Beginner ski school classes meet in the ski school’s chalet at le Bettex, which is reached by a fast, easy to ride gondola from the edge of the resort. Lessons are conducted partially in English, or entirely in English if you book a private lesson or are in a group with only English speaking students. Le Bettex is a good learner’s area with several excellent nursery slopes with their own lifts. There are some good green and blue runs to progress on to once you’ve mastered the basic skills.
Staying in St Gervais you have several choices each day as to where you’d like to go skiing! With the Evasion Mont Blanc lift pass you have access to a remarkable 445km (around 270 miles) of piste spread between multiple areas around the village.
Most people take the high capacity gondola that whisks skiers and boarders from the edge of the resort up to the heart of the resort’s local skiing at Le Bettex on Mont d'Arbois, shared with neighbouring Megève on the other side of the mountain. Carrying on to the other side of Megève you reach the Rochebrune and Jaillet ski areas shared with the villages of Combloux and La Giettaz. A cable car connects the bases of Mont d'Arbois and Rochebrune.
Most of the pistes are classic trails cut through the woodland, many with wonderful views over to Mont Blanc. The highest pistes on Mont d'Arbois are above the tree line however and are wide, open snow slopes. Some of the best intermediate runs are a swathe of reds very local to St Gervais up above Le Bettex, and a ski run back down to the village is also graded red.
Trails are up to 10km long and the pass also includes the skiing at nearby Les Contamines, to which there are long term plans to create a lift link. A bigger area pass, the Mont Blanc regional ticket, is also available if you wish to ski in the neighbouring Chamonix Valley. Les Houches, included in the bigger pass but not the Evasion Mont Blanc one, is another nearby ski area reached by an aged mountain railway.
It’s mixed blessings for expert skiers who have rather limited options close by the resort, but with the Chamonix Valley right next door and the option of buying a pass that covers all of the local skiing, as well as all in the Chamonix Valley, and (given time and transport) even the Swiss 4 Valleys around Verbier and Courmayeur in Italy when purchased for six days or longer, the potential is world beating.
There are 17 black slopes adding up to more than 40km (25 miles) of steep piste, and the ski school and mountain guides will be happy to take you to the region’s many off-piste assets, particularly on Mont Joly and Mont Joux. In the Rochebrune sector Cote 2000 is the venue for World Cup races.
Snowboard / Freestyle Skiing
A surprisingly good destination for boarders, there are half a dozen terrain parks dotted around the surrounding resorts and with most of the uplift provided by chairlifts and gondolas rather than drags, getting about is a relaxing experience too.
The nearest park is the Snowpark Mont Joux near the Mont Joux chairlift. It features a hip, big air, several tables and multiple rails. You’ll find more terrain park at other resorts on the area pass including Les Contamines, Combloux and La Giettaz.
St Gervais has approximately 40km of cross country tracks, through the beautiful local mountain scenery of woodland and snow-filled meadows that, unlike neighbouring Chamonix, are free-to-use. Part of the terrain is however up at Le Bettex, making it more snowsure than in the valley but you’ll need a return lift ticket to take the gondola up there.
There are further tracks at Le Prarion and some parts of the trails offer wonderful views of Mont Blanc. Tracks are suitable to both traditional Nordic and the newer skating style and divide up to be around half easy, a quarter intermediate and a quarter difficult. A map showing the routes is available from the tourist office, lessons from the ski schools and rentals locally.
St Gervais Average Snow and Weather Conditions
Being one of the earliest ski destinations in the Alps, it’s no surprise that St Gervais is a resort at a lower altitude too, and although you can ski back to the village on a red (intermediate ability or above) run, most of the ski area is located above 1400m, reached by a high capacity gondola from the edge of the village.
The terrain climbs nearly 1000 vertical metres above and its proximity to Mont Blanc helps to make it snowy, so though not one of the most snowsure resorts in the Alps, overall it has a good record of snow cover through the season above 1400m. About a fifth of the terrain has snowmaking cover too.