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A snowHead
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Location: snowHeadLand
Resort: Les Gets
Country: France
Domain: Portes Du Soleil
Author: Specialman
Date: 23rd March - 30th March 2008
Our holiday: Me and Mrs Spesh heading out to catch up on some much-needed snow action, me wanting to master the snowpark, the missus wanting to suss out red runs.
Website : www.lesgets.com
Basics : Haute Savioe region of French Alps, an hour from Geneva airport. Fairly direct route and I expect anyone into self-drive would love this because of the easy access. Very scenic drive too.

The Lift System
Extensive with good, fairly quick links from both Morzine and Les Gets to the highest points in the local area.
Chavannes chairlift out of LG gives you access to just about anywhere in the 110km area in just 10 minutes and the brilliant La Rosta bowl has more fast lifts than you can shake a stick at. Some old two-seaters still exist but aren’t really a problem unless you’re impatient. Beware though – some four and six-seater lifts are turbo-charged and don’t slow down for you to get on so be alert!!
Didn’t head over to Avoriaz and the rest of the PDS but was told that it can be enjoyable to explore although careful planning is a must to get the most out of it in a day.

The Terrain
Hugely varied with a real emphasis on encouraging novices onto higher grade runs without scaring the wits out of them.
Lots of blues and reds, some brilliant blacks and just a handful of greens – these are in the ‘Grand Cry’ kiddies section but for novices, the blues above Les Gets (Gentiane, Bruyere) will be fine. There are quite a few blues that have flats in them so are less suited to inexperienced boarder. We basically ditched the blues for the week unless we had to use them, as the reds are so smooth and more enjoyable for snowboarding.
Navigation is okay but the map isn’t the best I’ve used, although if you’re lost it’s always easy to get back to where you need to be as it’s not a complex area.
Every lift has a map at the gates showing accessible runs and closing times are generous, normally about 5.15pm in late season.
There are lots of trees in between runs that experienced skiers will love to go through and there’s so much off-piste between runs it’s great to go down a run totally through powder, safe in the knowledge that you’re not really going to run into trouble like you would in ‘freeride’ country.


The Runs
Here's a breakdown of some great runs to try:

Livre (Mt Chery): Fast, steep, sweeping red run that does suffer from shadowing late in the day so there can be ice. However, it’s an amazing run that’s great for giving you an adrenaline boost. It comes out of the bottom of the snowpark/Chamois run.
Chamios (Mt Chery): From the top of Mt Chery near the snowpark, Chamois is a red run that meanders down nicely, more of a blue than a red. However, it’s the main run that gives access right down to the village but suffers from being south facing so can thaw through quickly. We caught it just right and although demanding on the lower half, is a great run for anyone who wants to go fast. Watch out for the roads that cross it towards the bottom!
Epiviere (Mt Chery): On the far left of Mt Chery it’s accessed by a fast chairlift (beware getting on – it doesn’t slow down) and is one for speed demons. Fast and sweeping at the top, it gets mogully and steep at the bottom (obviously where its red classification comes from) where it joins the slalom course. A classic.
Gentiane/Orchis: The main blue run into Les Gets from the Chavannes chairlift, this is a good run despite some flat areas. It can also be accessed from the lifts out of the La Rosta bowl, but it’s very narrow right at the top and you need to put in quick, fast turns on a board to keep going.
The middle section is great and once you reach the kiddies training area and the slopeside eateries, you have the choice of carrying on down the blue to the right (gets crowded at peak times) or going straight under the chairilft as a red, which is the Orchis section. Orchis isn’t that long, maybe 800m, but it’s a great run that’s fast, mogully and great for carving. If you want to show off to the peeps on the chairlift, it’s awesome!
Belle Moulle: Left off the Chavannes Express this short red run takes you down to the lifts that service the main peaks above Morzine (Pont De Nyon and Chamossiere). It’s flat for about 80m in the middle but is steep and good for carving elsewhere. The final run down to the lifts is a wide valley where you can open up the throttle and do some serious overtaking.
Tulipe: Catch the Ranfolly Express chairlift out of the La Rosta bowl and up to Le Ranfolly (1826m). This red run is seriously fast, can get mogully but it’s a joy to burn down. Loads of off-piste surrounding it and links with several other reds that give you numerous entry options into the bowl.
Arbis: From the top of Chamossiere (2011m) this is a killer red if you have late afternoon legs. It’s famously steep (more like a black), offers superb views over Morzine (if you’re looking) and is a carver’s delight. Lots of moguls but it’s brilliant. Plus it seems to retain its snow cover well and remains soft being north facing. Joins up with blues above Morzine that are flat and boring, but necessary to get back to main lift system. The best view of Mt Blanc by far is from the top.
Myrtiles: Take the Grains D’or Express chairlift out of the bowl up to Point De La Turche and it’s a straight down, balls-to-the-wall black that’s not overly demanding unless it’s really busy. Short but one for practicing technique on.
Melezes: A very long red that takes you out of the bowl and to the outskirts of Les Gets. Very fast but not too technical, there’s a wealth of off-piste that can be accessed. It’s best to take the run down, then spot off-piste chances from the chairlift on your way back up for a second run. The lift back up is fast with great view.

There are a lot of other runs that will strike a chord with many. Piste B into Morzine is very long, not too challenging but great for carving… if you don’t happen to hit peak time when every ski school seems to use it! Bruyere back into Les Gets is also good but has a bloody awful flat section that’s a boarder’s nightmare. This is where the boardercross area is. The bit below where the Crocus run joins is good though, when you head through a tunnel under a road (pop an ollie off the bumps inside). Rhodos is a good run into the bowl, as is Viollettes, a mix between a blue and a red and one for razzing down. The snowpark on Mt Chery is also worth a pop, as there’s a wide range of jumps and they even had an airbag setup for €1 a go – great fun and a safe way to experience massive jumps.


The Snow
In the run-up to the trip we had the fear that the snow was going to be a bit patchy due to inconsistent temperatures – how wrong we were.
Got there on the Sunday and it was cold with light snow, heavier in the evening. The Monday was snow on/off all day, with a huge dump on the Monday night and Tuesday morning – this set us up for the whole week.
Temps rose mid-week so there was a bit of a crust on some off-piste as it thawed then froze again. The last few days the temps rose and the slush was amazing to carve through. Really secure, soft and forgiving for going down steep reds and blacks on the snowboard.
Les Gets really does have the edge over Morzine when it comes to snow; the village slopes were still brilliant by the end of our stay and well maintained by the pisteurs. Morzine on the other hand was totally rubbish mid-week below 1250m and we didn’t head back because it was such poor snow that demanded a lot of concentration to board.
Mt. Chery is fabulous when it snows and when we had the big dump, the powder was amazing – the best I’ve ever seen. There’s acre upon acre of it and because all the runs can be accessed from each another, you could board across the whole mountain face and feel you were doing off-piste without the danger. This really is the gem in the LG/Morzine area pass.

Off-piste
Never done off-piste properly before but Les gets made it sooooo easy!
Mt Chery has it in spades – a definite for anyone who wants ‘safe’ off-piste snow thanks to the fact that most ‘off-piste’ was actually on the runs themselves.
The bowl above Les Gets and the off-piste above Morzine is trickier but you never feel you’ll run into trouble, it’s fun and you never feel you’re in avalanche territory.

The Resort
Les Gets is based around one main street with several streets running parallel. It has bags of charm (very chocolate boxy) and has everything you need in terms of services.
The cash machines actually ran out of money on the Monday were there because of the Easter weekend (and too much snow blocking the roads). This was sorted by the Tuesday. There are several dotted through the town.
Access from the main chairlift/cable car over to Mt Chery is by either a little train that circuits the village or a two-minute walk.
There are loads of hire shops and lots of equipment shops, although they’re typical of France in that they aren’t the cheapest. ‘RIDE IT’ is a good snowboard shop at the end of the ice rink that was very small but friendly and did a full wax and edge mid-week for only €10.
There’s a €1 bus to/from Morzine if you don’t want to ski/board over (or if you get stuck) and there are also buses to Avoriaz to access the rest of the PDS.

The Food

Amazing! We didn’t eat everywhere but where we did eat, we were seriously impressed. The numerous crepes shops were good value (€5 - €7) and if you’re self-catering, there’s a Casino next to the Irish Bar and there’s also a SHOPI that’s very cheap for beer, wine and supplies.
The best restaurant we ate at was the L’op Traken in the main square next to the ice rink. Our hotel staff ate there and suggested it. The humongous Calzone pizzas were only €15 and the giant salads were a brilliant €11. Great service and great food… oh, and they have wine’s up to a stupendous €2,500!!!
If you’re up for a beer there are loads of places. The Hotel Stella always seems to have a few people in the plush bar, the Black Bear and the Irish Bar were always full, as was the Golden Lion (British-owned with footy on TV). A pint is about €4-5 on average.

Accommodation
We stayed at the Hotel Chamois. We’d read a few bad reports about it but these were obviously from people who didn’t realize it was a 2-star hotel. Yes, it’s a bit like Fawlty Towers in that the walls are paper thin and the staff are a bit Manuel-ish, but it was a great place to crash with a really relaxed atmosphere and the staff couldn’t do enough to help you. The food was good but portions were a bit small at times. Plus, we had some bizarre concoctions: fruit salad with hot, runny custard (odd) and the beetroot salad that was literally, just beetroot with two bits of lettuce!! Mind you, we got a bargain for the whole holiday so we didn’t expect 5-star treatment.
Loads of other hotels exist in the village and there are many chalets dotted around so there must be quite a few tour operators who run to LG. Plus, we heard a rumour that Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman have place here.

Cost
We booked through www.alpineelements.co.uk and paid £430 for flights, transfers and accommodation. The hotel offered breakfast (cereals, croissants, bacon etc), tea and coffee all day, afternoon cakes for your return from the slopes and a three-course meal at 8pm. The bar stayed open until 1am, although we never made it past 11pm – we were that knackered! Beer was €4 in the hotel bar with a bottle of good wine costing €10.
You could easily get lunch for less than €20 with a drink and dinner was just a tad more depending on how many courses you wanted.

Conclusion
Thanks to meeting like-minded people who found the Hotel Chamois’ quirks hilarious, we had a whale of time.
The snowboarding was out of this world, the village was great, with a totally different atmosphere to the ski-in-ski-out La Plagne I’d been to before (LG is more intimate), and the whole set-up was efficient and charming.
Anyone who hates drag lifts (being a snowboarder, I do) you’ll be sorted, as you can pretty much access all the points in the area without having to use anything but a chairlift or bubble. Some chairlifts are slow but who cares when you have such great views of the Mt Blanc range – you can even see Lake Geneva from Mt Chery on a good day!
Definitely get yourself up to Pont de Nyon and Chamoissure for amazing views and try Mont Chery for traffic-free red runs that are the most enjoyable in the whole area.
I’m not sure if we’ll be heading back to the Hotel Chamios – the fun we had we never be repeated I fear – but I think we’ll definitely head back to Les Gets, as it’s so much better than Morzine but still has loads to offer as a small part of the PDS.
A totally amazing place with first-rate boarding and skiing.

Les Gets Resort Report Feedback Thread

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Last edited by A snowHead on Thu 7-08-08 17:02; edited 1 time in total
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