Located at the heart of Portes du Soleil, one of the world’s largest ski areas, Morzine is among the oldest resorts in France and sits at 1,000 metres, just below Avoriaz . As early as the 1930s Morzine was already a winter sports resort and by 1934 the first cable-car has opened in the region’s capital Haut-Chablais, though at that time it was only used by walkers and day-trippers wanting to enjoy the area’s unique alpine scenery.
It was in 1960, when the Avoriaz resort was built 800 metres higher up, that Morzine really came into its own as a popular destination for winter sports fans. It is no surprise therefore that ever since then people have thought of Morzine-Avoriaz as a single entity with both resorts now combined into one large winter sports centre. Both resorts are committed to protecting nature and the local environment and the Morzine-Avoriaz region is a member of Alpine Pearls, an organisation which operates throughout the alpine area and seeks to promote soft-mobility and sustainability in tourism.
Morzine is characterised by its traditional Savoyard-style architecture - wooden chalets with slate roofs, surrounded by dense pine forests – and this style was successfully copied by the architects who built the Avoriaz ski station in the 1960s. With all the charm of an authentic mountain village, this really is a great resort for a winter sports holiday.
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Though modest in size, Morzine stands at the gateway to one of the world’s largest inter-connected skiing areas, Les Portes du Soleil, with no fewer than 650 kilometres of pistes straddling France and Switzerland. But Morzine itself also boasts over 100 kilometres of pistes, a good choice of downhill runs - with something to suit every taste and level of difficulty - and a network of 40 lifts.
The area between Morzine and Avoriaz is great for beginners and those who like to ski at a relaxed pace. Above Avoriaz at Col du Fornet there are superb slopes for carving and the Chavanette black run is perfect for those who enjoy a sporting challenge. Freeriders should head for the slopes below the “Les Hauts Forts” pass. As well as being linked to Avoriaz, Morzine also connects directly with the Pléney-Nyon ski area where the new Chamossière 6-seater chairlift takes skiers up to a height of 2,000 metres. Those who make it to the top are rewarded by breathtaking panoramic views over the Montblanc mountain range as far as Lake Geneva. This is also where the longest ski descent in the whole of the Morzine area starts – “Les Arbis”, as it is known, takes skiers right down into the centre of the village.
Across the whole area of “Les Portes du Soleil”, snowboarders can choose from at least 7 snowparks, among them Europe’s first, ‘winter wood parks’ in which all the equipment is made of natural wood. Holidaymakers camping in Morzine will find the nearest funpark close by in Avoriaz.
The area around Morzine is also perfect for fans of cross-country skiing, with 97 kilometres of well-groomed trails – ideal for classic cross-country or skating. Morzine’s network of trails is in fact the biggest in the whole region and provides many highlights for fans of the sport, for example the 25-kilometre long “L’Erigne im Vallée de la Marche” and the 10 kilometre altitude trail “Piste des Crêtes” at Super Morzine.
Of course, Morzine also caters well for children – there is a children’s practice area, a ski kindergarten and a kids’ ski school.
Winter holidaymakers in Morzine will find lots to occupy them away from the ski slopes with plenty of fun to be had both at the 3-kilometre long toboggan run Le Pleney and at the “Indiana Parc” high-rope course. There are also many other interesting ways to enjoy the area’s picturesque countryside, either on a snowshoe hike or in a snowmobile. If you dare, there is even the chance to go up in a hot air balloon or take a helicopter flight. Visitors to Morzine can also enjoy ice-skating, ten-pin bowling or a visit the watersports centre. And when the time comes for some après-ski relaxation, there are plenty of bars, restaurants and discos to keep everyone entertained.