So, I can't figure out if my question is more because of differences between American and European skiing, or just because my husband and I are still fairly new to the sport... We're planning on going skiing at Les Houches on Christmas Day, since we'll already be nearby and everything else will be closed. From what I see online, it looks like you just drive up to near the lifts, rent your gear, and go - is this correct? I'm assuming we could buy a ski pass at the shop where we rent our skis. We've never been to a real "ski resort," we're used to the type where one company manages everything (rentals, lift passes, cafeteria). Additionally - do we need both a "ski pass" and a "lift ticket," or is the lift ticket just for those who want to take in the views, and the ski pass will cover lifts as well? Thanks!
Just go to their website. http://www.leshouches.com/ski-rentals,229,en.html
They can take care of everything. There appears to be more services at the Prarion entrance and gondola station, than at the Bellevue entrance where the tram is.
Ps You'll just buy a day pass for 33.50 euro, unless you get a senior discount or you have children and can qualify for a family discount.
"we're used to the type where one company manages everything (rentals, lift passes, cafeteria)." I have not visited this particular town, but usually there's multiple shops in the town where you can rent skis. There may or may not be one adjacent to the lifts. "do we need both a "ski pass" and a "lift ticket," or is the lift ticket just for those who want to take in the views, and the ski pass will cover lifts as well?" Depends on the town, but they're usually the same thing. You pay the same amount to use the lifts, whether you're skiing or just looking. There are some exceptions.
I notice that the lift price after Nov 30 is the "high season" rate of 39 euro.
You can also get a walkers/cross country ski pass for 15 euro. There is a cross country track on top of the mountain. That pass is only good for a single ride up and down on either the Prarion gondola or the Bellevue tram.
Thanks everyone! I guess I was mostly confused as to whether I had to buy the lift pass to get to the ski area, and then the ski pass covered the rest of the lifts, or whether the ski pass included that first big lift as well. Just trying to budget as best as possible!
Also make note that Christmas Day is a big ski day in Europe, it'll be busy. I suggest you contact one of the stores where you're going and make an advance reservation for equipment. Intersport is a huge sports equipment chain, I see they have one in Les Houches and you can reserve online.