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It’s easy to overlook Les Houches when Chamonix is just a few minutes up the valley. But with an equally short transfer — just 75km from Geneva airport, which takes around an hour — Les Houches is a good value-for-money alternative that provides easy links to the Mont Blanc valley.
Les Houches is an oasis of calm and tranquility at the south-eastern extremity of the Chamonix valley and, in contrast with it's hair-raising neighbour, is a superb choice for families and groups of mixed-ability skiers.
Enjoy peace of mind by booking your ski and snowboard lessons through SkiBro with our best-price guarantee; free and easy cancellation; a huge choice of fully-certified ski schools and instructors; online booking system and fantastic customer support team.
Whether you're after children's group ski lessons, teen group ski lessons, adult group ski lessons, beginner ski lessons, off-piste clinics, group snowboard lessons, private ski lessons or anything in between - SkiBro has the perfect ski instructor or group ski lesson for you in Les Houches!
From a three-year-old’s the first steps on snow in the children’s snow garden to teenagers confidently crushing black runs and getting in to the snowpark you’ll find ski lessons for children of all ages and ability in Les Houches (which can come in handy when you suddenly realise your kids have become better skiers than you!).
We’re probably (more than) a bit biased but at SkiBro we think that properly laying the foundation for a lifetime on the slopes - free of bad habits - is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give their children.
SkiBro’s partner ski schools and instructors are all fully certified and have years of experience providing kids’ ski lessons that focus not only on technical instruction but also fun and safety.
Children’s ski lessons tend to book up very quickly during peak school holiday periods like half-term and christmas break, so make sure to book early during these times to avoid disappointment.
Did you know that nearly a third of all group ski lessons are beginner adult group lessons? It sounds surprising but group ski lessons are a great way to learn to ski; surrounded by other people of a similar age and ability level who are also trying something new.
Group lessons are also great for progressing from a beginner skier to a more independent intermediate. With quality coaching for a few hours each day you can spend your mornings working on your technique before grabbing a bite to eat and explore everything the mountain has to offer with your friends and family in the afternoons.
Private instruction is just that – a ski instructor solely devoted to you (and any friends or family you choose to invite) for a given period of time.
These lessons are offered both by formal ski and snowboard schools as well as by freelance instructors – certified independent instructors working for themselves or in loose collectives.
A private ski instructor in Les Houches can offer you a level of flexibility and individual attention beyond what group lessons can. For some people one short, intensive, session with a private instructor will teach them more than they’d get from a full week of group lessons.
For many people, however, the inverse would be true and the repetition and additional practice in group lessons is invaluable.
Considered by those who get into it as skiing in its purest (and most fun!) form, freeride (also known as off piste or backcountry) skiing is the pursuit of skiing all over the mountain, unrestricted by the edge of the piste in a variety of snow conditions.
A good day’s freeride skiing might involve long descents down wide open mountain faces, steep couloirs and adventures through the trees, far away from the crowded pistes. In addition to private ski instructors and mountain guides you can sometimes find camps and courses designed to give upper-intermediate skiers their first taste of off-piste delights in Les Houches. Be careful though, the white powder can be quite addictive.
From ‘never-evers’ to semi-pros you’ll find a snowboard lesson in Les Houches designed to take you riding to the next level. If you’re thinking small, think big. And if you’re thinking big- think bigger! If you’re new to a resort or even if you’re returning to an old favourite, a top snowboard instructor or group snowboard lessons will help you unlock local secrets of the area that you’ll wish you knew about years ago! Flatland tricks, jibbing, carving trenches, slaying powder – stop being a slave to your snowboard and learn to master it!
It also boasts wonderful views of Mont Blanc, a low-key but pretty village and some charming mountain restaurants. Whilst not the highest (the ski area tops out at 1900 metres) this mid-mountain ski area is ideal for kids. The tree-lined slopes afford shelter and visibility in bad weather and the Ski Camp is hugely popular with kids, with its tipis, picnic area and other fun activities.
Its low altitude means the snow quality can suffer later in the season, but the grassy meadows underneath mean that if the snow cover is thin, the risk of damage to equipment or limbs is minimal.
Ski-buses — which also service Chamonix — are free hop-on-hop-off with your lift pass, and run very regularly. As such, it’s really easy to get around, day or night, and if you’re prepared to spend a little time utilising this system, it allows for a pretty big saving when compared to staying in Chamonix.
The town of Les Houches itself is a traditional Alpine Village is fairly low-key, which means that there’s a distinct lack of partying going on. Those looking for that venture up to Chamonix. There are, however, some great restaurants and bars, lovely family-run hotels, and a good lift system to ferry skiers up to the area above, which during high-season, allows for some excellent skiing back to town.
Les Houches highlights: Relaxed and quiet, and just a short bus journey from Chamonix, Les Houches is a great choice for those want access to the Mont Blanc ski area, but want a bit more value for money, too.
Les Houches is best for: Beginners, intermediate skiers and families looking for a relaxed and laid back holiday out of the bustle of Chamonix, but who still want access to the excellent skiing the valley has to offer.
Les Houches’ modest vertical is just 900m may not seem very inviting when compared to the 4,815m beast that is Mont Blanc — lying just up the valley, it’s hard to miss — but that’s part of the charm of this small resort.
Les Houches’ top lift is 1,900m high and serves you up on top of the Prarion peak. Across the way, you’ll be able to see Bellevue at 1,800m, and these two mountains make up the Les Houches ski area. It may sound small but there are some long, interesting runs to fall in love with; and what’s better is that they’re suited to all abilities.
Taking one of the gondolas up from the town you’ll be able to choose between Bellevue or Prarion depending on which side you stay. Prarion will give you the most choice, letting you ski down to Col de Voza between the two peaks, or down the other side towards the bottom lift of 1,370m. Some nice blues snake down here, and finish off with a few short red sections if you’re going right to the bottom. There’s also a learner’s area and snow park here, too. Which is great, considering the size of the resort.
But none of these things are what make Les Houches great. What you want to try are the runs that head to the valley floor. From Prarion, you can jump straight onto either Kandahar — an epic and steep black that plunges the full 900m vertical and one of the World Cup’s most notorious descents — or onto the accompanying blue which does the same. Both runs have optional red sections as well, just to keep things interesting, and provide great access back to the gondola. So if you want to keep lapping the entire mountain, you can.
First-time and beginner skiers: The beginner slopes at the peaks are well-groomed and well serviced, with plenty of dining options and easy access back to the gondolas if you would rather sail down than ski.
Intermediate skiers: Intermediates will have fun exploring the back of Prarion and carving up the blues there, as well as hitting the long blue and reds down to the valley floor. The Ailloud blue run is one of the best for intermediate skiers in the Chamonix valley.
Expert skiers: Advanced skiers will fall in love with the challenge of the Kandahar. Snowboarders and freestyle skiers are well catered for with an excellent snowpark and Les Houches is a great place to try ski-touring or splitboarding for the first time, with dedicated learning areas.