Saint Gervais is a well established spa town that has been welcoming skiers for over 80 years and its proximity to Geneva airport – less than an hours drive – is ideal for short stay ski holidays. Despite its proximity to Mont Blanc and the popular Chamonix, it is not a very well known resort, probably due to the fact that no major tour operators go there. The ski area Saint Gervais – Megève itself is not big, but it’s Evasion Mont Blanc lift pass covers six ski areas comprising over 450km of prepared slopes, as well as some easily-accessible off-piste areas.

Saint Gervais is a pleasant place that makes it a cheaper alternative to staying in Megève, and a good base for exploring nearby resorts.

Located across from Mont Blanc, it is the highest town in France and Europe because Mont Blanc’s peak is located inside its territory. The village disposes of the most extreme difference in altitude in Europe: from 580 to 4810 metres.

One resort, two ski areas

Taken together with Megève, Saint Gervais offers skiers of all levels, although intermediates in particular, plenty of terrain to choose from. 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.

Families will normally enjoy the unhurried nature of Saint Gervais and there are some good facilities off the slopes as well as plenty of family-friendly terrain on the mountain with a predominance of chair and gondola lifts you can all ride together. The childcare facilities are good too.

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. 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.

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.

Perfect for intermediates

Beginners can pick up the basics on the nursery slopes in Le Bettex, and have some incredible greens and blues to build confidence from Mont d’Arbois. Chateluy is a confidence boosting 4km trail back to Le Bettex, which might look a little steep at the top but once you’ve zig zagged down the first bit, it’s gorgeously varied with a fantastic powdery stretch between the trees. Another fabulous run is the Ideal-Mandarines which ends up at the Megeve golf club. La Finance, a lovely long blue, is a favourite run back from Mont d’Arbois. It is lined by thick forest and great for building up a rhythm. More blues worth skiing include the sunny Prapacot, which links to green le Plan or blue Encraty down to La Princesse.

Saint-Gervais boasts loads of ideal intermediate terrain directly above the town on Mont d’Arbois and Mont Joly, with long reds and blues. Some of the best intermediate runs are a swathe of reds very local to Saint Gervais up above Le Bettex, and a ski run back down to the village is also graded red. Heading across to Megève, Rochebrune is an excellent area for intermediates while Combloux and La Giettaz across the valley are blissfully quiet.

It’s mixed blessings for expert skiers who have rather limited options close by the resort. There are 17 black slopes adding up to more than 40km of steep piste. Mont d’Arbois accesses a handful of black runs like Princesse; an absolute joy to blast down. For a sharper gradient, try the Chamois from Mont Joly. Where the expert offerings really rule here is off piste, with some incredible powder runs on open fields and between the trees – head to Mont Joly and down to Saint-Nicolas for some of the best of it. The Marmottes run from L’Epaule towards St Nicolas is challenging but is sometimes closed due to avalanche risk. The Grand Chamois is a steep black run, that can be fantastic on powder days but nerve wracking when the snow is not so friendly. The ski school and mountain guides will be happy to take you to the region’s many off-piste assets. In the Rochebrune sector Cote 2000 is the venue for World Cup races.

On-mountain dining to a higher level

There’s a huge choice of on-mountain dining in the region of Saint Gervais, with more than two-dozen restaurants spread across the various sectors. The majority are small to mid-sized locally-owned establishments and there’s a higher proportion of table-service establishments than you’ll normally find, for which it’s advisable to book a table in advance if you can.

At Le Bettex at the base of the slopes both Causettes and La Coterie are both good. The former has table service and a good terrace with wonderful views, the latter with favourite French and Savoyard dishes and a good choice of grilled meats. La Fleche d’Or nearby is also good and serves traditional cuisine in a lovely wooden restaurant or out on the terrace.

Getting there

Direct trains run from Paris to La Fayet. La Fayet train station is 5km from St Gervais from where there is a free shuttle bus service into St Gervais itself. The nearest airport is Geneva (1 hour) which can be accessed by bus or ski transfer company. We had a great experience with Cham-Van. Chambéry Savoie Mont Blanc is about 1hour 15mins.

Hire the latest award-winning 2018 skis from rental chain Intersport, including touring skis, powder skis and the new Nitro Q Series retro snowboard shapes. All from

The Intersport shop at the midstation of Le Bettex is very conveniently located.

Reviews Profile Snow Accommodation

The Portes du Mont-Blanc includes four ski resorts located between the Val d’Arly and the Aravis mountain range: Combloux, La Giettaz, Cordon and Megève Jaillet. it is a quiet and economical alternative to the Espace Évasion Mont-Blanc, of which Combloux and Megève Jaillet are also part of. The ski area with well over 100km of slopes offers skiing for all levels, great off-piste possibilities and a breathtaking view of Mont Blanc, the Aiguille Bionnassay or the Dome of the Miages. The ski area offers enough options for relaxed skiers and families with children.

Authenticity and charm

The main resort in Les Portes du Mont Blanc is the Savoyard mountain village Combloux, which lies at an altitude of 1100m. Combloux dates back to 1284AD; its name is derived from ‘la combe aux loups’ in English : Valley of the Wolves. The heart of old Combloux is very authentic and still retains many historic features, including a distinctive onion-spired church. Traditional chalets and the peaceful village lifestyle add-up to it’s charm. It is ever more popular with winter sports enthusiasts who are looking for authentic mountain village life. The Combloux nickname is “The pearl of Mont Blanc” and benefits from an exceptional, breathtaking 360° view over the massif of Les Aravis and the massif of Mont Blanc. Combloux is a charming family resort that has managed to keep all its authenticity. The vibe is laid-back, friendly and very welcoming.

Skiing in a dramatic decor

Combloux’s ski area is located considerably higher up the mountain on the slopes of Col du Jaillet (1750m), and served by shuttle ski-buses, which pass visitor accommodation en-route. From the top you can ski to Megève or venture further to the slopes on Christomet (1850m) and Le Torraz (1930m) towards the lovely village La Giettaz.

The ski area straddles the boundary between the Haute-Savoie and Savoie departments.The ski are with one hundred kilometers of marked trails offers a nice choice of challenges for every type of skier. The skiing at lower altitude is mainly amid pine forest areas, and on higher altitude complemented wirth scenic views on the Mont Blanc. It is for a good reason that this ski area is called Les Portes du Mont Blanc; it offers the best views of the Mont Blanc. The scenery is truly amazing.

Skiing in Les Portes du Mont Blanc is a back-to-nature affair, and takes some beating for anyone looking for an unspoilt natural setting. Its ski slopes are perfect for beginners and intermediate skiers. There’s gentle, reassuring terrain for beginners, and the main pistes are both wide and well-groomed. More experienced intermediates will find some surprisingly long descents, including some steep ones. There are plenty of intermediate and more advanced slopes for the more experienced. Pure beginners will prefer the gentle slopes of the Jaillet massif, while the unscrupulous as experts will find their happiness in Combloux and La Giettaz. Combloux is definitely one of the most family-friendly ski areas in the Pays du Mont-Blanc.

The lift system is for the most part modern and efficient, with relatively few drag-lifts. Disabled skiers are also particularly well catered-for in Combloux, which is a popular centre for adaptive skiing.

Snow conditions are generally good

With the highest lifts and ski slopes at 1930m the area is not very snow sure. But, thanks to the large amount of snow fall – the depressions coming from the west being cooled by the Aravis chain – and the slope orientation (overall east and north) and the many forest area that provides shade the snow is usually of very good quality. And in case of lack of precipitation, the Portes du Mont Blanc has a large amount of snowguns;  well over 80 snowguns ensure artificial snow making covering 10km of trails and runs.

Gettin there

Combloux is easily accessible, by car via the motorway to Sallanches 9km away (2 hours from Lyon, 5 hours 30 mins. from Paris), by train with direct access via TGV at the station of Sallanches (9km), or by aeroplane. The nearest airport is Geneva / Geneve at a distance of 65km or approximately 50 minutes driving time. Chambery airport is with one and a half hour’s reach.

More impressions from Combloux, La Giettaz and Megève Jaillet

Link suggestions

For more information on Les Portes du Mont Blanc please visit the official website of Les Portes du Mont Blanc

Reviews Profile Snow Accommodation