What is this post? – a blog about Jon and Vic’s snowboarding Honeymoon to Les Gets in January 2020; including details of flights, transfers, what the place was like, a review of the Pure Mountain Holidays ‘Chalet Elise’ and other practical info.
Some context? – Jon has been snowboarding since 2001 and spent 8 full length winter seasons working in various resorts around the world in addition to various European snow trips; Vic learnt to snowboard in 2019 but she’s picking it up fast. Hopefully that gives us some frame of reference to comment on snowboard holidays.
Why it’s relevant to you? – if you’re off to visit Les Gets or another French ski resort 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.
If you read about our 2019 trip to Les Gets (Chapter One + Chapter Two) then you’ll understand why we were super keen to get back there again in 2020. Since we’d just snuck off to get married in secret the week before, this was basically our Honeymoon; and what a week it was…read on to find out why.
Part 1: Getting to Les Gets + Chalet Elise
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 spent just under £300 for 2 people’s return flights from Gatwick to Geneva + 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 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 driver who got us to Chalet Elise in just under 90 mins.
Our Pure Mountain hosts Alex + Lilly were a friendly and helpful duo, immediately welcoming us into the chalet and helping get our luggage upstairs. We were the last guests to arrive that day but we just had enough time to unpack some bits before sitting down to our evening meal with the other guests.
Our room was everything you’d expect from a chalet in the French Alps; wood panelling, balcony overlooking a snowy valley and an ensuite bathroom. Last year in Chalet Forestiere we’d had a bit of a pokey shower (albeit with awesome power and heat) but this year in Chalet Elise we ended up with just a bathtub. First impressions of this were a bit negative I’ll be honest, but actually having a steaming hot bath after a strenuous day on the snow came as something of an epiphany to us! Soaking in a hot bath is superb treatment for sore muscles and also wonderfully relaxing, especially if you take a tumble or two. We thus quickly became full bath converts.
Grace the Resort Manager also popped in to say hello that first evening to give 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.
Part 2: Rental Gear
Jim at Pure Mountain also pre-ordered rental boots and a snowboard for Vic, you can see ‘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 up Vic’s board and boots without any hassle whatsoever; in fact she even got to use the same boots as last year and we’re pretty sure no one had used them since then.
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 3: Out on the Mountain
Vic had her first snowboard lessons during our 2019 Les Gets trip with MINT Snowboarding and since these had been a huge success we decided to use them again. Vic’s instructor Ibán from 2019 wasn’t available unfortunately but her new instructor was just as awesome; a chilled and cheerful guy called Valerio originally from Italy. I was elated to see smiling faces at the end of day one meaning that Vic had quickly found her feet again and was straight back into the flow of the things.
Valerio is a great instructor and managed to coax Vic away from her favourite two ‘safe runs’ under La Croix chairlift down to different terrain which follows Le Chavannes gondola down to the main town. In fact after 3 days of lessons I was super impressed with how much progression they’d achieved; check out the two videos below, first from 2019 and then from 2020, the fluidity and confidence of the turns in 2020 compared to 2019’s beginner turns is obvious.
This leap in progression and confidence meant that Vic and I were finally able to go and explore the mountain together. Getting as far as the top of Le Ranfoilly after just 6 lessons on a real mountain is pretty impressive in my book; I still can’t believe my wife is a hot snowboard chick!
Part 4: Crazy weather and epic Pow Pow
Considering we were only in Les Gets for a week we experienced some pretty varied weather over the 6 days. Whilst Monday was fairly relaxed, Tuesday turned out to be a bit mental with high winds, all Avoriaz lifts being completely shut down, and even thunder and lightning whilst riding La Croix! I’ll be honest and admit I was fairly freaked out when a brilliant flash in the clouds was followed by a booming rumble of thunder whilst I was halfway up the metal chairlift with no means of escape.
Thankfully the winds calmed later in the afternoon and snow began to dump in large quantities.
It snowed all afternoon and then continued to dump on Wednesday morning which culminated in one of the Top 5 powder runs of my life.
I’d never ridden on the Mont Chery side of the valley before but it didn’t take long to figure out where the best pow stashes were…check out the video below (and listen out for my instinctive little whoops of delight, ha ha).
The rest of Mont Chery was also on top form, it snowed so much it didn’t matter where you went that morning, even the side of regular pistes had access to the goods.
I’d been told before that Mont Chery was the place to go on a powder day but now I know for sure. It’s a relatively small area with only a few small chairlifts so it won’t take you long to find what you’re looking for. My best runs were down through the trees to rider’s right of a run called Bouquetin under the Planeys lift.
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!)
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’. Get over to Mont Chery for the powder of heavy snow days.
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 has a reputation for crazy times. 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 we didn’t get to experience this first hand, 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.