Fancy a holiday in a real ski in, ski out resort in the centre of one of France’s largest ski areas? Of course you do. Book a trip to Avoriaz with easyJet holidays and you’ll arrive in a compact, traffic-free resort perched high on a cliff above lively Morzine. With easy access to the vast Portes du Soleil ski area and a relaxed night-time vibe, Avoriaz is a hit with both families and keen skiers looking for plenty of pistes to choose from.
This quirky resort was designed in the 1960s by award-winning architect, Jacques Labro. Think unusual, angular wooden-clad buildings rather than pretty, traditional chalets. We think it has a hint of retro James Bond style to it. And the only mode of transport is horse-drawn sleigh. What could be more idyllic?
Accommodation in Avoriaz mostly consists of apartments, although there are a couple of hotels. With its 1800m altitude, you can expect to ski in and out of your accommodation all season and be treated to breath-taking views of the Dents du Midi.
The Portes du Soleil ski area offers a mind-boggling 650km of pistes to explore, stretching all the way from Châtel across to Champéry over in Switzerland. And Avoriaz is located right in the heart of it. You’ll find hundreds of runs to suit all abilities and ages, but an area of this size is a major draw for more experienced skiers and boarders. Experts can tackle one of the Alps’ most famous, and challenging, black runs – ‘The Wall’.
The Avoriaz local slopes have plenty to offer as well. Beginners can learn on wide, sunny slopes right next to the resort and the high altitude means chances of snow from December to April are high, with an average of 8 metres snowfall every winter.
The local Avoriaz ski pass covers:
3 green runs
26 blue runs
14 red runs
6 black runs
35 ski lifts
Avoriaz is home to some great ski schools, with the well-respected Ecole du Ski Français (ESF) and International Ski School both on hand. It’s also a boarding mecca with three snowboarding schools, two permanent snow parks, a 120m long superpipe, and a fantastic Snowboard Village for kids aged 6 to 16.
Activities off the slope
Avoriaz may be one of the smaller resorts in the Alps, but it has plenty going on activity-wise.
Families will love the Aquariaz centre, where all ages can enjoy splashing around. The water park includes a beautiful pool, kids pools and play areas, a lazy river and fun slides. Or take a well-earned break from the little ones and relax at Deep Nature Spa, with its outdoor Jacuzzi, steam rooms and pampering treatments.
Avoriaz’s lofty location makes it the perfect place to try paragliding, or parapenting as it’s called in France. There’s several companies to choose from offering tandem flights for beginners. Clip yourself in and enjoy spectacular views of the mountain tops and the valley below.
Other activities to get the adrenaline pumping include mountain biking on snow, dog-sledding with huskies, geocaching, ski ‘joëring’ where you and your skis are pulled along behind a horse, and night sledging along a custom-built 3km tobogganing track. You can also take part in night skiing every Thursday on the Pleney piste down in Morzine.
Away from the snow, Avoriaz boasts two bowling alleys, a cinema that sometimes shows English-speaking films and some great shops – especially if you love your outdoor gear. Ice skating is also a popular pastime. You’ll find a small open-air rink in Avoriaz, as well as two larger ones (one outdoor and one indoor) down in Morzine. Catching an ice hockey match while you’re down there makes for a super fun family evening.
And of course, one of the unmissable activities in Avoriaz is a ride in a horse-drawn sleigh. As well as being a fab family activity, in car-free Avoriaz they’ll also become your taxi. The resort has around 30 sleighs and over 100 horses ready to pull you through the snowy streets.
Avoriaz is a family-friendly resort, so don’t expect the wild nights you might get in other alpine destinations. That said, there’s still a lively choice of après-ski, from cosy cocktail bars to live music venues, so letting your hair down after a hard day on the slopes shouldn’t be a problem!
When it comes to eating out, Avoriaz is a great place to sample some traditional Savoyard cuisine. Think cheese fondue, cured meats, tartiflette, local lake fish and lots of amazing wine. This hearty fare is made for healthy mountain appetites. You’ll also find a good selection of affordable eats from pizzas to crepes, and the mountain restaurants here are relatively cheap compared to many other French resorts. For a special meal, head to the gourmet Table du Marche, run by celebrity chef Christophe Leroy, or The Lodge at L’Amara for classic dishes and stunning views.
For early drinks to refresh you after a hard run, The Brasserie is a popular choice. Its scenic deck has unbeatable views and there’s often a live band to keep everyone entertained. You can find it on the Avoriaz plateau. The Igloo Bar is another favourite. Set at the bottom of the Arrare run, it offers up ice sculptures, cold drinks and funky DJs.
For post-dinner cocktails, it has to be Café Le Fantastique with its extensive drinks menu. You can settle in and get cosy here - it’s open until 2am. Other late-night haunts include Le Bowling Bar, where you can have a go at bowling until 3am, and Le Yak, where you can dance the night away until 4am.
And at the end of the night? You’ll find many revellers in Avoriaz like to get back to their beds by sledging through the streets!