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The Portes du Soleil is one of the largest ski areas in the world. It’s home to over 200 lifts, 650km of pistes, and lies on the French-Swiss border; meaning you can ski in both France and Switzerland all in one day.
The Portes du Soleil is made up of 13 different resorts, including the popular ski destinations of Avoriaz and Morzine. With the Portes du Soleil ski pass you can easily get from one resort to the other with each offering amazing skiing and very different mountain experiences.
As both resorts give you access to the expansive Portes du Soleil ski area, you can’t go wrong when picking where to stay, right? Well, it depends on what you’re looking for.
Families tend to gravitate more towards Morzine, whereas Avoriaz boasts more advanced skiable terrain. Read on to find out more about each resort.
Avoriaz offers some of the most modern skiing and accommodation in the Portes du Soleil area. Built in the late 1960s in a project led by French downhill skier Jean Vuarnet, the town of Avoriaz is a sea of wood-clad buildings designed to mimic the surrounding mountain landscape.
Whether you think they achieved this or not, is up to you, its design seems to divide people into the love or hate categories.
The purpose-built resort is France’s first car-free ski resort, the only way you’ll get around is by foot or horse and cart. Romantic for some, perhaps inconvenient for others. But, this makes the resort completely ski in, ski out which should mean less juggling skis and long walks from the chalet to the piste.
Avoriaz is host to some of the liveliest après ski in the whole ski area, the world-famous La Folie Douce was added to the slopes of Avoriaz in 2018.
La Folie Douce boasts a lineup of DJs every day, choreography, and acrobatic performances. It’s the mountain’s answer to an Ibiza night out.
There are plenty of bars and restaurants in Avoriaz town but you won’t find as much of lively nightlife as in its neighboring town, Morzine.
As for skiing, the resort of Avoriaz is 1800m (5900ft), 800m (2624ft) higher than the low resort of Morzine, making for a more snow-sure resort. The slopes in Avoriaz are generally steeper and more exposed, geared more towards the advanced skier.
Avoriaz is also home to 3 awesome snowparks The Stash, Snowpark de la Chapelle, and Snowpark D’Arare, and one mini park for little skiers, Lil’Stash. This makes the resort heaven for freestyle ski lovers and a great time for the kids.
Unfortunately, due to Avoriaz and the surrounding areas being a desirable holiday spot, during peak periods you can expect to find long lift queues and overcrowded pistes.
Morzine is the largest of the Porte du Soleil ski towns and has been one of the most popular French resorts over the past 90 years, especially with families. Morzine is a great example of a traditional French mountain market town, predominantly home to classic wooden alpine ski chalet architecture.
The gentle tree slopes and non-harsh terrain makes this resort perfect for beginner-intermediate skiers and has become a well-loved resort for families. Along with a good range of cheap to higher-end accommodation, it’s a great place to check out if you’re starting out.
The skiing in-resort may be aimed towards the more beginner skier but as Morzine is lower in elevation, at 1000m (3280ft), this means there’s amazing tree skiing to be had. Even though Morzine is relatively low compared to most other French resorts, it borrows the microclimate of nearby Mont Blanc making for colder and snowier days than you might think. Being amongst the trees also makes the resort more protected from the weather.
The town of Morzine is known for its nightlife and après ski. It’s a bigger town than its neighbors meaning more bars, more people, and a livelier party atmosphere after dark.
Morzine easily connects to the ski town of Les Gets, also part of the Portes du Soleil ski area, offering even more skiing with more options for the advanced skier.
Much like Avoriaz, as one of the most popular ski resorts in Europe, the slopes in Morzine can get busy. It’ll be difficult to find an empty slope, especially in peak periods.
Outside of the winter, Morzine is one of the most well-known and popular mountain bike resorts, second only to Whistler in Canada. 24 chairlifts and gondolas operate throughout the summer to take mountain bikers to the head of the 650km+ of trails that Morzine offers.
This makes Morzine an incredible year-round destination, if you go in summer, you’ll barely recognize it!
Can I Ski From Morzine to Avoriaz?
Yes, you can! As they share the same Portes du Soleil ski area, with the correct lift ticket, you can easily ski from one to the other.
You’ll need to purchase a Portes du Soleil lift pass which for one week in the previous 2021-2022 winter, was €295 ($295) for adults and €220 ($220) for kids.
This ticket gives you access to all 13 towns in the Portes du Soleil ski area and includes all 650km of pistes to explore.
To get to Avoriaz from Morzine, you’ll take the Super Morzine lift which takes you to the elevation of Avoriaz at 1800m. There’s then a Green (beginner’s) slope that you’ll traverse across to get to Avoriaz’s lowest lift which if you go up it, will take you to the top of one of the snowparks.
This lift gives you a great view of the snowpark below where you can watch some amazing freestyle skiers doing what they do best!
Note that in peak times, this route from Morzine to Avoriaz can prove very popular and may take a while due to some ski traffic.
But, once you’re up there you’ll have access to some of the best skiing in the Alps, and will satisfy the more advanced skiers in your group whilst also offering plenty of beginner and intermediate options.
There are many reasons to love both Avoriaz and Morzine, and with the Portes du Soleil lift pass giving you access to both of them, you can’t go too far wrong. Advanced skiers will prefer the higher resort of Avoriaz whereas beginners and families may favor the gentle tree runs that Morzine has to offer.