Gina Baksa enjoys a 4-day ski safari in France and Switzerland, exploring the Portes du Soleil resorts of Les Gets, Morzine, Avoriaz 1800 and Châtel.
The vast ski area of the Portes du Soleil offers skiers and boarders 12 connected resorts in France and Switzerland. Boasting 600km of beautiful pistes of various grades, many of them located in and above authentic Savoyard villages.
A ski safari is an ideal way to see more of a ski region. Why visit the same resort year after year? On a ski safari, organisers carry your luggage, allowing you to ski unencumbered between resorts. From dense, wooded valleys to snow-capped peaks offering incomparable views of the Dents du Midi, Mont-Blanc and Lake Geneva, the Portes du Soleil is magnificent. Stay two or three nights in the same hotel and then simply ski on to your next resort. One ski pass allows access to all 12 resorts in the area.
My recent ski safari took me from family-oriented Les Gets, to picturesque Morzine – famous for its après-ski – via the lofty heights of ski-in, ski-out, car-free Avoriaz culminating in a ski down to charming Châtel.
DAY 1: Arrival – Les Gets
Resort height: 1,170m
Snow range: 1,172 – 2,002m
Located between Lake Geneva (less than one hour’s drive) and Mont Blanc, compact, family friendly Les Gets has a permanent population of around 1303, which swells up to 17,000 during the height of the season. We take a taxi from Geneva airport, driving through snow-laden pine trees, under cerulean blue skies to our first destination, the charming village of Les Gets and our accommodation at the Hôtel Nagano, located in the heart of the village next to the ice rink. Breathing in the mountain scenery is beyond magical – it’s life-affirming.
Les Gets is an authentic Savoyard village with easy access to the slopes – you can ski either side of the valley at Les Chavannes and Mont Chéry. The village offers an excellent range of accommodation with luxury hotels such as the Chalet-Hotel Marmotte and the luxury chalet Grande Corniche. The main après-ski entertainment is along the main street. Choose from 40 restaurants, a fitness centre, myriad bars, pubs, a bowling alley, nightclubs and even a cinema. We took a bus to get around the village, and another bus takes you to Morzine. Skaters are catered for at Les Gets’ own ice rink, and children and toddlers have their own dedicated fun-ski areas at the Grand Cry territory, the mauve Milka chocolate run and the Chavannes boardercross.
We enjoyed a superb lunch (duck and goats cheese wraps with superb smoothie and coffee) at the new Wild Beets Kitchen. Run by English couple Jo and Mark, the restaurant brings a super-fresh mainly vegan-veggie smorgasbord to Les Gets. The perfect filler before a gentle yoga workout with Mel outside the Restaurant la Grand Ourse (1750m) on the slopes of Mont Chéry. Suitably stretched and relaxed, yoga is the perfect way to limber up pre-or-post skiing with the bonus of outstanding views of Mont Blanc. I can vouch for the cake and chocolat chaud here too. Relaxing later in the Hôtel Nagano’s sauna and pool, I feel sufficiently recharged to savour an aperitif and dinner at acclaimed Savoyard restaurant Fruitière des Perrières. A visit to this orgasmic gastronomic experience is a must when you’re in Les Gets.
Great slabs of Abondance cheese – made on-site – is melted before your very eyes… scrape off this divine dairy confection to accompany a selection of fine charcuterie. Alongside a superb local Savoyard Chignan Pinot Noir. Choose from fondue, raclette, reblochonnade and goats cheese raclette. This is Savoyard heaven on a plate.