St Gervais - slopes
The town of Saint-Gervais is located at just 800m and thus has a reputation for being a low-altitude resort with unreliable snow. However, some slopes reach altitudes in excess of 2,000m and the ski terrain is grassy pasture in summer, meaning only a sprinkling of snow is required for decent coverage.
The original 1904 Mont Blanc Tramway, one of France’s last rack & pinion trains, built to take visitors to the peak of Mont Blanc, takes skiers from Saint-Gervais to the ski area of Les Houches.
Ski highlights for all levels
Beginners: Le Bettex is a great spot for beginners, with scenic nursery slopes and extensive network of tree-lined greens and blues above Megève to progress to.
Intermediates: Saint-Gervais boasts miles of ideal intermediate terrain directly above the town on Mont d’Arbois and Mont Joly, with long reds and blues. Heading across to Megève, Rochebrune is an excellent area for intermediates while Combloux and La Giettaz across the valley are blissfully quiet.
Experts: the key attraction for advanced skiers in Saint-Gervais is the relatively untouched off-piste, rather than miles of challenging pistes (although the short but steep blacks on Côte 2000 and l’Èpaule will test expert skiers).
The best of the freeriding is to be found off the back of Mont d’Arbois and Mont Joux and in the ‘Magic Garden’ between the Lanchettes and Radaz lifts on Côte 2000.
Ski schools and guides
The lift system is a combination of fast quads and gondolas (Princesse, Bettex, Fontaine, Alpette and Christomet) and slow, old chairs. Get early starts and stick to the fast lifts in peak times and you’ll barely notice the slower ones.
Snow reliability and snowmaking
Not a strength of this resort thanks to the relatively low altitude of many of the slopes but serious numbers of snow cannons help to cover those grassy slopes in poor snow periods.
Surprisingly, the Saint-Gervais/Megève ski area boasts three terrain parks, with pipes, moguls, rails and jumps. Tentative skiers and riders will enjoy the small Snowtap park above Combloux.