What is this post? – Chapter Two of Team Von Wizzie’s snowboard trip to Les Gets in January 2019; including a review of beginner snowboard lessons with MINT Snowboarding and various shots out and about on the slopes of Les Gets and Avoriaz.
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. I’m also a Level 1 Snowboard Instructor (CASI); hopefully that gives me some frame of reference to comment on snowboard holidays.
What you’ll know at the end? – hopefully you’ll know whether you want to book snowboard lessons with MINT Snowboarding.
Why it’s relevant to you? – if you’re off to visit Les Gets and you need some useful info, take a gander! (Also check out Chapter One)
Disclaimer – whilst MINT Snowboarding did provide a small 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 MINT Snowboarding team were really helpful for the months leading up to our trip, offering really flexible options for the 2 girls to have beginner lessons. Since mid to late January is generally quieter in terms of tourists we were even able to organise a special ‘group of 2’ just for Vic and Lizzie to have their own private instructor: result! The going price for group lessons (minimum 4 people) is €205 Euros for 4 days of 2 hour lessons. MINT were kind enough to offer us the same deal but for 3 days since we only had 2 people for the group (with the option of a 4th day of lessons if the group grew to 4 people).
Part 1: Snowboard Lessons with MINT Snowboarding
Day 1: After picking up the rental gear for Vic and Lizzie we headed straight over to the bottom of the ‘Chavannes’ gondola/telecabine to meet their instructor Ibán who was ready and waiting on the snow to greet us. MINT instructors are really easy to spot due to their mint green coloured snowboard jacket and pants.
Ibán was super friendly and instantly made the girls feel at ease with general chit-chat as we all made our way up the gondola to the beginners area. Having had a chance to chat with Ibán, Will and I felt reassured that the girls were in safe hands so we headed off to explore as they started their lessons in the magic carpet area.
We were therefore pretty impressed to find that just 2 hours later the girls seemed to be getting to grips with the whole snowboarding thing.
Day 2: Ibán progressed the girls at a decent rate and they were already using the chairlift during the morning of Day 2. Will and I continued to explore but managed to catch some paparazzi shots of the lesson from the lift.
Ibán guides Lizzie down the piste
It then became our routine to meet the girls at the ‘Yeti’ cafe at the top of the Chavannes gondola for a post lesson debrief and a large infusion of sugary goodness.
Day 3: Will and I decided to venture over to Avoriaz on Wednesday whilst the girls enjoyed their final lesson with Ibán back in Les Gets, so no photos unfortunately. Overall Vic and Lizzie were massively happy with the 3 day beginner course and especially how patient, calm and understanding Ibán was.
Vic commented: “First ever time on a snowboard in the mountains, feeling quite nervous and not sure what to expect. My boyfriend just happens to love this sport more than life, so no pressure right? Thankfully we had booked lessons with Ibán from Mint Snowboarding! We couldn’t have asked for a more calm and patient tutor. He handled having two students effortlessly and instilled confidence. I had a complete blast and absolutely loved it! (boyfriend breathes huge sigh of relief!) We’re already looking into coming back next year and will definitely be asking for Ibán for more lessons.”
Lizzie commented: “I really enjoyed my snowboarding lessons with MINT. Ibán was a good teacher, friendly and patient. He helped me to get over my nerves and build up my confidence. I’m a bit afraid of heights but by the end of the week I managed to get over it and started enjoying the snowboarding. It was good being in a small group so we had more support on the slopes.”
Massive thanks again to Ibán and to MINT Snowboarding for getting the girls amped for the shred! We’ll definitely be back for some more lessons in 2020!
Part 2: Day Trip to Avoriaz
Whilst the girls were having their final lesson on Wednesday me and Will headed over to Avoriaz to check out the ‘Chappelle Park’. Getting to Avoriaz from Les Gets might seem like a mission looking at the piste map, but we managed the journey in about 90 mins using the following route.
1: Take the ‘Chavannes Express’ from the centre of Les Gets.
2: From the top of the ‘Chavannes Express’ take a red run called ‘Belle Mouilles’ which drops down into the Morzine valley.
3: At the bottom of Belle Mouilles take either the ‘Des Tetes’ or ‘Troncs Express’ lifts.
4: From the top of these two lifts keep following signs down to ‘Morzine’ keeping your eye out for a sharp left near the bottom onto a blue called ‘Retour des Nants’ which takes you right down into the main ‘Du Pleney’ area.
5. Take off your board and walk down to the main road, turn right and you should be able to see buses to various locations. Look for the bus to ‘Les Prodains’ which is the name of the huge cable car which takes you up to Avoriaz. It’s a free bus which leaves every 15 mins, the journey takes about 10-12 mins.
Part 3: Bluebird Powder Day
Honestly we couldn’t have asked for a better mix of weather during this trip, fresh snow on arrival day, sunshine on Tuesday/Wednesday and then snowing most of Thursday afternoon/evening for a sweet little powder day on Friday. I’m sure Will and I missed out on some of the best powder stashes simply because we don’t know the area well enough, but the runs we had from down from the top of the ‘Ranfoilly Express’ were enough to have us whooping like idiots either way.