Why choose Les Houches ski resort?
Les Houches is probably the ski resort the best suited to beginner and intermediate skiers in the whole of the Chamonix-Mont Blanc area. Beginners can take the Bellevue cable car or the Prarion gondola up to easy slopes with fabulous views of the Mont Blanc massif and surrounding scenery.
And, while it may not be the best ski destination for experts and advanced skiers and boarders, Les Houches does have some demanding ski runs, including the Kandahar piste which is used regularly for a World Cup downhill race.
Where is Les Houches?
The village of Les Houches is just down the valley from the better-known winter destination of Chamonix, which makes it a little closer to the airport at Geneva and to the access to the French motorway system.
Where is the closest airport to Les Houches?
The closest and most convenient international airport to Les Houches is the one at Geneva just over the border in Switzerland. It has by far the biggest choice of winter flights and destinations for skiers and boarders looking to sample the ski resorts in the Chamonix valley. The airport at Chambéry is the next closest but the options here are far more limited.
|Airport||Distance to Les Houches|
|Geneva Airport||92 kilometres|
|Chambéry Airport||132 kilometres|
|Turin Airport||176 kilometres|
|Lyon Airport||212 kilometres|
Getting to Les Houches by train
The rail service to Les Houches is part of the route which runs between Vallorcine and Saint Gervais. Connections to other mainline services in France are through linking services at St Gervais-Le Fayet further down the valley. The St Gervais-Le Fayet train station is part of the Geneva region suburban rail network and offers links to Annemasse and Annecy, as well as the route through to Geneva itself. There are a number of train stations on the line in the Les Houches region, but the main Les Houches station is on the other side of the river Arve from the centre of the village and the bottom of the Bellevue cable car.
Driving to Les Houches
The Autoroute Blanche (the name of the A40 motorway) is the closest connection to the French motorway network, which ends at Passy. There is about another 15 kilometres driving into the Chamonix valley along the RN205 before reaching Les Houches. Drivers arriving from the Turin region and the Aosta valley in Italy can get to the Chamonix region through the Mont Blanc Tunnel – the French side exits the tunnel close to the ski town. The route up to the Col de la Forclaz from Martigny in Switzerland can also be driven in winter, but does require mountain driving experience and can be closed in bad conditions, leading to a long detour around Lac Leman.
Where to stay in Les Houches?
There is a good choice of ski accommodation in the Les Houches area, from hotels to apartment complexes and chalets. Most of the accommodation is within easy reach of the dual carriageway along the valley and the ski lifts from the ski resort centre.
Ski hotels in Les Houches
The Hotel Saint Antoine is located just off the main road through the Chamonix valley and offers 19 rooms. It has its own spa area with sauna and hammam and a popular restaurant serving local dishes.
The Hotel du Bois is a three-star hotel with its own restaurant and bar. Rooms all have bath and the hotel offers a indoor swimming pool, a sauna and a shuttle service to the ski lifts in Les Houches.
Ski apartments in Les Houches
The Residence Chalets Elena is a four-star apartment complex with 49 apartments of differeing sizes in two chalet-style buildings. It has its own 1000 square metre wellness centre and is only 400 metres from the Bellevue cable car.
Le Hameau De Pierre Blanche offers apartments for up to eight people in a residence only 400 metres from the Prarion gondola base station. The residence has its own wellness and spa centre as well as an indoor swimming pool.
Map of Les Houches accommodation
Those who want to get an idea of general availability for their chosen stay can enter dates of arrival and departure to see which accommodation options may be suitable. Click the ‘+’ or ‘-‘ buttons to zoom in or out and click on the prices to see more information and/or book a particular establishment.
Les Houches ski area
Skiers and boarders should note that the Les Houches ski area is not included in the popular Chamonix Le Pass ski pass but is included in the more extensive Mont Blanc Unlimited ski pass. The skiing at Les Houches also has its own local pass in the Les Houches Forfait (which includes the Tramway du Mont Blanc from Le Fayet-St Gervais).
The main skiing above Les Houches can be reached either by the Bellevue cable car at one end of the village or by the Prarion gondola at the other end. The village of Les Houches is at 1000 metres and the top station rises to an altitude of 1900 metres at Prarion.
There are plenty of easy ski slopes connecting the two top stations and a number of short lifts which offer a good choice of runs for beginner and early intermediate skiers at a snow sure altitude. (There are also a couple of beginner ski lifts down in the valley at Le Tourchet in the centre of the village if snow conditions permit.)
Another of the principal advantages of choosing Les Houches as a base for skiing in the Chamonix valley is that the runs back down to the village are of standards which suit all levels, with blue (easy), red (medium) and black (advanced) options, and which run through the trees, which makes them a good choice for skiing in poor visibility.
Back at the top, the Les Houches ski area is also linked into ski runs above the town of Saint Gervais giving it a total of 55 kilometres of ski runs. These runs, mostly easy or medium difficulty, do not connect all the way down to Saint Gervais, however, and access from the town to the Les Houches area is via the quaint and historic Mont Blanc tramway. This is a rack railway which heads up from Le Fayet at 580 metres above sea level, passes through St Gervais (820 metres) and climbs to the Bellevue cable car top station.
Other skiing options in the Chamonix valley
Skiers who are planning on exploring further afield and who have purchased the Mont Blanc Unlimited ski pass have access to the areas described above as well as the skiing at Le Brevent and La Flégère above Chamonix, Les Grands Montets above Argentière and the smaller areas near Vallorcine, as well as Les Contamines and Megève in France, Verbier and Crans Montana in Switzerland, and Courmayeur in Italy.
And of course any confident intermediate skier or better should not miss the 22-kilometre off-piste skiing (with a guide) of the spectacular Vallée Blanche.