Megève is often overlooked by advanced skiers who wrongly believe it can’t provide the kind of skiing challenges they are looking for.
Situated in the French Alps, close to the Italian border, Megève was actually France’s very first purpose-built resort. But while its first guests back in the 1920s may have been satisfied with its gentle slopes (only 13 percent of the ski area is black runs), today’s experienced skiers are looking for something more from the elegant resort.
The good news is that, despite its reputation as an intermediate’s resort, there is actually plenty here for thrill-hungry advanced skiers – it’s just that much of it is in the form of excellent off-piste skiing.
While most of the adrenaline junkies are battling for space in the crowded powder fields of neighbouring Chamonix, the off-piste skiing here remains largely untouched. Those advanced skiers willing to go against the grain and book a ski break to Megève will find that their tracks will often be the very first on the off-piste runs of the area.
Advanced Piste Skiing
That being said, there is also some great advance piste skiing in the area (remember that 13 percent of black runs?) which is well worth checking out.
Across the Alps there are a handful of black runs that have reached ‘legendary’ status, which need to be struck off any advanced skiers list. As luck would have it, one of them is in Megève. The Emile Allais in the Rochebrune area is 3 km long and at some points is as steep as 33 degrees – definitely not for the faint-hearted!
Another ‘must ski’ in the region is the Descente, used for the women’s downhill competition. It is usually well groomed, inviting you to tuck your poles under your arms and try your best to reach the downhill speeds of the racers.
If you really want to challenge yourself then the steepest runs in the resort are to be found in the Mont Joly and Mont Joux areas. Try the Grand Chamois for a beautiful black when the powder is fresh, although it can get extremely icy if there’s no new snow.
The snow rangers tend to leave the black runs on Mont d’Arbois ungroomed, so while they may not be the steepest in the resort, they will offer mogul lovers a great challenge once they’ve been cut up a bit.
As I’ve said, not many people come to Megève for off-piste skiing which means that when the fresh powder has fallen, you can pretty much enjoy a fresh canvas of white to carve up any way you choose. And there is plenty of really good off-piste skiing to enjoy here.
The steep slopes of Mont Joly and Mont Joux offer some excellent off-piste opportunities including the fantastic run off the back of the top chair. Below this the Epaule chairlift takes you to an area of great off-piste skiing and there are some awesome short runs from Côte 2000.
If you enjoy a bit of woodland skiing then head over to La Giettaz or below the Princesse cable car.
While Megève could never be called a ‘boarding’ destination, there is no reason why boarders shouldn’t enjoy some of the excellent off-piste powder on offer here. There are also no less than four terrain parks, so there’s plenty of opportunity to perfect your tricks, jumps and turns while you wait for fresh powder to fall. Head to Mont d’Arbois for the best of the snowparks. Close to the Grands Champs chair, it has its own half pipe, kickers, rails and boxes.
On the pistes, the resort is probably best for beginner and intermediate boarders, thanks to its selection of wide blues and reds. Although there are a number of button lifts, most of them can be avoided by taking cable cars instead.
How to Get to Megève
The closest airport to Megève is Geneva but it is also within two hours drive of Chambery and Grenoble. Airlines flying directly to Geneva from the UK include: easyJet, Monarch, British Airways and Swiss.
The quickest and most convenient way to get from the airport to Megève is to book an airport transfer with Shuttle Direct before you set off. Choose between a group transfer or private vehicle when you book online using the easy booking service, and don’t forget to give details of any ski equipment you might be carrying with you.
Where to Stay:
Royal Rochebrune – Enjoy the ski-to-the-door convenience of a hotel on the slopes. The cosy Royal Rochebrune is just 45 metres from the Rochebrune Telepherique. The rooms are an Alpine feast of endless pine but are stylish and modern and offer WiFi throughout. There’s a sauna downstairs to soothe tired muscles and a bar and lounge to get the evening’s entertainment started.
Au Coin Du Feu – Put yourself at the centre of town at the Au Coin Du Feu close to the bars and clubs of Megève’s après ski scene. Just 500 metres from the Chamois Ski Lift, this traditional Savoyard hotel has its own spa with treatment rooms so if you over do it on the black runs you can get yourself a massage before hitting the town. There’s also a restaurant downstairs serving excellent local cuisine.
Rond Point d’Arbois – For a budget option try the cosy two-star Rond Point d’Arbois. Set in the centre of town, the Alpine rooms offer either mountain or village views. Breakfast is served in the pretty dining room and there is a communal TV room for guests to enjoy. Free WiFi is available in the hotel’s public rooms.
About Shuttle Direct:
A leading provider of ground transfers across Europe and North Africa, Shuttle Direct offers a cost effective and convenient way to get from the airport straight to your final destination. Book online using the online booking system and choose between a shared group service or a personal vehicle with driver. Inform the company at the time of booking what equipment you will be bringing with you and Shuttle Direct will provide a vehicle big enough to fit you and all your skis, boots and boards on board.