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.

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!

Should you fly to Chambéry or Geneva on a ski trip?

The short answer is: Geneva.

The long answer is: You should almost always fly to Geneva.

The main problem with flying to Chambéry is that the runway runs North to South in a very deep valley and is at the end of a lake (the lac du bourget). As you may know, valleys can “trap” cloud. If you have ever skied on a nice sunny day and taken a look down at the “sea of clouds” in the valley below you will know what I mean. As you may also know, areas around lakes can get misty, the so called “smoke on the water” effect. So if you combine the steep mountains, low cloud and mist, you will understand why the runway is often shut at Chambéry airport in the winter (the real reason will need to be explained by a pilot as it has something to do with a visual approach and lack of equipment at Chambéry).

The second biggest problem with Chambéry is that it is tiny. There are 2 luggage carousels and what often seems like only 2 people to put luggage on them. Therefore, if 2 aircraft arrive within a short space of time then you could end up waiting an age for your luggage (this happens all day on Saturdays).

Another issue is that if you are heading towards the majority of big ski resorts from Chambéry (Three Valleys, Paradiski, Espace Killy…) then the road from Chambéry to Albertville can be a nightmare on Saturdays, with huge delays caused by traffic jams.

It is not all bad. If you fly to Chambéry on any other day than a Saturday and the weather is fine and your flight is on time, then you will be on the slopes in record time. However, if you are planning to fly on a Saturday, or you play by the law of averages, then you are best off flying to Geneva as the often advertised 45 minute reduction in journey time is unlikely to happen.

You can compare prices for transfers from Geneva airport and prices for transfers from Chambéry airport to the alps by asking for quotes from local companies on FindTransfers.com

Let us know if you have had any good or bad experiences flying in to Chambéry and heading to the slopes!