Morzine and Avoriaz are two of the best ski towns in France and form part of the huge Portes du Soleil area. Purpose-built Avoriaz is perched seemingly precariously on a plateau at 1800m. It is very convenient, offering ski-in-ski-out accommodation, but lacks the friendly atmosphere of Morzine which breaks the traditional French stereotype not being as ugly as sin, and instead an attractive village full of wooden chalets with not a high-rise in sight!
- Highest Point: 2466m
- Descent: 1400m
- No. lifts: 201 (Portes du Soleil)
Both resorts, especially Morzine, are incredibly popular with British snowboarders and seasonnaires. A large chunk of the UK scene is represented here with good camps and chalet-based companies offering well-rounded packages. Look into the likes of Treeline Chalets, More Mountain and Riders’ Refuge for places to stay and Mint or Real Snowboarding for tuition. Look out for TSA, Subvert and Snowfit test weeks late in the season!
The Parks – 4/5
Morzine’s park offering is non-existent, instead look to Mont Chery in the neighbouring (and connected) Les Gets for basic freestyle fun. However, experienced riders need look no further than Avoriaz for the real freestyle deal. With two strong parks, a great halfpipe and the wood-themed Burton Stash, Avoriaz is properly switched on for freestyle – there’s even a small park for beginners.
The most popular spot is the Chapelle park. Serviced by a dedicated drag, it’s designed for everyone from beginners through to strong freestylers, with kicker lines ranging from greens to small blacks and at least two jib runs. It has a vibrant scene, reflecting the work that the shapers put in: music playing, well-groomed hits, daily re-shapes, and fresh design. Avoriaz’s trump card is perhaps The Stash – one of only two in Europe. Originally built for advanced riders, they’ve since added some more routes, including ‘Main Street’, so the Stash now caters for all levels of freestyle ability. However, with ski schools going through it, and deliberately little maintenance, things can get very rutted. There are easily 30 hits from top to bottom if the season is a good one: rails and boxes made from logs, picnic benches, rainbows, wall-rides, pow slashes, hips – awesome.
Come spring most head to the Arare park, boasting big booters, hips, plenty of rails with the odd wildcard thrown in – in the past they’ve added a halfpipe wall along the whole left-hand side of the park and even incorporated the rail line into a snake run!