About the Les Houches Ski Area
Les Houches lies 6km down the valley from Chamonix town and its ski domain extends from an altitude of 990 metres up to 1900 metres. The skiing combines long descents through pretty tree-lined slopes, with amazing views of the Mont Blanc massif and the Chamonix valley.
With a mix of gentle slopes, long descents and tree-lined runs, the Les Houches ski area is the perfect resort for the whole family (see the piste map). The area consists of 4 black runs, including the international world cup slope, 13 red runs, 8 blue runs and 2 green runs, cross-country trails, and a snow park. 'Ski Camp' is an area specially designed for young children, found around from the top of the Prarion gondola. It offers sledging, teepees, and snow tubing, all nicely laid out around a picnic area. Le Tourchet nursery area (not part of the main ski area, and can be found further up the road towards Chamonix) also offers night skiing every Thursday.
The area is certainly not the highest in the valley, and the snow here can be the first to suffer when the weather warms up, but its great advantage is that most of the skiing is through pine and larch forests. Not only does this make the skiing here more charming than the more exposed areas further up the valley, but the trees offer shelter when the winds are high elsewhere, and definition when the snow is coming down or during white-out conditions. Another bonus about skiing here is the abundance of characterful mountain restaurants you'll find hidden in the forests at the side of the pistes.
The pistes in Les Houches lie on grassy hillsides, so even if the snow is thin, there is small chance of scraping your skis or boards on rocks. The ski-out is generally open throughout the season thanks to the great snow cannon coverage on the sheltered lower runs, so no queuing for the gondola back down to the village – always a bonus! Even if you are not staying in Les Houches, you can access the area by taking the free bus (included in your lift pass) that runs from all the villages in the Chamonix valley to Les Houches. Les Houches is a great area for mixed ability groups, as the slopes at the top of the mountain range from green nursery slopes right through to the famous “Verte” black run used in the Kandahar World Cup skiing!
Les Houches is the location of regular international events and is home to the Kandahar World Downhill Ski Championships. This race takes place every two years and has become one of the main sporting events in the Chamonix valley and is representative of the excellent skiing reputation that Chamonix possesses. Les Houches also serves as a training ground for the French National Ski Team.
Please note, Les Houches ski area is not covered by the Le Pass ski pass, however, holders of the Mont Blanc Unlimited ski pass are able to use the ski area.
Best pistes in Chamonix - Les Houches
The Aillouds piste is a sweeping blue run will take you from the top of the Prarion gondola all the way back to the bottom of either the Bellevue or the Prarion lifts. With a 900m descent down a lovely tree-lined piste, it’s a very long and satisfying run for leisurely skiers. Hidden among the tree-lined pistes, you’ll find delightful mountain cafes and restaurants, offering some of the nicest lunches to be had in the valley.
Read more in our guide to the Best pistes in Les Houches.
Also see: Best Pistes in Chamonix
Beginner areas in Les Houches
Les Houches offers beginner skiers the best of both worlds; you can take in the stunning views of the Chamonix valley and Mont Blanc from the top of the resort, whilst enjoying the gentle green beginner slopes. Situated at the top of the Prarion gondola you certainly won't miss out on the stunning scenery if you stick to the beginner runs of the Ecole chairlift.
Read more in our guide to Beginner areas in Les Houches.
Also see: Beginner Ski Areas in Chamonix
Advanced runs in Les Houches
Advanced skiers and can test themselves on the world famous Kandahar run, which has played hosted to the Men's Alpine Skiing World Cup on several occasions. Steep, hard-packed and sometimes icy this run is one of the most challenging in the Chamonix valley.
Read more in our guide to Advanced runs in Les Houches.
Also see: Advanced Ski Areas in Chamonix
Backcountry areas in Les Houches
Les Houches is the perfect place to begin ski touring. With a marked trail to guide you from the bottom of the Prarion gondola up to the top, an ascent of 848m, you can practice your 'skinning' techniques as well as getting a good workout.
Read more in our guide to Ski touring in Les Houches.
Also see: Backcountry Ski Areas in Chamonix
Location: Chamonix - Les Houches