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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 .
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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.
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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.
Above the glitz and glamour...
In the Haute-Savoie area of the French Alps between the Chamonix Valley and the Val d’Arly, and a short drive via Sallanches from flights into Geneva, Megève also has easy road access from Albertville. Although sited at a modest-sounding 1113m, the village often receives prodigious snowfalls, thanks to the nearby presence of Mont Blanc. Despite these advantages, Megève has remained relatively undiscovered by many skiers from the UK, with the notable exception of those in search of a traditional, upmarket skiing experience with a range of premium services for their every whim.
Megève’s ski terrain blends almost seamlessly with that of its neghbours St-Gervais, Combloux and Saint-Nicolas de Véroce, and rather less so with Les Contamines-Montjoie (which is accessible only by road). The Domaine Evasion Mont-Blanc combined lift pass allows you to ski it all, and in the process discover the surprisingly varied terrain and scenery on offer across the valley in the Combloux sector. Megève’s own terrain comprises l’Alpette (1871m), Côte 2000 (2014m) and Mont d’Arbois (1840m), with not too many drag-lifts to slow things down. Pistes are often wide and tend to be conservatively-graded, which will appeal to more timid skiers. But you’ll also find a few stamina-testing reds and blacks, and grooming throughout is to a predictably high standard.
After tiring of St Moritz the Rothschilds turned their attention to Megève, opened a luxury hotel and in so doing propelled the town to international renown. It has lost none of its charisma, still hosts the Megève Polo Masters (played on snow) and its star-studded boutiques speak for themselves. And you thought Chamonix was glamourous... But it’s not all bling-and-furs; Megève’s passion for winter sports is a shared one, and any skier will feel instantly at home on the slopes. And window-shopping is free, and all the more enjoyable to the tinkle of sleighbells and hoofbeats. Accommodation-wise, don't expect too many budget options, but there’s real luxury available, both in hotels like Le Mont-Blanc and Le Lodge Park, not to mention the classic chalet style of Les Fermes de Marie.
Look beyond the slightly exclusive image and you’ll find a strong contender for intermediate leisure skiers. A commitment to families has also brought Megève the Famille Plus Montagne label. Those with a hankering for mileage will find that the Evasion Mont-Blanc lift pass offers good value, particularly in view of the quality on offer.
Which brings us to value. Skiers on a tight budget will probably look elsewhere for accommodation and drive or bus in to enjoy the skiing. On the other hand, those with the means to enjoy the very best that Megève can offer will find levels of luxury which will more than satisfy the most demanding clientèle. Or those in search of somewhere extra-special for a grand occasion or romantic break.
Exactly how we’ve managed to ski all around Megève over the years, without actually discovering what its own terrain holds in store until now is beyond us; perhaps we’ve been simply influenced by its relatively low profile on the normal skier’s radar. But among those who prize premium quality services above all else, it has an enviable reputation to add to its illustrious history. Our first morning finds us boarding the celebrated Rochebrune cable-car, the first in France designed for the exclusive use by skiers, and which opened in 1933. After a smooth haul to 1754m altitude we discover firm snow conditions beneath our skis.
Despite the lengthy spell since the most recent snowfalls, it’s clear that the groomers have done a skilled job, but as we launch off to join the Alpette chairlift we can sense that springtime isn’t far away. The six-seater lift speeds us smoothly up to 1871m, where we take in the stirring sight of Mont-Blanc before dropping down via the red-graded Scion piste to the 4-seater Petite Fontaine chairlift.
The onward climb gives us an overview of the progress we’re making along the ridge which will eventually take us into the Côte 2000 sector. Getting there entails a short (but steep) tow, courtesy of the Roche Fort draglift, with the option of a longer one up it's big brother Lanchettes, should you be tempted by the Red-graded piste after which it’s named. We opt instead for a more relaxed Blue cruise on Géant over to the Côte 2000 chairlift.
To Côte 2000...
This actually tops off at 2014m and serves the Red-graded Chamois plus a Black – the innocent-sounding Marmotte. This time we take the steep option, which turns out to be more Red than Black, and tells us something about the piste-grading: Megève, ever the diplomat, knows how to flatter even less competitive skiers. The snow in this sector is among the best on offer, so we take advantage of it with a couple more runs before working our way back to Rochebrune for lunch.
Up and (far) away...
The afternoon finds us taking the Rocharbois cable-car across the valley to the Mont d’Arbois gondola, which also operates in summer for walkers and cyclists. The lift replaced a cable-car opened in 1934, and even today the almost 2.5km ride is impressive for the sweeping views it offers of the Val d’Arly falling away far below. The views from the top are even better, and for a few minutes we simply gaze in awe at the sight of Mont-Blanc looming before us. It’s clear, though, that even at 1840m the late-season sun is affecting the snow quality, so we make our way via the Mont Joux four-seater chairlift to 1958m, above the Saint-Nicolas de Véroce and Mont-Joly sectors.
There’s no substitute for altitude, and the 2353m summit of the Mont Joly chairlift is an obvious target for anyone faced with milder conditions. It’s a long, slow ride but the fantastic views are matched by the descents on offer – the Black-graded Chamois or the Chevreuil Red. Time being tight, we have time for only one, so opt for the Red, which feeds nicely onto successive drops all the way back down to the base of the Mont d’Arbois gondola where we started.
The going becomes heavier as we descend, but the sinking sun is accompanied by a perceptible drop in temperatures. Elated by our day’s explorations, we resolve to start the next day over in Saint-Gervais, to discover what the Evasion Mont-Blanc ski area still holds in store.
© Roger Moss 2010