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Avoriaz Ski Area

The best base for exploring the Portes du Soleil ski area

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Avoriaz Ski Area

Avoriaz ski area has 75.5 kilometres of pistes accessed by 17 chairlifts, 2 cable cars and 14 drag lifts. There are 4 green pistes, 25 blue pistes, 14 red pistes and 6 blacks. In addition to this you'll find some of the best snowparks in the Portes du Soleil and a halfpipe. 

Avoriaz is perched 600 metres above the neighbouring ski area and town of Morzine on the cliffs above the valley Ardoisieres. The lowest part of Avoriaz ski area lies at 1100m and the highest part of the ski area is at 2466m, so you'll always find better snow up here than in Morzine (see the piste maps). 

Accessing Avoriaz
There are three main access points to get to Avoriaz from Morzine: from the centre of Morzine, The Prodains Bubble and the Linderets Express. 

The first is the simplest from Morzine as the Super Morzine bubble sits in the heart of the town but in peak weeks it should be avoided as the connecting chairlift, Procolou, gets very congested and has huge queues. The new high-speed Linderets Express is a local favourite as it has a good, rarely full car park, no queues and drops you at the foot of the Ardent bowl. Alternatively, take the Prodian 3S cable car. 

Intermediates & Advanced
Intermediates and above will appreciate the vast range of Avoriaz which has nearly 250kms of reds and blues to choose from. The resort is more snow-sure than Morzine due to its elevation of 1800m and snow lasts at village level for much of the season. You may, however, experience some bottlenecks during peak season; although the uplift is good and fast and there will be less traffic once you leave the lower runs to resort. Avoriaz offers some tougher terrain with runs on the Hauts Forts and down to Les Prodains including the World Cup downhill course.

Anyone seeking to ski one of Europe's tougher mogul fields should attempt the notorious "Swiss Wall" linking France to Switzerland via 300m of some of the toughest bumps around! You can always avoid the nasty rectangular moguls at the top of the run by heading off to the side and then rejoin when they appear slightly gentler! There is another great mogul run directly out of Avoriaz under the Express Lac Intrets - Stade du Slalom.

For the more advanced skier with a penchant for steep fast blacks and long mogul runs the Hauts Forts is the place to head. There are multiple black runs dropping down to the TS du Crot and onward to the valley floor, amongst them, the Coupe du Monde downhill course.

For those wishing to take a more leisurely but still exciting approach then drop down the Bleue d’Arare and onward to the home run of Le Crot. Both are excellent runs and not as easy as you may think. The former is used for ski races and the latter does not see much action until the end of the day so you can be relatively unencumbered by avoiding hordes of your fellow skiers and borders.

Further afield, above Avoriaz, sits the Secteur Chavanette. This is a local favourite after a snowfall as in addition to the wide bowl topography which offers big open faces there are patrolled but un-pisted areas featuring rugged natural terrain. Lots of little and not so little rock and cliff drop-offs, natural gullies and a multitude of natural kickers form here, offering a chance to practice your freeriding skills. The area is served by two express lifts: Express du Fornet and Express Choucas meaning you do not have to wait long to return to your favourites. The runs here tend to be longer than average for this section of the Portes du Soleil as a function of a greater vertical drop and are great for those wishing to get the leg burn going on a top to bottom drop.

Beginners & Families
The Avoriaz ski area is by no means exclusively for experts though; just below the town is Procolou, a wide, very gentle blue. This is a perfect beginner run. Be warned though this is a favourite with ski schools and when the holidays are in full swing expect large queues.

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Best pistes in Avoriaz

Arare & Hauts Forts
The Arare Sector of the Avoriaz ski are is one of the easiest to reach the two lifts Express du Stade and Express Inerets can be seen from the Prodains bubble and both head up Arare. Take the Express Interets as it climbs higher and offers more options and better views. From the top of the Arare you can drop into some of the longest runs in the Portes du Soleil and some of the steepest in Avoriaz.

We like the mixture of routes that run from the very summit to the bottom of the Avoriaz cliffs in the Prodains valley. In days of old this run could mean an hour long wait for the Prodains Cable Car but since 2013 the high-speed bubble has meant that it's just two lifts from bottom to top and only in the very busy weeks will you need to queue.

From the top of Arare, follow either the Black Combe de Machon and Coupe de Monde or the Blue Lac d'Arare and Stade d'Arare into the Crot piste. These runs have a bit of everything and you can mix and match sections to make the run suit your style of skiing.

Fornet & Chavanettes
Le Fornet is a great area, especially after a fresh snowfall where the natural terrain creates a freeride playground with bumps, burms and drops. The area also has some good pistes with steep, open sections that are great for fast carving turns.

From the top of the Choucas lift on the skiers right of the bowl, the Bleue de Chavanette has a steep top section that is fast and open and some great moguls and bumps to the left. The middle section of the piste mellows out and is good for carving before the last, short steep section.

The other side of the bowl, served by the Fornet chairlift, has another blue piste the imaginatively named Bleue du Fornet. Like it's neighbor it undulates between steep and mellow sections and is a great place for fast carves and bumps off the edges of the groomed section.

Les Lindarets
Les Lindarets is the valley that lies between Avoriaz and Chatel in the Portes du Soleil and it is the best place to head when the snow is falling as the tree lined pistes make visibility, even in flat light, a possibility.

There are three main runs in this higher area, one of each colour; blue Abricotine, black La Frontaliere and the red Les Cases. There is an additional red accessed via the TS Cubore known as the Mur du Cubore which sports some pretty hefty moguls. This latter lift is also an access point to the Fornet valley above Avoriaz.

La Frontaliere is a wide snowcross area with no obvious piste and is a take your pick area sporting a multitude of natural features; cliff drops, natural half pipes and valleys and kicker jumps of varying size. Les Cases is a cracking red run with a steep gradient, rarely being pisted merely increases the challenge. Abricotine takes a more leisurely route down the valley but still has some fast sections to keep you entertained. There is ample opportunity get on and off piste amongst all these runs and with very little likelihood of following a dead end requiring a huge cliff drop or similar. The mountain to the skiers left offers a huge number of off piste drops to the blue Abricotine via a traverse as long or as short as you want to make it. Access is via the TS Cubore.

Best Pistes in Morzine

Beginner areas in Avoriaz

Avoriaz is ideal for beginners with a kids club in the centre of town, a beginner's slope next to Le Chapelle Park and a range of blues from absolute to improving Avoriaz and the surrounding Portes du Soleil have some very good areas for first time skiers and snowboarders. Gentle, wide slopes where you can perfect your early turns.

One of the best things about these areas is that in some cases you don't even need a lift pass to enjoy them and in all cases the nursery areas are on proper slopes so from the very first day you can enjoy the mountains in all their glory and when it's time to branch out you are just a lift ride away from your first blue or red.

True first timers and those in ski school will start on the Ecoles Piste which is serviced by two very slow drag tows.

Some of the advanced runs for beginners in Avoriaz are  Proclou, Seraussaix, Qu’mont, Gernues, they are gentle easy blues that allow you as a beginner to progress and gain more confidence. They are also great for improving skills and practicing what you may have learnt in a lesson.

Avoriaz also has more demanding blues so don’t get caught out on these if you are still building confidence and skill, only attempt them if you feel fully confident and ready to try something harder, these blues are Stade d’Arare, Bleue du Lac, and Bleue d’Arare A.

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Beginner Ski Areas in Morzine

Advanced areas in Avoriaz

Above Avoriaz the best area for both steeps and long vertical descents is the Hauts Forts. For very steep (and long) black runs try Combe du Machon, Arête des Intrets, Combette and the spectacular ridge line drop of Coupe du Monde.

These pistes run into either the Gouilles rouges or Le Crot blue taking you right to the foot of the lifts at the head of the Prodains valley; Prodains téléphérique, TS Verare and TS Combe du Machon. The latter two are preferable to the Prodains téléphérique as that only takes you as far as Avoriaz and you will need to take the Express Lac Intrets to the top of the Hauts Forts. These are super steep, very long and in the case of the Combe du Machon exhibit some very demanding moguls. This is particularly long and very steep mogul section for the advanced skier. 

Another great option for a super long top to bottom drop from the Hauts Forts is the blue runs Bleue d’Arare and Le Crot. The former is a wide but steep long blue run into Avoriaz. There are often ski races fenced off to the skiers’ left, it is easy to get up some super scary speed down here. The latter is the home run and although it does have some road sections these are outnumbered by steep and often quite bumpy sections meaning it’s easy to keep up the speed and fly through the former before you have even noticed. The drop from the Hauts Forts to the head of the Prodains valley is over 1000 meters and if you go quickly enough you’ll be popping your ears at the bottom.

Advanced Ski Areas in Morzine

Off-piste areas in Avoriaz

Once in Avoriaz take the Express Lac Intrets to the top of the Hauts Forts and descend towards the Secteur Chavanette using the Bleue du Lac, ensuring you explore the little stashes to either side of the piste. Follow the Aller Chavanette down through the tunnel and you’ll reach the foot of the Secteur Chavanette with a choice of two lifts to access the top; Express Choucas and Express du Fornet. The latter lift takes you up above the Canyon du Pschott Snowzone. This is a large un-pisted area characterised by multiple canyons, natural half pipes, cliff drops and kickers. It is one of the best areas to head for after a big dump of snow as the variety of terrain is immense and despite it sitting right in front of everyone on the lift does take some time during the day to become tracked out. The multiple lines down this area all converge on the aforementioned lifts making multiple runs easy. The Express Choucas provides access to similar terrain on the opposite side of the bowl and again the multiple lines drop you down to the two lifts at the bottom. The latter has less potential to run you down into a big cliff drop if you lose your bearing but is demanding none the less.

To finish off your day in the Secteur Chavanette take the Express du Fornet and head a little further afield to the Vallée de la Manche. Watch out for the warning signs at the top indicating you are headed into a totally un-patrolled area and are therefore operating at your own risk. The traverse will be obvious, before dropping into the canyon du Pschott bare left and drop over the low saddle to enter the valley. This will give you access to a huge powder field with a huge drop affording plenty of chances to put in the powder eights or big GS style turns complete with rooster tails. Just keep on following the obvious valley route past the old chalet building and onwards to the head of the valley road. If there is sufficient base then it is possible to ski all the way back down to Morzine all though this does involve a little bit of poling. For anybody not up for that and any snowboarders then catch the new bus service back to town. Unfortunately the latter has prompted an increase in the popularity of the valley but still, it’s not one to miss.

Off-piste Ski Areas in Morzine

Snowparks in Avoriaz

There are six freestyle areas in Avoriaz; Snowpark de la Chappelle, Snowpark Arare, The Stash, L'il Stash, Burton Kids Parkway and the Superpipe, which all come under the collective name of the Avoriaz SnowZone

The Stash
The Stash is a 100% natural snow playground. Created in conjunction with Burton, the Avoriaz Stash is one of its kind in Europe and it comprises 3 routes of varying difficulty through the Lindarets trees. 

The features in The Stash are either shaped by the natural terrain or built using wood and the challenge is to link a flowing run through the trees and over the various modules.The 3 slopes join up halfway down at a hidden cabin in the Lindarets forest and then separate again to continue snaking through the pine trees. It is definitely best when the snow is falling; the trees help with visibility and the landings are softer and the modules in better condition. Although it's open to everyone it should be treated as a park and not a piste so be aware of where you stop as it might be on a take off or landing.

Lil Stash 
This area is as its name suggests the baby brother of The Stash. Winding down the edge of the Procolou run it has a wall ride and some wooden modules like you'll find in Lindarets.

The Burton Kids Parkway 
This beginner area is tucked away in the shelter of the lower buildings of Avoriaz in the Falaise Sector. The park officially opened in 2012 and is designed specifically for absolute beginners. A short 400m, very gentle piste is serviced by the "Trashers" drag tow and kickers and boxes here are small and wide. Perfect for kids and first-time jibbers. 

Snowpark de la Chappelle 
This snowpark is located under the top of the Express Proclou and Lindarets Express. Locally known as the "Baby Park" this is a perfect area for beginners to advanced-intermediates.Three lines of kickers, graded like pistes, offer green, blue and red jumps and the rail line has flat boxes, kinked boxes and a large pipe rail as well as a C-rail, S-rail and an 18m long hand rail.

The park is very popular and in peak season the queues here do get long and slow as the park is serviced by one drag tow but it is a natural sun trap and there are spectacular sunsets that can be enjoyed from the "Baby Park".

Snowpark Arare 
This snowpark sits above Avoriaz and is accessed via the Express Lac Intrets lift. This is locally known as "The Big Park" and although the size of the kickers tends to depend on the season's snowfall it is home to much larger and more technical features than the "Baby Park". The kickers here are again graded like pistes, red and black, and they do require more skill and a lot more bravery. The layout of the park changes from year to year and it is often better later in the season - its north facing aspect means it keeps its shape better than its sun-baked little brother.

Don't be intimidated by the "Big Park" though, although the kickers are best left alone unless you are comfortable on all the features in the "Baby Park" the airbag here is perfect for anyone wanting to try a new trick or, as is often the case, anyone whose bravery and enthusiasm outweighs their skill. It's free to use and it's the perfect place to practice in a consequence free environment. There is also the snowcross course here which is free to use and open to everyone.

The Superpipe 
This has been a feature in Avoriaz for over two decades and is located just below the Prodains bubble, above the Stade Chairlift. It isn't as big as the Superpipes in competitions like the X-Games but it can still be a daunting sight to beginners. It has its own button lift and is best ridden in the morning or cold winter months. In Spring time one wall softens quicker than the other. Watch this video of the superpipe

Please note that helmets and back protectors are recommended whilst in the snowpark and obligatory on the Superpipe and Arare. 

SkiCross 
If you’re looking for speed on skis and a bit of a technical challenge, head to the Pointe de Voriaz and attempt the Skicross run which runs parallel to the Choucas lift in the Chavanette area. It has a mixture of difficulties but allows you to really test your skills advanced or intermediate. 

Snowparks in Morzine

Bad Weather areas in Avoriaz

If you’re staying in Avoriaz the closest sheltered runs are down to the Secteur Linderets and onward down to the Ardent gondola.

The latter is a perfect place to park if you are staying in Les Gets or Morzine and have your own transport. Alternatively access the area via Super Morzine, Express Zore, and the telesiege Seraussaix. This will place you above Avoriaz and Linderets itself and offers up multiple options.

One of the best places when the clouds move in and the snow is falling is The Stash snowpark. Lined by the Lindarets trees and with multiple route options, you can easily spend all day in here without getting bored.

In terms of piste the Combe a Floret and Les Tannes are fairly enclosed runs offering the shelter required and have multiple off piste cut throughs for more advanced skiers and boarders. To repeat the various options use the Express Linderets to return you to the top. Further along the same mountainside the Express Prolays lift opens up more reds and blues again sporting multiple lines and cut throughs off the pisted runs. The edges of the piste throw up many opportunities to get briefly into the trees and back to the piste without running the risks of hitting more demanding terrain further from the marked runs.

On the opposite side of the valley, the new express version of the Chaux Fleurie will whisk you up to the exposed Col du Bassachaux where you can avoid a white out day by dropping down the multiple lines under and near the lift line. Caution, some of these lead to some smallish cliff drops putting this off piste out of reach for the less experienced who would be advised to stick to the Grand Plan blue and Chaux Fleurie red converging at the bottom of the aforementioned lift.

Don’t ignore the home run down to TC d’Ardent, the Parchets blue, although not a demanding run, it is extremely entertaining with playful areas on each side of the piste. In particularly bad conditions it’ll keep you entertained for multiple runs without having to freeze on an exposed chairlift in between.

Bad Weather Ski Areas in Morzine

More inspiration...

Take a look at this year's Ski Pass Prices or, if you're not sure which pass to buy, read Ski Pass Options for more information. Find your way around with Piste Maps for Morzine.