Avoriaz

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The car free town, dramatically located on the side of a cliff gives access to the vast Portes du Soleil ski area which offers something to suit all abilities. World class slopes, off piste and parks. Downside, it gets crowded, expensive, nightlife not as world class as the terrain.

The Mountain’s of Avoriaz

The Portes du Soleil, siad to be the worlds largest ski area, 600 km spread between France and Switzerland offers an unbelievable amount of riding. In amongst this ludicrously large area are several world-class parks, and many other mini features and purpose-built boarder cross tracks. Avoriaz alone has the baby park. Its main park, plus a permanent halfpipe in town. In addition, the Les Crosets snowpark is considered to be one of the best in Switzerland, home to the likes of Romain de Marchi, while the area obviously has incredible freeriding  potential. It may be perfect if not for the crowds and normally long lift queues. The resort is popular with British seasonnaires,

Avoriaz has 600 Km or 373 miles of slopes

3 Cable cars & 11 gondolas

82 Chair & 110 Drag Lifts

30 Snowparks/Boardercross tracks

Beginners

Open your front door and ride towards the eight-man Tour chairlift that goes back up through town. From there, head down the Proclou run until you hit the area known as Super-Morzine (it is above the Super-Morzine gondola), perhaps the best beginner’s area in France. Ride around the whole area and back to Avoriaz and you’ve done a decent lap.

34 Easy Greens

12% Blues

119 Easy Runs
42% Blues
Blue Skies in La Chapelle Snow Park
Blue Skies in La Chapelle Snow Park

Intermediate

From Avoriaz head to the top of the Chavanette where you’ll encounter The Wall, a ludicrously steep mogul run. Don’t worry you can take the chairlift down. At the bottom keep heading for Les Crosets, when you get there find the snowpark and try out the fantastic gully run. A return lap to Avoriaz via Point de Mossett and the Brocheaux chairlift which completes a big day out.

101 Intermediate Runs

35% Reds

Affordable ride in/ride out resort at the heart of the Portes du Soleil, one of the two areas in the world battling it out for the biggest linked lift system.

Advanced

If there is powder, the home run from Avoriaz to Les Prodains offers some incredible cat tracks to shred. Otherwise, the Avoriaz snowpark should offer any rider a week of decent challenges.
32 Expert Black Runs

11% Blacks

Freestyle

The Portes du Soleil has 11 snowparks and 4 boardercross scattered around the ski area. All parks feature boxes, tables, wall rides, big air jumps, raised bends, air bags and rails that riders of all levels will be more than happy with!

Avoriaz pulls out all the stops for freestyle fans with no less than five dedicated zones for all levels and disciplines: superpipe, border-cross, variety modules and the new Jake Burton-inspired snowpark, aka the Stash, which offers several routes through Les Lindarets forest and some memorable all-wood sections! Check out snowparkavoriaz.com to see more.

In Châtel, freestyle fans head for the smoothpark.com in Super Châtel.
Les Crosets offers a the superpark.ch with massive hits for experts & also a Mirco Park for beginners. In Les Gets, intermediate and hardcore freestylers head for Mont Chéry’s sunny Freestyle District more info, snowpark-lesgets.com. Another well maintained park in La Chapelle.

There is a halfpipe located in the centre of Avoriaz just down from the piste-side cafes. Built to international specifications, it has its own lift and is kept in good shape. However it’s not common in France to shape their pipes everyday, so it can sometimes be disappointing, especially towards the end of the season.

Freeriding

Avoriaz has good options for off-piste, ranging from fun areas that are easily accessible to more advanced terrain requiring a bit of hiking and a rider who knows what they’re doing. What’s more, Avoriaz has recently introduced what they call “Snow Cross” areas; controlled but un-groomed pistes that are only open when it’s safe. Bingo.

Les Lindarets is accessible for any level and offers fun, off piste runs when there is fresh snow, especially in amongst the trees and the Stash. One of the Snow Cross zones is in this area, accessible from the Prolays or Brocheaux lifts, and is a great place to get to grips with real powder turns. It’s not too steep, there’s no hiking and it’s great to lap using the Brocheaux lift.

From the top of Des Rochassons, duck under the rope on skiers left to access a face leading back down to Les Lindarets. It starts off mellow but leads into some steeper sections allowing some good turns. Make sure you know what you’re doing. The Mossettes bowl is another fun adventure for intermediates and up; when there is new snow this is unbeatable.

Download large Portes du Soleil Piste Map

Portes du Soleil Piste Map
Download large Portes du Soleil Piste Map

Mountain Stats

Top Lift 3200 m
Vertical Drop 2200 m
Bottom Lift 1880 m

Essential Info (updated for 2016/17 Season)

Opening* Mid December (17th December 2016)
Closing Late April (22nd April 2017)
1 Day Pass € 51
7 Day Pass** € 288
Season Pass** € 922
Tourist Office portesdusoleil.com
Website avoriaz.com

*From 10th to 16th December 2016 the Portes du Soleil will be partially open.

**hands-free liftpass costs 3€ (4 CHF) and is compulsory for all 3 day or more passes.

Getting There

Geneva (GVA) Airport is the resorts nearest at 90 Km or 56 miles away, buses run from the airport to the resort.

If driving from Geneva, drive to Avoriaz is 52 miles (80km). Head to Cluses then turn onto the D902 through Taninges and Morzine a further 15km to resort. Traffic-free resort, so you’ll need to park up. Costs 40 euros for a week or 6.50 a day.

TGV Trains stop at Cluses (20 mins) and Thonon-les-Bains. From hear the town/resort is a bus or taxi ride away.

The Town

Avoriaz is famous for its bizarre architecture and town planning, first proposed by French Olympian Juan Vuarnet in the 1970s. Perched high above Morzine and built to blend in with the surrounding cliffs, most buildings are futuristic in concept, have odd, eclectic shapes and are crammed with apartments that wouldn’t look out of place on The Jetsons. Virtually all apartments have incredible access to the slopes. The town is odd enough to play host to an annual Futuristic film festival. It’s car free, with horse-drawn sledges flying around, and can be reached by either road or cable car from Morzine.

Sleeping

Maeva are the largest apartment agency in town, offering deals as low as €20 per person per night. Club Med has catered accommodation for around €40 per person per night. Les Dromonts has perhaps the best views in town for €140 a night.

Boarder getting air in the half pipe located in the centre of Avoriaz
Boarder getting air in the half pipe located in the centre of Avoriaz

Eating

Shooters, Le Tavaillon and Pub Le Choucas are all worth a punt. For a big night out, though, get the Prodain lift down to Morzine town.

Apres Ski & Nightlife

Shooters, Le Tavaillon and Pub Le Choucas are all worth a punt. For a big night out, though, get the Prodain lift down to Morzine town.

Pro’s & Con’s

Pro’s Con’s
Great selection of parks from beginner to expert. There’s even a snowskate park. Can be a bit of a mission to get your bags to the apartments.
Ski/Ride straight from your doorstep. Crazy architecture people either love or hate.
Snow until late in the season. Can get busy during the holidays.

Perched high upon a cliff Avoriaz is one of the best piste accessed resorts around, and has a snowpark to rival anywhere in the world, when they can bothered to shape it.

Shopping

There is a supermarket island, between two pistes, in the middle of town but it’s heavily overpriced. Morzine offers better competition but an out-of-town shop is very difficult from Avoriaz.

Health & Wellbeing

Try the Galarie du Baraty in Morzine for spa, massage and sauna.

Internet Access

Surprisingly for such a futuristic place it lacks a true internet café, but the tourist office and the bowling alley have machines (€2 for 10 minutes), while wireless can be found at the Manie Brioche bakery.

Transfer Options

From Geneva airport, bus transfers take around an hour. Or for the terminally flash, Mont Blanc Helicopters make the same trip in 10 minutes for around €1000 per person.

Local Partners

The Portes du Soleil lift pass covers Morzine, Les Gets, Chatel, Les Crosets and Abondance to name a few.

Children

Le Village des Enfants feeds and looks after the kids for around €40 per day.

Bad Weather Days

The Prodains home run offers the best trees nearby.

Avoid

Getting stuck in Switzerland after 1630. Make sure you’ve got enough time to get home as taxis can cost upwards of €100.

An Interesting Little Fact

Luc Besson started his film career by entering and winning the Avoriaz Film Festival in 1983, later going on to make The Big Blue and The Fifth Element.

Don’t Miss

The Avoriaz funpark. World class.

Local Tips

Do Don’t
Know some of the best terrain can be found at lower spots, around the Mossettes chair in particular. Walk uphill too much. Most buildings have public access elevators and top floor bridges to higher ground.
Head to the Les Crosets snowpark for a sun filled day of shredding. Head into Switzerland after 1500 and risk getting stuck.
Get the Prodains cable car down to Morzine for a knees-up. Ski/Ride down ‘The Wall’. Unless they’re showing off.
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Jen is a correspondent for Outside, Ski and Snowboarding magazines and a frequent contributor to the New York Times travel section. Her work has been featured in Best American Travel Writing, Best American Sports Writing and other anthologies. She has reported from seven continents, loves languages, and is based in British Columbia, Canada.

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