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Portes du Soleil

Between two wonders of the Alpine world, Mont Blanc and Lake Geneva, hundreds of miles of pistes link twelve lovely French and Swiss resorts - forming the largest international ski area on the planet and making for a terrific week on the snow.





At a glance: • World's biggest international ski area • 650km of pistes • 3 Famille Plus resorts • 13 snowparks

Great for: • Huge ski area • Ski-touring • Families

Between two wonders of the Alpine world, Mont Blanc and Lake Geneva, hundreds of miles of pistes link twelve lovely French and Swiss resorts - forming the largest international ski area on the planet and making for a terrific week on the snow.

Portes du Soleil Region

The Portes du Soleil or ‘gateway to the sun' marked its fiftieth birthday at the beginning of 2015 and we've no doubt it will continue to delight for many years to come. The area consists of 12 resorts across the Franco-Swiss border - close enough that you can ski the circuit in a day.

The best known resorts are Morzine, Avoriaz and Les Gets - all in the French Alps. Morzine's the biggest in size and arguably character - with lots of bars and restaurants, lively après-ski and plenty to do off the slopes.

Higher up the mountain is purpose built Avoriaz - it lacks classic charm but more than makes up for it with ski in / ski out convenience, fantastic snow conditions and the likes of world class snowparks and sports centres.

Les Gets has a laid back atmosphere with alpine charm aplenty; everything's wonderfully family orientated, from the well placed accommodation to friendly restaurants and bars.

Also on the French side you'll find a number of smaller, quieter villages - still excellently linked to the rest of the region and all gloriously traditional. In the Vallée d'Aulps, Montriond is a pretty village near Morzine and St Jean d'Aulps is known for its unique 20km forest circuit run. In the Valley d'Abondance, the lovely old villages of Abondance, La Chapelle d'Abondance and the slightly bigger Châtel take you progressively closer to the Swiss border.

Over on the Swiss side, you'll find more small resorts, no less charming in atmosphere or architecture. Champery's just over the border from Avoriaz - popular amongst foodies and expert skiers. Torgon is lift-linked to Châtel while in Val d'Illiez (famous for thermal baths) you'll find both Les Crosets and Champoussin.

Stats & FAQ

Location: Franco-Swiss Border

Open: Mid December- Mid April

Downhill: 650km

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • 162runs

  • 106runs

  • 28runs

Highest Altitude:2466m
Lowest Altitude:1000m
No. lifts:194
No. runs:296
Slope Orientation:NSEW
Night Skiing:Linga and Les Crosets
Downhill Runs:650km
Lift Pass Price: Adult 6 days 237.50€
Resorts: Avoriaz, Les Gets, Morzine

Skiing/BoardingSkiing in Portes du Soleil

Little skiers and boarders are excellently catered for - especially in Les Gets, Morzine, Avoriaz and Châtel which each have terrific kid's areas and practise slopes.

Beginners will find some fantastic independent ski schools in the bigger resorts, with lots of gentle tree-lined skiing to boost confidence. Avoriaz is a prime example of how great the area is for young'uns and learners - it has a beginner pass and specialist children's snowboard area, as well as a piste especially reserved for practicing.

The intermediate terrain's difficult to beat with over 200 blue and red runs letting you cruise all over the area - Chamossiere has some fabulous views of Mont Blanc and another favourite's the secluded Mont Chery area above Les Gets.

Strong skiers and snowboarders can roam the area's huge network of reds and blues, finding plenty of challenge along the way on over 30 black pistes. The notorious Chavanette or Swiss Wall (Avoriaz) and Yeti mogul field (Les Gets) are two absolute must-skis. A day spent the whole circuit is always incredible - it covers mostly intermediate terrain but definitely requires stamina (and pockets full of ski lift snacks). Freeriders won't be short of powder, from heli-ski opportunities to the Snowcross zone near Avoriaz, where you can explore untouched runs in a safe way.

A whopping 9 snowparks give freestylers plenty of boxes, rails and kicks to enjoy. The park near Les Gets has an airbag and video facility but Avoriaz is where you want to be if you're serious about park time, with some of the best terrain in the Alps.

Portes du Soleil Apres Ski

Whether it's a cosy fireside vin chaud, shots in a busy ski bar like Morzine's Le Tremplin, live music in a classic pub or a classy cocktail in a chic hotel like the Chamois d'Or in Les Gets, you're guaranteed to find a way to blow off some steam after a long day on the slopes.

For foodies, the Portes du Soleil has a fantastic restaurant scene, with the main advantage being that the area stretches over both France and Switzerland. On the French side, sample some traditional Savoyard dishes; nothing beats a raclette or tartiflette after a cold day on the mountain - head to Chez Flo in Avoriaz for a hearty mountain supper.

Alternatively, try some of the famous haute-cuisine in one of the many high quality eateries scattered across the area - we love Quatre Saisons in Les Gets for the finest French cuisine in a modern, chic setting.

On the Swiss side, the Cantine du Coux in Champery does amazing ‘Pierre Chauds' -hot stones used to cook meat- and traditional Swiss rôsti.

The area has some awesome off-slope activities, especially the larger resorts. Les Gets and Avoriaz both have a bowling alley, there's an ice rink in Morzine and Les Gets while Avoriaz, Morzine and Les Gets all have a cinema and Les Gets has a fantastic weekly market selling traditional artisan products.

There are a number of wellness facilities - the Aquariaz centre in Avoriaz is an amazing place to relax your muscles and Val-d'Illiez is known for its thermal baths.

It's also worth mentioning the other snow activities available, including husky rides, snowshoeing and good old tobogganing.

Best time to go

Best time to ski Portes du Soleil

When is the best time to ski Portes du Soleil?

The unique positioning of the area between Lake Geneva and Mont Blanc means there is good snow throughout the season, as the humid lake fronts meet with the cold mountain fronts. The area has invested heavily in recent years in new snow making technology, meaning there is almost always snow to found. The NSEW facing slopes and average snow fall of 8m per year makes the Portes du Soleil an excellent choice for a holiday.

Avoriaz was the snowiest French resort in the 2011/12 season, making it a great choice for serious skiers. It also plays host to both Rock the Piste music festival and jazz festival later on the season, for those interested in great après-ski.

Due to the fantastic facilities for children across the board in this area, Christmas, half-term and Easter can be busy. The resorts are however well prepared, and there is a whole host of activities and special events, in the larger resorts, Morzine, Avoriaz and Les Gets in particular.

Families in Portes du Soleil

With 3 Famille Plus resorts in the area (Les Gets, Morzine and Chatel) and Avoriaz winning an award for Best Family Resort in 2011/12 in the World Snow Awards, families are spoilt for choice in the Portes du Soleil, with a holiday to suit any taste on the cards.

Chalets like the Chalet Karine in Les Gets are a great choice, as they offer smaller apartments for families in a quieter area, for a relaxed family holiday. Hotels in Avoriaz like Club Med are great as their ski-in ski-out location means little ones don’t have to carry heavy equipment far to get to the snow, and the Chalet Matine Apartments in Morzine are a great choice for families who don’t want the restrictions of set meal times and menus.

The resorts ensure that there is plenty going on throughout the season, particularly during school holidays. Entertainment is normally provided in the children’s ski areas, as well as things like egg hunts, shows and discos. Christmas, however, is a highlight in this area, with Les Gets, Morzine and Avoriaz really going the extra mile to provide a magical festive holiday. With lots of Christmas events, visits from Santa, elf workshops and NYE fireworks, it’s a great choice.

In terms of skiing, Avoriaz is the only resort to offer an exclusively beginner pass, and especially reserved beginners run to help learners gain confidence on the slopes. Morzine is fantastic for families with really little ones, as children who are too young to ski can enjoy Babysnow, which is a snowboard/scooter invention for ages 1-3. Les Gets’ ‘piece de resistance’ is Mappy’s Area, a Wild West themed park with skiing and other entertainment including face painting and a run sponsored by Milka with alpine education in mind, offering chocolate and fun interactive activities.

For a hassle free holiday when travelling with children, choose a package deal with flights and transfers included. If driving is preferred, the area has some of the shortest drive times from Calais, and we can arrange holidays with channel crossing options. Alternatively, if you want to arrange your own travel, grab an accommodation only option.

GroupsGroup Holidays Portes du Soleil

The best thing about the Portes du Soleil region is the range of skiing and boarding it offers. All the resorts have either their own beginner parks or nursery slopes, or easy access to other resort’s learner facilities. Intermediate and advanced skiers are also bound to find plenty of exhilarating pistes, with 650km of runs across the area, including the infamous Swiss Wall run, which descends from Avoriaz to the Swiss border.

Aside from the high quality skiing and snowboarding to be done, any group members looking for something to do off the slopes are not short of options. You’ll find a bucket-load of things to do across the 12 resorts, wellness facilities can be found in Les Gets, Morzine and Avoriaz, with the Aquariaz in the latter offering stunning mountain views from the warmth of a swimming pool. An ice-rink is a great way to while away a couple of hours in Les Gets and Morzine, and the three big resorts all have a cinema. Any non-skiers have plenty of shops to browse through, hit Morzine for the best shopping, and Les Gets for a traditional artisan market on a Thursday.

Chalets are a great option for large groups, book into a shared one for some mountain spirit and to make some new friends, or book out one out and have sole occupancy for a more intimate holiday. Hotels are great for groups – especially those that are likely to have stragglers joining up later, as they provide a more flexible set of options when booking, and often have extra facilities like bars and restaurants. Alternatively, a group good at taking washing up ownership should consider staying in one of the Portes du Soleil’s many apartments. They are often a cheaper option, and a great excuse to go and sample some regional recipes a couple of times throughout the week.

We organise everything for you with our package deals that include flights and transfers. Alternatively if you fancy a road trip, check out our holidays with crossings from Dover. Finally, if you want to sort your own travel, check out our accommodation only options.

More Portes du Soleil Holiday Resources

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