What is this post? – Chapter One of Team Von Wizzie’s snowboard trip to Les Gets in January 2019; including details of flights, transfers, what the place was like, a review of the Pure Mountain Holidays ‘Chalet Forestiere’ and other practical info.
Some context? – I’ve been snowboarding since 2001 and have spent 8 full length winter seasons working in various resorts around the world in addition to various European snow trips; hopefully that gives me some frame of reference to comment on snowboard holidays.
Why it’s relevant to you? – if you’re off to visit Les Gets and you need some useful info, take a gander!
Disclaimer – whilst Pure Mountain Holidays did provide a discount to their scheduled prices in return for me writing this blog, I promise my comments are honest and faithful to our actual experiences.
The last time I’d been on a snowboard holiday back in January 2017 I’d ended up breaking my collarbone into 3 pieces, so for this 2019 trip I was planning some much more chilled out vibes for our group of 4 snowboarders (including 2 beginners). Now whilst that may sound kind of boring from a snowboarding perspective, in actual fact it turned out to be one of the best holidays of all time for multiple reasons…read on to find out why.
Part 1: Getting to Les Gets
Flights from all over the UK to Geneva have been a winter staple for decades now and most people are aware that Easyjet offer cheap mid-week flights for as little as £50 return, just watch out for those snowboard bag charges! We ended up messing about with a couple of date changes to catch the weekend chalet changeovers but my girlfriend and I still spent less than £200 for 2 people’s return flights from Gatwick + luggage (including 2 x hold bags of 15kg each and 1 x snowboard bag with a weight limit of 32kg).
I’d been in contact with Jim at Pure Mountain Holidays for several months before the holiday and he had kindly organised our road transfers from Geneva direct to the chalet in Les Gets for just £50 return per person. He uses a company called Skiidy Gonzales; their drivers stand out from the crowds in the Geneva airport arrivals area by wearing colourful sombreros which makes them nice and easy to spot. We had a friendly Irish driver who got us to Chalet Forestiere in just under 90 mins despite the snowy conditions as we climbed the mountain roads to Les Gets.
Part 2: Life at Chalet Forestiere
Our Pure Mountain hosts Paddy and Gemma couldn’t have given us a warmer welcome as we rocked up to find the chalet surrounded in a thick layer of fresh snow (cue childlike excitement level over 9000!) They were straight out to help with our bags and show us to our room, quickly followed by the offer of a cuppa and a biscuit.
Our room was everything you’d expect from a chalet in the French mountains; wood panelling, balcony overlooking the pistes and an ensuite bathroom. The only thing I would say though is that they’re slightly on the smaller side of cozy, with the shower cubicle in the bathroom being only just about big enough to move around in. The water pressure was excellent however, providing a piping hot blast which definitely helped to massage achy muscles at the end of a long day’s riding.
Claire the Resort Manager was next through the front door as we settled down for her welcome speech which gave us a full rundown of available amenities, meal times and general info, including providing us with our pre-paid lift passes. There are 2 main lift passes available, the smaller ‘Les Gets/Morzine’ area and the much larger area of ‘Portes du Soleil’ which covers all lifts. Current prices can be found here. Whilst my mate Will and I are experienced snowboarders and thus bought the full ‘Portes du Soleil’ pass, we only really went outside the ‘Les Gets/Morzine’ area on one day trip to Avoriaz since when there is fresh snow there is plenty of fun to be had everywhere (just something to consider if you are on a budget as there is a £60-£70 difference in price).
Life in general at Chalet Forestiere was awesome and we quickly started referring to the whole thing as #chaletlife which basically means you get some nice, friendly people making you breakfast and dinner every day to ensure your day on the slopes is as enjoyable as possible. Paddy is an excellent Chef and Gemma a brilliant Hostess and that’s the honest truth.
Even though our group of 4 had to be split between two chalets because of other bookings, Pure Mountain were really flexible and our friends Will and Lizzie (who stayed in Chalet Elise just over the road) were still able to join us for evening meals.
Part 3: Rental Gear
Jim at Pure Mountain also pre-ordered rental boots and snowboards for the 2 beginners in Team Von Wizzie, just let him know during the chalet booking process and it’s all sorted. You can see the rental shop (called ‘Vermont’) from the chalet driveway and it’s literally just 50 metres down the road, perfect for making life easy on the first day. Pierre at Vermont was also super helpful and set the girls up with great boards and boots without any hassle whatsoever.
The Nitro snowboard boots were brand spanking new and the snowboard was freshly tuned with clean, sharp edges, a neatly ground base and a fresh layer of wax; that’s about as good as rental gear gets in my experience! The shop also offer the option for you to drop your gear back to them each afternoon and then pick it up again the next morning if it makes life easier, but since all the chalets have space in the garage to store boards and boots we didn’t need to.
Part 4: Wandering around Les Gets
The town of Les Gets itself pretty much falls into the category of ‘chocolate box’ as you can see.
So what’s the reality then?
Flights: Most UK airports offer flights to Geneva (anywhere from £50 to £300 but watch out for the ski/snowboard bag charges and AVOID FEBRUARY HALF-TERM AT ALL COSTS!)
Transfers: I recommend Skiidy Gonzales, Jim at Pure Mountain can organise the transfers for you.
Accommodation: Pure Mountain Holidays are highly recommended…I just wrote a whole post about it.
Ski Pass: Circa £250-£260 for a full area pass for 6 days – see full price list here
On the slopes: Whilst Les Gets is relatively low lying compared to other nearby resorts it enjoys extensive snow-making and plenty of sunshine. It’s a great resort for beginners with easily accessible gondolas which provide an easy escape route back to the village if they’re not ready to tackle the pistes all the way home. There’s enough to keep more experienced folks entertained too, just head up to Ranfoilly for bits of off-piste and keep your eye out for the small terrain park tucked away next to a blue run named ‘B7: Fougere’.
Restaurants: There’s everything you could want in the way of restaurants, most serving local specialities such as tartiflette, cheese fondue and raclette. Try Cozy Bar or Le Tyrol for a great meal.
Bars: We didn’t venture to many bars but we heard that ‘Bush Bar’ is full of drunken English people if that’s your thing. Cozy Bar has 2 huge fireplaces to chill in front of and the Canadian and Irish bars aren’t too bad either.
Insurance/Medical: Thankfully I didn’t get to experience this first hand on this occasion, however the Les Gets Medical Centre is well equipped and French Ski Patrol are experts at getting people down from the mountain if the worst should happen.