Avoriaz - Ski Resort and Snow Summary
Avoriaz - Ski Resort in Portes du Soleil, French Alps - 650km of Piste (1100m to 2280m)
Built on a sheer granite cliff and well placed on the Portes du Soleil circuit, arguably the world's largest lift-connected ski region. Avoriaz is famous for its wood clad buildings in award winning architectural style and indeed won an award for this. A doorstep skiing pioneer, linked to Swiss resorts in the Region via the legendary 'Wall' descent (you can take the chair down instead if necessary). Skiing for all standards, plenty for experts including five testing blacks (20 in Region). Famous childrens' village in the centre. Avoriaz is a car free zone designed for relaxed living.
Key Facts for Avoriaz
|6||Black Pistes (13km)|
|14||Red Pistes (15km)|
|26||Blue Pistes (40km)|
|3||Green Pistes (2km)|
|45km||Cross Country Pistes|
The French ski resort of Avoriaz is part of the Portes du Soleil ski area with access to 423 individual pistes, served by 209 ski lifts. In addition to the skiing in Avoriaz itself (650km of pisted ski runs), the appropriate ski Lift Pass will allow you to ski or snowboard in the other Portes du Soleil ski resorts of Abondance, Châtel, La Chapelle d'Abondance, La Grande Terche, Les Gets, Montriond, Morzine, Saint Jean d'Aulps, Champoussin, Champéry, Les Crosets, Morgins and Torgon.
The ski resort itself is above 1500m, so skiing or boarding back to the resort is usually possible. With skiing above 2000 metres, snow cover is generally reliable.
Snowmaking :- Avoriaz is able to augment natural snow, on 11km of ski runs, with 68 Snow Cannons.
Ski Lift Capacity :- The 35 Ski Lifts of Avoriaz are able to uplift 47,000 skiers / snowboarders per hour.
There are three Airports within two hours drive, so ski weekends, snowboard breaks and short ski holidays to Avoriaz are perfectly feasible.
Skiing in Avoriaz
At the start of the day everyone in Avoriaz piles out of their apartments and gets on to their skis - it's a surreal experience, rather like 'rush hour' in a town or city but everyone in ski gear and sliding. The place is so well designed that there's rarely a walk involved to reach a lift and, if the bottom of the lift you want to take is above you, you can just ski down to the bottom of the six-seater chair that runs through the village and get a lift up to the top first.
As you are in the centre of the Portes du Soleil you have a vast choice ahead of you every morning. This is in one respect the 'largest lift linked area in the world' with 650km (407 miles) of trails. On the other hand this claim isn't quite as solid as the other area that makes it - the Trois Vallées - which only claims 600km (375 miles) but does have it all totally linked, whereas at a few key points in the Portes du Soleil you may have to slip your skis off and hop on a bus to make a link. That's all rather petty though really, because the terrain is vast by any means of measuring it and the snow record is good, helped by the proximity of Lake Léman which seems to pull in some of the best and most regular snow in the region. So the first choice of the day, if you want to bother deciding, is whether to stay local or perhaps take a tour.
Various routes (shown on a special 'Ski Links' trail map) are possible. Sign-posted 'Discovery Circuits' have also been introduced giving lift-served routes for different ability levels around the area which steer you towards the least congested slopes according to the promotional blurb. The major directions include the hop over the nearby border in to Switzerland and then on to Planachaux, Les Crosets, Champéry and Champoussin. Secondly you may choose to head down to the picturesque and wooded slopes above Morzine and Les Gets, or thirdly you can instead head down towards Chatel, with its own border link over to Swiss Torgon and then back over to La Chapelle. There are many variations and full day circuits can be put together.
Avoriaz is a good choice for all levels of skier. Beginners have wide sunny slopes right by the resort and, because of its altitude, the slopes are snowsure for the whole season. The ski schools are all highly thought of with the Ecole du Ski Français (ESF) and the International Ski School both operational in the resort. Intermediates have the best of all worlds with 240km (150 miles) of blue and red level trails in the local Avoriaz-Morzine sector alone. The tours to outlying sectors of the Portes du Soleil are perfectly achievable for intermediates of moderate ability (able to tackle reds) so it's a great place to try exploring. Experts have more than 20 black trails to choose around the domain including one of the Alps most famous - The Wall - a vast steep mogul field that is effectively the border with Switzerland. Most skiers coming from Avoriaz in to the Swiss sector take the chairlift down this slope. The Jean Vuarnet World Cup Downhill Run is also highly regarded.
The two main ski schools and the Free Ride School host full day off and on piste tours including ski touring with mountain hiking. These schools are also happy to teach the other sliding disciplines practised in Avoriaz, such as telemark, skwal, mono and carving. Cross country skiers have 47km of trails through some beautiful mountain and forest scenery.
Snowboarding in Avoriaz
One of Europe's leading snowboarding destinations, Avoriaz offers a good mix of both purpose designed parks and natural attractions. There are two permanent snow parks with an equally permanent superpipe (120m long, six metres wide), so you don't have to worry that lack of snow may mean lack of facilities as at some other resorts. As well as tube barriers, tables and raised bends. One of the parks, Chapelle, is especiaslly for beginners.
There are three snowboarding schools in total, including the 'boarding only' Emery school which offers an equipment-inclusive package. A special top value limited area snowboard Pass is offered by the resort for those who want to concentrate on the snow park rather than clock up a lot of piste kilometres.
To underline its status as a major 'boarding mecca, Avoriaz has a rare special area for child 'boarders. Village Snowboard is reserved exclusively for kids aged 6 to 16 at all levels.
Avoriaz Aprés Ski
The appeal of Avoriaz to a younger international crowd shows in its usually lively après ski scene. Along with the restaurants there are ten bars which include a pub and a piano bar; there's also a live music bar and a night club. The Place and Wild Horse Saloon are good for live music, and for nightclubbing Le Yak. La Cabane and the Globetrotters Bar are also popular.
The Studio 9 Bowling Alley remains open until 2am - it has two bowling alleys, pool and video games as well as a bar. Skating on the floodlit ice rink is also available and there are two modern cinemas with Dolby digital stereo systems. It's quite a popular option for skiers to end the day in one of the Portes du Soleil resorts, check out the nightlife there and take a late night taxi back up to Avoriaz.
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Avoriaz in brief
Avoriaz Ski Resort is:
Very good for Expert Skiers.
Excellent for Intermediate Skiers.
Very good for Beginners.
Very good for Snowboarding.
Avoriaz Season Dates
Open from : December 14, 2013.
Closes : April 21, 2014.
Usual opening - Mid Dec.
Usual closing - Late April.
NOTE:- Opening subject to Snow Conditions in Avoriaz.
Avoriaz Piste Map