A bit of snow two nights ago refreshed the off piste at the top but fell as heavy rain lower down. Some runs are closed, others are looking worn in places, but most of the area is still skiable and enjoyable. But the continuing freeze-thaw cycles are more typical of April than March. The pistes are very firm early in the morning and later become very soft and slushy. Choose your skis carefully to match your starting time. Weak skiers are best advised to ride down in the gondola but stronger skiers can still enjoy powering down through the soft stuff to the village.
The forecast is hopeful and more snow is expected. But daytime temperatures are not cold and rain may arrive instead of snow. Elsewhere in the valley the Vallee Blanche is in great condition and all areas are quiet again now that the weekend is over.
Spring snow has appeared off-piste but it softens quickly. Powder may still be available here and there in Argentiere, Brevent and Flegere. Good patches may also be lurking in the Domain de Balme. Seek and Ye may find.
Spring itself is still many weeks in the future and we all hope for another winter blizzard to arrive and change things dramatically. No word of any such thing yet, but keep checking the forecast...
There are 9 mountain restaurants on the slopes of Les Houches, three of which are arguably the very best in the whole Chamonix valley. So if your skiing involves eating this is a good place to be. I recommend particularly La Taniere, Les Vieille Luges, and Le Hors-Piste. The latter is expensive but wonderfully stylish. This is simply my own informed opinion. Try them all and enjoy the experience of arriving at your own conclusion!
The Kitsch Inn at the bottom of the Bellevue cable car has recovered from a catastrophic fire two seasons ago and is a lively spot for apres-ski (and you can have a full English breakfast here before riding the lift right up to my 'secret' powder area).
Eric Jacquier's small patisserie just opposite the Prarion lift allows you to stand inside at small tables and enjoy truly superb coffee and a wonderful breakfast pastry before crossing the road to ride the gondolas. Delicious and good value for money too, and now you can even buy a beer!
In Summary: Les Houches is a small area and yet perfectly formed. The reason that so much race-training and instructor-assessment happens here is that this is where you can find the best piste-skiing in the Chamonix valley, and the extensive snow-making is particularly effective in an area that remains very deeply shaded until late February. Off-piste opportunities can also be excellent especially when poor visibility or huge crowds adversely affect the higher resorts in the valley. Nearby Domaine de Balme is probably the best for powder days if visibility is good, while Les Grands Montets gives access to maximum-adventure off-piste, but does tend to attract huge crowds after any dump of powder. The Argentiere lifts stay open into May and are only a 20 minute drive from Les Houches. Bus and trains connect the areas too.