Tag Archives: les gets

New Ski Lift News in Morzine and the Portes du Soleil

Back in April 2009 I first wrote about the proposed lift linking Morzine to Prodains (and then Avoriaz)…AKA “l’Express Morzine-Avoriaz”. It was part of a clutch of integrated projects the Mairie was proposing. The Department’s application for the Winter Olympics failed and it was suggested the l’Express Morzine-Avoriaz would fall by the wayside with that.

In that earlier blog I listed the projects.

1. The current Prodains lift is due to be replaced, it is old, inefficient and some say it is condemned thanks to the fact it sits (just) within a rockfall zone. NOW DONE.

2. The whole of the Prodains area need redeveloping, it was too busy for the current infrastructure. SOME OF THIS WAS DONE AS PART OF #1.

3. The county (Haute Savoie) has just won the opportunity to bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics. WE LOST OUT TO PYEONGCHANG..it’s next year!

4. Avoriaz is just starting a fairly major expansion and remodelling. We have some of the new apartments for sale. NOW DONE.

However despite this the Morzine to Prodains project continued to chug along. In 2013 they produced a video presentation.

 

There have been various local objections but the Mairie and most everyone else I speak to is still behind it, last month a question and answer article appeared in one of the local papers.

http://www.lemessager.fr/chablais/a-morzine-la-creation-d-un-telepherique

In short the article says.

1 . The Express Morzine-Avoriaz will form part of a massive redevelopment on the parking area between the Post Office and the Rue du Bourg. This will include a new bus station, parking and social housing.

2 . The link will cut down on the 320 bus movements and speed up getting from Morzine to Avoriaz. It’s planned for 2020/21 and is projected to cost €50 million.

3 . The operating company for Avoriaz will pay for it.

4 . There are plans to extend Avoriaz beyond what was done in 2010, another 2,000 beds, thanks to Club Med and Pierre et Vacances.

So it is obviously still on the cards. Locally the Mairie is pushing the environmental and the business case. Both these arguments hold a lot of water with the local Regional government. In addition the Mayor is making the point that Morzine is in fact a business. Last year’s poor snow season is helping further this argument. For a skier staying in Morzine the quicker they can get to Avoriaz the better!

In other news.

The Swiss side of the Portes du Soleil reports 107 million CHF of planned investment over the next 10 years. More information here.

https://www.remontees-mecaniques.net/forums/Les Portes du Soleil pg 58

Les Gets Mairie has approved almost €9m of work for their area. The bulk of which is the replacement of the main Ranfolly chair.

https://www.remontees-mecaniques.net/forums/Les Portes du Soleil pg 54

The liaison from St Jean d’Aulps to Les Gets is still being discussed in the face of considerable environmental opposition.

http://www.lemessager.fr/chablais/liaison-les-gets-saint-jean-d-aulps-necessite-ou-heresie

 

 

 

Family friendly mountain biking in Morzine

The Portes du Soleil is one of the best places to go mountain biking in the world. I’ve biked in a few of the other best places and they are all great. I ran an MTB company from Morzine for 10 years (Endlessride – it is no longer!) and between them our guests and our guides have been to ALL the great places on their bikes. We never could decide where the best place to go was. Morzine was on the list though.

But is it a suitable places to go if you are a beginner? Or have a young family? Is there any family friendly biking in Morzine? We would usually guide families and beginners full time. We could keep them safe but we knew that without local knowledge a beginner could find themselves out of their depth in moments. We saw it every day. Since we started our in the year 2000 the situation has improved bit by bit every year. 16 years on the Portes du Soleil is a very different place. There is no escaping the fact it is orientated towards the downhill rider, despite this the various tourist authorities have tried to soften things a bit to appeal to their preferred customer, the active family. The best evidence of this is the Multi Pass. 2€ a day to swim, skate, play tennis and use the lifts (to go walking, not biking!!)

ecureuils

Les Ecureuils, start here, if this is too much go back to the Dereche

 

Morzine itself doesn’t have the best family friendly trails. Chatel and Les Gets do. It does site in between these two towns though, so for the most variety it may well be the best base. If you are not sure, and this can often seem a bit overwhelming, then hire a qualified MTB guide. At least to start. I can recommend some. Just ask! Otherwise read on…

Morzine/Les Gets

The most family friendly MTB trail is the footpath that runs up and down the river. No ski lifts required! It starts by the outdoor swimming pool (and new skate park) and runs on both sides of the river. Called the Parc des Dérêches it is suitable for all ages and almost flat. The easiest longest circuit in the park itself is 10km, it’s easy to extend beyond this on the well sign posted path towards St Jean d’Aulps and even then (take a map for this bit) on to Le Biot, 95% off-road and suitable for everyone. From Morzine to Le Biot and back is 28km, it is a “there and back” ride unless you are happy riding on the road. And for most families I would recommend against this. It is too busy. It’s also a great wet weather alternative to using ski lifts for more experienced riders. Just watch the wooden bridges when it’s wet! The picture below is the start of the route. The full route is available on openstreetmap. Or the paper map Morzine IGN Top25.  You can even get the IGN map online now too.

dereche

The Morzine section of the best family bike ride in Morzine, the Dereche, the red arrow points towards St Jean d’Aulps

The Morzine and Les Gets MTB maps are available for download here. A high res image is below.

morzine

Some more ideas for the family on a bike. The following are “itinéraire”, so not marked and patrolled routes. Starting in Les Gets.

Route A “Boucle des clarines“, 6km on Mont Chéry in Les Gets. Very easy, wide open track, great views on Mt Blanc. I have never made a specific trip just to do this. It’s there anyway, the Route B that seems to follow on from this is a road. A quiet one. So for a really basic family trip, take the Mont Chery lift, ride route A and then descent back to Les Gets on the road via Mt Caly.

Route D “Tour de Mont Chery” is more like XC mountain biking. 13km and highly recommended. Family friendly, like a blue route at a UK trail centre, as long as the family doesn’t mind heights! Marked as a “Zone technique” on the map. We used to refer to this trail as “the dangerous trail”, thanks to the warning signals.  The tricky section does often close due to landslips.

Route F “Tour du plateaux de Loex“, a black route! Probably because of the distance (14km) and the fact you will need to be more self sufficient and may end up consulting your map. If Route D went well, then technically this will be fine too. Be careful, a wrong turn down to the Samoens valley will end the day in tears. The easiest way back to Les Gets will be in a taxi!

As far as the actual MTB “pistes” go, start with #1 “La piste des Ecureuils” – “the squirrel piste”, AKA “The Family DH“. It’s a beauty and is a perfect introduction to the type of MTB piste the area has to offer. If you struggle on here then don’t move on from the green’s. It’s so good the full on DH brigade love it too, which is fine if they give the families a wide berth (they often don’t), so beware when stopping to admire the view and get off the piste and out of their way!

#20, the return from Les Gets to Morzine should be OK. It’s marked as a red. Probably because of the steep section after the Atray restaurant (stop there for a drink!) though you can always walk this section. The best easy route home from Les Gets to Morzine is probably #24  “Morzine par Les Mouilles“.

#22 or #23 are your best options from the top of Pleney, both blue runs, these both have berms and steeper sections though. My preferred choice is #22. I think #23 is slightly harder and often a bit wetter. The best of it is over by the time you get to the Cherche Midi car park, from here you can keep going until you get to Morzine or turn left and head back to Les Gets via the road of the “Morzine par Les Mouilles” in reverse.

The liaison with Les Gets is a strange one. It’s marked as a red and justifiably so. If this is going to be too much then (and you’ll need a map) start down it but nip on to the road at Nabor and roll down to Les Gets from there. You can carry along it, the route is straightforward but it’s hard not to get sucked into the main Les Gets downhill, somewhere you don’t want to be with a family!

Avoriaz/Chatel

From Morzine this is a day out. It can be shortened by taking a car around to Linderets. I’ve described it from Morzine itself. Head up the Super Morzine telecabine and then the Zore chairlift. At the top there is a wide, smooth and sandy track that leads towards Avoriaz. After a few km you’ll arrive at the Col de la Joux Verte. From here the MTB route is well signed posted but probably too hard for most children. The safest thing to do would be to descent the road to Linderets. From here the Chaux Fleurie chair leads to the Chatel bike park.

Avoriaz

Chatel MTB piste maps are available for download here. Start off on the green run, Panoramic, one of the classics of the area. Not to be missed. For most this is enough. For some this is already too much. If Panoramic is your limit when you arrive at Plaine Dranse head back up the lift! If you think you can take a little more then head down the blue run, Serpentine. I’ve just spotted Eterlou on this years map (2016), it’s marked green, either it is new for this year or I’ve missed it. Either way I can’t offer advice yet. I’ll check it out when the area is open at the end of June.

chatel

Getting home from Chatel is another of those little issues that a family MTB team can face. Especially if green runs are the limit. The easiest option when stood at the top of the Rochassons chair is to hike up a few metres to the Fantasticable (marked as a red circle on the map below) and then take the path signposted towards the Mossettes. This will take a big dog leg back on itself, signposted for Linderets. Then stick to the path marked GR5 back down to the valley. This is a winter ski piste lower down, fairly steep and gravelly, not ideal but it is the easiest way.  I’ve highlighted the path to take in red. I’ve also marked an obvious blue run called Chesery with a tricky steep start and then a black run, Toboggan which is aptly named. These are the “official” ways down.

Avoriaz return

 

Remember walking with your bike is better than falling off your bike! From Linderets the best route back to Morzine is to ride down the road, yes the road (at certain times of day it can be a bit crowded) descend from Linderets to Ardent and follow the signposted bike route around the Lac Montriond back to Morzine.

So that’s enough to keep you going for 3 or 4 days. One last tip, you’ll notice most people are wearing protection, knees and elbows and full face helmets. For the riding I have described you’ll need a helmet, full finger gloves and I recommend some knee pads too. They will mean that if you do fall off you will probably be able to ride the next day. Without them you’ll loose so much skin that cycling will seem far less appealing!

 

 

Campsites in the Portes du Soleil

The campsites around the Portes du Soleil are “fine”.  However they cannot be compared to the really big campsites available around France. No swimming pools in the campsites around here! I’ve made a list as a resource.

Camping in the Haute Savoie

The best campsite in the Portes du Soleil is probably in Chatel.

Camping L’Oustalet 4*
http://www.oustalet.com/

For the Morzine area there are two.  I know some people prefer the camping in Essert Romand, though Le Pré in Montriond offers better access to the river trail for bikes and dog walking.

Essert Romand
Camping Les Marmottes
http://www.campinglesmarmottes.com/

Montriond
Camping Le Pré 2*
http://www.savoie-mont-blanc.com/en/offre/fiche/camping-le-pre/74356

The best views are from this one in Les Gets, though it is quite a hike up the hill. No website that I can find.

Camping d’été La Grange Au Frêne
http://www.lesgets.com/les-gets/hebergement/campings.html

Camping in St Jean d’Aulps is just by the main road . It is walking distance from the shops though and it’s on the river trail and very near the stables for horse riding.

Camping Le Solerey
http://www.valleedaulps.com/camping-le-solerey-1.html

For short stays, there is the municipal camping at La Baume. It’s bound to be the cheapest option too.
Camping Municipal De La Baume, call 04 50 72 10 06, open July and August

camping 2

You don’t have to go far for some bigger and better options though.

Samoens
Camping Le Giffre 3*
http://www.camping-samoens.com/

Or there are a number down by Lac Léman (Lake Geneva). These two are by the beach at Excenevex.

Camping La Pinede 3*
http://www.camping-lac-leman.info/

Camping La Pourvoirie des Ellande 2*
http://www.camping-lac-leman.com/

Skiing and Saving: Renting your Alpine Property!

The apartment itself is set up for the rental market and has a solid existing client base, as well as a website that can be transferred to the new owner. With about €14,500 taken in bookings already for the season 2013/14 (which would be passed directly to the new owner), this property comes with a guaranteed return-on-investment of 5% GROSS ROI for the coming season.. That’s 10 times better than the Bank of England’s rate!

Chalet for sale in Les Gets

Chalet Frollie: €695,000 This 5 bedroom, 4 bathroom chalet is perfect for the rental market. Low maintenance, it means that management from afar is very low-hassle. Less than 5 minutes walk from the nearest ski-lift and the village centre ensures all the action is nearby, but the chalet itself is in a nice quiet neighbourhood. Perfect for family rentals! With an annual turnover close to €35,000, a solid client base and an established website, this chalet also offers a fabulous investment opportunity.

If you’d like to know what the annual costs are associated with these rentals please let me know via the contact form on our website. This will make the NET ROI easy to work out. It’ll beat the current rate of inflation which is 2.4% and that leaves capital appreciation which is doing well at the moment.

With the massive growth seen lately in road biking and triathlon holidays boosting summer rentals, and the well established family and mountain biking holidays the investment potential of a property in the Alps can only continue to grow!

We’ve written an article here on the different ways to gain a rental return.

Renting Property in the Alps, advice and tips

Virtually all the properties we sell are sold freehold and there will not be any restrictions on renting, in fact gaining a rental return is an essential part of many peoples requirements.

As far as renting via an agency is concerned there are many to choose from. It really depends on which town you are considering. Much of what I have written below is Portes du Soleil biased, this is where I work!

There are a number rental options, each with advantages and disadvantages. They are not all available to all properties! I will list them as I see them. The first offers lowest risk for least return, the balance moves from return to risk as you descend the list!

Renting Options

OPTION 1a. You can choose to rent your apartment on a yearly basis, for a fixed fee to a company that specialises in self-catering holidays. You can negotiate some weeks for yourself or you can negotiate a discount for weeks you want to rent.

Example: Alptitude, a specialist in Morzine
http://www.alptitude.com

Advantages:

  • Most secure form of rental return
  • If you choose the tenant carefully they will look after the property well, dealing with maintenance issues, taxes, Internet etc.
  • Minimum input from the owner

Disadvantages

  • Offers the lowest returns
  • Property will need to be in a good location, this type of company will see that as a priority.

OPTION 1b. Similar to the option above but with a little more risk. There are some companies that specialise in finding long term lets aimed at “saisonniers”, so people who rent for the whole season. You will need to check the tenants in at the start of the season and out at the end but beyond that it should be hassle free.

Example: Live The Season, http://livetheseason.com/owner.html

Advantages:

  • Full Seasons income paid before the season starts.
  • Higher return than 1a (annual lets)
  • Minimum input from the owner
  • Location of the property is less critical than the option 1a.

Disadvantages

  • Higher returns are available with the options below.
  • No time in the winter for the owner to use the property.
  • Unless there is a provision to periodically check on the state of the rental there is a risk the tenants might not look after the property.
    apartment for sale in Les Gets

OPTION 2. You can use one of the independent chalet operators in the area, these companies often have one chalet that they run catered holidays from and then up to a dozen they arrange as self-catering. This type of company will often try to negotiate a percentage fee (up to 30%), for this they will arrange the booking, key holding and the cleaning etc.

Example:

The Great Escape
http://www.thegreatescapemorzine.co.uk/
Example: Mountain Highs
http://www.mountainhighs.co.uk/
Example: Ski Fusion (based in Les Carroz)
http://www.skifusion.co.uk

Advantages

  • There may be the occasional unbooked week that could be used by the owner for a cheap holiday at the last-minute.
  • More flexibility for booking in friends etc.
  • If there are good bookings this can offer better returns than choice 1

Disadvantages

  • Riskier for the owner as they don’t offer any rental guarantees, this risk can be reduced by choosing an established company.

OPTION 3. You can use an Internet based agent who will handle all the booking and cleaning, in theory for a lower percentage fee (20%-35%)

Example: White Peak a specialist in Chatel.
http://www.white-peak.com/
Example: Alps Accommodation a specialist in Samoens. http://www.alpsaccommodation.com/
Example: Holiday in the Alps a specialist in renting properties in St Gervais http://www.holidayinalps.com/

Advantages

  • There may be the occasional unbooked week that could be used by the owner for a cheap holiday at the last-minute.
  • More flexibility for booking in friends etc.
  • If there are good bookings this can offer better returns than choice 2
  • Internet based administration can be convenient

Disadvantages

  • Riskier for the owner as they don’t offer any rental guarantees, this risk can be reduced by choosing an established company.
  • If the agency does not care about your property the wear and tear can be quite high. This can depend on their clientèle too.
  • Choose your Internet based agent carefully, they can be excellent but there is more room here for cowboys.

OPTION 4. You could use an Internet based “Bulletin Board”, these businesses charge a fee for you to advertise, you handle the booking and arrange cleaning and key holding via a local person or agency. My Mum uses Owners Direct for a property on the outskirts of Morzine, it costs about £200/an to advertise, she does very well and uses a local girl for the cleaning etc. This method is a lot of work for the my Mum and offers no guaranteed income but it can offer the best returns. In addition the renter can’t book with a credit card and they are not booking with a recognised “agent” or “bonded holiday company” so they don’t have much backup if the holiday goes wrong in some way (for instance in the case of a double-booking).

Examples:
http://www.chaletfinder.co.uk/
http://www.ownersdirect.co.uk/

Advantages

  • There may be the occasional unbooked week that could be used by the owner for a cheap holiday at the last minute.
  • More flexibility for booking in friends etc.
  • If there are good bookings this can offer better returns than choice 3
  • More “hands on” can be more fun and it may give the owner the chance to “vet” the occupiers.

Disadvantages

  • Riskier for the owner as there are no rental guarantees.
  • The owner will have to find local people to deal with the changeovers / cleaning and any problems.
  • If there are problems or damage the owner might be called upon to arbitrate, this can be difficult on the phone!

OPTION 5. The traditional method, use one of the local French estate agents or the local Tourist Information Bureau , they will take a fee (about 25%) and handle the bookings and cleaning for you. This should probably be put between 2 and 3 in the income VS risk list.

Advantages

  • An established system, will probably be entirely legal.
  • Local agents normally have very good contacts with local tradesmen.
  • You may find that a particular agent will have an affiliation with a particular apartment block, this can help.

Disadvantages

  • No guarantees though, the owner will take all the risk. You will do better in the best locations. You might get nothing in a bad location!
  • Just because the agent has good contacts with local tradesmen it does not mean any maintenance work will come cheap.
  • Choose wisely, not all agents are fully Internet or email aware yet, this can come as a shock.

Confused about renting? You shouldn’t be. I am just illustrating how this is a very mature market and that there are a lot of options open to you.

Chalet dressing in Morzine

Lee Massey (our Morzine agent) needed to spruce up a property taken on for sale. He asked Liz Ockleton (Make Space Designs) from Chatel to have a look and see what she could do. Chalet Robri had been used by it’s owners for the last 10-20 years and had had no real attention paid to staging it for re-sale.

Chalet Robri

The original furniture layout, styling and photos of the property did no real justice to the chalet which has an unusual architectural style and huge potential for potential buyers. Liz’s brief was to dress the chalet for the purpose of adding value and to give it a freshened look.

The following pictures have been taken since the makeover:

The budget was 5000€ including design fees. For this budget Liz was able to address key areas such as lighting, decoration, bedding and the odd piece of furniture. By moving furniture around and re-dressing some of the key areas Liz has been able to add some warmth and character into the space to give it more of a ski chalet feel. The photos of the chalet now show the chalet off to its potential and this will hopefully attract more customers.

Chalet Robri is now advertised for sale in Morzine at 1 195 000 €uros with Alpine Property at http://www.alpine-property.com/index.php?page=prop_3_chaletrobri

The original pictures are available here: