Les Houches Ski Resort Guide
1 pm 22 May 2015(local time) Weather Forecast for Les Houches at m altitude issued:
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Les Houches Ski Resort Guide
- Acres of ski:-
- Terrain Parks:-
- X-Country:15 km
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.
- Nearest Airport:Geneva
- Nearest Train Station:Houches
- Tourist Office Phone::+33450555062
- Tourist Office Website:www.leshouches.com
- Slopeside accommodation:yes
Announcements & News from the Les Houches ski resort manager
It's all over now at Les Houches, and although I skied mainly at Domaine de Balme today I did also visit Les Houches. It would be wrong not to ski my local slopes on closing day. It was the afternoon when I got there and everything was slushy, but good fun for the handful of skiers who were up there. Some of you will aspire to skiing powder snow but mainly stick to the pistes. Let me remind you that skiing in slush requires the same skills as skiing powder so don't refuse to ski these conditions
The Chamonix valley season ends in May, but from now on only Argentiere (Les Grands Montets) is open. The higher slopes will be getting a sprinkling of fresh snow and the home run is still intact, though my advice is to ski it at the start of the day and ride the gondola down in the afternoon. The good news is that sunny weather is forecast and the heavy rain of the last week will have fallen as fresh snow on that huge adventure playground. There are still two weeks of fun to be had in the Chamonix valley.
Out of nostalgia, and in homage to another excellent season at Les Houches (even though the snow only arrived on Boxing Day) you can read my posting from last week to see how late in the season we were still enjoying good snow:
"If the warm weather is a bit of a pig's ear as far as snow is concerned, the piste-preparation team at Les Houches have transformed it into a silk purse. My last report was not very optimistic but today, in spite of the warm Spring weather, the pistes were fantastic fun. The home runs are closed because the snow has gone from the bottom, and some of the runs at the top are also shut, but the main pistes were beautifully smooth and the snow was perfect for fast carved turns all the way from the top down to the bottom of the Maison Neuve chair. On the backside, Chamois, La Cha, and Fontaines are open and equally perfect. The top of Bellevue was also fun and gave access to some good off-piste.
Conditions began to soften at midday so the moral is to get up early, go up as soon as the lifts open, and you can enjoy some of the best piste skiing of the season. The off-piste was also skiable and fun with a perfect Spring-snow softening of the firm crust. Timing is everything. The frontside softens before the backside and Fontaines is the last to soften.
I had underrated the sheer excellence of the piste management at Les Houches and after today's skiing I am confident that the resort will stay open until the planned closure next weekend. This season started slowly but it has been another very enjoyable winter in Les Houches. Oh, and did I mention that the slopes were almost empty of skiers. Perfection.
Elsewhere in the valley the Domaine de Balme offers excellent conditions and Les Grands Montets will have good skiing right into May. There is often a powder day or two at this time of year so we are all hoping for snow. All the Chamonix valley ski areas are open.
Avalanche risk is moderate. The main risk is wet snow sliding in the afternoon as temperatures rise. These may not be the most spectacular avalanches but burial in wet snow is very dangerous even when the slide is minor. Enjoy the Spring-snow off piste when it develops, but get off the steeps when it turns to slush.
Please note that most of the mountain restaurants are now closing, but Le Hors-Piste remains open so you can still eat really well on the mountain before riding down in the lift. The Prarion Hotel at the top gives you a chance to enjoy a more informal lunch and a snack, with an outstanding view of Mont-Blanc, before riding down in the Prarion gondola."
GENERAL NOTES ON LES HOUCHES:
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 with outstanding food for a mountain location. 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.
Latest Snow Reportview full snow report
- Issued:19 Apr
- Last Snowfall:4 May 2015
- Snow Depth (upper):80cm
- Snow Depth (lower):0cm
Today’s Weather (1434 m)view full snow forecast
Les Houches Location Maps
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.
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