Portes du Soleil
On the Portes du Soleil ski safari, each day you’ll explore a new resort, different pistes, varied terrain, french and swiss cuisine, and new views. It’s more than just skiing.
The ski area enjoys exceptionally good snowfall from mid-November to the end of April, with an average of 7m83 of fresh powder every year. In weathertoski.co.uk’s report on the top 10 snowiest resorts in Europe, Avoriaz is the top french resort, ahead of La Rosiere, Tignes and Val Thorens.
What marks out the area other than the unusually high snowfall and the chance to cross two countries on one skipass? Some of its fantastic skiing on renowned pistes….
The Swiss wall is famous for being one of the steepest in the world, with sections above 50°. Every year experienced skiers come to test their mettle on one of the toughest challenges around.
To ease yourself into that, try the red Linga piste in Chatel, dropping 1000 metres over 4.4 kilometres it’s more than a good warm up for the Swiss wall!
The longest piste in the Portes du Soleil is the blue Abricotine. Leaving the summit of Mossettes (the border between France and Switzerland) it meanders down though les Lindarets to Ardent, crossing 8 kilometres of piste.
The Portes du Soleil in numbers:
- 286 slopes: 32 black, 101 red, 119 blue, 34 green
- 196 mountain lifts
- 600 km of ride
- 30 snowparks/ boarder-cross/ ski-cross/ fun areas
- 99 slopeside restaurants
A beautiful ski area, that’s a paradise for intermediate skiers and families. It has everything from special play areas for kids to challenging black slopes for experienced skiers. Lifts out of both village centres take you straight onto the pistes and you can ski back down into the villages where cozy restaurants await at the base of the pistes.
Intermediate and experienced skiers must take the lift to the top of Chamossiere for the stunning 360° view. Then you just need to choose between the unpisted challenging black or the fast flowing red to get back down to where a cafe awaits with steaming hot chocolates and vin chauds. Or heading back up to tackle the other way down!
The secret spot that locals head to is Mont Chery. On the further side of Les Gets, it tends to stay a lot quieter, and still has a wide variety of pistes from blue to black. Look across from the lift, past Les Gets and Morzine and you’ll see the Mont Blanc range of mythical summits. One of the winning views in the Portes du Soleil.
And for an adrenalin hit….The Morzine Freeski Zone is a large freestyle area with big air, rail and boxes. Conceived and developed by Xavier Bertoni, winner of the 2009 X Games, there are modules for experts and for intermediates. There’s also a new fun zone at Nyon for winter 17-18 with jumps and a snowcross.
On Mont Chéry you’ll find a timed parallel slalom course: who’ll win in your group?! There’s also the boardercross Déborah Anthonioz, developed by the Les Gets local and vice champion in the Vancouver Olympics.
Both resorts have awards for being family friendly and have lots to keep kids skiing happy on the slopes. Les Gets has a special videopark on the Chavannes mini-boarder that works automatically on detecting a skipass. The smallest kids can enjoy the snow garden, “Jardin des neiges”, while the “Espace des Mappys” and “Territoire du Grand Cry” with its wigwams and games will keep bigger kids entertained.
Morzine has a lovely safe “jardin des enfants” at the foot of the Pleney. And the new Penguin boardercross higher up. The Morzine mascot (the penguin) invites children into his world, skiing down whoops and banked turns, crossing through tunnels…
The Morzine – Les Gets sector has 46 ski lifts and 66 slopes (9 black, 28 red, 24 blue, 5 green).
La Grande Terche
A lovely small ski area above the village of St Jean d’Aulps. There’s a beginners area and 50km of slopes linked together. This area is fantastic for children to learn, but has some great skiing for more experienced skiers too. You’ll find quieter pistes without lift queues, and a great value lift pass, or it is also on the Portes du Soleil pass.
There’s a lovely “jardin des enfants” for little ones to get their first experience on the snow. As a quieter, very family oriented resort, it’s a great place for children to learn to ski in safety.
The Roc d’Enfer circuit should not be missed. A big loop of 20 kilometres with incredible views along the way. You will feel like you’re in the back of beyond, in forests and snowy alpine meadows of years gone by. Stop to admire the Roc d’Enfer’s snowy cliff faces and the peace and quiet.
La Grande Terche has 16 ski lifts and 30 slopes (7 green, 9 blue, 12 red and 2 black).
One of the most snow sure resorts in Europe. Avoriaz village is at 1800 metres, with slopes up to over 2400m. The beauty of having Avoriaz linked into the villages is that you can holiday in pretty village resorts, with the assurance of access to skiing in a higher altitude snow sure resort.
There is very varied skiing, from the huge childrens area in the centre, to the La Chavanette bowl for intermediates to the hauts forts black sector.
The famed World Cup run is a world cup black run dropping 1000 metres over 3 kilometres. Try it in one go and see if your thighs can handle it!
Avoriaz is definitely the spot for adrenalin seekers and park hounds. There are two half pipes – big and small, to suit all abilities; plus a snowcross and a snowpark with jumps and features from beginner to expert level. The main attraction, however, is the Stash, judged best spot in the World by CNN. An off-piste all natural snowpark where you can experience nature up close and personal. A descent through the forest with natural wooden obstacles along the route. Different paths wind their way down as you search for Shreddie, the Stash mascot.
Even the little ones aren’t forgotten! The Lil’Stash is a succession of small obstacles for small skiers and boarders made of snow and wood: a snake run (mini border-cross), small kickers, woops, a slide and box zone and an area with “snow plans” to teach how to turn. When all that’s mastered, there’s a wooden bridge to take you into the forest to Shreddie’s house and walkways in the trees.
The riglet park is a special snowpark for young boarders of 3 years +, made up of small slopes, miniature rails and pyramids, as well as a mini half pipe for apprentice snowboarders, everything needed for little ones to acquire the skills to balance and manoeuvre on the slopes, all while having fun!
With 237 snow cannons, 47% of the area is covered by snow making facilities. The Avoriaz sector has 36 ski lifts and 51 slopes (6 black, 14 red, 25 blues, 6 green).