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Phil Griffin and friends talk about their experiences on the slopes.
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Thu, Jan 29 2009 2:20 PM
Whether addicted to an annual fix, a dedicated boarder or a just after an all-action family holiday, Morzine Avoriaz in the Portes Du Soleil seems perfect. And the icing on the cake is that it is just a short hop from Geneva Airport and, if you sort your own transfers, it is perfectly possible to get from the depths of Devon or Doncaster in the morning and be on the slopes by the afternoon.www.chillypowder.com
Morzine Avoriaz are two separate resorts but marketed together as they have a slick transport network and together they offer every type of skiing and boarding.
Morzine is a typical Haute Savoie town, bustling with restaurants, ski gear outlets, bars and nightclubs, with slopes on both sides; one, the Pleney linking to the wide open areas of another near neighbour, Les Gets, and the other, via the Super Morzine cable car, to Avoriaz.
The two are connected by a charming, Disneylike ‘road train’. But many head straight to the free bus and the Prodains telecabine, which is a direct link to the mountain top village of Avoriaz..
The skiing on offer is virtually limitless. It is possible to ski all 12 resorts in the Portes Du Soleil in one day (but only in one direction at the moment) but, if that agenda seems more like a route march than a holiday, there are plenty of other challenges closer to hand.
For beginners, the slopes accessed by the Belvedere lift above Pleney look perfect, and once you have found your ski legs there is a network of blue runs, which all head back to the village.
For those with a few more miles on the clock, it is a big adventure playground – after a massive dump of snow, H19, just above the town, was fantastic sunny fun, there are some lovely reds in the Nyon-Champossiere area – one run ends by a mountain top farm yard - and the whole Les Gets area was amazing - parts of it were virtually deserted. The off-piste through the trees, accessed from the Zore lift, on the Super Morzine side were also fun without being scary.
Avoriaz is a car-free village built right on a mountain top, the architecture mirroring the cliffs on which it sits. It has one of the best snow records in The Alps and it really is worth a visit after dark, when the village centre magically lights up. For small children, the snow play area is bang in the centre of the village, along with an ice rink and, outside the main telecabine access, it is possible to take a sleigh ride around the village!
There are hours of fun to be had for experts – crowds gather to watch the skiers and boarders in the snowpark under the Produe lift – and The Stash is an off-piste, tree-lined area with natural jumps and ramps. It is possible to ski in Switzerland, too, as the resort links with Planachaux, Les Crosets, Champoussin and Morgins – but, if you want to stop for lunch, make sure you have some Swiss Francs.
If you don’t fancy skiing, then there are plenty of other activities – visits to the other Aulps valley villages can be made for one euro on the Balad’Aulps bus. Snow shoe treks can be made around the area, serious pampering can take place at the spas, and there are regular visits to the local cheesemaker and slate mine.
But where to stay? MorzineAvoriaz has accommodation for every budget but, if you fancy a little luxury, try Au Coin de Feu chalet run by English couple Francesca and Paul Eyre. At the foot of the Prodain Telecabine, it is possible to ski back to the garden, via a blue, red or black run. The food is great, there is an outdoor hot tub and, truly amazing in my experience, the beds are comfy! Bespoke breaks are available if you just want a few days’ escape to the slopes and they will arrange your transfers. They are ideally set up for families with small children, as there is an in-house crèche run by fully qualified nannies. Visit
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