Former PowderBeds employee and now freelance journalist Catherine Hart writes of her recent experience in St Gervais.
Spring may have set in, but conditions in the Alps are still excellent, and not only in the high altitude resorts either. Thanks to the enormous amounts of snow that fell earlier in the season, even the lower resorts have got a fantastic base, which has managed to withstand the recent warm weather.
I’ve just returned from a few days in St Gervais, part of the Evasion Mont Blanc ski area, and conditions were fantastic. Temperatures had dipped a bit after the unseasonably high temperatures of the previous couple of weeks, and we were even blessed with a couple of decent dumps of fresh snow, just prior to, and in the middle of our stay. Other than that, the sun shone, but the temperatures remained cold enough to keep the slopes in great shape, both on and off piste.
During our four day stay we visited St Gervais, Les Contamines and Argentière ski areas, all of which are within easy reach of the town itself. As you’d expect, St Gervais can be accessed from the town, and it’s also linked to Megeve. It’s a fantastic area with loads of great tree-lined runs to suit all abilities.
Les Contamines is about 10 minutes drive from St Gervais and there’s a bus service to connect the two. It’s very different to St Gervais and has wide open slopes with an abundance of natural features to keep you entertained. Great fun, particularly when conditions are good.
Chamonix is around 20 minutes drive from St Gervais and very easily accessible if you have a car. There are five separate ski areas in Chamonix (Le Brevent, La Flegere, Les Grand Montets, Le Tour and Les Houches) but it’s Argentière which draws the biggest crowds, with skiers and boarders coming from all over the world to take on its epic descents.
There are steeps, bumps, couloirs and plenty of easily (and not so easily) accessible off piste to keep even the most intrepid of riders happy, and the views are just stunning. Chamonix isn’t renowned for its beginners’ terrain, but those looking for something a little more manageable should head to Le Tour or Les Houches.
St Gervais itself is a pretty spa town situated in the heart of the Mont Blanc Massif, an hour’s drive from Geneva. We stayed in the gorgeous Chalet La Charme which sits just up from the centre of town and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
The chalet itself is beautiful and offers four star luxury, and an extremely relaxed atmosphere. The hosts, Chris and Hannah are incredible and go out of their way to make your stay a pleasure. The food is also fantastic so you’ll want to make sure you burn off as much energy as possible on the slopes so that you can tuck in guilt free! Having lived in the area for several years, they are exceedingly knowledgeable and able to advise on the best places to go. Chris is also a qualified ski instructor and is always on hand to offer guidance on technique and equipment.
They still have some availability for the rest of the season so make the most of what remains of this incredible winter and experience this wonderful resort at its best.
Posted on Thursday 15 Mar 2012