We have both been very fortunate to have had the chance to ski in many different ski resorts all over the world, but Les Gets holds a certain magic for us. Not only is it an extremely beautiful village with traditional Savoyarde roots, but it is also to blame for bringing Catherine and myself together. For it was in Les Gets one fateful night in December of 2001 that we first met!
So it was perhaps in the back of our minds when we were searching for a Pure Mountain chalet. We had considered a few other resorts, some higher, some bigger and some more fashionable; but there seemed to be more reasons why Les Gets got our vote.
Situated under an hour away from Geneva, Les Gets’ long history as a winter sports resort is proven by its status as being the location of the first Ecole du Ski Français which opened here in 1940, yet it has managed to remain an old established Alpine village at heart. Unlike some resorts, which have never actually been an authentic community with a history, Les Gets has inhabitants who were born and bred there, and whose antecedents stretch back in the town further than they may care to remember!
Originally an 11th Century Hamlet, Les Gets takes its name from the local dialect words “gitte” or “giette” meaning the corridors used to send logs rapidly down the hillside. Well before tourism developed from winter sports, wood and water were the main resources for the inhabitants of Les Gets. They used different varieties of pine for building: from the main structure to chimneys, from partition walls to roofing tiles; everything was made from wood. And thankfully this is still evident in the way Les Gets has been developed since. So for us, the fact that Les Gets isn’t a purpose built ski resort with no soul, but a fully fledged traditional Alpine village with a rich history was very important.
Another appealing aspect of Les Gets was its location in the heart of one of the biggest and best ski areas in the world- The Portes Du Soleil. I have spent the past three winter seasons in Les Gets and I can tell you hand on my heart that I still have covered barely three-quarters of the ski area. And despite what my Fiancee might say, I’m no slouch on the old planks!
Ok don’t believe me? Here’s some statistics for you:
Elevation: Base/Village: 1,000 m (3,281 ft); Top: 2,466 m (8,088 ft)
Vertical: 1,466 m (4,808 ft)
Longest Run: 8 km (5 mi)
Terrain: 19% beginner, 35% intermediate, 33% advanced, 13% expert
Skiing Circuit: 650 km (403 mi) to 12 different villages covering France and Switzerland
Types: 4 cable cars, 10 gondolas, 82 chairlifts; 111 surface lifts
Lift Capacity: 254,000 on 207 lifts
Sure it is not the highest of resorts but it is grass based and needs very little to fully open. It’s locality to Mont Blanc and the fact it sits on the first major Col going up towards Avoriaz, it’s higher Portes Du Soleil brother, means it gets much more snow than equivalent altitude resorts.
But perhaps our favourite thing about Les Gets, despite its great history and old world charm, it’s fantastic location near Geneva in the foothills of Mont Banc and its incredible lift system in one of the world’s top ski areas, is that it still remains unaware of just how wonderful it is- and it is that modesty that keeps us coming back time after time!