Spreading across the French and Swiss border, the Portes du Soleil ski area has a lot to offer for every type of skier. It truly is a winter playground with 650km of incredible slopes. From freestyle parks to cruisy blue runs around the mountain, there’s something for everyone. There are five main Portes du Soleil ski resorts; Avoriaz, Châtel, Champery, Les Gets and Morzine. Each ski resort has its charm and atmosphere within the villages. Off the slopes, there are plenty of bars, restaurants and activities in each town. Our ski experts have put together a guide about Portes du Soleil skiing.
Located at 1,800m above sea level, Avoriaz is the highest resort in the Portes du Soleil ski area. This makes it more snow-sure throughout the season. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced skier the terrain is vast and suitable for everyone. Beginner slopes are next to the main town and the links to other Portes du Soleil ski resorts are amazing.
The French resort is car-free and the architecture has been brilliantly designed to merge into the mountainside. From a distance, it looks like a natural rock in the mountainside. There’s a good selection of accommodation to choose from for different price points. All of which are ski-in ski-out due to the town’s location on the mountain, perfect to access Portes du Soleil skiing.
If you’re looking for an amazing culinary experience, look no further than La Réserve. It’s a Michelin star restaurant that serves an incredible array of dishes. From scrambled eggs with truffles to oxtail and red wine cottage pie, La Réserve is like no other restaurant in the Alps.
The nightlife is fantastic too. Whether you want a quiet relaxing drink or dance the night away there is great après ski to enjoy. For a lively atmosphere head to La Folie Douce. It’s one of the newer La Folie Douce chains in France but still delivers live music and great drinks. For a more sophisticated evening, JaJa Bar is a chic wine bar, perfect for a relaxed drink.
Châtel is in the heart of the Portes du Soleil ski area and is a great hub to access all parts of the region. Morzine and Avoriaz can be accessed with ease via the Linga gondola or you can head to the Swiss side on the Super Châtel lift. It’s one of the hidden gems of the French Alps with its traditional alpine feel and spectacular views.
The village itself is spread out but has a lovely mountain town charm. There is a great selection of accommodation for different price points. The ski terrain is mostly suited to beginner and intermediate skiers, but there are some great tree runs and powder bowls for more advanced skiers. For something different, there’s a fantastic Nordic ski centre in the valley with 216km of tracks.
Eating out is a real treat in town or on the mountain. A lot of the hotels have fantastic restaurants, as well as locally run ones too. We recommend the Le Vieux Four restaurant which serves delicious traditional Savoyard and contemporary cuisine. On the mountain, La Leiche is a great spot for lunch. It’s a cosy gastro-bar with a lovely warm log fire.
During the evening there are some great bars and nightclubs to enjoy. La Godille, Nazca Bar and L’Avalanche are the most popular bars to grab a drink. For those who want to dance into the early hours, Le Sloopy is the best nightclub in town.
On the Swiss side of the Portes du Soleil ski area is Champéry. It’s one of the oldest Swiss ski towns with over 150 years of tourism in its history. You can admire the beautiful views of the mountain range from the village and on the slopes. It’s one of the prettiest ski resorts around. It has a very laid-back atmosphere and the locals are very welcoming.
Located below the stunning Dents du Midi mountain, Champéry has a great selection of accommodation. Whether it’s a hotel or a rustic wooden chalet, you’ll thoroughly enjoy your stay. There isn’t much of an après scene in the Swiss resort but there’s a fantastic choice of top-quality restaurants.
From Michelin starred restaurants to classic family-friendly pizzerias, there’s something for different tastes. If you’re looking for fine dining, book a table at Le 42. The Michelin starred restaurant serves incredible fresh dishes. The seafood, in particular, is sourced from Lake Geneva.
On the slopes, Champéry has great terrain to explore. If you’re looking for a challenge, The Swiss Wall is one of the steepest slopes in Europe. Located on the Swiss-French border, the Swiss Wall is a landmark of Portes du Soleil skiing because of the warning signs at the top and its steep nature.
Back on the French side of the Portes du Soleil ski area, Les Gets is a small family-friendly town. It has a welcoming atmosphere and is the main Portes du Soleil ski resort for views of the iconic Mont Blanc mountain. There’s a great selection of restaurants, bars and shops to visit too.
Nestled between Avoriaz and Morzine it’s a great hub to access the main slopes of Portes du Soleil skiing. Most of the accommodation is traditional French chalet style establishments. All of which have different price points. Great for groups and families. There’s a lot to do off the slopes with an ice skating rink, cinema, music museum and a bowling alley.
When you’re looking for a place to eat there’s a great selection of restaurants in the village. Le Vieux Chene, in particular, specialises in delicious Savoyard cuisine. Alternatively, you can try O Kariboo which serves some of the best burgers and American food in the mountains.
Despite having a reputation as a family resort, Les Gets has great nightlife. Le Pub Irlandais, Bar Bush and the Black Bear all have live music to enjoy. For a proper party, you can visit the L’Igloo nightclub. It’s open into the early hours of the morning and has a great selection of drinks.
One of the most famous Portes du Soleil ski resorts is Morzine. It’s one of the lower ski resorts in terms of altitude but it is also easy to access via Geneva. Morzine still has its farm town roots but also delivers modern accommodation in style. There’s a great selection of luxury places to stay, as well as more affordable options too.
The terrain covers complete beginners to advanced skiers in one area. The nursery slopes are easily accessible and there’s also a fantastic off-piste too. If you would like to try something different there’s 70km of cross country skiing to explore as well.
In the village, there’s some great bars and restaurants to enjoy. The Atelier restaurant within the hotel Samoyede is a superb fine-dining experience. Le Mas de la Coutettaz is another favourite which is banquet-style dining in a farmhouse setting.
As for the nightlife, it’s heavily bar orientated but also fun. Dixie Bar has Irish, Spanish or English themed nights. For a relaxed quiet drink, Buddha Bar has comfy sofas and a sociable atmosphere. Le Crepu is a more lively establishment with a great selection of drinks.
To find out more about Portes du Soleil skiing, please call our ski experts on 0207 471 7700.
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