Avoriaz sits at 1800 metres above sea level, with slopes both above and below the resort.
This high-altitude setting, combined with its proximity to the north western edge of the Alps, gives Avoriaz one of the best snow records in Europe and it’s often one of the earliest non-glaciated resorts to open in France.
The car free village has ski slopes running between the chalets and apartments, which are all designed to blend into the rocky cliffs below the resort - and today, a modern lift system extends in all directions towards all the corners of one of the world’s largest ski and snowboard areas, the Portes du Soleil.
SKIING IN AVORIAZ
What to expect…
"The off-piste opportunities in Avoriaz include some of the best in the region and it’s a haven for freestyle riders with a wide range of innovative snow parks on both sides of the resort".
LOCAL SKI AREA -
For strong intermediates, the women's World Cup downhill run is a must.
Lifts span out from the village of Avoriaz in all directions, so for intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders, it’s a matter of deciding what direction to go for straight after breakfast. There’s plenty of relatively easy blue runs available too, from the wide piste of the Bleue d’Arare, on the more northerly facing side via the Lac Intrêts chairlift – an area also home to the snowpark and the slalom race piste, to the gentler Proclou piste that eventually links to the mellow, tree lined, runs that wind their way down to Super Morzine. Higher up, the Fornet chairlift opens up a wide bowl with a variety of options including some good off-piste skiing in the right conditions.
On the other side of the bowl, the Choucas Chairlift opens up to slightly steeper red runs and access to the famous Chavanette, AKA the Swiss Wall. A second bowl and the highest point in the area is found at the top of the Mossette Chairlift (Pointe du Mossette 2277 metres) and opens up blues and reds that funnel down eventually to the Lindarets Valley – a fun playground with interesting terrain that’s home to The Stash, a kind of natural snowpark cleverly built into the forest. Perhaps the highlight of the marked ski runs for strong intermediates upwards is the women’s World Cup downhill run accessed via to the top of the Lac Intrêts chairlift, ending way down in the valley below Avoriaz at Les Prodains.
WIDER SKI AREA - PORTES DU SOLEIL
With a large percentage of the slopes being below the treeline, Portes du Soleil holds some of the best views of France!
Avoriaz has enough terrain within its own proximity to keep most skiers and snowboarders happy for at least a week, but if you’re the explorer type that craves the sight of a new piste every day of your holiday, then you’ve come to the right place. The Portes du Soleil area is huge, with thirteen resorts spread between France and Switzerland (there’s an open border but it’s wise to carry a passport, although the chances of being stopped are extremely low). It might not have the connectivity of the 3 Valleys, but it certainly has the variety of terrain to ensure all ability levels are well looked after, plus additions to the lift system during the past three years have seen significant improvements to the ability to complete the whole PDS circuit without too much fuss.
The area is also abundant in character too, with a large percentage of slopes being below the treeline, pretty views in all directions – including some of the best views you’ll find of Mont Blanc and lots of opportunities to stop for coffee, lunch and drinks wherever you look. Some of the highlights of the area include The Swiss Wall, often cited as one of the most difficult black runs in the Alps, the pretty and long descent to Grands Paradise in the Champéry (Swiss) Valley, the quieter slopes of the Pointe du Chery, above Les Gets and the whole of the Chatel sector, which arguably has some of the best terrain in the whole region.
Portes du Soleil:
Min Ski Elevation:
Max Ski Elevation:
Gondolas / Cable Cars:
Approximate transfer times:
- GENEVA: 1 hr 45 mins
- CHAMBERY: 2 hr 10 mins
- LYON: 2 hr 30 mins
- GRENOBLE: 2 hr 35 mins
Whilst Avoriaz isn’t perhaps the shopping capital of the Alps, there is of course plenty of sports outlets and a couple of souvenir-newsagents.
Avoriaz is a purpose-built ski resort that blends its architecture into the natural cliffs that guard this high plateau at 1800 metres between the Morzine valley and the Swiss border. Access to the resort is either via the large cable car from Les Prodains, or by winding road from Morzine. Once you’re there, you’ll enjoy a car free environment – transport here is by horse drawn sleigh, sledge or on foot with the addition of the odd motorised vehicle such as a snowmobile or snowcat.
There’s a good selection of supermarkets, with an incredible choice of food. The atmosphere in Avoriaz is relaxed and informal there’s a nice mix of younger people, holidaying with friends alongside families with children of all ages – all particularly attracted by the facilities on offer both on and off the slopes. Avoriaz has managed to create a modern, purpose built ski resort that works on so many levels for the 21st Century.
RESTAURANTS & BARS
La Cabane offers something a little more eclectic, with a mix of French classics, traditional local cuisine and sushi.
Avoriaz has plenty of good value, relaxed eateries on offer for both lunch and dinner. But, there’s higher end options available too. The Michelin listed, La Reserve is perhaps top of the list in terms of fine dining although La Fruitière – the restaurant attached to the Foulie Douce, a branch of the kind of nightclub and bar on the snow that opened in 2018 – is open during the evenings for dinner and sits at the more upmarket end of the food spectrum. If you’re looking for burgers (normally always gourmet style with good quality ingredients), pizza and pasta options then there’s an abundance available.
For a good steak, check out 155 Steakhouse right in the centre of the village, whilst La Falaise has a wide choice on its menu that will most likely cater for the whole family. If you’ve got a craving for traditional Savoyard dishes such as fondue and raclette the Le Boule de Neige or Le Refuge are both good options.
With around 20 restaurants to choose from in the village itself, the choice of cuisine matches any ski resort of a similar size, anywhere in the Alps. Several bars are open late including The Place, L’Amara and Le Tavaillon.
Chez Flo offers pasta, omelettes, salads and burgers whilst further towards the top of the village, the Epicerie offers more traditional dishes.
You won’t go hungry in Avoriaz or any of the surrounding resorts of the Portes du Soleil, although the restaurants on the French side are more abundant and offer better value for money. In fact, generally on mountain prices are relatively low here compared to some of the other large French resorts. You don’t need to stray far from Avoriaz for a ski-in-ski-out lunch – there’s a number of restaurants in the village that are literally beside a ski run and they offer a decent variety of food choices, from traditional French cuisine to pizza and burger options.
But, the choices seem endless – head to the Lindarets Valleys and the Village de Chèvres (Goat Village) where you’ll first find a collection of restaurants ‘pre-village’ (try Pommes de Pin) and then tucked away around the corner, further restaurants in the goat village itself (try Crémaillère) offer some of the best eateries in the area.
With the opening of a Foulie Douce in the 2018-19 winter, the resort cemented its reputation for a party atmosphere and can now compete with some of the larger resorts when it comes to après.
Avoriaz is well known for its après ski and the village is well laid out for it. Enjoy a relaxing drink in one of the bars or brasseries that line the snow covered streets, as horse and sleighs slide by. The Snowboxx Festival during March attracts an array of people looking to combine snow and music, with a mix of seasonaire’s and tourists, throughout the winter. Down in Ardent, Happy Hours provides another hyper-cool spot to the end the day, but don’t miss the last two lifts back or it will be a taxi ride round to Prodains to catch the cable car back to Avoriaz.
The Aquariaz Centre is perhaps the pinnacle of this development – a huge indoor water complex that offers a tropical location, sheltered completely from the outdoors, with flowing rivers, pools and an aquatic halfpipe.
There’s no doubt that Avoriaz was created for the purpose of accessing fantastic ski (and later of course snowboarding) terrain with convenience. But in recent years, as visitors demands change, the resort has geared up exceptionally well for non-skiing activities.
On bad weather days if you’re just not up for being outdoors, it’s a great alternative to the slopes and even if the sun shines all week, it’s worth a visit at some point. There’s also a cinema that shows English movies and a bowling alley and an igloo village and plenty of opportunities for winter walking both in the village and beyond.
Non-skiers can also easily take the cable car down the valley and catch a bus into Morzine, a larger, more traditional town full of shops, cafes and restaurants and if you have your own vehicle, it’s possible to reach Chamonix Mont-Blanc within one hour and Geneva within two hours. If you don’t have a vehicle but you still want to see Mont Blanc up close, then helicopter sightseeing tours are available from Avoriaz – a 30 minute Mont-Blanc tour costs €200 per person.
WHO IS AVORIAZ SUITABLE FOR?
Here are the highlights...
Providing that skiing or snowboarding is the number one priority for the group, then Avoriaz is an excellent destination to consider for any trip with friends and colleagues.
Firstly, it has easily accessible terrain for all ability levels so no one will feel left out. It’s also easy to arrange meeting places that all ability levels can get too – so everyone can enjoy lunch together or experience the après on offer after the lifts shut. The fairly short transfer time from Geneva makes it possible to do for shorter breaks too – always something that groups might consider.
SKI IN/SKI OUT
If hiking across a ski resort with your skis isn't your idea of fun then Avoriaz is perfect, there’s not many spots in Avoriaz where you’ll need to carry your skis.
The whole village is built in-between ski slopes, with chairlifts whisking people from the lower to the upper sections in minutes. For sheer convenience, Avoriaz is difficult to beat. If you aren’t on skis then opt to take a horse drawn sleigh around town.
Whilst beginners and expert skiers and snowboarders are well looked after in Avoriaz, it’s perhaps intermediates that will get the most out of the area.
Long blue and red runs span out in all directions and the chance to explore several resorts, some of them in Switzerland, from your doorstep. There’s some serious challenges too – stronger intermediates want to tackle the infamous Swiss Wall, a steep black run starting on the border of France and Switzerland and descending towards Les Crosets with the mighty Dents du Midi mountain constantly in view. Not that you’ll be looking at it, this piste is not for the faint hearted and really best only attempted in good snow conditions.
Keep an eye on the forecast before you go…
- High / Low
- Feels Like
- Freezing LevelM
- Snow CM
See the latest conditions on the slopes of Avoriaz…
MAP OF AVORIAZ
Find your way…
Here's our map of Avoriaz showing you the key hotels and apartments as well as some of the main points of interest.