Loving Les Gets…all over again

20th April 2018, by Ben Moore

Fun skiing off-piste among the trees in Les Gets bowl

Fun skiing off-piste among the trees in Les Gets bowl

By Ben Moore, skiing dad and founder of family skiing website paralleltrails.co.uk

A decade on from when our two boys Seb and Ollie started their skiing education with ESF Les Gets at the ages of five and three, we’re back in the resort to see if it still retains its family ski appeal. 

Les Gets ticked so many boxes for us when we first started out family skiing. Access to the resort is so easy whether you are flying – transfer time to and from Geneva airport is about an hour – or driving, as we have always done. The peage run from Calais via Reims, Troyes, Dijon and Bourg en Bresse will take eight to nine hours.

And despite Les Gets town sitting at a lowly 1,100m, it has always enjoyed a good snow record even for Easter skiing. This season of course was never going to disappoint for snow and when we arrived on Saturday 31st March there was a base of almost 3m at the top, with the lower slopes boasting 90cm. And for our week – the first of the Easter school holiday period – we had just about every weather condition.

On arrival the temperatures were cold for Spring skiing and we woke up to fresh snowfall and a powdery coating on the pistes and trees. And then there were very warm sunny days with the more usual late afternoon slushy runs home. We even had heavy rain, thunder and lightning.

On one day we were the very first people on the six-main Chavannes chair up from the resort centre at 9am and skied for four hours under blue skies and sunshine. Then as forecast at 1pm in rolled the rain clouds, strong winds and the thunder. Cue an early departure from the slopes for most families as lifts began to shut early.

Seb, 5 (L), and Ollie, 3 ®, started ski lessons in Les Gets at Easter 2008

Not to worry though it meant we could retreat to our Peak Retreats self-catering duplex apartment in Les Fermes Emiguy. Les Gets has a compact resort centre – another appealing characteristic from our previous family trips – and our apartment at the La Turche end of town was a 10-minute stroll to the shops and restaurants. We had a great final night meal at Les Copeaux restaurant – a traditional fondue is 17 Euros.

Our apartment was so comfortable and spacious. The boys were upstairs in a small room in the roof with their own bathroom. Mum and dad were downstairs in our own en-suite room off the living area. The kitchen is one of the best equipped we’ve come across – an important factor when on a self-catering family skiing trip!

There’s a small pool and jacuzzi to splosh around in after returning from the slopes and a pool table for some friendly family competition in the evenings. Seven nights self-catering in a two-bedroom apartment including return FlexiPlus Eurotunnel crossing, starts from £180pp. A family of four can expect to pay around £1,000 for a week at Easter.

Many British families drive to Les Gets because it is so easy to reach and one practical difference we noticed about the resort is the parking has become more scarce and stricter. In the past we would happily dump our car in a town centre space all day while we skied, but now most places have a two-hour limit. So we used the free bus service instead, which is frequent enough to get you to and from your accommodation each day.

The skiing was just as we always remembered with Les Gets – fantastic for families. This resort is appealing and delightful, rather than daunting and off-putting.

Beginners and children will soon progress to the runs around the Chavannes mid-station. In fact, Chavannes is a great base for families because little ones can play in the Indian Village fun zone, while those keen on freestyle thrills can perfect their tricks on the kickers and boxes in the new snow park. The Yeti restaurant is a popular meeting spot and a good place to chill for a bit over lunch and people watch.

From Chavannes you can drop into the Les Gets bowl. Here you will find an excellent selection of blues (Reine des Pres is a favourite), reds (Tulipe is a long and sweeping run – grab a drink at Le Wetzet cafe halfway down) and a couple of challenging black moguls (Yeti and Myrtilles) which all filter down to the same central point.

Seb in blue and Ollie in orange enjoyed the Myrtilles moguls

The bowl also gives you plenty of tree-line pistes to have fun with – our boys, now 15 and 13, tend to disappear off through the trees off to the side. And we’re always safe in the knowledge that they’ll pop out further down and meet up with us at the bottom.

The Grains d’Or Express chairlift opens up the blue and red pistes down to La Turche. Definitely take a trip over to these – maybe coincide it with lunch, as we did, at the tasty La Paika restaurant. It’s on the side of the blue Vorosses piste, just where the run crosses the button lift coming back up. It is in a really cosy, wooden building and has great mains from around the 20-25 Euros mark.

The local pass covers Les Gets and Morzine, but personally I wouldn’t bother with the runs down to Morzine at Easter. More often than not the snow is patchy or incredibly sticky and slushy. It is a lot of effort for not much reward and in warm Spring conditions with little skiers, it can quickly become a joyless experience.

However the Chamossiere/Pointe de Nyon sector and Mont Chery are definitely worth bothering with. At 2,002m Chamossiere gets some of the best snow and the views from the top of the fast six-man chair are terrific.

The avalanche risk meant the Les Creux black was closed all week but the Arbis red run didn’t feel like the second prize. It’s steep in places so not for beginners, but ski it top to bottom and your thighs will feel it. Pointe de Nyon provides another snowpark for young freestylers to play around in, so you should head over there at least once during your stay.

But one of Les Gets’ hidden gems is Mont Chery. It is often overlooked by holiday skiers because it is a separate mountain not linked to the rest of Les Gets, but ignore it at your peril. The little white train that trundles around the Les Gets one-way system is the best way of getting to and from the Mont Chery bubble lift.

Mont Chery offers some of the best skiing in Les Gets

Mont Chery has some of the best runs in Les Gets. Great cruisers as well as challenging moguls and steep blacks. Seb and Ollie dropped in (the start really is like that) on the black Bouquetin and absolutely loved it. Ollie, 13, described it as the “most adrenaline” he has ever felt. And this year, because the snow has been fantastic, we were able to ski the red Chamois back down to town. 

Les Gets is certainly bigger than ten years ago when we first took our children skiing there. And there is plenty of building still going on now with new apartment blocks and chalets due to open in the coming seasons. But importantly it has still maintained its accessible charm. We left our Easter week delighted to have been reacquainted with an old friend.

For more information on Les Fermes Emiguy in Les Gets with Peak Retreats, visit peakretreats.co.uk

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