Megeve - slopes
Ski highlights for all levels
Beginners: first-timers are well catered for both at resort level and up on the higher snow-sure slopes. Another plus is the easy progression of picturesque green runs.
Intermediates: take your pick from a myriad of charming tree-lined runs – this is intermediate heaven. In good conditions, our top pick would be the run down to St Nicolas from L’Epaule, the shoulder of Mont Joly.
Experts: the front side of Mont Joly has some testing pistes and the steepest black run, but make sure to winkle out the good snow on the north-east facing slopes off the back of Mont d’Arbois and Mont Joux. The trip over to the steeper slopes of La Giettaz is worth a day’s outing, and you won't see many other skiers.
The biggest draw for strong skiers is definitely the freeride terrain, not least because relatively few people ski it – although it is getting increasingly popular with powder day-trippers from Chamonix. Head for the trees of Mont d’Arbois after a fresh snowfall. Intermediates can find their powder legs under the chair above Altiport.
Ski schools and guides
The Ecole du Ski Français (00 33 450 21 00 97) remains the largest ski school, and also offers a good guiding service. Evolution 2 (00 33 450 58 35 41), which made its name in Val d’Isère, has recently opened here, as has a new set-up called Agence de Ski (00 33 699 18 52 00). They join the popular International Ski School (00 33 450 58 78 88) and the off-piste/park specialist school aptly called Freeride (00 33 450 93 03 52).
The resort is also pioneering a system of "ski dates" where solo skiers who don't want to ski alone can meet up for a coffee at the start of the day and can then ski together.
While the terrain is undoubtedly impressive, the lift system in some sectors is less so. The Princess and Bettex gondolas are fast and efficient and there are a few good fast quads dotted through the ski area. However there are still too many creakingly slow two-man chairs and drags for our liking.
Megeve is the kind of place where quirky and quality go hand in hand. As such, the resort has launched a an eco-friendly and fun addition to the lift system: horse-drawn carriages that connects the Roschebrunne with the Mont d'Arbois, with realtime information on the position of these shuttles relayed on digital displays.
Snow reliability and snowmaking
While the charm of Megève is its proliferation of tree-lined runs, in bad snow years it can be something of an Achilles heel. However, most of the skiing takes place between 1,300m and 2,355m and it has more than its share of north-facing terrain. The snowmaking is comprehensive and the grassy lower slopes don't need too much of a base.
There are three terrain parks throughout the area with the biggest and the best on Mount Joux, complete with half pipe, quarter pipe and assorted jumps.