Morzine - Avoriaz Ski Holidays

Morzine – Avoriaz Ski Holidays

A couple of hundred year ago, visitors to Morzine would have found plenty of slate mines, basic amenities for locals, and very little else. These days, the winter holiday maker trekking to Morzine will find a quaint alpine village, some of the very best terrain in Europe, modern lift infrastructures and an abundant selection of fantastic restaurants and buzzing apres ski.

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The ski resort of Morzine-Avoriaz actually forms part of the much larger Port de Soleil region which spans both the French and Swiss Alps and encompasses some 13 resorts as well as many other smaller villages and hamlets. So as well as offering skiers and riders everything they could ever require in terms of amenities, Morzine and the Port du Soleil boasts an incredible 1100 square kilometres of marked terrain (as well as an endless backcountry) and well over 200 lifts.

In short, a week is never going to be enough time to explore all that Morzine and the Port du Soleil have to offer which is, perhaps, why many skiers keep going back to Morzine year after year. In addition, it’s a great reason to read our comprehensive guide so you’ll know what to check out as soon as you arrive!

Skiing and Riding in Morzine-Avoriaz and the Port du Soleil

Due to the fact that the Port du Soleil encompasses so many resorts, this guide will focus on those skiers and riders that have chosen to stay in the most popular resort of Morzine-Avoriaz.

Pleney

For those staying in Morzine itself, there are a number of options when it comes to setting out in the morning. By far the most popular choice will be to set out on the Pleney bubble, the base of which is located in Morzine town centre and within easy walking distance for the majority of holidaymakers. This is a fantastic lift for beginners since, at the top of the lift, there is a gentle green slope that leads to a new, high speed lift which is easy to load and dismount for those with little experience. In fact, beginners may find that there is no need to stray far from the Pleney area due to the abundance of gentle, quiet slopes.

Pleney is a good choice for the whole party in fact, as a short ski followed by a couple more lifts takes skiers into the higher alpine with its offering of steeps, tree lined runs and open bowls.

Les Lindaret & Neon

If staying in one of the smaller satellite villages to Morzine, the best choice in the mornings is likely to be the Neon or Ardent bubbles, both of which are located a short drive from Morzine town centre. Both served by busses, they offer plenty of free parking and easy access direct to the heart of the Morzine area of the Port du Soleil. On a powder day, all of the terrain accessible direct from Les Lindaret (at the top of the Ardent bubble) is fantastic and skiers and riders alike will be spoilt for choice.

Les Lindaret also offers direct access to the resorts of Chatel (just one short lift ride away) and Les Crosets in Switzerland (just two lifts away). Depending on the time of year, there’s also a fantastic snow cross park serviced by the Prolays lift (the base of which is in Les Lindaret) together with a race course for those seeking the ultimate on-piste adrenaline rush! Offering everything the skier and rider could wish for, Les Lindaret is a great choice for groups formed of multiple skill levels.

Avoriaz

Avoriaz is a purpose built resort located atop the steep cliffs overlooking Morzine (the upper station of the Prodains cable car provides a great vantage point on a clear day) and as such it’s served by high-speed, modern lifts that whisk skiers and riders in all directions. There are plenty of blacks for advanced skiers, corduroy cruisers after a speed fix and plenty of moguls around the Crot chair for those that like a bump or two!

One of the highest points in Avoriaz, Chavanette, is home to the start of the infamous Swiss Wall. Aptly named, the Swiss wall is rumoured to be the steepest marked piste in Europe, with the approach to the Wall striking fear into the heart of all but the most accomplished skier/rider; from 2 yards away it’s impossible to see the run below, such is the ferocity with which the Wall drops away. In powder, a sheer delight; lacking snow, brutal. But whatever the conditions, the Swiss Wall is a must for all skiers and riders wishing to claim to have conquered Morzine-Avoriaz.

Eating and Drinking

As we mentioned above, both Morzine and Avoriaz have plentiful selections of restaurants. Most of the fare on offer is traditional French Savoyarde (think fondu, raclette and tartiflette) with most places offering a good selection for meat and non-meat eaters alike. There is now an Indian restaurant for those that can’t go a week without a korma and a number of creperies for those wanting a quick bite before heading to a bar or club.

Once the sun sets, Morzine is like any other European ski resort: chilled Jagermeister becomes the order of the day together with Euro-trash tunes! There’s lots on offer in Morzine town centre, with Opera Discotheque, The Cavern and Dixies the most popular year after year for those with enough energy left to dance after a day on the slopes.

For those warn out by a day on the pistes, numerous bars offer a relaxed atmosphere in which to regale your friends with tales from the day’s on piste activities. Le Crepu is always popular due to its heated terrace as is Nepal Bar.

Getting to Morzine

Another reason for Morzine-Avoriaz’s popularity with the British crowd is its proximity to Geneva International Airport. At a little over an hour’s drive away (taking in the beautiful Lac Leman) Geneva Airport is serviced by plenty of flights from both the big airports (such as London Gatwick) and the smaller regional hubs (such as Southampton).

If staying in Morzine or Avoriaz, there’s no need to hire a car; the pistes, bars and restaurants are all within walking distance with each of the resorts that make up the Port du Soleil reachable on ski during the day! There are a number of companies offering transfers to and fro the airport, whilst the local bus is a cheaper (but much slower) alternative.

The other option is to hire a car on arrival in Geneva. This provides the utmost flexibility and will allow you to visit other areas for evening entertainment – Les Gets is 10 to 15 minutes away and is beautiful when lit up in the evening.