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
SEASON 2018 - 2019
Well, at about this time last year I was excited, and some would say over-excited, by the prospect of a stupendous snow season. I was half right, but that is all history now, and you will all be asking what lies ahead for the 2018/19 season. So here goes as I wipe the condensation from my crystal ball...
There are many postings on Instagramaticus and Facebooky showing ski racers training on perfect pistes. Do not be misled. Look at the hills around these fine pistes and you will see green fields. This perfection is the result of a huge investment in snowmaking which used to be the pre-season norm in Les Houches too. But this season the Compagnie Mont Blanc is reeling under the impact of a catastrophic fire which destroyed the mid-station at Argentiere, multiple cable problems and the subsequent replacement costs, the deployment of the wonderful Russian heavy-lift helicopter (which can't be cheap), and the brutal fact that the race-teams have gone elsewhere to train, largely because of badly judged changes to the piste layout strategy here.
I always council against early ski holidays, including Christmas, but last year was untypically excellent. This season shows promise in that the slopes are fairly white, but the situation is uncertain as there is not yet any frozen base for snow to rest on or for you to ski on. Unless you are prepared to hike up the Grands Montets, and suffer every sort of discomfort, just to say that you are skiing. Situation normal then. I will try to summon up the enthusiasm to keep you posted as soon as things change. In the meantime the official opening day has been announced and I have recorded the dates below. More as a PR exercise than a serious plan, the Company has announced that the resort will enjoy a "Partial opening depending on snow conditions" from the 15th of December. On the official opening day it will presumably be fully open regardless of snow cover. Sometimes I wonder why I bother with this. So, buyer beware. Keep checking this site for my latest view as to whether it is worth waxing the skis let alone finding the boots. Remember that poor late season conditions are poignant and worth exploring before summer comes. And if the summer is bad you can stay indoors and repair the base damage on your skis. But poor early season conditions simply allow you to rest up a little longer as you wait for the real season, which will begin sooner or later...
Please be careful when things do kick off, even if you took and survived stupid risks last season. Educate yourself: Atomic Skis sponsor an off-piste website which gives comprehensive modular instruction on minimising and assessing mountain risks. There is a small fee to sign up but it well worth paying, should help you enjoy the mountains, and might save your life or that of somebody close to you. Very highly recommended. The URL is:
Check conditions on the webcams by copying this URL into your browser:
Check the lift status everywhere in the Chamonix Valley here:
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 charming Vieille Luges, the cool and stylish L'Hors Piste, both of which serve first-class food, while La Taniere has a wonderful atmosphere and a unique Argentinian buzz. A surprisingly large number of other mountain restaurants offer alternatives at lower cost. At the bottom of the lifts there is the quirky Kitch Inn near the Bellevue cable-car, and the friendly and traditional bar-cafe Le Spot is just across the road. At the Prarion lift Eric Jaquier's very professional boulangerie-patisserie has expanded to become a welcome cafe-bar. Perhaps arrive early and breakfast at one of these 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 and the Easter holidays.
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:
If you make irregular visits to the Chamonix valley for only a few days at a time you could 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 almost pays for itself if you merely ride the Aguille du Midi lift once. And why wouldn't you? See here for details:
Finally, a reminder that the latest-style of lift passes can be re-used after paying online. This includes hands-free passes from other ski areas. They can all be re-charged for Chamonix or elsewhere by visiting the appropriate website. There is no discount given this way, but you will never have to queue at a ticket office again. A huge convenience at any time, and almost essential at peak periods.
Even more finally, this report comes without even the token reward of a Snow-Forecast calendar (albeit with a weirdly tilted design which made it impossible to relate a date to the correct day of the week in 2018), let alone backhanders from grateful local restaurateurs, or job-offers and bonuses from the superb piste and lift company. It's completely unbiased in other words. More's the pity...
Latest Snow Reportview full snow report
- Issued:9 Dec
- Last Snowfall:9 December 2018
- Snow Depth (upper):–
- Snow Depth (lower):–
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.