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Discover a little-know gem in the Portes du Soleil: La Terche Grande

The skiing area of La Grande Terche sits above the St Jeans d'Aulps resort in the Portes du Soleil. Little known in the UK, it's a firm favourite of French ski teams looking for something different

Sitting next to larger, glitzier neighbours, the small resort of St Jean d’Aulps – La Grande Terche in the Portes du Soleil often gets overlooked. But those in the know – including the French National Ski Teams that hold their championships in the resort – sing the resort’s praises. So before you book your next ski holiday in the French Alps, take a look at what St Jean d’Aulps – La Grande Terche has to offer… 

The skiing area immediately surrounding St Jean d’Aulps is called the Roc d’Enfer and links up with nearby Bellevaux-La Chevrerie. Although the area isn’t enormous (especially in comparison with the nearby Portes du Soleil) it offers a very varied skiing proposition, and there’s something to interest skiers of all abilities. For experienced skiers there’s a black run, runs used in the World Championships, and off-piste opportunities. For intermediate skiers, there are a good number of reds, blues and greens (22 runs over 34km in total), and for those looking to learn to ski in St Jean d’Aulps there’s a dedicated area for beginners.

And that’s not to mention the enormous Portes du Soleil that is quickly accessed by a short car or bus journey to a range of lifts – including the Ardent gondola to Avoriaz and the Pleney gondola to Morzine/Les Gets. This puts a remarkable 650km of piste, served by 198 lifts on your doorstep. And not only is it extensive, you’ve got a snow sure guarantee as the slopes reach an altitude of 2275m and are kept in great condition by over 800 snow guns!

And there’s plenty to do in addition to the fantastic skiing and snowboarding. The Aulps valley is a great place to try cross country skiing, paragliding and snowshoeing. There’s also a number of more extreme and unusual activities to try out, including ice-climbing, ski-joering and under-ice diving! Whatever you’re looking for from your holiday in the mountains, St Jean d’Aulps and the surrounding area is certain to have something that appeals to you.

A large part of what makes St Jean d’Aulps such a special destination for a skiing or snowboarding holiday is that it has many of the benefits of a big resort despite being a small town. Endless pistes await you, but in the evening you have a quiet, self-contained resort to unwind in. Catered and self-catered chalets in the traditional wood-clad style are a great base, and the resort has the amenities – including restaurants, bars, pubs and shops – that you might need.

And given its location in the Portes du Soleil it's easy for you to try a night in a wilder resort if you so choose. Morzine is perhaps the most obvious choice, with a large number of restaurants, bars and even nightclubs on offer so that you can keep the party going until the early hours. Les Gets is another option, and although quieter with a more family-oriented atmosphere, there are good bars and pubs and even the Igloo nightclub!

What's more, the resort is looking to the future and each season brings exciting new developments and investment. In the 2012/13 season the resort opened a new slope, a new lift and more snow cannons! In the coming 2013/14 season there will be yet another new lift, as well as an extension of the current snowmaking operations. With improvements every year, it's hard to deny the appeal of a ski or snowboard holiday in St Jean d'Aulps/La Grande Terche.

Chalet Bernadine is a great example of the accommodation on offer in St Jean d'Aulps/La Grande Terche. Sleeping 8-12 people it's a great place for a group or family ski holiday in St Jean d'Aulps/La Grande Terche, and the catered chalet has some stunning luxury features, including an outdoor hot tub and a sauna. To find out more about a ski or snowboard holiday in the chalet visit their website (alpineactionadventures.co.uk) or head to ChaletFinder's page for the catered chalet

 

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