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Megève, France

A rustic, traditional alpine village at the foot of Mont Blanc.

Megève is the essence of rustic chic. It has a medieval heart, but it was, in a way, the original purpose-built French ski resort – conceived in the 1920s as a French alternative to Switzerland’s St. Moritz. And although Courchevel took over as France’s most fashionable winter sports resort ages ago, Megève’s sumptuous hotels and chalets still attract plenty of ‘beautiful people’ with fur coats and fat wallets. Happily, you don’t need either to enjoy it.

The Megève ski area boasts 300 kilometers of marked trails, served by 81 integrated lifts, (and no t-bars) offering extensive terrain for skiers of all levels. Since opening in 1913, the resort has played its part in the development of the sport of skiing and regularly hosts World Cup races. Two snow parks and a half-pipe are available for snowboarding.

The resort is served by a modern, high-speed lift system that ensures a quick ride to the top. With an average of 200cm of snow falling every year, the trails are well covered. On the occasion when Mother Nature doesn’t provide enough snow, there are more than 175 snow cannons to make extra.

What’s Great

  • Extensive slopes, with miles of easy slopes, ideal for intermediates
  • Scenic setting, with splendid views
  • Charming old village center, with very swanky shopping
  • Some lovely luxury hotels
  • Gourmet mountain lunches in attractive surroundings
  • Excellent cross-country trails, including some at altitude
  • Mont Blanc lift pass covers many other worthwhile resorts nearby
  • Great for weekends – cooperative hotels and close to Geneva
  • If it snows, deserted mountains
  • Plenty to do off the slopes

What’s Not-So-Great

  • With most of the slopes below 2000m there’s a risk of poor snow, especially on runs to the village – although the grassy terrain does not need a thick covering and snowmaking has improved a lot
  • Three separate mountains, two linked by lift but not by slope and the third not linked at all
  • Not many challenging slopes
  • The few blacks are not extreme – but good off-slope potential
  • Traffic jams and exhaust fumes at weekends and peak season

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Mountain stats
Acres of ski 1975
Pistes 62
Snowmaking 45%
Halfpipes 1
Terrain Parks 2
X-Country 43.5ml
Slope Stats
Top Lifts 7,710ft
Vertical Drop 4,058ft
Bottom Lift 3,652ft
Slope Difficulty
Beginner 30%
Intermediate 45%
Advanced 25%