Arrive in style on the ski train...
Enjoy extra days on the slopes and no surcharge for skis or boards with Eurostar Direct Ski Trains.
Self-drive ski holidays in France
Travel to France by ferry and some of the best self drive skiing in the world. Enjoy the freedom of taking unlimited baggage and up to 9 people per car via .
Book your journey with P&O Ferries
Find a hotel
Booking a hotel has never been easier with accorhotels.com, Europe's largest hotel group.
Why pay for your skis?
Book tickets to Grenoble and take Monarch Flights to this undiscovered destination from Leeds Bradford, Manchester, Birmingham and London Gatwick. There are plenty of cheap flights available to help you get the most out of any holiday to Grenoble, whatever season you travel in.
Experience complete comfort on SWISS flights to Geneva and enjoy the added bonus of taking your skis at no extra cost.
Pick up and ski this winter
Forget about queuing for a bus at the airport, low cost car hire - with a ski rack if necessary, will get you to where you want to go with a minimum of fuss. Click below to take advantage of special offers.
Could this be the Chamonix Valley’s most underrated skiing?
Les Houches’ own ski area offers 55km of groomed terrain for all levels of skier at the gateway to the Chamonix Valley and is readily accessible via flights into Lyon, Geneva and Chambery. Often overlooked by those dazzled by the lure of nearby Chamonix and Argentière, Les Houches is nevertheless a significant ski area in its own right, as many people soon discover when they come here to ski Les Houches’ tree-lined pistes after high winds or poor visibility have closed cable-cars and pistes further up the valley.
Novices should feel comfortable here, while intermediates can explore a surprising variety of long, varied runs down through the forest to the village. Advanced skiers will also enjoy the challenge of ‘ La Verte’, a relentless, black-graded descent made world famous by the annual Kandahar World Cup Downhill Skiing events. There’s also a snow park. An unexpected feature is the Mont Blanc Tramway, which climbs from St Gervais to Belleview, at almost 1800m altitude. Les Houches is a solid choice for those looking for relaxing skiing amid glorious mountain scenery or non-skiing activities like Nordic skiing, walking or snow-shoeing.
The climb up from Cluses and Sallanches is nothing if not memorable, thanks to the long elevated roadway which eases the approach to the Chamonix Valley. Eventually, though, it gives way to a long tunnel, into which we’re plunged along with the rest of the evening traffic. When we finally emerge, to a world miraculously transformed by fresh snow, we leave the main road behind us and find ourselves cloaked in silence.
The village looks welcoming, twinkling cheerfully in the darkness, but temperatures have plummeted and getting to our relatively high, piste-side accommodation requires recourse to snow chains. Next morning, though, we can forget the car and get on with some serious skiing.
Spoilt for choice
The Prarion gondola hauls us smoothly up to the heart of the terrain, with a wealth of possibilities spread around us.
Snow quality is perfect, so we glide off for a closer view of the distant Belleview plateau. It’s cruisy, blue terrain all the way, allowing time to take in the scenery, something we find ourselves doing more and more during our time here.
The stuff of legend
On the way we cross the legendary ‘Verte’ piste, just a few days before it’s due to host the Men’s World Cup Downhill skiing events. For now, though, we focus on Les Houches’ gentler side, and press on down to Belleview. We halt above the snow-park, beside the tracks of the Mont Blanc Tramway, which since 1907 has climbed up here via the Col de Voza to create a surreal sight beside the pistes.
From Belleview we drop down to pick up the Voza lift which drops us at 1900m. A quick blast down the red-graded ‘Stade’ piste, followed by a ride up the Kandahar chair gets the skis warmed up for the onward run over to more terrain located above St Gervais and nearby Les Contamines. Half-way down, at the parting of the ‘Cha’ red and ‘Abbaye’ blue-graded pistes we pause at a restaurant for a lunch break in the sunshine.
We leave suitably refuelled and continue down through the trees to the base of the Crozat chairlift, which hauls us serenely back up to do it all over again, this time on the steeper red-graded ‘Fontaines’. It's huge fun, but there's even more nearby for good skiers who don't mind a steep haul back up the long Plancerts drag-lift.
Days like this are what Les Houches is all about, with the promise of a perfect ending on the long runs back down to the village, via a choice of blue, red or black runs, with the Chamonix Valley spread at your feet. Perfect.
© Roger Moss