Free ride skiing in Les Gets – the best off piste adventures
There are many world renowned extreme skiing resorts, such as Verbier, famous for the infamous back side of Mont Fort, Tignes where most of the resort is situated above the Tree line, giving it huge dumps of powder and altitudes of 3500m going right up to the glacier, Nesiko, in Japan, famous for its never ending powder skiing in the tree line and Chamonix – famous for mountaineering skiing.
These resorts are fantastic for the extreme skier, for someone who has grown up skiing, or for the ex-racer. To benefit from these resorts not only does one need to be an adrenaline junkie, or somebody who likes to push themselves, but also have had many years experience skiing to a high level. They also have higher risk of storms and high winds, meaning that a large proportion of the resort has to be shut and the visibility becomes very poor. Prices can also be as much as double those in Les Gets. With tree line skiing you will never have poor visibility as the clouds will never settle in the trees, however, when above the tree line you will often have days of total white out.
Les Gets has some great free-ride/adventurous ski areas which are perhaps not so well known.
The altitude of Les Gets ranges from 1172m to 2020m, Tignes will go up to 3400m, with most of the resort above the tree line. The high altitude resorts are know for getting bigger dumps, however, these resorts also have higher risk of storms and high winds, meaning that a large proportion of the resort has to be shut and also the visibility becomes very poor. With tree line skiing you will never have poor visibility as the clouds will never settle in the trees, however, when above the tree line you will often have days of total white out.
One point which should also be considered is the cost – a ski pass for Les Gets can be as much as half the price of a ski pass in the higher areas (in Zermat the ski pass is 80 CHF plus 16 CHF for the train – just for a day’s skiing). Restaurant and accommodation prices are also lower in Les Gets. There are four main freeride ski areas:
The summit of the lift is at 2002m, where you can drop into a vast open powder field where it is easy to find fresh tracks. There are many different routes to ski which are easily navigated and you can view the whole area from the lift. If you want to push yourself there are many rocks and features to jump off. The slopes are North Westerly facing, meaning that they are not as effected by the sun as south facing pistes, so the snow conditions will remain good later in the season and into the afternoon. There is a 6 person high speed chair lift with a transit time of just under 5 minutes, with a 508m vertical ascent.
This area is a little more extreme than Chamossiere, it also drops into the tree line, giving a greater variety of terrain to negotiate and ski through. This area is a great place to ski with many features. Being part in the tree line also means it is easier to ski on days when there is poor visibility at higher levels. Additionally, it will not be closed on days when there is a high avalanche risk.
Les Gets Bowl
The bowl has 4 chair lifts, and most of the area is in the tree line, with the top of Ranfoilly lift at 1862m. Underneath every single lift there are a huge variety of pistes, ranging from easy blue’s to difficult blacks and in-between the pistes there is endless tree line powder skiing. Towards the end of the season, when the snow is a little thin, you can ski down Les Gets world famous mountain bike tracks – which is great fun. For the majority of the season, the tracks are buried, leaving endless tree line skiing.
This is the real gem of Les Gets, it is only a small mountain with few lifts, most of the pistes are reds and blacks, meaning that during the busy weeks, Mont Chery can still be quiet. I have lived in Les Gets for 10 years and have never been bored with this mountain, similar to the Les Gets bowl, there are many tree lines to ski and over the back of Mont Chery there is steeper and more extreme skiing, easily lapped by fast chair lifts.
Connexion with Portes du Soleil
The resort of Les Gets make part of the biggest international ski area in the world : the Portes du Soleil. With 12 different resorts and a lot of connexion between them, the free ride skiing is huge. Both sides, France or Switerzland resorts, propose plenty of excellent areas for a off-piste skier.
After ski life
At the end of the day, after a long session in the powder, what is best than stop at the Après-ski bar with live music in a nice atmosphere at the bottom of the slopes, or in the nice and cosy bars all around the village. Les Gets is also the perfect place to try the authentic and best alpine food in the Alpes : gourmet food, authentic dishes, good wines, and the people resort is also well known for the kindness and the excellent service given to the guests. With around 30 restaurants in Les Gets, all really good for epicurean people, you will not be disappointed. And as the evening never ends, why not go to the Igloo discotheque, which was the first Dance to open his doors in France in 1938.
Whilst Les Gets is not well known for more Freeride skiing, there are many benefits:
- Fast turn around times, fast lifts.
- Tree line skiing – meaning zero days closed due to high winds and better visibility in poor weather
- Value for money – the ski pass can be as much has half the price, restaurant and accommodation prices are lower.
- Beautiful traditional village
Connexion with all the Portes du Soleil area
- Après-ski life with bars, restaurants