Les Portes du Soleil

FRANCE RHONE-ALPES HAUTE SAVOIE Skieurs haute montagne

Les Portes du Soleil (Gates of the Sun) [www.portesdusoleil.com/], is a giant Franco-Swiss skiing area that comprises of 12 interconnected ski resorts between Lake Geneva and Mont Blanc. Touted to be the largest skiing area in the world, Les Portes du Soleil offers over 650km of marked pistes and about 209 lifts, which have been dispersed over 14 valleys, with an elevation varying from 1000m to 2466m. [All covered by a single ski pass starting at €41 for a full day)]

The area also comprises of a chain of Alphine villages.  Morzine (pop 300) ia a traditional Savoyard village that sits midway between the Lake Geneva and Mont Blanc, in the heart of Les Portes du Soleil, and features traditional wooden and slate homes scattered at the foot of the mountains and usually teems with wintertime visitors. However, it slows down in summer to unveil captivating sceneries accompanied by interesting cheese dairy and slate workshop activities. The village is also popular among adrenaline junkies who look for canyoning and paragliding activities; as well as a famous 3300m mountain bike descent from the top of the Plénéy cable car. This ski resort village is a rather historic one as it has been functioning since the 1920s.

FRANCE RHONE-ALPES HAUTE SAVOIE Télésiège sur Mont BlancAvoriaz (known as Avorea for many years) used to be a small cluster of summer chalets that catered to visiting farmers who brought their cattle for grazing. It turned into a ski resort, thanks to the vision of the Olympic champion Jean Vuarnet, one of the few to thread down the thick, snowy downward path. Avoriaz also became home to the famous Avoriaz Film Festival in the seventies, welcoming big names such as Robert de Niro and Steven Spielberg to this area. However, the festival came to a close in 1993 and led way to the village’s current reputation- the capital of snowboarding. Perched atop a cliff, Avoriaz is also a fully pedestrianised resort which allows you to see horse drawn sleighs, sliding up and down the slopes, looking like an old Christmas card. Its birth in the sixties is also still remembered by the local buildings which retain a retro vibe, passing off as being avant-garde. 

Tiny Les Gets (pop 1,300) is a less athletic, family-oriented place that caters well to kids. This village has an entertaining mix of street games, street performers and carousels, which help keep the children occupied while the adults practice on the forgivingly gentle slopes.

While all of these destinations make for good skiing holidays; they also make for fine summer getaways as many activities are open to visitors, especially long, invigorating biking trails. There are also many accommodation options, ranging from self-catering hostels to comfy hotels. For a list of accommodations visit  Morzine and Avoriaz and Les Gets.  

The ski resorts can be accessed by shuttle buses, serving the lifts in Télécabine Super Morzine, Télécabine du Plénéy and Téléphérique Avoriaz. Morzine, Les Gets and Avoriaz are also connected by SAT buses [+33 450740505]. 

 

 


LES PORTES DU SOLEIL MAP:   1. Morzine  2. Les Gets  3. Avoriaz  4. Abondance  5. Saint-Jean-d'Aulps  6. La Chapelle-Abondance  7. Châtel  8. Montriond  9. Morgins (Swizerland) 10. Val-d'Iliez (Swizerland) 11. Les Crosets (Swizerland) 12. Champéry (Swizerland)

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