AVORIAZ SKI AREA
The immense Portes du Soleil ski area of 600km consists of no fewer than 12 ski resorts between France and Switzerland:
- La Chapelle d’Abondance
- Les Gets
- St Jean d’Aulps in France plus
- Val d’Illiez in Switzerland
The Portes du Soleil offers a vast and varied choice of ski terrain, with something for all levels and abilities. The excellent mountain restaurants spread across this impressive ski area allow you to sample the best Savoyard and Swiss cuisine. At the central and highest point of the Portes du Soleil ski area, you will find the lovely and perfectly located ski resort of Avoriaz.
Skiing starts on your doorstep in Avoriaz, with snow-sure slopes there is something for every level of skier, with the main Portes du Soleil circuit easily enjoyed by beginners and intermediates, along with several challenging runs through tough terrain.
Of the 12 ski resorts of the immense ski area of the Portes du Soleil, Avoriaz has the good fortune to occupy the central position, so skiers can go from France to Switzerland for a change of culture.
Avoriaz is great for beginners and families. The impressive ‘Village des Enfants’ will welcome youngsters who are keen to experience the sensations of skiing. This 25-acre ski school learning area has been especially designed for children to have fun and learn in complete safety: there are fenced and controlled pistes with bumps, slides, mini tracks, coloured runs, small jumps, magic carpet, and a beginners’ teleski.
The beginners’ slope Ecole Piste next to the La Chapelle Park is great for first timers making a start. There are also various blue runs which vary in difficulty providing runs for absolute beginners as well as progressing and improving low level skiers.
For beginners, you can buy in a resort a 5-hour, 1, 2 or 3-day pass, ideal to begin with and to enjoy the Avoriaz ski area. This pass leads to Avoriaz beginners slopes and gives access to Prodains cable car; Plateau, Tour, Zore, Serraussaix, Proclou, Léchère and Dromonts 1 and 2 chairlifts; Trashers, Ecoles 1 and 2, Baron, Barmettes and Chapelle draglifts, and Super-Morzine and Ardent gondolas.
The Proclou, Gernues, Seraussaix and Qu’mont blue slopes are great for progressing beginners as they are easy and gentle, providing the perfect terrain to build confidence and ability. If you are having ski school lessons during your stay in Avoriaz, these slopes are perfect for trying out and improving what you have been taught that day.
With the majority of the Avoriaz ski slopes being blue and red, there is plenty to keep the intermediates happy and content. By taking the Lac des Intrets lift you will find some demanding blues - Bleue d’Arare and Bleue du Lac - which have good, steady cruising but also have some steeper sections to offer a bit of excitement. Added to this, the views across the village are glorious. Take the Fornet lift to cruise the Bleue du Fornet run and a couple of reds which will bring you back down to the lifts in Combe de Chavanette.
If it’s long, challenging, thigh-burning pistes and bumpy mogul fields you are looking for in Avoriaz then you will not be disappointed! Head to the Hauts Fort area on the Avoriaz/Super Morzine lengthy and seriously steep black runs – this area alone should keep you busy all day. The Combe du Machon has very challenging moguls.
Advanced skiers should also try the Pointe de Nyon and Aigle Rouge for their warm-up before the try the moguls of the Aigle Noir. Accessed via the Pointe chairlift.
The Chamossière chairlift will take you to the bumpy Creux black and the Arbis red which starts off very steep with moguls before opening into a high speed run taking you right back down to the Grand Pré area.
The Chanvannes bowl is located just above Les Gets and offers 2 great bumpy black runs called Rosta and Yeti.
‘Mur Suisse’ (Aka the Swiss Wall) is a famous black run which links Chavanette to Planachaux in Switzerland. The vertical drop here is more than 300m, with a slope reaching 80% in some places.
Keen off-piste enthusiasts can enjoy skiing in total security in 5 different Snowcross areas of Avoriaz:
- The Frontalière at the top of the Mossettes chairlift (1150m long), a wide route down the mountain’s flanks.
- Brochaux (1340m long), a naturally bumpy wall accessible by the Brochaux chairlift.
- The Combe des Marmottes (2080m long), a playground that’s easy to get to, via the Fornet chairlift.
- The iconic Crozats run (3122m long), a big wild coomb which starts from the Hauts Forts and joins the world cup downhill run down to Prodains, from where you can return to Avoriaz either by chairlift or cable car.
- The Pschott consists of several successive natural canyons. These Snowcross slopes are more technical than the neighbouring La Marmotte Snowcross slopes.
With just a small amount of effort, some fantastic off-piste skiing can be found in Avoriaz including narrow couloirs and open powder fields, pitches and faces. As always, to get the very best out of the whole Portes du Soleil ski area and to ensure your complete safety, we would strongly recommend hiring a mountain guide or instructor for off-piste skiing.
Snowboarders will enjoy 6 areas in Avoriaz especially dedicated and designed just for them:
- ‘La Chapelle Snowpark’: for beginner to advanced riders. Features various kickers, rails and boxes. The modules are often changed to keep the park fresh, interesting and exciting for all. Ski lift: Teleski de la Chapelle. The Chapelle Snowpark is also equipped with video cameras to record your jumps. Simply scan your lift pass, do your jump, scan your lift pass again and watch your jump. You can then record your phone number and have the video sent to your smartphone to share!
- The half-pipe: has now been made even bigger and better to become the ‘Super-pipe’! For intermediate to advanced riders. 120m long with walls 6m high!
- Arare Snowpark: for intermediate to advanced riders. This snow park is time-served and was created in 1993. Offers the more experienced red and black kickers, engaging rails and boxes, banked slalom course and the popular Big Air Bag to practise your tricks in complete safety. Hosts events such as the O’Neill Pro Freestyle, the Butcher, the Fabulous Tournament and the Nixon Jib Fest.
- Boarder-cross: for beginner to intermediate riders. Blue to warm-up and red to challenge. Located next to the Arare Snowpark.
- Le Lil’Stash: for beginners. Allows the younger riders and beginners to have their fun too. Located on the edge of the Proclou slope.
- ‘The Burton Kids Parkway’: for beginners. This snow park is especially for children with small obstacles, first slides and jumps. Located in the Falaise area.
- ‘The Stash’: for intermediate to advanced riders, ideal for adults and children to share the fun. This impressive giant ecological snow park is one of a kind and is situated in the middle of a large expanse of un-groomed snow in the forested Lindarets area. Part tree run and part terrain park, The Stash has been named the World’s Most Exhilarating Ski Run by a panel of the world’s top ski and snowboard experts put together by broadcast giant CNN. Wooden elements include: a wall for vertical sliding, logs and tree trunk obstacles, wooden tables for sliding, jumps from paths and rocks, trees bent like rainbows, snow shock-absorbers, wooden toboggans, ramps and natural obstacles. Length: 1.3km. Total vertical descent: 470m. Reached via the Prolays chairlift.
In total the whole ski area of Portes du Soleil has an impressive 243km (151 miles) of trails. Avoriaz alone has 45km (28 miles) of cross-country trails, all of which are free of charge and easily accessible from the Falaise area of Avoriaz.
From Avoriaz and Morzine you have access to 4 cross-country areas, all offering something different:
- Lake Montriond offers 10km of Canadian-style runs.
- The Pléney-Chavannes area offers 18km of forest runs.
- The Manche Valley offers 25km of challenging circuits.
- The Parc Naturel des Crêtes de Zorre offers 47km for all levels.