It is not often that I write about a ski area without actually staying there. But this review of Les Gets snowboarding in Portes Du Soleil was conducted over two day trips from Geneva.
Staying at a friends in central Geneva it took an hour to reach Les Gets. There was plenty of parking in town very close to the lifts and it wasn’t too pricey either.
Day 1: Review of Les Gets snowboarding
I visited early season. Unfortunately, there was no fresh snow, so off-piste was out of the question. The pistes were in good condition although fairly hard. It was also icy in places.
With the little natural snow they had received the pisteurs had done a stirling job to get most of the 110km of slopes open.
My friend had spent a lot of time in Les Gets so knows his way around. The plan for the morning was to visit all four major peaks on the Les Chavannes side of the ski area and to nip into Morzine.
Morning: Rosta, Ranfolly, Chamossiere and Nyon
We started by taking the Chavannes Express. It was bitterly cold and we both realised we had under done the layers. From there we snowboarded down to the bowl below Rosta and Ranfolly.
After taking the chair up to the top of Rosta we had a great run down the black slope Yeti. It is fairly steep, but is a black more because if its length without any flat bits rather than being ridiculously difficult.
Next we took the new Ranfolly express and did a nice run straight back down to the same lift. The second time we dropped down the excellent Tetras piste to the Chamossiere Express. At the bottom was a sign saying it was icy up top, we went up anyway.
Many people were skiing the black from the top of Chamossiere but none coming down the red. So we had the Arbis red run all to ourselves! It was my favourite run of the morning.
The red joined a blue and we headed to the Troncs Express which links with the chair up to the Pointe de Nyon. At 2020m, this is the highest point in the ski area so we had to visit during this review of Les Gets snowboarding.
From the top we took the nice winding red run La Combes. Half way down there is a small snowpark, which unfortunately was not open because of a lack of snow. La Combes links up with the Chamois piste which takes you down to the FYS chair.
Nipping into Morzine
From the top of the FYS we did a run down into Morzine. Many of the slopes in this Pleney area were shut but it was nice to pop into the town.
We then took the Pleney Gondola up – the only time we had unstrapped all morning! From the top we did a run back into Les Gets, it was the first time we has had to share the piste with more than a handful of other skiers or snowboarders.
Lunch at Grande Ourse
Arriving back where we had started we walked across town to the Mont Chery Gondola. This links up with the Grande Ourse chair, near the top of which you’ll find the Grande Ourse Restaurant. Sitting at 1730m its the highest eatery in Les Gets and has stunning views of Mont Blanc.
We had booked a table at this very popular restaurant. Run by a British family from Cornwall – they even have Cornish beer on tap – there are three generations involved.
And the food was delicious. I had a rack of ribs that had been cooked in a smoker and were incredibly tender and full of flavour. My friend had pulled pork burger which was also exceptionally good.
The menu has a mix of traditional French mountain food with a bit of a british and American BBQ influence. Everything is freshly prepared on site. They make their own pasta, mince the meat for their burgers and make their own sausages.
The head chef, Ross Venning, took some time out to show us around the kitchen. He is very proud of his many ‘toys’ used to create the delicious meals, including a smoker that had been imported from the US.
It is a very friendly restaurant, I saw the staff chatting with other guests like old friends. Combine that with the creative menu and stunning flavours and you’ve got a restaurant that you simply must visit on a Les Gets snowboarding holiday.
Afternoon: Mont Chery
Despite visiting Les Gets many times my friend had never snowboarded on the Mont Chery. His reason was it seems a small area compared to the rest of Les Gets. However, by the time we had finished this review of Les Gets snowboarding he said he would no longer neglect it.
Over lunch, the guys in the Grande Ourse had said that conditions are often better on Mont Chery because less people ski on this side of the resort. This also makes it a great spot to find untracked powder.
After lunch we took the Bouquetin black run down to the Planeys chair. Immediately you could feel the snow was less icy on this side of Les Gets. We also did the Lievre red run back to the same lift. This runs alongside the snowpark, which unfortunately was not open due to a lack of snow.
Staying around the Mont Chery we did a couple of runs down the backside to the Chery Nord chair. On the piste map these look like really short runs, but they are a good length so well worth checking out. There are also a lot of off-piste options in the area.
Having had a rather late lunch time was starting to run out. So we did a couple of runs down to the Mont Chery midstation before calling it a day.
Review of Les Gets snowboarding: Conclusion
Les Gets is a great ski area and very underrated. You see a lot of articles saying it is a great family resort, which it is, but that might put off snowboarders without kids in tow.
Although we took in all five of the main peaks in the Les Gets ski area we never did the same run twice. And we only just scratched the surface of what is on offer.
There is vast amounts of off-piste to explore, two snowparks, a boardercross track and a number of slalom routes. Les Gets has a fair few black runs, perhaps not the toughest but still legitimately black.
Beginners will enjoy a couple of large dedicated areas, plus plenty of blue slopes to progress on to. Overall there is more than enough within the Les Gets ski area to keep most snowboarders happy for a week. But there is also the rest of the Portes Du Soleil to explore!
Day 2: Snowboarding in Portes Du Soleil
On the second day we headed back towards Les Gets but with the intention of exploring the wider Portes Du Soleil. This can be reached by snowboarding from Les Gets to Morzine and then walking five minutes across town to the Super Morzine gondola.
Alternatively you can get the bus from Les Gets to Morzine. Once there hop on the Super Morzine or take a bus to either Prodains or Ardent. Either option provides quicker access to the wider Portes Du Soleil, but you are sat on the bus rather than snowboarding.
To save the hassle we drove straight to Ardent where there is free parking. After taking the Gondola up we took Chaux Fleurie chair heading over into Chatel.
From past experience I know there are some great runs in this area and some incredible off-piste. Conditions were still hard but not as icy. We did a few runs before heading back into the Lindarets Valley towards Avoriaz.
Lunch at Changabangs
After taking a couple of laps through the Chappelle park we headed into Avoriaz for lunch. No visit to Avoriaz for snowboarding in Portes Du Soleil is complete without a burger at Changerbangs. Prices are reasonable (comparatively speaking) and burgers very tasty.
After lunch we headed up Les Hautes for a long run down to Prodains. We then headed back to Avoriaz and went over to the Fornet area for a few runs. This area is usually great for off-piste.
From the top of the Chavanette chair there’s a fab run all the way down to Brochaux in the Lindarets Valley. It is also from here that you can take the infamous Swiss Wall – not a great idea in the icy conditions.
From Brochaux area we took the Mosettes chair up and dropped into Switzerland towards Crosets. There is a lovely red from the top and the slopes are generally quieter in Switzerland than in France.
We were starting to run out of time so took the chairlift back up to the Swiss/French border and took the piste back to the Brochaux area. From here we could have snowboarded all the way back to Ardent but it is rather flat.
Instead we took the Brochaux chair up for a longer run all the way down to Ardent. I love this piste, it’s affectionately known as Star Wars by locals. It brings you back to the Ardent car park where you can get the bus back to Morzine.
Snowboarding in Portes Du Soleil: Further thoughts
Over the last few years I have spent quite a lot of time in Morzine and Avoriaz so I know the Portes Du Soleil quite well. I have also written quite a few articles about snowboarding in Portes Du Soleil.
If you like to head off-piste it is a fabulous ski area. Compared to resorts more famous for their freeride, the powder in Portes Du Soleil does not get tracked out on the first day.
With just a short hike you can find fresh lines in the Portes Du Soleil days after it last snowed. Check out my article about freeride snowboarding in Portes Du Soleil for more info.
There are also great parks in the area. The Stash was once voted the best ski run in the world and there are two more parks, plus a kids park and kids stash, and a superpipe.
Do I recommend a Les Gets snowboarding holiday?
Les Gets is an underrated ski area. It is bigger than many ski areas and you can easily explore the wider Portes Du Soleil. There are a couple of small snow parks, plus a boardercross within Les Gets plus loads more parks in Avoriaz.
The off-piste can apparently be very good in the Les Gets area. If it is half as good as the wider Portes Du Soleil then you are in for a treat when there is fresh snow.
Walking around town it seemed fairly lively. Not in a wild apres ski way, but with families and couples wandering around. There are plenty of shops, restaurants and lower key bars. So I can see why it is popular with families rather than party animals.
To conclude this review of Les Gets snowboarding in Portes Du Soleil would I recommend it for a holiday? Whole heartedly yes! If you are travelling in a mixed group of friends, with a family or as a couple it’s a great ski resort.
For more information, and to book accommodation, head to the Les Gets website: www.lesgets.com
Getting there: I flew British Airways from Gatwick to Geneva. As they don’t charge more for a snowboard bag it was cheaper than low cost airlines. If you don’t have a mate in Geneva who will drive you to the mountains then check out Skiidy Gonzales transfers.