Skiing was once a pastime only enjoyed by the very rich, but in the last few years the price of air travel has dropped and it has become a very popular holiday choice, with more people than ever before taking to the slopes. The beautiful back drop of the French Alps is wonderfully picturesque and there are resorts to suit any level of skier or boarder, whether this is a 20th annual skiing holiday or the very first time someone hits the slopes.
The small village of Les Gets is situated an hour and a half from Geneva airport and is linked to the Portes du Soleil. This area encompasses 13 resorts in the Alps and offers 650km of marked runs, including 230 lifts. Les Gets is in an attractive setting with many traditional chalets and has a very French atmosphere.
The resort is suited more to intermediate skiers than first time skiers, as it has a large amount of red runs and a few blacks too. It also is a great resort for boarders. Despite the focus on intermediate skiers, there are a few blue runs catering for beginners; so if you are part of a mixed ability group, Les Gets is still a great option.
For the real thrill seekers, there are a handful of highly advanced slopes. First timers and young children will appreciate the nursery slope section as part of the ski school called the Grand Cry Territory which is decked out as an American Indian settlement.
Accommodation in Les Gets is largely chalet-based with a few hotels. The village is not a purpose built ski resort which does give it a more traditional feel. At peak season for a catered chalet you can expect to pay around £700 a week per person; or you could stay in a hotel in the resort – these include the ‘Hotel la Marmotte’ and the ‘Hotel L’Ours Blanc’, where you would pay on average around £650 for a week’s half board, per person. The benefits to staying in a hotel are that you can just walk, sometimes for under a minute, to the ski lift and start your day with no need for minibuses or long walks in your ski boots.
Eating out in Les Gets is a pleasant experience and, as the village is relatively small, everything is easily reached on foot. The pound is not as strong as it was a couple of years ago, but you can still find plenty of good value restaurants offering pizza and French beer. There are also restaurants offering traditional Savoyarde cuisine that compliments a day’s skiing perfectly.
For more familiar fayre, there is a pub in the village called ‘The Dublin Inn’ (previously Le Pic) which is British-run and offers good pub food and great beer. The pick of the pizza restaurants has to be ‘L’Optraken’ which overlooks the village’s traditional ice rink, they serve takeaway pizza so you can eat at home if you would prefer to.
On the piste, you can’t beat ‘La Tanniere’, which is close to the main ski lift and under a gazebo with heaters. Perfect for families, it features a kids menu alongside delicious seafood and salads for adults. It is worth noting that restaurants in Les Gets often do not open until 7pm so you should plan ahead if you have young children or just fancy eating early.
Nightlife in Les Gets is obviously not going to be up to Ibiza standards, but after a tough day on the piste you probably won’t fancy Cafe Del Mar anyway. The aforementioned Dublin Inn, an English run pub in the village, has a big-screen TV that shows sporting events and also regularly has live music. Another popular venue for apre-ski entertainment is ‘The Black Bear’, this bar welcomes children and families.
At 9pm things tend to liven up a bit, the bar serves cocktails and visitors have access to a pool table. Overall the bar has a very Canadian feel to it, is beautifully decorated and seating is comfortable and plentiful. The only out-and-out night club in the village is ‘The Igloo’, which is open from midnight to 4am for the hardcore party animal and plays 80s music.
For a more sedate night out there is a bowling alley in the village as well as a cinema that shows films in English.
The village’s ice rink is very well attended and often has ice shows from local schools if you’d like to go along and there is also a cheese dairy where you can see how cheese is locally produced. Finally – for those that feel they deserve a bit of pampering after all the downhill action of the day, there is a health spa offering a variety of treatments.
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