Lindarets area is the best place to go in a white out and it’s also the easiest to get to from the Super Morzine lift. ‘The Stash’ is the favourite run of some of the world’s top skiers (including Becky Menday, a member of Great Britain’s Freestyle Snowboard Team), boarders and winter sports journalists. Another reassuring fact – it was partially designed by Burton founder, Jake Burton. Based off piste and made up of wooden obstacles, ‘The Stash’ aims to support environmental protection while providing a massive amount of fun.
At the bottom of the Lindarets area is a bunch of mountain restaurants. The first one you come to – although not the cheapest – serves up a huge, face-sized, steaming portion of lasagne. Further down towards Abondance you’ll come across the hidden Goat Village, a cluster of traditional huts and restaurants that gives the impression of taking you back in time.
As mentioned before, you can ski France and Switzerland in one day. A notorious run, known as ‘The Wall’, is one of the most challenging runs in the world and the best way to do it. You can grab a photo with the sign at the top, then drop over the edge into massive moguls. There’s a wee bar at the bottom to rest your burning legs and order a stiff drink to help you recover. They’ve got merchandise, if you really want to show off at home. Another great ski is the route to Chatel, further away and therefore quieter than runs closer to resort. The same goes for Le Crozats. It’s a less death-defying route to Switzerland than ‘The Wall’, in our opinion.
If you’re up for other snow activities, the options will include flying down the piste on a toboggan with only your head torch and the charming instructors to guide you. Snow shoeing and skidooing are also available in the area. Off the piste, and out of the bars, there’s still loads of fun to be had. You can slip on some ice-skates , or even dive into the lovely pool in Morzine.
Now, in our opinion, all that skiing is the perfect excuse to munch through your weight in French food.
Morzine has loads of places to eat and a couple of gorgeous bakeries. We could prattle on for hours but our two favourites are Dotty’s and Le Flamme. Dotty’s is a lovely wee cafe. Serving white hot chocolate, tasty bagels and offering Wi-Fi, it’s the perfect place to grab some lunch or spend a morning off. For dinner, you can’t beat Le Flamme. The staff are all very friendly and the traditional style food is delicious– great for a special meal on your last night.
For a quick bite in Les Gets, Creperie des Gets is easy to get to and has scrumptious sweet and savoury crepes. For a proper meal, La R’Mise in the centre of Les Gets has superb food but what makes it special are its charming hosts – you’ll have a terrific experience.
In Morzine, when the lifts close the fun has already begun. Every Wednesday at 3pm, the biggest après ski party in the area begins at Tremplin (bottom of the Pleney). It really heats up around 5pm, with DJs playing and everyone now on their feet dancing. Morzine is as fun by night as it is by day. Run by a lovely couple, the best bar in Morzine is without a doubt the Hakka Bar. It shows sports, serves up tasty tapas and you definitely need to try the white sangria. Live music plays most nights at The Cavern with pints of Desperados accompanying the tunes. Toss the Boss is the game to play at Le Rhodos – if you win a dice throw, your round is paid for by the bar.
Les Gets is the calmest of the three villages but Bar Bush and Boomerang are still good for a gentle drink or two. Also, Rock the Piste comes to the area in March and is a music festival, on snow, touring the Portes du Soleil ski area.
To sum up…
If you want a huge, virtually snow-sure ski area and world famous challenges to attack then Morzine and Les Gets are definitely 2 resorts to try. If you’re a foodie seeking French food, both on and off the mountain, then these resorts will also deliver. If you want relaxing evenings, stay in Les Gets. If you intend to go out to play at night, as well as by day, then you’re onto a winner with Morzine. The beauty of these resorts is that wherever you stay, you can still have access to everything on offer in this area.
Have you been to Morzine or Les Gets? Tell us all about it in the comments, or on Facebook and Twitter.