Good skiing in Megève

16th January 2015, by Dave Watts

Stanford Skiing owners John and Kathryn Kinnear (in the foreground) bopping at the new Folie Douce in Megève today

Stanford Skiing owners John and Kathryn Kinnear (in the foreground) bopping at the new Folie Douce in Megève today

Like most Alpine resorts Megève has got off to a slow start to the season snow-wise. Indeed due to warm temperatures and lack of snow it was not able to open until after Christmas. So it was with some trepidation that I arrived in town on Thursday afternoon.

But, thanks to 20cm of snow that fell on Wednesday, I was pleasantly surprised. Today we skied from one end to the other of its Rochebrune ski area on virtually deserted pistes. The snow was patchy and thin in places and some runs and lifts were closed but there was plenty open.

The best snow was in the north-east facing Côte 2000 sector where the ladies downhill black piste was in fantastic condition and a fabulous high speed cruise on a perfectly groomed piste.

Then we headed over to the Mont d’Arbois ski area and explored the runs there. Sadly, the usually glorious views of Mont Blanc from the Épaule ridge run near the top were obscured by cloud. But there was plenty of good skiing to be had. And we did not encounter a lift queue all day.

Snow was falling as I went to bed tonight, the roads were covered and we are looking forward to 20cm or more of fresh powder by tomorrow afternoon. So this weekend’s arriving guests should have great week.

The big news in Megève this winter is the opening of another branch of the Folie Douce chain (of Val d’Isère, Val Thorens, Méribel and Alpe d’Huez fame). Today, it was throbbing away as all the others do. But there weren’t many people there – maybe because Megève itself was quiet (as it usually is in January), or maybe because Megève’s clientele are not generally the younger, party-loving crowd that have been attracted to the other branches of the Folie Douce. Time will tell and it will be interesting to see how popular it is in high season but my guess is that it might not last more than two or three years. The Fruitière restaurant though will be a great asset and a big lunchtime draw.

Megève is often thought of as a pricey, exclusive, chic resort. And it does have lots of plush upmarket hotels and shops. But there are more affordable options for non-millionaires. For example, I am staying at one of two rustic chalet-hotels run by Stanford Skiing which are remarkably good value – and the bar prices are amazingly cheap too, with beers at 2€ and a good bottle of wine 8€. They have their own minibuses to transfer you from and to any flight you choose into and out of Geneva airport.

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