An expert guide to ski holidays in Les Gets

Advice

Les Gets is at one end of the vast Portes du Soleil ski area with its 600km of pistes. Its local area of slopes, shared with Morzine, is big and varied enough to keep many people happy for a week – though most will want to explore further afield for a day or two. The main Portes du Soleil circuit, which crosses the border from France into Switzerland, is reached via Morzine and a gondola up to the slopes of next-door Avoriaz.

Les Gets itself is a charming village with a small central core and a very French atmosphere. It benefits from the main road to Morzine bypassing it, leaving it largely unspoilt by traffic. Most accommodation is convenient for the slopes, which are beginner and intermediate friendly. Not surprisingly, Les Gets is very popular with families.

Stay on track with the essential facts from the resort below, and scroll down for our insider guide to a day on the pistes, expert ratings and advice. For further Les Gets inspiration, see our guides to the resort’s best accommodationrestaurants and après ski.

Inside the resort

Les Gets is based on an old mountain village, where the first single-person chairlift opened in 1938. Since then the resort has expanded in very sympathetic fashion, with mainly small-scale chalet-style buildings.

The centre of Les Gets’ village is very compact. A road lined with low-rise chalet-style hotels and shops faces the slopes and the lifts (an area known as the Front de Neige). Running parallel to this is another road lined with food and other shops, bars and restaurants. It is a very pleasant place to stroll around and the charm of this central area is enhanced by an attractive outdoor ice rink. 



les gets


Les Gets is particularly well suited to families

‘Les Sources du Chéry’ is a swimming pool and spa complex, opened for the 2019/20 season, pools with massage jets, hot tubs, saunas, steam room, salt room, foot baths and heated loungers. It also offers treatments.

There’s also the oldest merry-go-round in France in the villages, and a Museum of Mechanical Music with around 800 items on display. On the slopes, children can learn to drive scaled-down electric snowmobiles on a dedicated, enclosed circuit. 

The village now spreads quite a way from the central area, along the valley in both directions and up the mountain too – but all in sympathetic chalet-style.

As well as the main slopes shared with Morzine, reached from the Front de Neige, Les Gets has a separate area of runs on Mont Chéry, on the other side of the village. The free-to-ride ‘petit train’ (basically an open sided bus built to look like a train) links the two. Mont Chéry is usually very quiet and has some good black and red runs.

The Les Gets-Morzine shared slopes offer around 120km of pistes, with something to suit all standards. If that is not enough the main Portes du Soleil circuit can be accessed from Morzine, via another free ‘petit train’ across the village to a gondola that serves the Avoriaz slopes.

New for 2021/22 was Alta Lumina, a 1km night time walking trail illuminated with images telling the story of the region’s history. The resort plays host to the Montreux Comedy Festival from January 14 to 21, 2023.

On the slopes

Les Gets has two separate ski areas of its own, and is also part of the huge French/Swiss Portes du Soleil ski area. The access lifts from the valley are fast chairs or gondolas, but above that there are still a fair number of slow chairs and a few drag-lifts.

The altitude of the local slopes is low (1,172m to 2,002m) and it can rain here when it is snowing at higher altitudes. However, on the plus side the grassy slopes don’t need much snow cover, and in a poor snow year conditions can be better here than on higher slopes with rockier terrain. There is also extensive snow making and good piste grooming. Most of the slopes are tree-lined, so it’s a great place to be in a snowstorm, when there’s a whiteout on open slopes.

The small local Mont Chéry area is well worth trying and can be delightfully quiet when the large ski area that Les Gets shares with neighbouring Morzine are busy. It is accessed by a gondola followed by a chair or a drag-lift, and has some lovely cruisey red runs, four enjoyable black pistes and some fine off-piste in the trees when the snow is good. 



morzine


A tour of the giant Portes du Soleil is a full day’s adventure


Credit: sylvain cochard

The main Les Gets-Morzine slopes are accessed by a gondola or fast chair from the Front de Neige area in the resort centre. The gondola accesses a large beginner area called Mappy’s in the mid-mountain Chavannes area, which has two moving carpets and two rope/cable tow lifts. There are also easy green runs for beginners to progress to. Those who are not up to a blue run back to the village can ride the gondola down.

From Chavannes there’s a big choice of blue and red runs in the shared ski area. For early or timid intermediates, there are lots of easy blues such as Bluet and Gentiane back to Les Gets, as well as the away-from-the-lifts Piste B down to Morzine and lovely runs in the La Rosta sector. 

Most of the red runs are great cruises for confident intermediates. Arbis from the top of Morzine’s high point of Chamossière (2,002m) is long and testing and there’s a wide choice of fine reds in the Ranfolly sector, including the top-to-bottom Tulipe and Soutenailles.

Experts will find most of the local black runs a bit on the tame side. The best is the shady Les Creux  from Chamossière. There is also a big unpisted freeride area here, marked on the map and avalanche controlled. There are plenty of other off-piste options in Chamossière and the next-door Pointe de Nyon sector too.

Plus, of course, there’s the whole of the rest of the 600km Portes du Soleil ski area to explore too. This entails crossing Morzine village and taking the gondola up to the lifts and pistes of Avoriaz (or the bus to Les Prodains to access Avoriaz directly) from where there’s a choice of heading left for the Chatêl sector or right into the Swiss part of the Portes du Soleil, including Champéry, Champoussin and Morgins. The whole area is an intermediate playground, but there are a few steep black runs and plenty of off piste.

Les Gets’ terrain park is above Chavannes, served by the Mouille au Roi drag-lift, and has kickers, rails and boxes for all levels. There’s also a world class snowboard-cross run. Hardcore freestylers can also head over to Avoriaz to enjoy the five varied terrain parks there.

Children will love Les Gets’ Grand Cry area, also near Chavannes, with its Native American-themed run featuring tepees, a trappers’ cabin and an animal ranch. There’s also a fun ‘mauve’ run nearby, where signs point out different flora and fauna. 

The ski schools have a good reputation. They include a branch of the British Alpine Ski School (BASS), which was the first British-run ski school in France when it opened here in 1999, alongside the ESF and smaller independents.

Who should go?

Beginners and families will love it in Les Gets. As well as the gentle slopes, good ski schools and children-specific areas on the slopes, such as the Grand Cry, there’s plenty to do in the resort including a swimming pool and ice rink. Meanwhile intermediates in the family will find challenges and cruising in the giant Portes du Soleil.

Know before you go

    

Essential information


British Embassy/Consulate:
(00 33 1 44 51 31 00; ukinfrance.fco.gov.uk)

Ambulance (samu): dial 15

Police: dial 17

Fire (pompiers): dial 18

Emergency services from mobile phone: dial 112

Tourist office: See lesgets.com, the website for the Les Gets Tourist Board, for weather reports, lift status, webcams, traffic details and local event listings. Pick up maps, leaflets and other information from the office next to the main ski school on the main street.

The basics

Currency: Euro

Telephone code: from abroad, dial 00 33, then leave off the zero at the start of the 10-figure number. 

Time difference: +1 hour

Local laws & etiquette

    

  • When greeting people, formal titles (Monsieur, Madame and Mademoiselle) are used much more in French than in English.
  • The laws of vouvoiement (which version of “you” to use) take years to master. If in doubt – except when talking to children or animals – always use the formal vous form (second person plural) rather than the more casual tu.
  • When driving, it’s compulsory to keep fluorescent bibs and a hazard triangle in the car in case of breakdown. Since 2021, it’s also compulsory to have snow chains in your car or winter tyres from the beginning of November until March.

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