Seven days of Avoriaz
View from our balcony in Avoriaz, down there is Morzine
Fresh mountain air with views, wonderful off-piste powder, French wines, overdose of cheese and a village with horses instead of cars, that’s Avoriaz in the French Alps for you in a nut-shell.
This was my first time in Portes du Soleil ski area, and I quite liked it to be honest. Ironically snow caused us massive issues in getting there, but it was worth it!
Peaks at Portes du Soleil
There are no taxis in Avoriaz, but you can get a horse
Day 0: to Geneva
Heathrow was in compete chaos, queues to baggage drop snaked around the terminal and we sat for two hours in the plane waiting to take off. Then instead of landing in Geneva as we had planned, we landed in Lyon with seven other planes because of closure of the Geneva airport due to snow.
It was pretty grim; after waiting for three hours on the runway in Lyon we were told that we’d be flown back to London, there was feeling of mutiny in the air. But thankfully the Geneva airport was opened just at the last moment, and we were able to land in Switzerland. In the end we made it to Avoriaz some seven hours behind schedule, but traveling often doesn’t go as planned.
Day 1: Figuring out Skiing (Again)
First day of a ski trip is always about learning to ski again, it was almost a year since any of us had been on skis, so we had an easy day on the slopes.
Lift thru Avoriaz
And up to the mountains
Day 2: Les Gets
Second day, it was time to get down to some serious skiing (or boarding if you are that way inclined); we started off by heading down to Morzine where we took a train across the town. And by train, I mean one of those tourist buses that are built to look like trains. We had to provide our own choo-choo noises however.
Once across town, we took a few lifts up so we could get to the next valley, Les Gets, where we had lunch. It always makes for nice skiing to aim somewhere for lunch. The clouds had been gathering the whole day and on the way back they finally caught up with us; by the time we reached Avoriaz, we couldn’t see more than thirty meters.
So it was time to find shelter in our chalet to enjoy a cold beer.
Taking a break in Lindarets
We crossed a bridge
The visibility was dropping quickly
Day 3: Châtel
We woke up to a gorgeous day, the snowing had continued throughout the night and there was a great deal of fresh snow everywhere. We were up and out instantly. We took our time getting to Châtel, and most of that time was spent off-piste playing in the fresh powder and getting lost in the trees.
The trees had had their share of previous nights snow fall
Skiing in the trees is great fun as long as you don’t actually hit them
We found some fresh powder
Day 4: Switzerland and Goat Cheese village
It was already day four and we hadn’t crossed the border to Switzerland yet, it was time to fix the situation. So we headed up Point De Mosette and onwards to Les Crosets where we found some superb freshly groomed blue slopes with not many skiers around.
For lunch we headed back thru Les Lindarets to Le village des Chevres (the Goat Village), which has some great restaurants. So we had a fairly long and relaxed lunch.
Should we go to Switzerland or France?
Plenty of skiers around
Circular rainbow around the sun
Leffe tastes particularly good after a day at the slopes
Day 5: Avoriaz
We wanted a nice and easy day, so we mostly stayed around Avoriaz which has some excellent slopes and snow parks. The clouds rose during the day and covered Morzine, giving us an amazing view from our balcony at sunset.
Morzine was somewhere down there
We had the most amazing sunset at our balcony
Day 6: Epic ski trip
You can do a circuit around Portes du Soleil which takes about a day, and since we were up early, we figured that would be a great idea. So we headed off to Linga where we got a bus to central Châtel. This is the only part of the circuit where you have to remove your skis or board.
The circuit route goes thru Châtel, Morgins, Champoussin and Les Crosets; and finally back to Avoriaz. It’s about 80km if you take the shortest route, which we didn’t take. And since it really is circular, there are no shortcuts, and once we got to Morgins, we were committed, there was no turning back, we had to carry on. We had however wasted a bit of time in the morning, so we decided to carry on to Les Crosets for late lunch as we wanted to make sure we wouldn’t be caught by the sunset.
It was a little surprising to find that there were less skiers on the Swiss side, but then again their lifts seemed slightly worse than on the French side, too many button lifts and t-bar lifts we all agreed.
After some delicious Bolognese in Les Croisets we headed up and finally saw Avoriaz as we made it on top of Chavenette. It had been a good day of skiing and a great way to end the trip.
And I know I will return here to ski again.
The valleys were covered in clouds
And there was Avoriaz once more
Tips for Portes du Soleil:
- Closest airport is Geneva, where you can get a coach, or hire a transport if you have a bigger group; hiring a car is also an option
- Avoriaz seems to be a great place to stay, but I’d definitely also like to try Les Gets, and if you want a bigger town then I’d recommend Morzine. Also for beginners I’d probably recommend Avoriaz, as it has most blue runs nearby
- The circuit thru Chatel, Morgins, Champoussin, Les Crosets and Avoriaz is worth doing, and should be doable by intermediate skiers in a day. There are buses between some of the resort towns, so you might want to check on schedules if you think you might run out of time
This is how you store beer in the alps
What’s your favourite place for skiing?