The exciting Portes du Soleil encompasses resorts Abondance, Avoriaz, Champoussin, Chatel, Les Gets, Morzine, Champery, Saint Jean d’Aulps, Montriond, Morgins, Val d’Illiez and Torgon. Spanning across the French-Swiss border, the Portes du Soleil is one of the largest combined skiing areas in the world. Its low altitude, mostly intermediate circuit has a variety of resorts, with several small Swiss resorts and two French ones.
Competing with the ‘Three Valleys’ for the title of world’s largest skiing area, the mountain is very different to ski, boasting an excellent ski circuit where you can in ski either direction. From Lake Geneva in Switzerland to Mont Blanc in France, it has 650kms of pisted runs served by 209 ski lifts spread across 430 individual pistes sitting between 1,200m and 2,300m above sea level.
The French side features purpose-built Avoriaz and the more traditional Chatel, with Morzine and Les Gets slightly off the main circuit. Swiss resort Champery is a charming resort perched just above satellite resorts Champoussin and Les Crosets and slightly larger Morgins. Avoriaz and the Linga sector of Chatel have speedy modern lifts and progress can be good on this side. Towards the far side of Chatel, the Swiss drags and chairs tend to be sluggish. Snowboarders are well catered for with many board parks spread across the resorts, with one of the best board parks in Europe in Avoriaz.
Morzine is popular for group ski holidays due to numerous boutiques, bars and eateries. It’s also one of the most popular self-driving destinations as it’s one of the shortest drives down from Calais. Apartment-filled Avoriaz is popular with families due to its sleigh rides and ski-in ski-out accommodation, meaning you won’t have to carry the kid’s skis very far.
For beginning or end of season skiing holidays you can get a bargain skiing holiday staying in Morzine and catch the ski bus up to higher slopes which still hold the snow.
Areas in the Portes du Soliel skiing area:
Saint Jean d’Aulps