Portes du Soleil‏, France

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Ski holidays in 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.

Beginner
Intermediate
Advanced
Snowboarding

Portes du Soleil‏ 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

Portes du Soleil‏

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

Where:Franco-Swiss Border
Ski Season: Mid December- Mid April
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • 162 runs

  • 106 runs

  • 28 runs

No. lifts:194
No. runs:296
Cross Country Runs:216km
Highest Altitude:2466m
Lowest Altitude:1000m
Downhill Ski Runs:650km
Slope Orientation:NSEW
Night Skiing:Linga and Les Crosets
Glacier:No
Beginner slopes:162 (127 blue 35 green)
Intermediate:106
Advanced slopes:28
Portes du Soleil Lift Pass:Adult 6 days 237.50€
Resorts: Avoriaz, Les Gets, Morzine

Skiing 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.

Après 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.

When is best 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.

Peak dates

Christmas in the Portes du Soleil resorts is arguably the best in the Alps. Family favourites Les Gets, Avoriaz and Morzine, with carol concerts, fireworks, Santa workshops and fairy-tale displays will ensure a magical Christmas holiday. Browse Portes du soleil Christmas ski holidays ‣

New Year's Eve in the Portes du Soleil is just as magical as Christmas, as the magic tends to last for the whole festive period. Firework displays and plenty of bars and restaurants, not to mention the incredible ski area, make Avoriaz, Les Gets or Morzine the perfect resorts in which to see in the New Year. Browse Portes du soleil New Year ski holidays ‣

Being such a great place for children, February half-term in the Portes du Soleil sees not only excellent snow, but special entertainment for children. Head to Avoriaz if your little ones are desperate to board, as it has a unique snow park for children. Browse Portes du soleil Half Term ski holidays ‣

Easter in the Portes du Soleil sees the arrival of the sun, but not a huge fall in snow quality. The higher resorts like Avoriaz usually still have great quality snow, and those seeking a relaxing holiday, with skiing, sunbathing and exploring can combine the two in Les Gets or Morzine. Browse Portes du soleil Easter ski holidays ‣

Portes du Soleil‏ ski holidays
Club Chalet Gourmets
Club Chalet Gourmets
09 Jan 2017
Bournemouth £344
Le Saskia Apartments
Le Saskia Apartments
25 Mar 2017
Dover Ferry £349
Les Crozats Apartments
Les Crozats Apartments
07 Jan 2017
Dover Ferry £369
Hotel les Fleurs
Hotel les Fleurs
09 Jan 2017
Bournemouth £369
Electra Apartments
Electra Apartments
25 Mar 2017
Dover Ferry £373
Chalet La Cognée
Chalet La Cognée
09 Jan 2017
Bournemouth £377
Portes du Soleil‏ chalets
Club Chalet Gourmets
Club Chalet Gourmets
09 Jan 2017
Bournemouth £344
Chalet La Cognée
Chalet La Cognée
09 Jan 2017
Bournemouth £377
Chalet Jean France
Chalet Jean France
16 Dec 2016
Gatwick £499
Chalet Nomis
Chalet Nomis
16 Dec 2016
Gatwick £499
Chalet Le Marjorie
Chalet Le Marjorie
16 Dec 2016
Gatwick £499
Chalet Grand Mouflon
Chalet Grand Mouflon
16 Dec 2016
Gatwick £499
Portes du Soleil‏ hotels
Hotel les Fleurs
Hotel les Fleurs
09 Jan 2017
Bournemouth £369
Hotel Le Cret
Hotel Le Cret
25 Mar 2017
Dover Ferry £589
Hotel Bel’Alpe
Hotel Bel’Alpe
07 Jan 2017
Dover Ferry £655
Hotel Les Champs Fleuris
Hotel Les Champs Fleuris
25 Mar 2017
Dover Ferry £779
Hotel Florimontane
Hotel Florimontane
07 Jan 2017
Dover Ferry £789
Club Med Avoriaz
Club Med Avoriaz
09 Apr 2017
Without Flights £816
Portes du Soleil‏ apartment
Le Saskia Apartments
Le Saskia Apartments
25 Mar 2017
Dover Ferry £349
Les Crozats Apartments
Les Crozats Apartments
07 Jan 2017
Dover Ferry £369
Electra Apartments
Electra Apartments
25 Mar 2017
Dover Ferry £373
Chalet Mâtine Apartments
Chalet Mâtine Apartments
25 Mar 2017
Dover Ferry £389
L’Amara Apartments
L’Amara Apartments
25 Mar 2017
Dover Ferry £489
Portes du Soleil‏ reviews, 4.5 star rating and resort and ski area information is collated by SNO man from staff experience and customer feedback.
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