Les Houches is a ski resort that has a little something for everyone. Located just over the French border to the southwest of Geneva, near the area of Flégère (Chamonix) and Saint Gervais, the resort enjoys excellent views of France's highest mountain Mont Blanc. The resort offers an ideal balance of facilities for snowboarders, downhill and cross-country skiers as well as a great selection of restaurants and other off-piste activities for visitors to enjoy when they're away from the slopes.
Once a year, the resort becomes the centre of the skiing world when it hosts The Kandahar, one of the Alpine Ski World Cup downhill races. During the summer the resort becomes a popular destination for hikers and animal lovers, for whom the local animal park offers an excellent opportunity to see deer, llamas and stags roaming freely in their natural habitat.
Living in Les Houches and Things To Do
The resort has its own railway station on a narrow-gauge railway line that is operated jointly by the French and Swiss railway authorities. It is also home to a world-famous physics school and is the finishing point of the popular Tour de Mont Blanc hiking trail. During the summer, the town plays host to the legendary École de Physique des Houches physics summer school - which attracts notable scientists from all over the world to study and lecture in the area. The town is relatively small, with a population of just under 3,000 but its proximity to Geneva and its railway connection make it a practical choice for living all year round.
Recent investment in the resort has included the establishment of the area's first ever microbrewery, which involved transforming a dilapidated ski lodge into a new bar and restaurant facility. Two major new property developments are also underway in the heart of the resort and are expected to open later in 2019.
Why Choose Les Houches?
Undoubtedly, the stand out feature of the resort is its proximity to Mont Blanc and the stunning views that it enjoys. It takes full advantage of this setting by providing a fantastic range of facilities for all sorts of skiers. For downhill adrenaline junkies, there are four black runs, including the World Cup track La Verte des Houches. For those who are newer to skiing, or who just want a slightly more relaxed time, there are green runs and a snowpark and for everyone in-between, there are over 20 red and blue runs to choose from.
All of these runs are linked by a cable car, drag life and a number of chair lifts. Access to the Mont Blanc tram is also free of charge to all who hold a resort pass, making it easy to get around the village and the wider local area. Furthermore, there are also a number of cross-country runs which offer spectacular views and scenery for those who prefer this type of skiing to the option of the downhill slopes.
Weather Conditions in Les Houches
The resort officially opens for skiers in mid-November, although it's usually December before significant amounts of skiers start to arrive. The ski season lasts through the winter until mid-April. Take a look at our Les Houches resort guide for details on the latest conditions in the area. Snow cannons are also used to supplement natural snowfall at each end of the season to ensure that visitors are able to ski when the resort is in operation.
During the summer, temperatures are much higher, and the area can enjoy highs of 30 degrees or more. This means that the resort becomes attractive to an entirely new group of tourists who come to take advantage of the long summer days, spectacular views and everything else that the region has to offer.
Transport to Les Houches
The closest airport to the resort is Geneva, which is connected to most major European cities by full-service and low-cost carriers. The network of routes available from the airport is expanded regularly and the airport authorities are expanding the terminal in order to cope with increased demand. There is also a small number of flights to airports in North America and the Middle East. From the airport, visitors can travel to the resort by taxi or private transfer and also have the option of a number of great value bus services which operate during the ski season. These take between 90 minutes and 2 hours depending on the operator.
It is also possible to reach Geneva by train from many points across Europe and connect to local transport options in order to reach the resort. This option is becoming particularly popular among a new generation of environmentally conscious traveller that wants to reduce the impact that their tourism has on the environment of the local area and the planet as a whole. There are also a number of new high-speed lines under construction that will make travel by rail to the local area even easier in the years to come.