What is Megeve like for a ski holiday?

We posed this question to a local expert, Mike Beaudet, and here is what he had to say:

Megeve, the heart of the French Alps.

By Mike www.SkiProsMegeve.com

Megeve is well known by few and is a jealously guarded secret among those that frequent its ski slopes; Michelin Guide rated hotels and restaurants, high-end shopping stores, Casino and quaint narrow cobbled streets. The village is dominated by the traditional church belfry, and a square all in a pedestrian friendly atmosphere. Horse drawn sleighs carry tourists all over during the peak periods adding a festive and memorable experience for young and old. A truly civilized ski area of real old world charm, with a history that goes back for more than 1000 years. The village still has over 40 working farms from where the milk is used to produce the local cheeses that are known all over the world.

The ski area is laid out in such a way that the summit of Mont Blanc is almost always in view when skiing Megeve ski runs. The runs are cut through the trees; a very welcome change to most ski areas in the Alps that are above the “tree line”, adding a touch of green to this Haute-Savoyard village! Great skiing for all levels with a particularly pleasing predominance of upper intermediate skiing terrain.

The “Espace Mont Blanc” domain is a whopping 445 Km, 220 Pistes and with over 111 lifts make Megeve and partner ski areas (la Giettaz, Saint Gervais, Saint Nicolas de Veroce, Combloux, les Contamines Montjoie and Cordon) in the top 6 longest skiable areas in France. I often bring clients on a beautiful day to see and ski what I think is the best vantage point to view the French Alps and the Mont Blanc:

The most scenic views of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Western Europe, are visible from the top of the “Epaule” chairlift of the Mont Arbois side of the Megeve Ski Area. From the top of this chair lift you will want to turn immediately left to stay on the piste, a right turn will take you immediately “off piste”! You should be a good intermediate skier to do this run, in several places it is quite narrow and in whiteout conditions not advised at all. However on a brilliant sunny day you will want to look around you and make a visual picture that even the best of cameras could never capture…. the whole of the French Alps in all their beauty right before your eyes! After taking it all in, it is time to ski all the way down to Chatrix, the longest of runs in the domain.

…. But don’t tell anyone how nice it is!

Author Bio

Mike Beaudet a Colorado native, a University of Denver graduate and now lives in France with his wife and twin boys Tom and Lucas. Known as “Megeve Mike”, he is the founder/director of Ski Pros Megeve, The “Affordable Megeve English Ski School” in the Village of Megeve. A team of elite American French British Independent Ski Instructors and Resort Guides are available to make your skiing holidays the best ever. Megeve is located in French Alps, at the foot of Mont Blanc, a 1-hour drive from Geneva International Airport. Day ski tours, private and small group ski lessons for skiing enthusiasts of all levels and ages are available in the French Alps, Italian Alps and Europe.

Mike has an extensive background in skiing, teaching group and private ski lessons. Mikes credentials include Full Certification in Professional Ski Instructors of America-RM, the prestigious French Government “Ecole National de Ski et Alpinisme” in Chamonix as a Moniteur de Ski Diplome and a member of the first PSIA National Academy held at Mount. Hood Timberline, Oregon. Mike has over 35 years of ski school and ski teaching and coaching experience in the US and in France and has taught in all the major ski areas in France and America.

Contact: Megeve Mike +33 (0) 681610615

Copyright ©2014 Megeve Mike – All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

The Best Ski Resorts In France

Before I begin, it is important to say that I have not skied every resort in France so this is just my opinion based on my experiences.

Val d’Isere

I love Val d’Isere. It is absolutely miles away from the nearest airport but for me, this is part of the charm. You really feel like you are in the middle of the Alps and that the only thing you need to worry about is which run to ski next.

The most surprising thing about Val d’Isere is that although it does have quite a lot of purpose built accommodation blocks, the heart of the resort is an old French alpine village. There are lots of chalets around and you really do feel like you are in a winter wonderland.

The skiing isn’t bad either. The ski area links up with neighbouring Tignes to form the Espace Killy which has around 300km of pistes. Intermediate and advanced skiers will profit most from the ski area as there is a lot of steep stuff, but it is a good place to make progress as a beginner.

The Val d’Isere ski domain can be divided in to 4 main areas: Solaise, Bellevarde, Le Fornet and La Daille. It doesn’t matter too much where you stay as there is a free, regular ski bus that travels around town taking you to the various starting points.

Val d’Isere has not just made this list for its great skiing. It is also a great town for après ski with loads of live music in bars and a couple of good night clubs. For après ski, try Saloon Bar or The Moris Pub, and for after dinner get yourself down to the infamous Dick’s Tea Bar.

Get the best price for transfers to Val d’Isere with our local Val d’Isere taxi and transfer companies.

Méribel

After leaving university I worked in Méribel for my first winter season so it holds a special place in my heart. For those that are not familiar with Méribel, it is situated in the middle of the massive 3 valleys ski domain, which is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, linked ski areas in the world with over 600 km of pistes.

From a skiing perspective, Méribel is hard to beat. You have a choice of places to stay in the 3 valleys but Méribel is literally right in the middle, allowing very quick and easy access to any part of the 3 valleys ski area to almost any level of skier.

I also love Méribel because the village itself has a great atmosphere. Although Méribel is a completely purpose built ski resort (give or take the very odd original alpine chalet), it is one of the prettiest. The local authorities had the good sense to enforce some building regulations in Méribel and so every building is built in what you could call “Chalet Style”. There are loads of good bars and restaurants in Méribel and it attracts a great crowd of season workers, many of whom return year after year.

Méribel is made up of a few different resorts. We would recommend trying to stay in the centre of Méribel, or if you are an extremely keen skier, then staying up in Mottaret is not only a bit cheaper, but also gets you closer to the better pistes and has quicker access to both Courchevel and Val Thorens.

If you are looking for a great chalet holiday in Méribel, check out AktivExperience who have 3 chalets in great central locations.

Our favourite bars in Méribel are Evolution, which you will find down by La Caudanne, La Taverne (aka The Tav) which is bang in the centre of town and Fifty50.

Use FindTransfers for your transfers to Méribel – just click the link to enter your transfer request.

Morzine

Morzine is one of our new favourite ski resorts.

The best thing about Morzine is that it is not really a ski resort. It is a lovely French village that just happens to be in the middle of the Portes du Soleil – an absolutely fantastic ski area. This means that there are a small number of apartment blocks and hotels, and a massive amount of chalets to stay in. It also means that there is an amazing atmosphere in the village centre as locals go about their daily business and tourists are out and about enjoying themselves.

If you stay in the centre of Morzine, you can get out skiing pretty quickly. On the Pleney side of town, the pistes come right down to the village and you can head from here over to Les Gets for a great day out skiing on tree lined pistes. If you want to head higher up, then the Super Morzine lift leaves from the centre of the village and takes you towards the higher slopes of Avoriaz.

If skiing is more important than nightlife to you, then you may want to consider staying in an area called Les Prodains, from where you can take the lift up to Avoriaz in a matter of minutes.

You can also stay in Montriond, which has the best of both worlds as it is a good 25 minute walk in to the centre of Morzine for après fun, but you can also jump on a bus past the spectacular Lake Montriond up to the Ardent lift. This route takes you up to Les Lindarets from where you have quick access to the pistes of Avoriaz and Chatel.

For a great chalet in Morzine, have a look at skiology.co.uk.

Find transfers to Morzine with a local taxi or transfer company on FindTransfers.com

Serre Chevalier

Serre Chevalier is another resort on this list because of its old world charm. If you like the convenience of purpose built, ski in – ski out accommodation, then Serre Chevalier is not for you. Serre Chevalier is a traditional, family ski resort that thankfully has none of the pretentiousness associated with resorts further North in the alps.

The ski area is spread along the range of the Grand Serre Che, with access points in the valley from the villages of Le Monetier Les Bains, Villeneuve, Chantemerle and the town of Briancon (France’s highest and sunniest town, and a world heritage site…).

The reason a lot of people like skiing in Serre Chevalier is that the tree line is a lot higher than in most other places in the Alps and so you can spend a lot more time skiing among the trees. This is particularly useful in bad weather. Serre Chevalier is well suited to beginner and intermediate skiers. For more advanced skiers, there is not a lot of really steep stuff, but there is plenty of powder to play in if conditions allow.

No matter where you stay, you can experience the other villages as there is a regular bus linking them up with Briancon. We would recommend staying in Villeneuve. Not only because it is the only place we have stayed, but because the best skiing in the valley can be accessed really quickly from here, and it is also the most central area, so it is easier for you to ski the entire domain during your holiday. For slightly livelier evenings, and I do mean only slightly livelier, then you could stay in Briancon. If you do not stay in Briancon you will definitely have to go and visit for a couple of hours.

Get prices for transfers to Serre Chevalier with local taxi and transfer companies.

Flaine

Let’s get this out of the way first. Unless you love Bauhaus architecture, Flaine is an ugly resort. So ugly, that when I first saw it I was genuinely shocked that something like Flaine could have been built in the Alps. However we will need to get used to it as the buildings in Flaine have been given listed status so they are not going anywhere.

Having said that, there is nothing to dislike about the skiing in Flaine. Flaine is situated in a massive bowl and has an absolutely amazing snow record. It is part of the Grand Massif ski area (which is not actually as big as it sounds) linking it with the resorts of Les Carroz (another of our favourites), Morillon, Samoens and Sixt Fer a Cheval.

Flaine is just over an hour from Geneva and there is a wide range of accommodation available. It is possible to ski to and from the door of a lot of accommodation making it a great option for people who want to ski as much as possible, or for those of you that hate walking around in ski boots.

There is a great range of skiing in Flaine and the Grand Massif. It is a brilliant place to learn but it is also a mecca for off-piste, with lots of powder accessible from the lifts and the Gers bowl.

Get private transfers to Flaine by quickly filling out a transfer request on FindTransfers.com

Full area lift pass or local lift pass?

There really is so much to think about when planning a ski trip!

You probably thought that deciding on dates, resort, accommodation and flights was the difficult bit but now you have a few more decisions to make…

Should you buy a full area lift pass or local lift pass?

There are two factors that will help you decide: your budget and your level of ability.

Your budget

Full area lift passes obviously cost more than local area lift passes. The difference in price depends on the ski resort you are going to visit. In some areas the price difference is not too big, whereas in some ski areas the price difference is considerable.

A good way to look at it is to work out the difference in price between the two lift passes. Then divide that by the number of days you will be skiing. The difference will normally be less than €10 / day so if you have one less cup of coffee on the mountain and one less beer in the evening then you can enjoy skiing a much larger area!

Your ability

If you are a complete beginner then this is a no-brainer. You will not need a full area lift pass. You might even find that the resort you are going to offers some sort of “mini pass” that allows you to use a small selection of lifts on the beginner areas.

If you are going to be having ski lessons during your holiday (which is an absolute must for beginners) then it is a good idea to contact the ski school you are using and ask them which lift pass they would recommend for your level.

For intermediate skiers, the decision of whether to buy a full area lift pass vs a local area lift pass is a bit more difficult. While you will normally have plenty of skiing to keep you occupied in your local area, you will have the ability to explore a bit further afield. Skiing the full area might help you decide if you would like to visit a neighbouring resort on your next holiday. Or there might be a really nice restaurant on the pistes of the next valley that you can only reach with the full area pass… If you are a confident skier then it is really down to personal preference.

Don’t get stuck in a different resort

Our last piece of advice on this subject is that if you decide to buy a full area lift pass, then make sure you are aware of what time the last lift is and how long it will take you to get back. It can be an extremely expensive mistake if you get stuck on the wrong side of a mountain when the lifts stop as you will have to ski down to the nearest resort and take a taxi home, which can cost a fortune as they will have to take the long way round the mountain.

What else do we have to decide on?

Is deciding which lift pass to buy your last big decision? Have you bought your ski outfit yet? Goggles or sunglasses? (Goggles) Hat or helmet? (Helmet)…

What about airport transfers? You should have this sorted by now if you are looking at lift passes but if you haven’t then don’t worry. This is where we can help. Just visit FindTransfers.com and get great prices for your ski transfers from local companies. You can then just choose the quote that is right for you!

Have a great time!