It is easy to forget in the midst of a ski holiday that there are other equally exciting things to experience. In reality, such is the plethora of non-ski activities, they warrant an action-packed week’s holiday of their own. Les Gets offers a wealth of such experiences that happen well away from the slopes. They are perfect if you are catering to a mixed group with some non-skiers, or for when you have some piste downtime. Here are just a handful of activities on offer.


Ice hockey is a local passion. The local team often competes internationally and the league is demanding. The ice rink is located in Morzine and fixtures vary throughout the winter but there should be a match on most weeks. Enjoy an early supper in your chalet then head to the stadium close to the Morzine Mairie. We recommend getting a drink from the bar inside and then finding a seat on the same side of the stadium, behind the team benches. There are normally lots of spare seats and you can watch the players tag in and out during the match and listen to some very enthusiastic locals.


The French love ten pin bowling and it offers a really nice change of pace for the whole family. Bowling really does transcend international borders so the rules are the same, the bowling alleys look the same and most lanes offer on and off-peak times so it’s often worth visiting during quieter times to lose a few hours getting your bowling skills back. Le Bowling Bar, Les Gets, is a small underground bowling alley & bar located on the main high street. Perfect on bad weather days, or just a good place to go with a group and get competitive! If you are already on the mountain, Avoriaz also has a bowling lane.


More Cinema Paradiso than giganton multiplex, why not try an authentic French cinema? Located in Les Gets village, Cinema Le Club is a one screen, one movie kind of affair. Brush up on your French by watching the newest French films, or perhaps a French dubbed American blockbusters. Alternatively choose a VOST (Version Originale) and watch the current hit in English. The French are not big on American-style super-sized snacks so you might want to sneak in your own bag of Maltesers or you will be restricted to small packets of pre-cooked popcorn and non-brand fizzy drinks.


A very cultural experience, Les Gets’ Museum of Mechanical Music has one of the finest collections in Europe of mechanical instruments (around 600 exhibits). Enjoy a guided tour (all the instruments are working) and discover chimes, clocks, musical boxes, automatons, organs, orchestrions and mechanical violins, mechanical and pneumatic pianos, phonographs and gramophones to name just a few. All are displayed in their historical context so it offers a historic and cultural learning experience if the mountain isn’t cutting it for you!


Thursday is local market day in Les Gets where you can wander amongst the locals buying fresh produce for their weekly shop. Aside from regionally grown vegetables and meat there is also an abundance of local produce on offer from savoie cheeses and traditionally cured meats, to wild mushrooms, jams, wines and digestifs. Italian produce is sometimes available from across the border, as is a welcome vin chaud to keep you warm during your winter wandering. After the market take a walk along Les Gets high street where there are more artisan shops selling locally made chocolate and cakes, patisseries and alpine-inspired interiors. Chamonix & Annecy also have wonderful weekly markets.


Aquariaz is, on a basic level, a water park located high up in the mountains in Avoriaz (a cable car or drive from Les Gets). But this aquatic centre offers a lot more. Yes, there is a fun river that winds through lush tropical vegetation, a slidewinder (which is like a water halfpipe), a children’s paddling pool, a large swimming pool with surrounding climbing walls, massage benches and even an open-air spa heated to 34°C. But this is a hybrid concept of creating a water park that keeps kids entertained but also houses natural tropical vegetation from around the world. There are over 1570 different tropical plants and 183 tropical trees imported from all around the world. It also houses one of the oldest mahogany trees in the world (350 years old). Inexpensive and fun, with a little bit of botanical education thrown in. If you can, visit during their off peak times, when everyone else is on the piste.


There are some must do on mountain (off-ski) activities that warrant a place on your holiday to do list. Husky dog sledding at sunset, snowshoeing through mountain forests, cross-country skiing (ski de fond) across mountain paths, sledding (day and night) and ski-joering behind a horse, all offer truly traditional mountain experiences that don’t require the use of a ski pass. Located across the resort, each activity will introduce you to traditions intrinsically linked to the local area. The likes of snowshoeing, dog sledding and ski joering were genuine modes of transport during harsh winters centuries ago. Ski de fond (cross country skiing) is incredibly historic dating back to the Vikings who would cross snow passes on versions of our modern day cross country skis. And sledding. Well, when isn’t sledding fun? While more of a list than a specific recommendation, we do think making time for a least one of these mountain experiences will make your winter ski break feel even more authentic.


Kids as young as 5 years old can learn to drive electric snowmobiles (specifically designed for their age) on a dedicated, enclosed circuit. Located at the Lac des Ecoles and Gentiane blue run below the Chavannes Express chair lift, the park is open from Sunday to Friday from 10am to 5pm. The extra bonus is that the activity is deemed entirely “zero emission” which means it has no negative impact on the local environment. This was a massive hit last winter and, at the time, was unique in France.