Ski France

Les Houches Ski Resort Guide

  • Weather Forecast for Les Houches at  m altitude issued: 12 pm21 Jan 2017 (local time)  
Ski France

Les Houches Ski Resort Guide

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Les Houches Ski Resort Guide

Les Contamines - Evasion Mont Blanc, Les Houches photo

Les Houches

Photo credit: skye-1

Les Houches - Evasion Mont Blanc photo

Les Houches

Photo credit: skye-1

Mont Blanc, Les Houches photo

Les Houches

Photo credit: Clive Warren

Les Houches photo

Les Houches

Photo credit: Clive Warren

Slope Stats

  • 1860m

  • 852m

  • 1008m

  • Acres of ski:-
  • Pistes:22
  • Snowmaking:70%
  • Halfpipes:0
  • Terrain Parks:-
  • X-Country:15 km
  • beginner40%
  • intermediate50%
  • advanced10%

Les Houches is the home of the world famous Khandahar Verte des Houches Downhill ski run, hosting the Chamonix Valley leg of the World Cup circuit in early January of each year. Although a rather small resort, the 47 km of runs offer a good variety of alpine skiing sweeping down through woodland on the north-western slopes of Mont Blanc, the white dome of which tower's above the ski area. A number of race clubs use Les Houches as a training ground so, understandably, the standard of skiing is generally on the high side. Les Houches is also the winter training base for the British Ski Academy. Whilst not an area large enough to consider for an exclusive trip, unless specifically for training, it is well worth paying a visit if skiing in the Chamonix valley. For Intermediates and above, with the exception of race days, you can ski the Khandahar from the 1860m summit, back to the town centre at the resorts base, uninterrupted.

Les Houches is at last being managed by the Chamonix Lift Company and many changes are scheduled for next season (2012-2013) with new lifts and expanded pistes. In the meantime the two terrain parks have been closed. This gives more space for the resort's traditional use for race-training and instructor development courses.

Travel

  • Nearest Airport:Geneva
  • Nearest Train Station:Houches
  • Tourist Office Phone:+33450555062
  • Tourist Office Website:www.leshouches.com
  • Slopeside accommodation:yes
  •   14
  •   14

Lifts

  • Season opens:
  • Season closes:16 Apr 2017
  • Lifts:18 (2 gondolas, 7 chair lifts, 9 surface lifts)
  •   2
  •   7
  •   9

Les-Houches logo
Announcements & News from the Les Houches ski resort manager

SNOWDATE 18-January-2017

Great conditions over the weekend after the much needed snowfall finally arrived at the end of last week. Excellent cover almost everywhere, though the off piste is now either skied out into a semi-piste, which can be fun, or set rather hard, which is not fun. The weather is stable and anti-cyclonic. So we have sunshine and intense cold. Wrap up as warmly as you can. It isn't really frostbite weather in Les Houches but the cold is intense.

15 out of 15 lifts are running, and 31 out of 36 runs are open. Conditions are perfect for snow-making and the remaining runs that have yet to be opened could be brought into service sooner rather than later. Snow depth is 90 cm at the top and my own estimate is 30 cm at village level.

At last the service crew has managed to chip the ice off the webcam and it is running again. It couldn't have been easy as the front of my car was covered in a thick layer of ice too. You can access the webcam from a link on the Compagnie Mont-Blanc website or go direct by using the link lower down this report.

One word of warning. A large area of glaze-ice has formed at the top of the Col de Vosa piste. The patrol has put up warning signs so do give it a wide berth even if you're a World Cup downhill champion. Otherwise the pistes are in great condition for carving long fast turns. Descents to village level are fully covered but a little firm for beginners.

Check out this address to see the panoramic view at the top of the Prarion lift: https://panocam.skiline.cc/chamonix/houches

Our long wait for winter snow to bring the slopes to life was caused by the extremely stable anti-cyclonic conditions that arrived in mid December. This was irritating for skiers but it is a perfectly natural phenomenon. We take pleasure in it when we already have good snow and want blue skies, but resent it when it pushes the snow-storms away from our valley before the slopes have proper cover.

To be brutally honest the reality is that snow generally comes to this region in January, and Christmas week rarely enjoys good snow and is always crowded. Luckily the Cham valley still offers things to do even when there is no snow.

The 2015-16 season was not a classic, and got off to a late start. The resort was only fully operational a week into the new year. But after that things went well despite every challenge the weather threw at us. And it finished with good skiing on the last day. Maybe the late arrival of the snow this year will give us a closing day to remember at the end of another super season.

Although relatively low, Les Houches is deeply shaded in the early months of the season. In combination with extensive snow-making and excellent piste management this allows it to offer reliable skiing conditions which attract race teams and instructor-training groups. And it is part of the iconic Chamonix region of course.

Les Houches has many mountain restaurants. If you have gourmet inclinations you may like to sample the super Vieille Luges, the cool and stylish L'Hors Piste, or the atmospheric La Taniere. A surprising variety of other mountain restaurants offer further choice at lower cost. At the bottom of the lifts there is the quirky Kitch Inn near the Bellevue cable-car, and Eric Jaquier's very professional boulangerie which has expanded to become a welcome cafe-bar at the Prarion lift. Perhaps arrive early and breakfast at one of these two places before riding the first lift up to make the most of the best snow and the quietest pistes. It's a very effective tactic in busy periods like half-term.

The Compagnie Mont Blanc website shows an accurate map and webcams for you to check the slopes of Les Houches and all the other areas. There have been changes this year. Another drag-lift has been removed. The useful Point d'Orientation poma is no more and the resort now has only two remaining draglifts. So use this link for information about the skiing here and throughout the Chamonix valley:

http://www.compagniedumontblanc.co.uk/en/webcams

If you make irregular visits to the Chamonix valley for only a few days at a time you would benefit from buying a rapid card. This is an annual pass which debits your credit card automatically whenever you ski (or use the summer lifts). The daily rates are discounted and you avoid queuing at the ticket office. So it's not only very convenient, but it will pay for itself quite quickly if you visit frequently. In fact it pays for itself if you merely ride the Aguille du Midi lift once. And why wouldn't you? See here for details:

http://www.compagniedumontblanc.co.uk/en/lift-passes/chamonix-rapidcard

Information supplied 18 Jan 2017

Latest Snow Reportview full snow report

  • Issued:20 Jan
  • Last Snowfall:14 January 2017
  • Snow Depth (upper):
    90
    cm
  • Snow Depth (lower):
    40
    cm
  • Piste:Excellent
  • Off-piste:Tracked

Today’s Weather (1434 m)view full snow forecast

AM
clear
10 SE10
1 °CF-Level
750m
PM
clear
5 ESE5
1 °CF-Level
1650m
night
partly cloudy
10 SE10
-6 °CF-Level
500m

Resorts close to Les Houches include:

Les Houches Location Maps

Les Houches Location Map

Visitor Reviews of Les Houches

mary from Ireland writes:

Second time to Les Houches. Really long queues to get up the mountain and many hundreds of children given priority so we had to wait nearly an hour, on 2 separate days, to get on the gondola. Also had to wait another hour to get the lift passes so it was 2 hours to get up the mountain on our first day. Trails down were ice rock and grass yet remained open. Would not recommend this resort.

Read 18 more reviews of Les Houches or submit your own

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