Les Houches’ gentler slopes are popular with families and ideal for relaxing skiing, but there’s much more to this very pretty area.
The enormous Kandahar black run is a World Cup venue with every bank and dip having its name and history. The whole area has wonderful views and the best on-slope eating in the valley. Les Houches can often be open when bad conditions have closed the upper slopes, and the trees provide visibility in heavy snow.
Long, wide and easy blue runs wind between the trees, with beautiful views over the Chamonix valley or towards St. Gervais. It’s a great place for a relaxing day and a long lunch.
Snowboarders should note that it does have some flat spots, especially the top of the Bellevue lift. The Prarion bubble is the best place for snowboarders to access the slopes.
Where to lunch: Les Houches has really lovely on-piste restaurants including the atmospheric Vieilles Luges. It’s a bit tricky to find, check the piste map. If you take the ‘Maison Vieille’ chairlift, you’ll see it on the right hand side, and you ski down through the trees to find it. There is a sign from the piste.
This is beautifully cosy and one off the few places that serves the local speciality Farçon. It’s is extremely popular so drop in at the beginning of your day to reserve for lunch. Also be aware that it doesn’t take credit cards so make sure you’re OK for Euros.
Another place to be very much recommended is La Taniére which has a high reputation for its steaks and other Argentine specialities, with veggie choices also available.
When to go and when not to:
If it’s snowing, Les Houches is ideal, since its trees give visibility – but if it is not very cold, do check the snow line is below the base station (around 1000m) before deciding on a day there.
Access: Direct bus services from the road near the chalet (check the times) or from the Flegere lift (more frequent) – it takes about 25 minutes.
It’s also 25 minutes by train to Les Houches, but then it is a good 15 minute walk from the station so the bus is much better.