Perched atop of an enormous cliff on the Swiss border in the Northern French Alps, Avoriaz is the unique gateway to the Portes du Soleil ski area. A visit to Avoiraz is compelling, with everyone at the high altitude, traffic free village getting around on foot or on picturesque horse drawn sleighs. Balanced on a snowy plateau high above the Morzine Valley, the unusual shining cedar architecture blends perfectly into the rocky cliffs behind.
A series of tunnels and lifts lets you move around most of the resort without facing the elements! As the main access sport to the vast Portes du Soleil, Avoriaz is connected to 650 km of slopes set amidst a backdrop of spectacular mountain scenery. Take in the breathtaking views of Lake Geneva, Mont-Blanc and the Dents du Midi.
You can also enjoy the novelty of skiing across the border to Switzerland - switch up the culture and the food for a bit of a change. Beginners will find the wide gentle pistes around Avoriaz perfect for building their confidence, while intermediates can cruise the long runs down Les Prodains on the Swiss side of the border.
Advanced skiers will enjoy several good runs at Avoriaz (and a whole lot more in Portes du Soleil) including testing ‘The Wall' mogul field and the former World Cup downhill slope. Take time out to absorb the nature around you as well - it's not unusual to stumble across mouflons (wild rust-coloured sheep) or chamois (goat-like antelope).
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Avoriaz for Different Ski Abilities
There are perfect gentle nursery slopes beside the resorts that make a good area for beginners to master the basics away from busy runs. There is a choice of ski school here with both the International Ski School and Ecole du Ski Français operating. Once you've got a few tricks of the trade under control, you can progress on to the sunny green and gentle runs.
Intermediates - you're spoilt for choice here! There's over 240 km of red and blue trails in the local Avoriaz-Morzine area alone. Work up the courage to try some of the more challenging routes that lead on to the other areas of the Ports du Soleil. You will be able to access almost the entire area, including crossing the border over to Switzerland.
Advanced skiers will find endless challenges in Avoriaz. There's the World cup downhill run from Hauts Forts down to Les Prodains, as well as one of the alps best black runs, the famous 'The Wall' on the Swiss border.
Avoriaz Ski Schools
There's a selection of ski schools in the Avoriaz area, however our recommendations for good ski schools in Avoriaz are:
All Mountain Snowsports
All Mountain Snowsports is a British ski school in the French side of the Portes du Soleil. They provide fun ski lessons with friendly instructors that will change your skiing and leave you smiling. All instructors hold the highest international qualification from the British Association of Snowsport Instructors (BASI Level 4 ISTD) as well as the French equivalent and many years’ experience teaching skiing around the world. They offer the highest levels of service and tuition available and have a deep history of happy clients whose expectations have been surpassed.
Ski Beyond - Ski & Snowboarding School
Would you like ski sessions that take you beyond your expectations? Feel comfortably controlled, efficient and confident? Whatever your dreams/desires, Ski Beyond will help you achieve it and transform your skiing. From first turns to deep powder, conquering ice or preparing you to master moguls. They have an experienced team of fully qualified British instructors who have been based in the area for over ten years. Ski Beyond believe the ski mind is as important as the ski body, and are passionate about unlocking your full potential. They offer private or group lessons for adults and children.
Evolution 2 Avoriaz – Morzine is an award winning ski and adventure school that in its 25 year history has become one of the most respected organisations in the French Alps. They offer a personal approach to learning and their principals are simple: very small groups, English speaking instructors, specialists in their field, and most importantly, the emphasis is on real progression and FUN. Evolution 2 understand that whatever activity you embark on with them will shape your experience in Avoriaz and Morzine.
Torico Performance Skiing
Torico Performance Skiing is a British ski school in Morzine, Les Gets and Avoriaz. It is run by Tim and Lisa Jackson, who have been teaching in the Portes Du Soleil since 2000. Tim and Lisa both hold the top qualification within BASI (British association of Snowsports Instructors) with full French equivalence and have many years’ experience skiing, teaching and coaching across Europe. Torico promises to show you great skiing terrain (whatever your level), help you develop and understand your skiing more and have great fun and enjoyment along the way!
Après Ski and Off the Mountain Activities
The Apres-ski scene in Avoriaz can get pretty lively, but still manages to keep its relaxed French charm. There's a wide range of bars and night clubs and 30 restaurants are available nearby; cuisines ranging from Alpine, French, Italian, Savoyard, and American. The Place is the place to be for live music and is always full of revellers. The Tavillion and Globetrotters bars are more relaxed, and if you're after a trendy bar to hang out in try Shooters. The most popular nightclub is Le Choucas. If you'd like a special and international cuisine experience, the Hotel Les Dromonts has a great restaurant that offers upmarket evening dining. However La Table du Marché (Hôtel des Dromonts, place des Dromonts) has set high standards for its innovative gourmet cuisine thanks to the efforts of award-winning owner/chef Christophe Leroy. However if you feel like something a bit more casual, try Les Fontaines Blanches Le Crépy or La Cabane.
off the mountain
Off the mountain the spa and beauty centres will help you relax with high altitude face and eye care or a relaxing massage with essential oils. Get in shape at the fitness and body form centres, or try: bowling, the cinema, helicopter rides, under ice diving, paragliding, squash, Turkish baths, saunas, scenic plane flights, hang gliding, snowshoe excursions, dog sleigh rides, mountain biking on snow, night sledging, an ice skating rink, hot air balloon rides, horse sleigh rides and 25 shops.
How to get to Avoriaz
Car-free Avoriaz can be reached from Morzine by winding road or cable car. Getting there means making your way to Morzine and choosing between a 45 minute drive uphill or taking the Prodains Cable car to the Avoriaz plateau. Either way your transfer will be around 2-2.5 hours. Once you arrive you can hire horse drawn sleighs or tracked vans to transport luggage to your accommodation.
Geneva airport in Switzerland is the closest airport (just over an hour away). Alternatives include Turin (1 hr 30), Lyon - Satolas (2hr 30) and Chambery (1hr 15). You can also fly into St. Etienne and Grenoble airports - but they're further away, with fewer options for easy transfer.
The closest TGV (fast train) stations are in Thonon-les-Bains and Cluses.
SNCF - Tél: 36 35
There is also the international train station in Geneva.
CFF - Tél: 00 41 900 300 300
Access from all French and European towns is via Dijon when coming from the north, via Lyon when coming from the centre and the west, via Valence when coming from the south, and via Switzerland when coming from the north-west.
Head in the direction of Chamonix on the A41 motorway. Exit at 18 Cluses, in the direction of Taninges on the D902, then head for Les Gets and Morzine then Avoriaz 1800. Follow the road signs to the resort (distance from Morzine to Avoriaz: 15km) and listen to Radio Avoriaz-Europe2 on 92.1 FM.