by: Patrick Thorne - 22nd January 2007

  • 4
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Expert
  • 4All-Mtn. Terrain
  • 3Family Friendly
  • 3Aprés Ski
  • 3Terrain Park
  • Overall Value

Full review

Megève was one of the earliest ski resorts to be created - a French answer to St Moritz. It is still the place for the well heeled rather than the grunge crowd, with prices to match and visitors are more likely to be here to flaunt their wealth and petite dogs rather than their skills on ski or board . Based on a thirteenth century village its pedestrianised centre still has cobbled streets. Today it is a unique place in many ways - differing from almost all other French ski centres in its history, ambience and altitude. It is almost the antithesis of the high altitude concrete rectangle resort for which France is infamous but, none-the-less, it gives skiers access to one of the world's largest lift-linked ski areas, and a lift pass that includes neighbouring Chamonix. The lengendary super-rich Rothschild family were responsible for making Megeve famous in the 1920s and they still own property including mountain restaurants here today. Megève is a huge ski area with 300km (186 miles) of trails spread across three areas. The largest links the resort over Mont d'Arbois to St Gervais. On the other side, the Rochebrune ski area is exclusive to Megève, whilst the third area, Jaillet, is shared with the village of Combloux. The three areas are together known as the Evasion Mont Blanc and form only a part of Ski Pass Mont Blanc which gives access to a dozen resorts in the Mont Blanc area, including Chamonix. There are nearly 200 trails to enjoy locally, with highlights including the Olympique run at Rochebrune, a long fast red. If you’d like something steeper the black beneath the top chair to Mont Joly is extremely steep. The Caboche cable-car and the gentle modern chair-lift at "la Petit Fontaine" provide good access towards Cote 2000, the venue for World Cup races. At the start and end of the season Jaillet is a good, quiet choice and Mont d'Arbois the most snow sure. There are several steep blacks and off piste runs particularly on Mont Joly and Mont Joux. Tree skiing around La Princesse is especially good when the snow is fresh. If you hike up Mont Joly for an hour or two you reach a point from which you can ski down to les Contamines, also on the regional pass and ultimately due to be lift linked to Megeve. In addition, both ski schools and the Mountain Guides Office offer daily tours of Chamonix's famous Vallée Blanche as well as heli-guiding, off piste and ski touring. The mountain guides also organise long distance ski treks on all traditional routes such as Chamonix to Zermatt.

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