SKI SAFARI IN THE PORTES DU SOLEIL
21st January 2019 | Katie Bamber, Portes du Soleil
PlanetSKI explores the corners of the Portes du Soleil on skis with a night in each big resort. But first a day ‘acclimatising’.
I’ve arrived in the Portes du Soleil in France for a four-day ski safari.
It’s my first time here.
I’m so glad finally to have made it to the famous ski area and for an adventure where I can check out everything I’ve been missing.
Best of all, I’ll be getting my first glimpse of the resorts from the mountains as I ski on down into each of them.
A ‘ski safari’, for those that haven’t heard this phrase before, is a ski tour exploring different ski areas each day, moving on from your base each day to sleep in the next.
I’ll be starting in Les Gets to ski the morning in the Mont Chery area, the exclusively Les Gets ski mountain, before whippping back through town to get up into the LesGets-Morzine area.
Morzine for the night (I’ve heard about these…) to ski the Pleney area in the AM.
Then up to Super Morzine and the joint Morzine-Avoriaz skiing – for my first sighting of Avoriaz hidden high in the cliffs.
Avoriaz to Chatel – could they be more different? And everywhere in between.
Last day will be Super Chatel, Barbossine and some Switzerland.
A night is surely not going to be enough down in each resort, even though I’ll be skiing all I can on the slopes.
So, before I start the busy 4-dayer, packing up and moving on each morning, I’m going to enjoy my first host town sans skis.
Mont Blanc magic
What does mountain life in the slow lane look like?
Damn good, it turns out.
Les Gets is a bustling town – families, life, activity and food.
It’s a attractive, traditional ski town with wooden buildings and ski slopes on both sides ending up right in the centre.
Nothing like a purpose built ski resort (though I’m gagging to finally see in person the incredible architecture of Avoriaz) in its charm and alpine authenticity.
I was whisked first to a vegan cafe for a falafel salad – an authentic ski town but one that’s staying current – before heading up the Mont Chery (cute, right?) mountain.
Up here was not only perfect views of Mont Blanc and many more peaks to pick out, but a perfect plateau for peace and contemplation.
An hour’s Vinyasa flashed by, despite it being zero degrees.
Yoga on the mountain
The mountain is for everyone, and on such a lovely day everyone smart from Les Gets was up here on this side.
It’s an extra yogic challenge to keep your eyes closed when meant to for sneak peeks at the vista.
And to block out the skier comments.
One poor kiddo had a wobble when he thought we were dead bodies during the ultimate Savasana:
What follows a fresh practice?
Tea, fire and cake.
Apres Yoga at Le Grande Ourse
Fire and gateau – Le Grande Ourse
Sundown glimped from the telecabine down to town was an added bonus.
A quick nip around town to orientate myself and to test out my new toys, YakTrax, which better trail runners than me probably know about already.
Telecabine Mont du Chery
Les Gets from above
I ended my Les Gets half day the way every evening should be spent on holiday in France.
By eating cheese.
In probably the best authentic restaurant I can remember in the mountains.
La Fruitiere des Perrieres, a kilometre or so outside of town, was packed with people.
Its artisan workshop and mini rustic deli were just nextdoor.
We ate in the cheese cave, the domed room that used to age and store the cheese way back when.
Raclette was the obvious choice and I’d happily travel to Les Gets again for this meal and experience alone.
The place was gorgeously decorated with everything retro and original, and the restaurant even had its own aperitif concoction, which I’ve managed to steal the recipe for.
It looks and tastes like Aperol, but is actually white wine, white rum, grenadine and oranges.
I know, but believe me – it’s the perfect mountain aperitif.
Goodnight from me
Get yourselves out to the Portes du Soleil as soon as you can for a piece of this.
I’ve not even skied yet but it’s worth it for this 8 hours alone…
Les Gets has done very well in my books for ski resort hosting, and I’ve yet to hit the slopes.
If you’re ready to go now on just this (I don’t blame you), or perhaps you know the area and this has got you pumping, then see here for where to stay in town:
Try family hotel La Marmotte, or if you’re looking for something more chic, La Tapiaz.
La Tapiaz is a family-run 4* hotel with an enviable spa, and it only has eight rooms, so it’s ultimately relaxing and private.
It’s located in the centre of the attractive, friendly town.
One last plug for the lovely Les Gets… It’s only an hour from Geneva, so just a fraction of the transfer-time compared to many popular alpine resorts.
Good looking, good feeling accommodation in Les Gets
Tomorrow I start to explore the corners of the PDS in France, and including a little of Switzerland…
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