Skiing in Avoriaz provides access to the highest resort in the Portes du Soleil. This man-made resort is set atop the cliffs above the valley Ardoisières. Known for its snow-sure skiing, Avoriaz is also a car-free area with horse-drawn carriages and is packed with Alpine charm.
As part of the Portes du Soleil, you can ski to Avoriaz from Châtel, if you’re an intermediate skier. Avoriaz (pronounced Avoria) is only 90 minutes from Geneva Airport and the resort lies at 1,800m altitude. Its spectacular location is 600m higher than the neighbouring ski resort Morzine. The lowest point is 1,100m and the highest is 2,466m. The resort comprises many high-rise buildings with wooden facades which blend with the surrounding mountains. Although it looks a little ugly in summer, once it’s covered in winter snow, the resort looks magical.
SKIING IN AVORIAZ
Avoriaz offers higher altitude skiing amongst stunning panoramic views. The resort is also easily accessible for both skiers and pedestrians. You’ll find a good selection of shops, restaurants, bars and apres-ski to suit everyone, keep a look out for the Folie Duche and the Yeti which are both popular spots. Named Best Family Resort in the Snow Awards Avoriaz is also a wonderful choice if you have children. There’s a kids’ club in town and some lovely wide open slopes to learn on.
THE AVORIAZ SKI PASS
The Avoriaz ski pass provides access to all 34 lifts (17 chairlifts, two cable cars and 14 drag lifts) and over 75km of pistes. You’ll find four green pistes, 25 blue pistes, 14 red pistes and six black runs, so there’s a decent mix to suit all abilities. The pass is cheaper than the Portes du Soleil ski pass so if you only wish to ski Avoriaz then consider this option. It’s best suited to beginners, lower intermediates and young children. In addition, The Stash snowpark and the Avoriaz Snowzone offer some of the best snowparks in the Alps.
WHERE TO SKI IN AVORIAZ
Avoriaz offers plenty of gentle pistes to cruise around and you can easily ski down to Les Gets and Morzine for pretty tree-lined routes. For powder, the Hauts Forts sector and the powder fields in Lindarets and Châtel are popular spots. Experts skiing in Avoriaz can head to the Coupe du Monde, a long piste leading to Les Prodains, the village below Avoriaz. Those who are keen for a challenge can head to the famous Swiss Wall (Chavanette) which is traditionally covered by moguls so it’s best to tackle on a fresh snowfall day.
THE BEST ACCOMMODATION IN AVORIAZ
The resort includes high rise apartments, chalets, shops and restaurants. Set next to skiable snow-covered streets, Avoriaz has a wonderful ski village feel. Most accommodation options are true ski-in ski-out, which is a major selling point and the snow lasts at village level for much of the season. Many people choose to drive up and park underground for the week. There are plenty of sleigh rides that offer easy access up to the apartments.
HOW TO GET TO AVORIAZ
Avoriaz is 90 minutes from Geneva Airport, therefore you can book the Easybus or transport to Prodains and then take a local bus or cable car to Avoriaz. Departures from the airport are frequent in the winter or you can book a hire car, take a taxi or arrange a private transfer. There are two entry points which both have car parks. The first option is the Route d’Avoriaz, the D338 road which takes you straight up to the Avoriaz Resort Reception (Accueil Station) and car park area. On arrival, aim for the unloading area to empty your car, then park in the car park.
DRIVING TO AVORIAZ
The second option is the Prodains Express cable car which is a fast way to reach the resort, it takes four minutes from the Morzine valley. You can park in the outdoor car park and use the snowcats or horse drawn sleighs to access the accommodation areas. The cost to park a car for week is around €70 to €90.
THE BEST BARS AND RESTAURANTS IN AVORIAZ
Les Ancelles is at the bottom of Mossette lift and the perfect place to enjoy a bowl of traditional onion soup with bread and melted cheese. La Folie Douce is a lively spot and one of the best après-ski bars in the area. There’s a great party atmosphere in a stunning location and it’s always busy. Expensive but worth it for a fun afternoon and evening.
The upscale La Réserve is located between the resort’s centre and the cliff area. Set within a mountain chalet with authentic decor, it’s a very popular place which serves Savoyard food and French specialties. If the weather is good, take a seat on the terrace opposite the skiing area. Look out for the traditional Swiss cheese fondue and the leg of Pyrenees suckling lamb cooked with garlic, juice reduction and gratin dauphinois.
WHERE TO EAT IN AVORIAZ
Restaurant l’Etage serves delicious local specialties. This is a refined restaurant offering a choice of raclettes, fondue and selection of pierrardes or hot stone cooking. It’s best to book ahead because it’s a very busy restaurant with a fun atmosphere with singing and dancing. The service is good, food very tasty and restaurant owner is friendly. This is a great place to experience French cuisine.
Mamo’s Cafe Lindarets offers an amazing friendly service with great food in a sunny location. It’s best to book in advance. The Farm Jackson burger, quiches, omelettes and traditional galettes (savoury buckwheat crepes) are highly recommended. A great option for vegetarians and coeliacs.
BEST ACTIVITIES FOR NON-SKIERS IN AVORIAZ
If you can’t ski, won’t ski, how about buying a pedestrian pass and jumping on a lift to meet friends? You can also meet them for après-ski because many mountain restaurants can be reached on foot by ski lift. There are also lots of options to ride a bike, jump on a horse drawn sleigh or one led by huskies.
If you want to try ski related activities, you can hire equipment to go snowshoeing or try ski-touring. There’s even a spa for some rest and relaxation. Check out Spa Pure Altitude in the Hotel des Dromonts which offers facials and massages to body treatments.
If you stay in Châtel, you can access the whole Portes du Soleil, including Avoriaz.