There are lots of nursery slopes dotted around the valley floor at the base of all three ski areas and gondolas and cable cars access more easy terrain at the top of Mont d’Arbois and Le Jaillet is snow cover is scant at village level. Although private lessons are popular, the choice of half-a-dozen ski schools does provide the competition needed to help keep standards high for those enrolled in the public classes too.
There are lots of blue and green runs to progress on to once you have mastered the basics and despite its pricy image, a six day ski pass for the Jaillet sector only, which still has 90km of trails on its own, is among the most affordable in the world – much lower than the cost to ski a similar sized area in Andorra or Bulgaria and half the cost of many well known nearby resorts in the French Alps.
Intermediates have a wonderful huge area to explore in the Evasion Mont-Blanc ski pass, one of the world’s largest with 445km (nearly 300 miles) of runs included in it. The runs include all kinds of descents, up to 3.7km (2 miles) long. The pass is fragmented in to a number of separate areas however, although these are being gradually lift connected. But the effect is that you get an exciting sense of exploration ad travel as you move around the mountains above Megeve, taking in the great views and stopping every now and then at one of the dozens of mountain restaurants the resort has to offer.
The largest single sector at present is Mont d'Arbois which the resort shares with neighbouring St Gervais and St Nicolas de Véroce. This is reached from a number of points at the edge of town. A cable car from the village centre accesses Megeve’s own area of Rochebrune, which is also connected to Mont d’Arbois by another cable car, although not by ski runs. A third area is Jaillet, which Megeve shares with another neighbouring resort, Combloux on one side, and the most recent linked village of La Giettaz in another. The pass also covers the skiing at Les Contamines too but you need to drive or take the ski bus to that for the time being.
Although not especially well known for its tough skiing, Megeve offers plenty of challenge for those prepared to look for it, including the near kilometre long Voltigeurs slope, one of the resort’s most challenging. There are some great blacks descending from Mont Joly, the area’s highest point, and on the upper slopes above recently-connected La Giettaz. There’s also the option to buy the full Mont Blanc regional pass, which is unfortunately one of Europe’s most expensive at more than 250 euros for six days, but does give access to over 800km (500 miles) of runs in the area including the lifts of the nearby Chamonix Valley, and over the Italian border at Courmayeur.
There are plenty of good off-piste itineraries around Megeve, including tours of the Val d’Arly and the mountain guides (+33 (0)4 50 21 55 11; http://guides-megeve.com) also lead excursions to ski the Valle Blanche above nearby Chamonix. It’s also possible to go heliskiing over in to Italy (+33 (0)4 50 92 78 00; http://www.mbh.fr)(heliskiing is banned in France).
Snowboard / Freestyle Skiing
Again not well known as a snowboarding destination, Megeve is still trying hard with several terrain parks and there’s often good freeriding in the powder, when it falls, as fewer hardcore skiers and boarders come here
There are a number of special freestyle areas. The main now park is located on Mont Joux, it covers about a hectare and 320m of vertical. There’s a 120m long half pipe there as well as tables, a pyramid, a quarter pipe and mini moguls. Over on the Rochebrune ski area the Grands Champs chairlift accesses Waidzai Park, a fun freestyle area where skiers and boarders can practice umps, there’s also a giant big air next to it for experienced freestylers to enjoy. There are two more terrain parks over above neighbouring resorts Combloux and La Giettaz in the Jaillet sector.
There are 33km of cross country ski trails in the area, most passing through areas of great scenic beauty. There is a free beginners trail on the Plaine d’Arly, which is within walking distance of the village centre. There are more trails which are not terribly strenuous on the sunny and more snow sure Mont d’Arbois plateau above the resort. From there there are great panoramic views over the Mont Blanc and Aravis mountain ranges.
Those looking for more challenging terrain should try the tracks at Cote 2000 and those who like the added excitement of carrying a rifle on your back when you ski and then trying to hot one of five distant targets after skiing hard for a few kilometres can try biathlon, as the resort operates a course and shooting range at Livraz, with runs between 1,100 and 1,550m up.
Average Snow And Weather Conditions
Megeve is one of France’s and indeed the world’s original ski resorts and the slopes used are the more snowsure ones, many north facing to protect from too much sunshine. The area has also invested in snowmaking, with nearly 300 snow guns now covering about 15% of the slopes, and that being the lower, busier sectors.