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The lure of Les Gets
We’ve been asked a few times recently by friends; what is the best family ski resort for beginners and intermediates during the Easter holidays? They are families who are either new to skiing or returning after a gap. Whenever this question arises our answer is always easy reach – Les Gets. If you are looking for a resort that offers great snow conditions even at the end of the season, along with accessible pistes and pretty surroundings – well then this Portes du Soleil destination is hard to beat.
Many British families drive to Les Gets because it is so easy to reach and one practical difference we noticed about the resort is the parking has become more scarce and stricter. In the past we would happily dump our car in a town centre space all day while we skied, but now most places have a two-hour limit. So we used the free bus service instead, which is frequent enough to get you to and from your accommodation each day.
The skiing was just as we always remembered with Les Gets - fantastic for families. This resort is appealing and delightful, rather than daunting and off-putting.
Beginners and children will soon progress to the runs around the Chavannes mid-station. In fact, Chavannes is a great base for families because little ones can play in the Indian Village fun zone, while those keen on freestyle thrills can perfect their tricks on the kickers and boxes in the new snow park. The Yeti restaurant is a popular meeting spot and a good place to chill for a bit over lunch and people watch.
From Chavannes you can drop into the Les Gets bowl. Here you will find an excellent selection of blues (Reine des Pres is a favourite), reds (Tulipe is a long and sweeping run - grab a drink at Le Wetzet cafe halfway down) and a couple of challenging black moguls (Yeti and Myrtilles) which all filter down to the same central point.
The bowl also gives you plenty of tree-line pistes to have fun with - our boys, now 16 and 14, tend to disappear off through the trees off to the side. And we're always safe in the knowledge that they'll pop out further down and meet up with us at the bottom.
The Grains d'Or Express chairlift opens up the blue and red pistes down to La Turche. Definitely take a trip over to these - maybe coincide it with lunch, as we did, at the tasty La Paika restaurant. It's on the side of the blue Vorosses piste, just where the run crosses the button lift coming back up. It is in a really cosy, wooden building and has great mains from around the €20-25 mark.
The local pass covers Les Gets and Morzine, but personally I wouldn't bother with the runs down to Morzine at Easter. More often than not the snow is patchy or incredibly sticky and slushy. It is a lot of effort for not much reward and in warm Spring conditions with little skiers, it can quickly become a joyless experience.
However the Chamossiere/Pointe de Nyon sector and Mont Chery are definitely worth bothering with. At 2,002m Chamossiere gets some of the best snow and the views from the top of the fast six-man chair are terrific.
The Les Creux black is a challenging mogul run that is straight and endless, while the Arbis red run is steep in places (so not for beginners) and a real top to bottom thigh burner. Pointe de Nyon provides another snowpark for young freestylers to play around in, so you should head over there at least once during your stay.
But one of Les Gets' hidden gems is Mont Chery. It is often overlooked by holiday skiers because it is not linked to the main part of Les Gets - but ignore it at your peril. The little white train that trundles around the Les Gets’ one-way system is the best way of getting to and from the Mont Chery bubble lift.
Mont Chery has some of the best runs in Les Gets. Great cruisers as well as challenging moguls and steep blacks. Seb and Ollie dropped in (the start really is like that) on the black Bouquetin and absolutely loved it. Ollie, 14, described it as the "most adrenaline" he has ever felt. And this year, because the snow has been fantastic, we were able to ski the red Chamois back down to town.
Les Gets is certainly bigger than ten years ago when we first took our children skiing there. And there is plenty of building still going on now with new apartment blocks and chalets opening in the coming seasons. But importantly it has still maintained its accessible charm. We left our Easter week delighted to have been reacquainted with an old friend.
Les Gets is where the Parallel Trails boys Seb and Ollie properly started their skiing adventure. A decade ago – at the ages of five and three – they joined their first ESF group lesson during a family Easter skiing holiday. In March 2018 we returned to the resort to discover it still ticks all the family ski boxes.
There are many family plus points. Access to Les Gets is so easy whether you are flying - transfer time to and from Geneva airport is just over an hour - or driving (around eight hours from Calais via Reims, Troyes, Dijon and Bourg en Bresse).
And despite Les Gets town sitting at a lowly 1,100m, it has always enjoyed a good snow record even during the Easter holidays. In fact for week we had just about every weather condition. On arrival the temperatures were cold for Spring skiing and we woke up to fresh snowfall and a powdery coating on the pistes and trees. And then there were very warm sunny days with the more usual late afternoon slushy runs home. We even had heavy rain, thunder and lightning.
But we found whether it was because of spring slush or rain storms, it was not a problem taking an early departure from the slopes because it meant we could retreat to our Peak Retreats self-catering apartment in Les Fermes Emiguy.
Les Gets has a compact resort centre - another appealing characteristic from our previous family trips - and our apartment at the La Turche end of town was a 10-minute stroll to the shops and restaurants. We had a great final night meal at Les Copeaux restaurant - a traditional fondue is around €17.
Our apartment was so comfortable and spacious. The boys were upstairs in a small room in the roof with their own bathroom. Mum and dad were downstairs in our own en-suite room off the living area. The kitchen is one of the best equipped we've come across - an important factor when on a self-catering family skiing trip.
There's a small pool and jacuzzi to splosh around in after returning from the slopes and a pool table for some friendly family competition in the evenings. Seven nights self-catering in a two-bedroom apartment including return FlexiPlus Eurotunnel crossing, starts from £180pp. A family of four can expect to pay around £1,000 for a week at Easter.