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Seven days of Avoriaz

View from our balcony in Avoriaz, down there is Morzine

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

Peaks at Portes du Soleil

There are no taxis in Avoriaz, but you can get a horse

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

Lift thru Avoriaz

And up to the mountains

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

Taking a break in Lindarets

We crossed a bridge

We crossed a bridge

The visibility was dropping quickly

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

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

Skiing in the trees is great fun as long as you don’t actually hit them

We found some fresh powder

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?

Should we go to Switzerland or France?

Plenty of skiers around

Plenty of skiers around

Circular rainbow around the sun

Circular rainbow around the sun

Leffe tastes particularly good after a day at the slopes

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

Morzine was somewhere down there

We had the most amazing sunset at our balcony

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

The valleys were covered in clouds

And there was Avoriaz once more

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

This is how you store beer in the alps

What’s your favourite place for skiing?

12 Comments

  1. Wow! So many amazing photos! Makes me wanna go skiing right now!
    Pernilla recently posted..A few of my Santa Barbara favoritesMy Profile

    • the skiing was good in Avoriaz! You have any ski trips planned?

  2. Bastards.

    Although I don’t envy you the Pelforth.

  3. What? Both Pelforth Brun and Blonde are great!
    It was the Ruby Leffe that didn’t seem to do it for anyone.

    I’d just like to add that the parks and pipe in Avoriaz are well groomed and friendly, just like the Arctic Nomad himself ;o)

    Bring on the next trip!

    • Thank you Jon :) The parks and the pipe (which I left for you) were actually really good in Avoriaz, I did enjoy the parks! I think a bit more of them on the next trip ;)

      And I agree with you Jon about the Pelforths. And yes, I wasn’t that keen on the Ruby Leffe, although I did of course drink a few bottles of it )

  4. I so love you pictures! You had awesome weather and snow condition. Wasn’t that good as I was there in the end of January
    Anita recently posted..FESPO 2013 – ReiseinspirationenMy Profile

    • Thanks Anita :) We did actually have really good weather! Awww, sorry to hear that you didn’t get the best of weather, it’s always such a shame when that happens on a ski trip!

  5. The photos of beers in snow really made me laugh! – free refrigerator :D
    Though it looks so cold there, it’s amazing that you were still able to do a lot of activities.
    Jemma recently posted..Syquia Mansion MuseumMy Profile

    • It was pretty cold, but it’s good for skiing :) Yeah, keeping beers out in the cold is a great option, but it can backfire sometimes when your beers freeze. And while I like cold beer, frozen beer is not that great!

  6. Wow, great photos. Looks like you had a great time.

    Every time I see snow I love it. I just wish it wasn’t associated with the cold!
    Nicole @ Green Global Travel recently posted..The Triumph of Tenacity & Our Next Eco AdventureMy Profile

    • Thanks Nicole! It is really gorgeous, the cold is a bit of a shame, but for skiing I can handle it

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