Les Portes du Soleil is one of the largest ski areas in the world with 650 kms of pistes and 197 ski lifts. It is located in the Alps, between Mont Blanc in France and Lake Geneva in Switzerland, just 1 hour from Geneva International Airport, which is serviced by Blue Islands direct flights from Jersey on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays during the winter.
This region includes the eight French ski resorts of Abondance, Avoriaz, Châtel, La Chapelle d’Abondance, Les Gets, Montriond, Morzine and Saint-Jean-d’Aulps. There are also five Swiss resorts: Champéry, Morgins, Val d’Illiez, Les Crosets and Champoussin.
Well-linked by road and slopes, some of the resorts are picturesque towns with pretty chalets, while some have more modern buildings. In the region you will also find ten snow parks and 90 on-slope restaurants.
The Portes du Soleil ski area enjoys exceptionally good snowfall from mid-November to the end of April, with an average of 8m of powder every year. A main attraction is a circular route through the linked resorts straddling the French-Swiss border which can be done in either direction and gives a great sensation of travel.
From the 26th to the 30th March the area hosts the fourth Rock the Pistes music festival which has live music concerts throughout the Portes du Soleil’s slopes, “Concerts staged in the wildest settings at the heart of the ski area… The best International and French pop-rock artists… A music festival like no other in Europe, all you need to see the gigs is your lift pass!”
Avoriaz is a purpose- built car-free resort , and as such,is probably the best designed ,as the resort is sunny whilst most of the local slopes are shady. It is perched on a shelf above a cliff with long –established Morzine down in the valley below. The whole resort is ski-in-ski out, and your luggage is taken to the hotels by horse drawn sleigh or shuttle from the underground car parks or the new Prodains gondola from Morzine.
“From the 26 to 30 March the area hosts the fourth Rock the Pistes music festival – Concerts staged in the wildest settings at the heart of the ski area… The best International and French pop-rock artists… A music festival like no other in Europe, all you need to see the gigs is your liftpass!”
There is an outdoor family skating rink right in the resort centre and the new Aquariaz water park which has been designed as an aquatic paradise in the mountains featuring lush vegetation and rocks: a river with a variable gentle current, a slidewinder (a kind of aquatic halfpipe), a water playhouse, a large pool with climbing walls, and the must-try: an open-air spa heated to 34 degrees!
Morzine is a busy Alpine town with a lively spirit. Traditional wooden chalets with slate roofs and stone foundations ensure that the village, which runs along both sides of a river gorge, retains is character and Savoyard charm, and is as popular in summer as in winter. It is one of the livelier French resorts for apres-ski, and several places around the base area get busy as the slopes empty.
The bulk of the Portes du soleil linked area is reached via Avoriaz, however the local area which is shared with Les Gets is a fair size and also has some wooded slopes giving plenty of tree-lined runs, which is a good place to be in a snowstorm. For Snowboarders the slopes are great for all abilities and have very few draglifts, the more adventurous should hire a guide to explore off-piste.
Les Gets is situated on the col between Samoëns and Morzine, at the western edge of the Portes du Soleil ski area it is a small traditional, village, with cosy chalet-style restaurants and accommodation which have a very French feel. The Centre of the village is fairly pedestrian-friendly and a popular outdoor ice rink adds to its charm.
In Les Gets, the Ranfolly area is a wide bowl with a variety of runs, from the long and fast to the odd tricky black! The runs down to La Turche are definitely worth skiing and the new six man express chair at the bottom gives you a speedy return. When snow conditions are good, you can’t beat getting over to Mont Chery . The skiing is great and for some reason not at all crowded – you never seem to queue for lifts! For the more advanced don’t miss out Chamossiere and Pointe de Nyon. Chamossiere has some of the best bump skiing in the Portes du Soleil!
JerseySki.com now offer packages to the Portes du Soleil. In Morzine we have a choice of self catered apartments, half board hotels, and catered chalets with a passion for food. In Les Gets a hotel which offers bed and breakfast or half board options, and in Avoriaz we can offer the all-inclusive Club Med, with lift passes and ski lessons for all standards included!
From the 13-15 December Avoriaz kicks off the season with the Fête de la Glisse and the Rock On Snowboard Tour. Three days of snowsports, concerts and events to start off the season with a bang and try out the very latest new ski and snowboard equipment. I will be there to test out this season’s new skis and report back, so watch this space!
To find out more about ski and snowboard adventures from Jersey, and even tailor made options, give Geoff a call on: 07797 738 180