Ski holidays in Les Gets

  • Inspiring places
  • France
  • 7 min read
Ski holidays in Les Gets

After much-needed snowfall in January 2023, Rachel Ifans rushed out to Les Gets, her favourite ski resort in the French Alps, and found comfort in familiarity and excitement in the new

Les Gets is a town in the Haute Savoie region of the Northern Alps; it’s got all the charm of a traditional alpine village but with a range of facilities you’d expect from a purpose-built mountain resort.

Les Gets is a fabulous year-round destination. It was one of the very first mountain bike parks in the world, and although many others have sprung up since, it’s still the largest mountain bike park in Europe. When it comes to summer in the mountains, Les Gets is also great for walking, hiking and trail running, and with new attractions like Alta Lumina and the Sources de Chery spa, it has more and more to offer each year.

You may have seen Les Gets in the press at the start of January 2023 because it had to close unexpectedly due to lack of snow. The hiatus was thankfully brief; when I visited in the middle of that same month, the heavens had reopened and it was – as you’ll see in my photos – a perfect winter wonderland once more.

Skiing in Les Gets 

Despite expansion and development over the last decade, Les Gets retains its olde-world alpine charm. Most buildings are in the old chalet style and even the more modern ones are low-rise and usually wood-fronted.

The Les Gets ski area is equally pretty; due to the fact it’s not too high (1200m-2200m approx.). Altitude aside, the Portes du Soleil region manages a great snow record because of its location on the north western side of the mountain range.

I’ve been going to Les Gets for a decade or so now and I absolutely love skiing there. If you prefer swooping down tree-lined pistes and across open meadows to careering down exposed and rocky mountainsides, you’ll love it there too. The undulating domaine is fantastic for intermediates and there are loads of piste-side cafes and restaurants at a range of prices.  

Les Gets has three boardercross runs and a snowpark as well as 77KM of trails for cross-country skiers. As well as skiing, snowboarding and handiski, the resort also offers dog-sledding, electric snowmobiles, snowbikes and four-season sledging.

Access to the slopes is easy via cable cars from the centre and, although it’s not a car-free resort, you won’t give the wheels a second thought once you’re there.

Les Gets ski area 

Les Gets is part of the Portes du Soleil ski region; it’s one of the biggest ski areas in the world, with 12 interconnected resorts in France and Switzerland. You can buy a ski pass for Les Gets and Morzine only or you can buy a more expensive one for the whole Portes du Soleil region.

The Les Gets/Morzine pass includes the Les Chavannes area as well as Mont Chéry on the opposite side of town, and Morzine too, and is probably enough for most skiers who are new to the resort (68 runs in total).

A woman on a snowy mountainside stands with skis and poles smiling at the cameraGreat snow and sunshine on the south-facing Mont Chéry mountain in Les Gets (Credit: Patrick Welch)

Mont Chéry is smaller but often quieter than Les Chavannes and, due to its aspect, a lot sunnier in the morning so the pistes soften up more quickly. You can cross town on foot to access the Mont Chéry cable car or take the small road train free of charge.

The far-reaching Portes du Soleil pass will link you to resorts like Avoriaz and Chatel and includes a huge 308 ski runs. It’s possible to ski over from Les Gets to Avoriaz in time for lunch and an explore and still have time to ski back home later.

Wooden-fronted seven-storey apartments line up along the side of a piste with snowy fir trees and bright blue sky behindAvoriaz is quite the opposite architecturally to Les Gets, with its modernist 1960s high rises (Credit: Rachel Ifans)

Les Gets is extremely welcoming to British visitors. You’ll hear English spoken everywhere which makes ordering food and drinks, negotiating logistics and taking ski lessons much easier but, despite the English-speaking soundtrack, Les Gets still manages to look and feel very French.

What to do in Les Gets 

Les Gets has a grown-up apres-ski scene which centres on bars and restaurants. There’s one bar at the bottom of the Les Chavannes cable car on the Front de Neige road which blasts out a bit of europop at the end of the day but if you’re looking for big on-slope parties you may have seen in places like Tignes and Alpe d’Huez where people quaff from magnums and dance on the tables, you won’t find it here.

What it lacks in parties, Les Gets makes up for in special events, like, for instance, the new co-production with the famous Montreux Comedy Festival. Montreux Fait du Ski debuted in January 2023 and was a frenglish feast of fun – two nights of French comedians followed by two nights of English, MC’d on the anglophone side by Tom Houghton (aka Honourable Tom) and featuring Maisie Adam, Ivo Graham and more. What’s not to love about laughing your ski socks off with likeminded people to six big-name comedy talents?

Four snail shells sit in buttery green juice on a metal snail dish. A torn piece of baguette sits next to the plateThey are classic for a reason. Nothing beats a garlicky herby buttery snail (Credit: Rachel Ifans)

There’s a good choice of restaurants in Les Gets. If you drag yourself past the melted cheese on most menus, you’ll find fine cuisine overlooking Mont Chery at the new La Piscine 1971 , modern French cuisine at Le Rendez Vous and something a little more traditional at  R’Mize . I had some gorgeous herby snails in there, the garlic from which I couldn’t ski away from fast enough the next day.

Burgers and craft beer are served at La Beaneries, newly opened in 2023, and you can also find oodles of noodles, pizzas and more besides in the town. There are plenty of private chefs who can deliver to chalets, takeaways and a wonderful traiteur (Rossin) on the main drag where you can buy ready-prepared meals or rotisserie chickens to heat and eat at home.

A man in a towel walks around side of a spa pool. The walls and ceiling are wooden and the pillars whiteLes Sources de Chéry is a great place to soak and soothe aching ski legs (Credit: Exertier)

A new spa called Les Sources du Chéry opened in the centre a couple of years ago. It’s great for footsore skiers and rainy days with big pools, hot pools, cold pools, bubble pools and foot pools, as well as saunas, steam rooms and treatments. (Adults €27 for 1 hour, €46 for 3 hours)

an illuminated information board in the foreground behind which lights lead the way to a clearing in the snowy trees and a bright sign saying Alta LuminaAlta Lumina is a magical walk through the woods above Les Gets town (Credit: Rachel Ifans)

And then there’s Alta Lumina which I visited for the first time this year. Even at a chilly -15, it was really magical to wander the 1KM through the trees and be entertained by the top-quality light and image show, set design and interactive devices. You’re always in safe hands with a French son-et-lumiere and although I saw mine with a snow-spattered backdrop, apparently it’s just as magical in summer. (Adults €19, children €10)

Self-catered chalets in Les Gets 

There are a lot of self-catering options in Les Gets although I would say that it’s a bit sparse at the lower end of the price spectrum. There’s a definite indie vibe, though, which I love and, although there are a few small chains operating in the town, there’s nothing the size of, say, Pierres Et Vacances or Club Med.

A view of sunset down the valley over snowy wooden chalets and with mountains on either sideThe view from the terrace of Chalet Wapiti, part of the Chalets 1066 portfolio (Credit: Rachel Ifans)

Chalets 1066 has been in Les Gets since 2008. It’s a great business run by Mark Nathan, his family and a charming band of local staff. They look after over 40 privately owned chalets in the town, covering a range of sizes and prices, and I think they corner the market when it comes to personal, reliable service and local knowledge. They will also organise optional extras including ski hire and lessons, food delivery, morning pastries and more, all of which are charged directly to the customer rather than incurring a surcharge.

Another great accommodation option is Les Fermes Emiguy which is owned by the French company Lagrange Vacances. The self-catering chalets and apartments in striking distance of the Les Chavannes cable car are comfy and warm and there’s pool, gym and spa facilities on site too.

Looking down on hundreds of snowy roofs in the valley and across the valley to the snowy tree-lined pistesA view down from Mont Chery to Les Gets town and across the valley to the Les Chavannes ski area (Credit: V Ducrettet OT Les gets)

Hotels in Les Gets 

When it comes to hotels, Le Labrador 1971 is the new luxury kid on the block. It’s owned by local businessman Nicolas Thibon and has 20 cosy rooms and upmarket extras like spa, jacuzzi and Turkish bath and lounge bar. Les Gets stalwart, Hotel La Marmotte ,sits right at the foot of the slopes is still my favourite place to relax with an apres-ski vin chaud. It’s cosy and quiet and has an excellent view of sometimes-hapless skiers making their last descent of the day.

Travel to Les Gets with LeShuttle

It takes about eight hours to drive from Calais to Les Gets. Convenient stopover towns are Troyes and Dijon and the road to the resort from the motorway is quite a main one, so access is straightforward. Book your LeShuttle tickets now.

About the author: Rachel Ifans

I am a journalist and editor, covering a wide range of lifestyle and travel subjects but always returning to my first love, France. Born unfortunately to non-French parents, I have spent my life trying to make up for it by spending as much time as I can in France or writing about it, studying the language, tirelessly dragging my children round all six sides of l'Hexagone, and endlessly chuntering to my husband about moving there.

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