Car-free, compact and captivating, Avoriaz manages to blend variety, reliable snow, fantastic food, nightlife and family-friendliness to create a ski resort with universal appeal. Tucked away in the French Alps, it occupies the best position in the stunning Portes du Soleil ski area.
Avoriaz: At a glance
- A ski resort for all ages and skiers of all abilities
- Stunning scenery
- In the heart of Portes du Soleil
A purpose-built resort, Avoriaz sits an altitude of 1,800 metres – the highest in Portes du Soleil. This means its slopes reliably receive around eight metres of snow each winter, while the resort’s easy access to the rest of Portes du Soleil gives you an impressive 650 km of skiable terrain at your fingertips. And with this offering a mix of beginner, intermediate, advanced and expert skiing, not to mention snow parks and cross-country skiing, it becomes a hard destination to say no to!
What’s particularly great about Avoriaz though, is that it offers more than varied snow-sure slopes. For instance, it’s a rare example of an entirely car-free resort – something that, of course, increases its appeal among families, but also can’t fail to tempt everyone else. The sledges, horse-drawn sleighs and ski-in, ski-out accommodation all add to the charm and offer a refreshing change.
Also known for its fantastic food, Avoriaz has a great mix of restaurants for all budgets, from quick bites right through to high gastronomy; not to mention vibrant apres-ski and a host of other attractions off the slopes.
Ski and slopes – key information
- Altitude virtually guarantees good snow cover between December and April
- 36 modern lifts
- Snowparks as well as slopes
- Cross-country trails available too
As Avoriaz sits within the Portes du Soleil ski area, there is far more on offer than what’s in the resort alone (though there’s certainly plenty there to keep you in ski heaven!). In fact, there are 12 resorts in this ski area, which means you’ll have access to 650 km of slopes in total.
Avoriaz itself boasts a really nice selection of terrain which means it has something to offer all levels of skiers – something that’s enhanced by its selection of ski schools, which we’ll talk more about in a moment.
The bulk of the runs in Avoriaz are intermediate, but there is a great mix of beginner, advanced and expert pistes to tackle too. Beginners, for example, can pick from the green and blue slopes that sit right next to the town – these are perfect for practising turns. Intermediate skiers can hone their skills on the blue runs on the Grandes Combes, or the scenic runs down to Chatel and Les Lindarets.
And expert skiers? If you’re looking for the ultimate test, you can’t beat the infamous Swiss Wall – an incredibly steep run that is absolutely for experts only, but which offers an incomparable thrill. Tackle it if you dare!
Expert skiers can also head to Arare Snowpark (accessible from Grandes Combes) for a spot of freestyle fun. If you’d like to try out a snowpark but have less skiing experience, visit La Chapelle snowpark instead – both skiers and snowboarders at beginner and intermediate levels can have a go at jumps and other obstacles.
There are also 29.5 km of cross-country trails, which are spread over eight loops. They’re worth a go even if cross-country isn’t your usual skiing choice – the views are incredible!
- Avoriaz Alpine Ski School
This small, British-run ski school has been helping people improve their skiing here for more than two decades. All group lessons are in English, and groups are kept small to give instructors time to provide individual coaching too.
- Evolution 2
Also boasting more than two decades experience, Evolution 2 offers varied classes for skiers of all levels. Offering lessons every day of the week, they typically keep group sizes to just six people, rising up to eight in the school holidays. Lessons usually run from 8.30am through to 7pm.
This larger ski school has around 200 instructors, and offers lessons in skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing and more to visitors aged from three upwards. So, this is a good choice if you have skiers of different abilities or interests in your group but you want to book with a single school.
- Children’s Village
The Village des Enfants is, as you’ve guessed, primarily aimed at children aged three and over, but it also offers the Parents’ School for those travelling with their kids. This provides both ski and snowboard lessons and is designed to fit around the kids’ lessons.
Avoriaz boasts village charm in abundance – and its friendly atmosphere only serves to enhance that. So, it’s a joy simply to explore the area and admire the views (you can see out over Morzine, another of the Portes du Soleil’s scenic resorts). However, there are plenty of other options to help you create a unique, varied holiday.
For instance, why not see what some of the more unusual activities the slopes have to offer with a spot of joering – being pulled along on your skis by a horse (suitable for all ages)? Alternatively, try out the snowcross zones; these un-pisted slopes are well patrolled and safe, and there are areas for all age; La Combes des Marmottes is ideal for beginners, for instance, while Crozats is best-suited to experts.
If you fancy escaping the slopes, Aquariaz is a must. Europe’s highest waterpark, it offers a place to soothe your tired muscles and have a go on some thrilling water rides as well.
Eating out is a real treat here, too. This area has a great reputation for its phenomenal cheese, while its restaurants offer a brilliant mix of classic ski fare and comforting Savoyarde specialities. Frankly, it’s impossible to go wrong!
Particular highlights include Le Douchka for breakfast, thanks to its excellent pastries, omelettes and hot chocolates. La Tavaillon, meanwhile, is a brilliant spot for a quick lunch (most people say it offers the best burgers in the resort) and an ever-popular place for apres-ski fun. If you’re looking for a special dinner, Table du Marche is a safe bet – fine dining at its best.
Travel and accommodation
The Portes du Soleil is one of the world’s largest ski areas, and sits on the France-Switzerland border. This also helps to make it very accessible, being just over an hour’s drive from Geneva airport (the closest airport to Avoriaz at just 80 km away).
Since driving takes so little time, it makes sense to fly into Geneva and hire a car at the airport. The resort itself is car-free, so you’ll need to leave your vehicle at the car park at the entrance – this is a secure place to park with 900 spaces. It costs €12 a day to do so, or €65 for the week. Alternatively, there’s a covered car park with 1,697 spaces, which is €16 a day or €89 for seven days.
In terms of accommodation, the resort is predominantly home to apartments (though there is a small number of hotels), which are ideal for everyone from couples and families to groups of friends. From the luxury L’Amara, to the delightful Atria-Crozats Residence. Most of the apartments are ski-in ski-out, but you can hire a sledge to get you from your car to your accommodation – the perfect way to kick your break off in style!
Want to find out more about ski holidays in Avoriaz? You can research flights to Avoriaz here.