This morning brought the first sunshine we have seen for a while and there was deep fresh snow to be found off piste and nicely groomed packed powder on piste. Avalanche risk will be high for a few days and the higher areas in the valley have been slow to re-open. Les Houches attracted big crowds today and unless you arrived early parking was a problem. Tomorrow (Sunday) will see the same situation so get up early. Yet more fresh snow has been falling and is expected to fall overnight. Excellent conditions.
Night skiing (including a free mulled wine or hot chocolate) is now running every Thursday from 21000. It's free of charge on the Le Tourchet slope in the middle of the village and, although this is technically a beginners' slope, it is fun for everyone.
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.