Things to do at Chalet F'Net
You can walk up the hill to the Plancerts drag lift, discover Les Houches and ski home (snow allowing). A short drive down to town gives you access to the beautiful, glamorous St Gervais/Megève ski area, where you can mingle with the seasoned Alpine cognoscenti. Make sure you stop for an après-ski drink and a boogie at the legendary Folie Douce mountain bar above St Gervais.
If you want to ski Les Houches and St Gervais, the best and most flexible option is the MBU (Mont Blanc Unlimited) pass, which enables you to ski Les Houches, St Gervais, Chamonix, Courmayeur and even Verbier. The pass also gives you discounts on various attractions in Chamonix. For something more modest, you can buy separate single-resort passes for St Gervais/Megève or Les Houches. There are even micro-passes available for beginners via www.ski-saintgervais.com
We have arranged a 20% discount on equipment hire at Twinners ski hire store in St Gervais. +33 4 50 47 75 97 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The École du Ski Français offers skiing lessons, with English-speaking instructors. Further information via www.ski-school-saint-gervais.co.uk or +33 4 50 47 76 21.
If you are feeling fit and brave, you can ski Les Houches and return home via La Taniere restaurant just above the chalet, run by the jolly Argentinian, Luiza. If you go there at night the nutters there will send you out with a head torch and a sledge to go home pie-eyed! Dinner by reservation only. If you prefer a more peaceful return to the chalet, take it easy and walk down the hill. www.lataniererestaurant.com
In St Gervais town, you can enjoy:
La Galeta: friendly staff with meat cooked on an open fire fire. Traditional fare. Nice outdoor garden. www.le-galeta.fr
Le Serac Traiteur: posh take away and Michelin-starred restaurant. It also has a reasonably priced bistro on the main square in town. www.3serac.fr
Pur Bar for burgers and fried squid.
Brasserie du Mont Blanc for copious and inexpensive food, but typically French service, so not one to choose if you're in a hurry.
On the slopes, we recommend:
La Folie Douce: banging Alpine cabaret bar on the St Gervais side of the mountain. Not to be missed for afternoon beer or toffee vodka with live DJs and occasional trapeze artists. www.lafoliedouce.com
La Raviere: tiny and delicious family run restaurant, but difficult to find; a real hidden gem. Non-skiers can join you as it's easy to walk from the Les Communailles car park. Make sure you order chocolate cake with caramel salted butter for pudding. Wash down with Alsatian wine. Cash only – no cards. Book on 04 50 47 76 21.
If you ski over to Megève village, it is worth a trip to sample:
Le Refuge: great location on Route de Leutaz. We used to eat here when we were ski bunnies. Great views and authentic French food. Don't confuse with Chez Nano next door, which singularly fails to lay out the welcome mat. www.refuge-megeve.com
Our incredible tri-lingual mountain guide Raphael can come to the chalet in sunshine and snow by order to guide you in some amazing Alpine adventures, including hut-to-hut hikes, snow shoeing (half day, full day or 3-day).
- Overnight stay in a mountain huts
- Igloo adventures
- 8-mile sledge run
- Ice skating
- Full moon snowshoe walks and night walks
- Winter canyoning and abseiling
- Winter geocaching
- Sightseeing in the Chamonix Valley
- Nature walks
Paragliding is available, starting from 5o euros, through Didier, who lives just down the road from the chalet (+33 6 61 81 28 67) or through A2L Parapente (A2Lparapente@gmail.com or +33 6 85 52 13 o3)
Heli-skiing is the classic choice, but more discerning guests should ask to be dropped at a mountain refuge, which are generally open from June to September. Book helicopter service on +33 6 81 60 81 04.
Refuge de Nid d'Aigle (2412m at the edge of the Biomassey Glacier) is actually accessible by the Tramway du Mont Blanc railway, unlike the others, which are all a good hike.
Refuge de Gouter has 120 beds in 8 dormitories: must be booked online www.refugedugouter.ffcam.fr and is the highest refuge in France (3385m). Telephone +33 6 72 81 22 08.
Refuge de Miage has a little restaurant, 2 private bedrooms and 3 dormitories. Reserve via www.refugedemiage.com or +33 6 31 72 50 19.
Refuge de Tête Rousse has 5 dorms and 72 beds. Reserve through www.refugeteterousse.ffcam.fr
Vue Royale de Mont Blanc was re-done in 2005 and is comfortable and friendly. It is open in the winter but not necessarily manned; some camping is even allowed for the brave! Reservations via +33 6 19 02 90 71.
You can learn how to drive husky sleds in Megève, or simply take a ride on a dog-pulled sleigh through the snowy woods. Contact Montduvillard Husky on email@example.com
Skijoring is where a person on skis is pulled along by a horse or dogs. It is derived from the Norwegian word "skikjøring" meaning ski driving. Contact Christophe André for an hour's skijoring in St Gervais from 45 euros on +33 6 13 08 33 58 or visit www.skijoeringmontblanc.com
We can help you to arrange your adventure. Contact us at Chillderness HQ.
Ski the Vallée Blanche
The famous Vallée Blanche in Chamonix is an off-piste ski route, 20km long with a vertical descent of 2700m starting from the Aiguille du Midi. The views are stunning and the high mountain environment provides a real sensation of wilderness. This is one of those memorable life experiences that you'll never forget.
If the conditions are good, this wonderful and magnificent adventure trip is accessible, with a mountain guide, for most intermediate skiers and is a fantastic journey into the largest glaciated domain in the Alps, the Mont Blanc massif.
About half-way down the Vallée Blanche, you can stop at the Requin Hut and have an excellent meal and drinks. When there isn't enough snow to come back to Chamonix on skis, it's much nicer and comfortable to stop at the Montenvers train station and take the train back down to Chamonix.
There are a number of variants to the Vallée Blanche, requiring a little more skill and knowledge of the area. Involving steeper skiing over a more difficult terrain such as theGros Rognon, the Grand Envers and the Petit Envers du Plan. These routes are only recommended for advanced skiers with extensive off-piste experience or intermediates under the guidance of a high mountain guide.
OUT AND ABOUT IN Saint Gervais
St Gervais has a great tourist office which has very up to date lists of all the attractions and restaurants in the area. www.saintgervais.com or telephone +33 45 47 76 08. There is also a market on Thursday mornings in the main square.
In St Gervais town, if you are not in the mood for skiing, there is an ice skating rink, swimming pool, mini golf and tennis.
However, St Gervais' most renowned attraction is the Thermes de St Gervais, the fabulous thermal baths where the late night sessions from 6pm or 7pm are the best way to soothe away aches and pains, starting from around 21 euros. Massages and other treatments are available but you will need to book in advance particularly in peak weeks. Ask for Albane and mention Chalet F'Net and you should get 10% off. www.thermes-saint-gervais.com