Skiing in the Portes du Soleil

Posted 18th September 2017

Skiing in the Portes du Soleil

The Portes du Soleil is one of the largest interlinked ski areas in the World, spanning 2 countries, 12 resorts and over 650km of pistes.

Located in the Northern Alps on the French/Swiss border, the Portes du Soleil includes well-known and loved resorts such as Chatel, Avoriaz, Morzine and Les Gets. It’s proximity to Geneva airport means ski holidays in the Portes du Soleil enjoy some of the shortest transfers in the Alps – about 90 minutes.

As well as majestic mountains, the area is heavily influenced by the unique microclimate between Lake Geneva and Mont Blanc, meaning a good snow record each year. The ski area starts at 900m and goes up to 2400m in Avoriaz and the majority of the Portes du Soleil is also equipped with snow cannons to ensure great conditions throughout the winter season.

The area provides unrivalled skiing and snowboarding for all levels and each resort within the Portes du Soleil offers it’s own individual on-piste features, from gentle beginner slopes to cruisy long intermediates and fantastic off-piste and snowparks. With 286 pistes to choose from there is definitely something for everyone!

Perhaps the most unique element of the Portes du Soleil is the fact that you can access the entire area with one ski pass, and from whichever resort you choose to stay there’s a different ski adventure to discover every single day!

Here is a brief insider’s summary of the main resorts in the Portes du Soleil:

Is the highest resort in the Portes du Soleil situated at 1800m on a sunny plateux above the Morzine valley. Mostly built in the 1970s Avoriaz is the vision of Jean Vuarnet, who grew up in Morzine and become an Olympic downhill champion. Together with Gérard Brémond (founder of Pierre et Vacances) they created a unique, modern resort that visually blends into its natural environment.

Today Avoriaz is a popular resort due to it’s ski-in / ski-out accommodation and excellent high altitude skiing. The village has no cars or roads, so getting around the resort requires walking, skiing or horse drawn carts. There are also plenty of non-skiing activities such as cinema, bowling, indoor aqua center and a good selection of bars and restaurants.

On the slopes Avoriaz caters to all abilities with a fantastic kid’s village, lots of gentle green runs on the Super Morzine plateau, a large array of blue and red runs in the Fornet bowl and some seriously challenging blacks under the Grandes Combes chairlift. There are three jump parks in Avoriaz including ‘The Stash’ which is Europe’s first natural board-park.

Les Crosets
Is a small hamlet of chalets located above the Swiss resort of Champery. As such there isn’t a huge amount of accommodation in Les Crosets, but the skiing is breathtaking. Les Crosets is located between the imposing peaks of Les Dents du Midi and Les Dents Blanches, so there are amazing views in all directions.

There are several gentle slopes in the Lechereuse bowl however Les Crosets is a better ski area for more advanced skiers. Off piste skiers will love Les Crosets as there are lots of couloirs and powder fields. The famous Swiss Wall which drops down from Avoriaz is a notorious black mogul field with a very steep top section and some seriously big moguls. Attempt with caution!

Les Crosets is mostly south facing so the snow can get slushy later in the season – so we recommend skiing Les Crosets in the morning and the north facing slopes in Avoriaz or Chatel in the afternoons.

A visit to Les Crosets should always include a lunch on the balcony at the Toupin restaurant. The food and views are to die for!

Is the largest resort in the Portes du Soleil and is very popular with British holiday-makers. Located in the valley below Avoriaz, Morzine is a very picturesque town with a vibrant atmosphere and lots of alpine charm. The town itself has lots of shops, bars, and restaurants, so there is plenty to do for non-skiers.

There are two main ski areas in Morzine. On one side of the town the Pleney ski area connects with Les Gets and provides some excellent skiing for all abilities.

The main Portes du Soleil ski area is accessed from the Super Morzine telecabine or the Prodains telecabine which is a five minute drive from the town.

The Super Morzine ski area is a plateau near Avoriaz which is brilliant for children and beginner skiers. And the mini Stash jump park is always a big hit, with lots of bumps and jumps through the trees.

If you fancy something a bit more challenging then Morzine is perfectly positioned to explore the immense Porte du Soleil ski area.

Finally, for off-piste enthusiasts we recommend hiring a guide and skiing the Vallee de la Manche which is an off-piste route from the top of Avoriaz all the way down to the Morzine valley.

Les Gets
Is a lovely family resort located to the South West corner of the Portes du Soleil. The village is very quaint with plenty of Savoyard charm and lots of gift shops and restaurants.

The skiing in Les Gets is family oriented with some lovely gentle runs through the forests. The Ranfoilly and La Rosta chairlifts takes the skiing above the treeline and when conditions are good there are some fabulous wide open pistes and powder bowls.

Similar to the other resorts in the Portes du Soleil the area boasts some excellent restaurants serving the local Savoyard specialities.

Chatel sits in the heart of the Portes du Soleil meaning access to the whole area is possible for intermediates and above. Originally a farming village, Chatel keeps much of its traditional alpine charm and although tourism has now overtaken agriculture, the production of Abondance cheese remains to play a key part in the valley.

The Chatel ski area covers Chatel, Torgon, La Chapelle D’Abondance and half of Morgins, so there is a huge amount of skiing available for all abilities.
Many skiers like to start skiing from Pre La Joux as there is a fantastic snow record, a large choice of slopes and easy access to the Portes du Soleil. However we also highly recommend starting at the Barbossine chairlift and heading over towards Torgon as the slopes are very quiet and there is some great piste and off-piste skiing.

The Portes du Soleil is still unknown by many British holiday makers. If visiting for the first time you will find it very different from the more popular resorts such as Meribel and Val d’Isere.

The mountains are not as high but neither are the prices. What it lacks in glamour it makes up for in authentic mountain charm. The lift queues are short, the nightlife is good, the mountain restaurants are brilliant and the skiing is world-class! Many who visit, fall in love with the area and return year after year.

For more information about the Portes du Soleil please do not hesitate to contact us.

Related Articles

View all News
Google Reviews

polly appleton  January 2019

Absolutely fantastic week. The chalet was gorgeous, spacious and lovely bedrooms. Paddy was a great host. The skis were delivered to the chalet which saved so much hassle as were the ski passes. Paddy booked our restaurants before we arrived. Cannot recommend more highly!! We will come back.

K  February 2019

Wonderful place! Large well-equipped kitchen. The chalet and rooms were bigger than appeared on website. Also a heated room for ski gear. Nine & Tenne went above and beyond to arrange all for our stay.

Mike Grafton  February 2019

What a fabulous week. We've been skiing for around 40 years and Chalet Nine & Tenne was without doubt the finest place that we have stayed in. We have been coming to Chatel for around twenty years and have known Paddy and Jo for many of these - why, oh why haven't we stayed in one of their chalets before? Not only was the accommodation fantastic but, so too, was every other aspect. Paddy runs a superb business and the in-house team of Benji, Jake and Liz could not do enough for us. The food was far better than any experienced before on a ski holiday thanks to Benji's chef's skills; Liz was only too willing to take us/pick us up at any time; and Jake was the perfect house-keeper. A huge thank you to one and all.

Nicola Wager  January 2019

We enjoyed a fantastic week at Nine & Tenne's Chalet Savoyard. The chalet was extremely well appointed and housed all 12 of us across 3 generations very comfortably. Paddy could not have been more accommodating and helpful (including installing a fully decorated Christmas tree!) and we can highly recommend the meal delivery service that Paddy organised for us. The chalet is in a great location, a 10 minute walk into the centre of the village and a short drive from all the skiing locations. Many thanks to Paddy and the owner for a great week.

Alan Humphries  February 2019

What a fantastic week, the owners and staff at Nine and Tenne were outstanding. The food, transportation, chalet and hospitality far exceeded our expectations. We were fortunate to drop on a week that blessed us with blue skies and great skiing conditions which made the whole experience even better. Chatel is a lovely little town that has everything you need and is easily accessed with the chauffer service that Nine and Tenne provide. The skiing has more than enough slopes to cater for beginners right through to experts. If you book with Nine and Tenne I am sure you will not be disappointed. TOP CLASS!

Exclusive offers

Sign up to our newsletter to receive our latest special offers