Les Houches Destination Guide
Great Whatever Your Skiing Level!
Les Houches and Servoz, along with Chamonix, Argentiere and Vallorcine make up the Chamonix Valley, all of which are served by Mountain Drop-offs transfer buses from Geneva Airport on a reagular basis, all year round.
Together all four communes offer a wealth of activities, sightseeing and things to do, whether you’re mad for skiing and boarding, crazy about climbing and mountain biking, or just keen to take in the fresh air and views at the foot of the Mont Blanc massif.
What we love about Les Houches is that it's a ski resort in its own right and offers a satisfying combination of activities, amenities and tranquillity that is very different to Chamonix. A lot of families live full time, year round in Les Houches, which gives it that very 'normal' feel, as well as being a holiday destination with lots of activities and events.
As for winter, the skiing is great for all levels of skiers. On bad mountain weather days, dropping off the piste to ski through the pine trees in Les Houches can’t be beaten. Youngsters will love the sunny, gentle learner slopes and speed demons will be jumping in their ski boots at the thought of skiing the famous ‘Verte des Houches’ black run, used for professional FIS World Cup competitions such as the Kandahar and Junior World Championships. Teeny skiers will find their ski legs at the Jardin de Neige beside the Lac de Chavants at the bottom of the Prarion lift.
It might not have the same kudos as say Les Grands Montets, but we highly recommend skiing Les Houches if only to see amazing 'side-on' views of Mont Blanc you only get on the Prarion plateau and to try some of the tucked away little mountain restaurants that are a far cry from the canteen-style self service restaurants we see elsewhere in the valley.
Apres-ski is a laid-back affair in Les Houches, with just enough bars and restaurants to keep you amused. There is also a outdoor ski rink in winter which is free to use, great night skiing, an indoor climbing wall and lots of snowshoeing and cross country ski trails both by Lac de Chavants at floor level and on the plateau behind the Crozat chairlift right in the heart of the ski area.
The village centre project in Les Houches has transformed the area around the church and the town hall. Now there's a very smart tourist office complete with an events hall (Espace Animation) a cafe/restaurant and new parking areas, there is finally a proper centre to Les Houches and we think it is lovely.
Les Houches really comes into its own in the summer as the start or finish point of the Tour Mont Blanc itinerary. This hugely popular walking tour takes you around the Mont Blanc Massif, with many hikers starting from Les Houches, passing through Italy and Switzerland before heading back into the Chamonix Valley. The Les Houches mountains offer some of the best walking in the valley, with alpine pastures, mountain farms and hamlets to explore.
And just a few minutes further and tempting you with amazing panoramas of the Aiguilles, the laid back little village of Servoz offers a traditional mountain holiday in an authentic style.
The feel is very much residential and there are larger, well equipped chalets to rent here that are excellent value for money. In summer, Servoz comes into its own with wonderful biking (road cycling in particular) and sport climbing at Le Lac end of the village.
NEW for the 2016/2017 season in Les Houches
Last winter we welcomed the brand new Melezes chair that replaced the Cha and Chamois draglifts. Since then, a lot of work has been done to re-configure the Plancerts run, which is now one of the lovliest and longest blues that all levels of skier will enjoy. Just make sure you take the time to stop and check out the stunning views!
The Ski Camp, will be back for the second year in its new location just beyond the bottom of the Ecole chairlift. The Ski Camp is an on-snow activity base for kids. Running throughout the Feb school holidays, kids can try biathlon, zip wires, curling and snow tubing as well as toboganning. There are also picnic tables and chill out areas. A good place to relax with little ones in between burning up the pistes!
After a successful return to the valley in 2016, the Kandahar World Cup skiing is not scheduled to return to Les Houches for the 2017 season. We're keeping our fingers crossed that the mythical Piste Verte will be back on the programme soon. In the meantime, there's nothing to stop you hitting the black run yourself to get a feel of just how fast the skiers go!
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Geneva to Les Houches