DAY 3 – Morzine to Avoriaz 1800
Resort height: 1,800m
Snow range: 1,000-2,350m
Today’s ski safari takes us across to lofty Avoriaz – at 1800m – the highest resort in the Portes du Soleil region. Starting at the Super Morzine télécabine we are blessed with sunshine as we ski Super Morzine down to Proclou to start, then around Les Crêtes de Zore followed by a gentle run down into the centre of Avoriaz.
This impressive purpose-built resort looks stunning in the winter sunshine – not at all how I’d imagine; the wooden-clad high-rise apartments somehow looking natural in this spectacular setting. Our second guide Aurelie suggests a stop for coffee at the Village Igloo ice bar and restaurant. Open daily during the winter season, this massive igloo has indoor and outdoor areas and even offers overnight accommodation. Suitably fortified we took the Choucas chairlift up to the formidable Swiss Wall. I declined the 90-degree descent in favour of the chair lift, watching in comfort while my fellow skiers negotiate the giant moguls below. Gliding into Switzerland in such stunning scenery and incredible weather is magical.
I’m in heaven! A short ski here and we lunch at another fabulous mountain restaurant – La Buvette des Clavets. A hearty croute au fromage and salad, accompanied by fine Fendant wine from the Valais and we are off, across to the Planachaux and Grand Paradis near Champéry. The skiing here is amazing and the scenery out of this world. Not too crowded either. Heading back to Avoriaz via the Abricottine run we stop for an aperitif at the new Folie Douce bar before checking in to the Atria-Crozat apartments.
Founded by skier and visionary entrepreneur Jean Vuarnet, purpose-built Avoriaz is a bit like Marmite. You either love it or loathe it. Frankly, all the photos I’ve seen just don’t do this stunning resort justice. The high-rise apartment buildings blend into the scenery; its built on a high plateau and is ski-in, ski-out. No lugging your gear onto buses or trams. And blissfully the resort is car-free.
Our luggage was collected by horse and sleigh and deposited at our fabulous Atria-Crozat apartments. Located in the Crozats district, the new Pierre & Vacances Les Crozats residence offers south-facing panoramic views over the Avoriaz and Portes de Soleil mountains. And has direct access to the ski slopes and the resort centre. It also boasts a gym, sauna and hammam and heating ski lockers. Watching the sunset that evening before dinner at La Cabane in the centre of the resort (highly recommended) was one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen.
Avoriaz is ideal for beginners since the nursery slopes are next to the main resort. Intermediates also fare well with 240km of red and blue trails, while advanced skiers and boarders can head over to Chatel, Morgins and Champery as well as try the massive moguls on the Wall, head for pow or try the expert Les Haut Forts racing line. Off-piste opportunities are plentiful and there are four cross-country ski areas. There are 5 snow parks in Avoriaz including The Stash board park. As well as the 2000m2 indoor water park, Aquariaz, there are opportunities for ice-skating, sleigh rides and snowshoeing.