14 Aug Why You Should Get to Know St Gervais
This is a stunning resort and ski area, less than an hour from Geneva airport. A 450km ski area, but you’ve never heard of it? Welcome to St Gervais.
Some of you well-travelled skiers will have heard of St Gervais before, yet few have ever skied there or even know much about it, the British just don’t tend to go there, with the massive drawing power of Chamonix and Megeve only 15 minutes either way down the road from St Gervais, it just literally gets passed by.
I’m going to tell you why it shouldn’t (and why it’s great that it does!).
Founded in the Roman era – the town flourished during the middle ages as one of the largest market towns in the Alps – and bringing in tourists since 1806, St Gervais is that very rare thing, a ski resort with real character and real history. The first ski lift, the famous rack and pinion railway, situated just 200m from our chalet, was installed in 1904 and still runs today as the highest rack and pinion railway in Europe!
St Gervais feels like a genuine French town, Why? because it is. Here is a town with a weekly market, a museum, a baroque church, two professional local artists, three local potters, a train station, an Olympic sized ice rink, a public library, an all year-round riding school, a husky sled company, proper primary school, and one of the finest spa’s in the whole of France. Then theres the pretty town square with its stone fountain, park and permanent fairground carousel. This half of town is where you’ll find the majority of the restaurants and bars, with the ski lifts just the other side of the bridge over the dramatic gorge that runs through the centre of the town. A casual 10 minute walk or a two minute ride on the excellent free buses gets you right to the lifts.
If you’re after a crazy apres-ski and wild nightlife, then I highly recommend Val D’Isere or St Anton, they’re great resorts, but its not really what we do here. Though not famouts for its night-life, St Gervais offers over 50 bars, cafes and restaurants. From classy cocktail and wine bars, to dingy little locals spots. But this is not a party town, we dont have drunken gordes stumbling home from the pub at 2am, and thats fine by us. For families there is a super little crèche and ski school, quiet and well groomed pistes, and some great mountains restaurants.
Then there’s the location. Everyone who skis knows the pain involved with airport transfers: your plane arrives on time only for you to sit on your bus for two hours because the other flight was delayed, then you drive for three hours along winding mountain lanes, There is none of that here; with numerous great value transfer companies, you can get from your seat on the plane to the cake in the chalet in an hour!
As for the important stuff, the skiing: St Gervais and the Evasion Mont Blanc offers you 450km of pistes. The area is predominantly suited to improving beginners and intermediates who enjoy being able to ski or board the whole mountain-range on empty runs without horrible blacks or icy blind corners.
So, St Gervais Mont Blanc, a beautiful, peaceful resort; easy to get to, great skiing and empty pistes. Just don’t tell too many people…