Are you looking for skiing and snowboarding spots where you can avoid the crowded pistes and lift-queue scrums? This small town of Megève offers an incredibly quiet environment, and peaceful pistes, superb gastronomical experience a top-notch jazz festival.
Before heading back to the cobbled streets of the resort’s medieval center, you will see stunning views of Mont Blanc to enjoy from the slopes.
Whether for a quick break or a week’s holiday, Megève is an ideal skiing spot as it’s 75 minutes from Geneva airport, and most hotels are geared up for taking short-break bookings.
WHERE is Megève?
Located in the southeast of France, near the Italian and Swiss borders, Megève emerged as a popular ski destination for the rich and famous in the 1920s. It has its airport but spending a holiday here isn’t too expensive. Despite both the town and its skiable area’s relative size, it retains an old-fashioned charm and “hidden gem” status.
Skiing spot for every ski level
Whatever level of skiing skills and experience you have; the area is safe and suitable for all-level skiers and even snowboarders. Securing a Portes du Mont-Blanc pass will give you access to about 100km pistes and upgrading to the Evasion Mont Blanc pass increase to over 400km. If you wish to explore more and have adventures, you can head to a different zone but be mindful that some areas can only be accessed via drag lifts.
From a farming market town to a skiing station
Before winter tourism start, Megève lives as a peaceful farming market town where the inhabitants benefitted from a rich and fertile land. True to its Celtic name “Mageva,” meaning village on water, Megève is an excellent farming place. And there was the gradual development of the village until the occupation of Savoie to France.
Birth of a skiing station
In 1914, the first skiing competition was created in the village, and several photos can prove the event’s existence. “Ski tows” were invented by farmers who were trying out many ideas for recreation.
Mathilde Maige Lefournier, a mountaineer from Chambéry and a female journalist, wrote an article in November 1913 for the magazine “La Montagne” entitled, “Megève or the worship of skiing,” which illuminated the image and reputation of the village. In her writings, she praised skiing on the sites of Mont d’Arbois and Rochebrune. She even said to a village hotel owner that Megève was created for skiing and skiing invented for Megève.
The development of Skiing in Megève was heightened with the arrival of the Rothschild family on the Mont d’Arbois. The Megève’s Sports Club was seen as great potential as Megève started to produce some of the World’s champions. For example, Emile Allais was a native of Megève, who had a triple medal at the World skiing championships in Chamonix in 1937, and the famous Aallard “fuseau,” ski pants, were invented in 1930.
In 1933, the first cable was constructed primarily for the skiers, and it was a very famous “red cable car.” The village farmers also invested in the Rochebrune sector.
“Domaine Évasion Mont Blanc”, is Megève’s Alpine skiing area which is comprised of Megève itself (Mont d’Arbois, L’Alpette, Rochebrune and Côte 2000); Saint-Gervais-les-Bains; Combloux; La Giettaz; Les Contamines-Montjoie and Saint-Nicolas-de-Véroce. The “Evasion Mont-Blanc” range covers approximately 445 km of the ski slopes.
An 8 km2 has 116 lifts providing access to 219 slopes totaling 445 km (277 mi).
The 445 km slopes are divided from hardest to easiest. The lifts include 67 platter lifts, 35 chairlifts, 13 gondola lifts, and one cable car.
The “Domaine Évasion Mont Blanc” includes 18 cross-country skiing trails totaling 65 km (40 mi).
The Snow Polo Masters Megève is an international polo tournament played on snow at Megève’s Mont d’Arbois plateau.
Besides these winter sports, Megève also hosts winter events, including an international curling tournament, a ski cross World Cup and a mogul skiing cup. In February, there is also night skiing, a ski cross slope, an open-air ice rink, snowshoeing, and dog sledding, plus 38 km (24 mi) of Nordic skiing in the region.
Megève is a popular summer holiday destination and renowned for its golfing opportunities. During the 2016 Tour de France, it was the finishing town for stage 18 and the start town for stage 20.
What’s New for 2019/20?
Megève’s focus on the 2019/20 season is on hotel accommodation. The Soleil d’Or, a hotel at the center of Megève for 120 years, undergone a major renovation that resulted in its five* rating. Besides, Les Chalets du Mont d’Arbois spent more than €10 million on renovations. The hotel’s new features include a swimming pool, sauna, hammam, hot tub, and the Michelin-starred restaurant Prima.