Portes du Soleil Ski Area
Les Portes du Soleil is one of the largest ski areas in the world, and consists of 12 resorts from Lake Geneva in Switzerland through to Mont Blanc in France, including Avoriaz, Morzine, Les Gets, Chatel and Champery. It offers an enormous 600km of slopes and so much to choose from in this extensive area, skiers and snowboarders of all ability levels are well catered for. Snowboarders will love the great selection of snow parks with half-pipes and hand rails, located in many of the area's resorts.
Situated only 1 ½ hours from Geneva, the Portes du Soleil is an excellent choice for those looking to hit the Alps for a weekend’s ski break and equally for those with a little more time on their hands.
Ski resorts in the Portes du Soleil
The resorts differ in style from those with bold modern architecture, traffic free centres and doorstep skiing through to picturesque old style Savoyarde towns with pretty chalet style houses and a quaint atmosphere.
Avoriaz is a purpose built resort nestled on a sloping shelf on a high cliff with views spanning across the lower resort of Morzine. It is arguably the best designed as the resort itself receives a lot of sunlight but its local slopes are able to withhold snow well as they are situated in the shade. It is also traffic free and luggage is often transported to accommodation by horse drawn sleighs. Its standout feature is its architecture, angular wood high rise buildings which is not to everyone’s taste but thanks to its design, many of them are ski in ski out.
At the heart of the Portes du Soleil, Morzine is an all-year round alpine village is a fantastic base to explore the vast Portes do Soleil and the two cultures of France and Switzerland. It’s a large town that offers many off the slope activities for all age groups. It is especially great for families as it’s accredited as a Famille Plus Montagne resort, a national label awarded to destinations that offer services specifically for families and children. Whilst catering for those who look for lively après ski and nightlife.
This French village remains unspoiled and retains its traditional working farms. Chatel has two sectors of slopes, one on the French side to Avoriaz and the other linking to the Swiss resorts of Morgins and Torgon, which isn’t included in the main ski circuit.
Les Gets is a small family friendly resort and shares its slopes with Morzine, making up the largest network in the ski area. Its picturesque, tree-lined slopes are varied but are best suited to intermediate skiers although it does have some beginner areas. As it sits at a lower altitude, it does have a shorter season, so is best to visit during the peak of the season for the best snow conditions.
Champery is an authentic Swiss village, known for its chocolate box style chalets and picturesque scenery over ski convenience. Its slopes aren’t within easy walking distance and skiers have to get to Planachaux by the Champery cable car or take a bus to the Grand Paraid chairlift. From here skiers can access Les Crosets on the other side of the Croix de Culet, providing just a fraction of the Portes du Soleil slopes.
Skiing in the Portes du Soleil
The ‘Gateway to the Sun’ offers a huge variety of terrain from tree-lined gentle slopes to challenging world cup pistes. Mixed ability groups will have no issue with a huge the choice of terrain to suit every standard of skiing and snowboarding.
Freestylers and advanced skiers will love Avoriaz with its snow parks, half pipes and patrolled off-piste areas or ‘SnowZones’ so freestylers can practice their tricks. Advanced skiers have to go down the Swiss Wall which is a steep mogul field ‘for experts only’ as signposted at the top of the run. It’s so steep you can’t even see what’s ahead!
For beginners, Morzine is ideal and Les Gets has a ski zone just for beginners and for families there’s a family snowpark for children in the same area, accessible at the top of the Chavanna chairlift and its nearby green slopes.
Morzine and Les Gets is also great for intermediates looking to practice technique on gentle blues and red runs. The majority of the ski area is intermediate friendly, especially with the ability to ski the Portes du Soleil circuit, a ski route which takes a day starting from Morzine to Chatel then to Switzerland before returning back over the French side to Avoriaz. It takes about 6 hours ski time and less if you are a more experienced skier. Make sure you keep an eye on the time though so you can get the last lift back and make it to your hotel or chalet for some afternoon tea!
Check out our Avoriaz video guide below for an insight into what it has to offer.
Ski holidays in the Portes du Soleil
If you are planning a group ski holiday, then take a close look at Morzine with its fabulous après ski reputation and facilities. Your whole groups’ preferences can be accommodated including any non-skiers who will also have plenty to do exploring the busy streets, packed full of interesting boutiques and shops, and speciality restaurants and bars. Ice hockey matches are also a favourite in Morzine, so why not sit back and relax and enjoy watching somebody else taking the strain after your hard day on the piste!
Many of the properties, certainly in Avoriaz offer ski-in ski-out access making skiing with children a convenient dream. Families return year after year to this ideal family holiday hotspot where you have a winter wonderland playground right at your feet. The nursery slopes run directly back into the resort making even the longest day on skis a gentle run home. The sports centre and bowling alley can keep you well entertained long into the evenings.
The Portes du Soleil is an excellent destination for those looking for real variety in their ski holiday coupled with excellent snow conditions and endless après ski possibilities.
Holiday search for skiing holidays to the Portes du Soleil.
Best of the Portes du Soleil from the Iglu Ski Experts:
Best restaurants -
- La Paika, Les Gets - A really nice mountain side restaurant. It’s located on a super easy blue run and they do a BBQ buffet each day with fish and meat.
- La Vaffieu, Morzine at the top of the Golf Chairlift.
- Chez BaBeths at Plaine Dranse, Châtel - a kooky atmosphere that may not be to everyone’s tastes but the food served is delicious.
- La Cremaillere, Les Lindarets.
- Momo’s, Lindarets bowl- the perfect stop for a croquet monsieur and takeaway food.
- Changabang, Avoriaz - at the top of the Prodains lift is a fantastic quick snack stop with the best curly fries and curly wraps in Avoriaz!
- La Ferme de la Fruitiere, Morzine – very traditional and one of our favourites.
- L’Etale, Morzine – popular restaurant in the centre of town that serves a wide variety of food including local specialities like fondue, raclette and hot stone cooking dishes.
- L’Atelier, Morzine - for a gourmet experience.
- Bec Jaune Brewery, Morzine - for an excellent mix of local beers and delicious burgers (from pulled pork buns to vegan superfood burgers).
- Restaurant La Grange, Morzine - serves a yummy wild boar stew.
Best bars -
- Happy Hours in Ardent
- Bar Robinsons in Morzine
- Tremplin in Morzine
- Bec Jaune, Morzine
- Beanies, Morzine
- Crepu, Morzine
- Cavern, Morzine – Where seasonaires go for a big night out
- L’Aubergade, Morzine
- Le Coup de Coeur Brasserie, Morzine – Great wine and delicious food
- Dixie’s Irish Bar, Morzine - To watch spots or spend St Patricks day.
Best ski runs -
- Prolays, Avoriaz
- The Swiss Wall, Avoriaz
- Star Wars run down to Ardent
- You must do the full circuit around Portes du Soleil.
- Skiing in Mont Chery is amazing - a secluded gem in the Portes du Soleil area
- Long, wide runs from Avoriaz to Chatel
- Great off piste at Happy Valley in Chatel
Portes du Soleil Piste Map
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