Skiing Holidays in Avoriaz
If you’ve been searching for a high-altitude, snow-sure French Alps ski resort with stunning clifftop scenery and fabulous family facilities, Avoriaz is your dream come true.
Perched on a south-facing plateau above the Morzine Valley in the popular Les Portes du Soleil ski area, its north facing slopes are a snowsports paradise for novice, intermediate and experienced skiers, with all manner of green, blue, red and black runs as well as plentiful off-piste opportunities.
This charming car-free resort delivers authentic Alpine village vibes with traditional transportation like horse-drawn sleighs, sledges and snowcats, and its award-winning architecture is an ambient blend of contemporary geometric lines incorporating organic wooden facades in a fusion that’s strikingly modern yet sympathetic to its surroundings.
While Avoriaz is an awesome set-up for families, its lively après-ski scene makes it perennially popular with the younger ski crowds who frequent its trendy bars and bouncing clubs, while adults who prefer slightly more serene soirées have plenty of chic wine bars, live music pubs and piano bars to choose from.
Portes du Soleil is an expansive cross-border ski area that comprises 12 resorts spanning France and Switzerland, and as well as Avoriaz, it also includes iconic resorts like Morzine and Les Gets. It’s suitable for all styles and abilities of skiers and snowboarders, with the multiple red and blue runs of its family sector enabling family members of different abilities to ski next to one another, black runs for more adventurous expert enthusiasts and a choice of freestyle parks for all.
As if all the above benefits weren’t enough to convince you, Avoriaz is also considered by many to be the snowboarding capital of the Alps. It was one of the first in years to open a pioneering terrain park and superpipe, complemented by ‘Village Snowboard’ area aimed at children. There are now no less than five terrain parks here, so whatever your age and ability, it’s one of the best places in the world for boarders to build their confidence, carve up the slopes and progress to pulling off some spectacular moves. Avoriaz is the French Alps ski resort that has it all – you’re guaranteed to make magical memories here that last a lifetime.
Skiing in Avoriaz
Avoriaz exists thanks to the determination and vision of 1960 Olympic Downhill Champion Jean Vuarnet, who grew up in adjacent resort Morzine and always wanted to convert the high-altitude area above his home town into a futuristic, world-beating ski resort.
Vuarnet designed and built the resort together with business partner Gérald Brémond and they decided to abandon car access, include ski-in/ski-out accommodation that blended beautifully with its surroundings, and to rely on electricity rather than damaging fossil fuels.
Avoriaz was way ahead of its time when it burst on the ski scene like a breath of fresh air in the 1960s. The resort has gone from strength to strength ever since, and it now has 18,000 beds, local slopes that are a dream for beginners and snow-assured steep pistes that can compete with any in the Portes du Soleil ski area. Here’s some more useful info on skiing in Avoriaz:
With a resort altitude of 1800m (Avoriaz is also referred to as Avoriaz 1800) and a summit elevation of 2466m, this is the highest of all the Portes du Soleil resorts and has plenty of excellent north-facing runs.
The local Avoriaz ski area comprises four zones consisting of 76km of slopes accessible by 14 drag lifts, two cable cars and 17 chair lifts.
All of the resorts in Portes du Soleil are liked by pistes and lifts, with the exception of Morzine-Les Gets – to get from one to the other you need to take a gondola to Morzine, then jump on the Petit Train to the lifts on the other side of town.
Intermediates will find ample blue and red runs and there’s 40km of cross-country trails between Avoriaz and Morzine. As well as its blue and red runs, the family ski area includes a boardercross zone and four snowcross zones.
The Swiss Wall is a mind-bending mogul-heavy run beloved of expert skiers. Its real name is Pas De Chavanette, it’s totally ungroomed and, depending on the latest snowfall, the moguls can be massive. If you track to the left you can access a slightly easier gradient, but if you’re feeling bold, head straight down into a thrilling natural halfpipe. At the bottom, you can head on to the Swiss resort of Les Crosets or hop on the Chavanette chair back to Avoriaz.
The Stash is a unique ungroomed area that’s fantastic fun for freestylers who enjoy zooming between spaced out trees and careening around and over natural obstacles.
The long run downhill to Champery is enjoyable for intermediates and the high-altitude Châtel area is excellent for novices.
Snowboarding in Avoriaz
Avoriaz is the beating heart of snowboarding in Europe – it was the first resort on the continent to open a dedicated snowboard area and has championed the sport ever since. With several snowparks, powder bowls, endless wide runs and plenty of off-piste to shred, this is every boarder’s dream come true. Here’s the lowdown on snowboarding in Avoriaz:
Fornet is an amazing freeride area located just two chair journeys from the top of the main lift to Avoriaz – it’s surrounded by brilliant blue and red runs to cruise around, but go with a guide if you want to push yourself with cliff drops, powder runs and more.
La Chapelle Snowpark is suitable for all levels of boarders and its modules are regularly refreshed to mix things up for visitors. It has four lines with many kickers that allow you to practice and improve your technique, no matter your starting point. Two jib lines are also available and it has a dedicated Teleski de la Chapelle lift.
Le Snowpark D’Arare first opened in 1993 and is perfect for advanced boarders and skilled intermediates looking to polish their skills. It has red and black kickers, cool rails and boxes and a Big Air Bag where you can practice your most outrageous moves safely. The park can also record your run – so you can save an amazing video of you catching big air to post on your Instagram, or learn valuable lessons from those times you wipe out!
The Stash is a 100% natural ecological snow park developed by snowboarding legend Jake Burton. Situated in the middle of a forest, it’s peppered with authentic Alpine wooden obstacles but there are also expansive ungroomed areas ideal for perfecting wide turns in powder snow. There are three slopes of varying levels of difficulty and each has hidden obstacles and secret passages, so there’s something new to discover each time you ride. Furthermore, each slope takes you through a central wooden cabin where you can pause for a breather, take in some subtle yet powerful environmental messaging and carve your name into the wood – pretty cool indeed!
Lil’ Stash is specially designed for children and it’s the perfect place for young boarders to find their feet. Whoops, small kickers, slides and boxes at ground level allow novice riders to progress at a steady pace. Located in Le Proclou forest, it also contains ropes, sculptures, terrific treehouses and self-service gas barbecues where parents can cook up tasty snacks for kids. Last but not least, you might spot Shreddie while you’re there – the park’s resident yeti!
Snow Conditions in Avoriaz
With an amazing average 8m of snow per season and a summit of 2466m, Avoriaz is the most snow-sure location (at resort level) in the region. The best spots for fresh powder are the top of Les Hauts Forts and Arare, where some superb steep and lengthy runs into Les Prodains are available, but the snow on the nursery slopes and network of blue and red runs is always excellent too. Here’s some more info on snow conditions in Avoriaz:
A resort height of 1800m contributes to the great snow quality in Avoriaz, but its geographical position is a huge help too – it’s almost completely exposed to storms approaching from the north west and there are no natural barriers in the way.
Les Hauts Forts is barely touched by sun throughout the winter and is often skiable to car park level for the duration of the season, right through to late April. The slopes between Avoriaz and Châtel also retain their snow very well.
In bad weather, head to the Lindarets sector of Avoriaz, which has the thickest tree covering in the area, but the runs below Avoriaz leading down to Prodains also offer some shelter.
The most recent seasonal snowfall stats reveal that Avoriaz had a total snowfall of 592cm, a total of 43 snowfall days, a largest snowfall of 50cm, maximum base depth of 225cm, average base depth of 135cm, maximum summit depth of 440cm and average summit depth of 252cm.
Apres-Ski in Avoriaz
Avoriaz is a family-friendly resort, but it still has a first-rate range of après-ski venues. Here are some of the hotspots in this cool town:
Le Tavaillon is a traditional British boozer in the centre of the resort with a heated patio – it’s a great place to catch up with pals over a beer or three. If you want a quiet, laid-back venue which shows live sports and hosts pub quizzes, this is right up your street.
Le Shooters is the ideal place to liven things up a little. There are over 50 different types of shots to choose from and the house special beverage is Les Metres de Shooters – not for the faint-hearted!
The Place is a friendly Danish pub that features a different live band each evening – there’s always something interesting going on and it’s a marvellous place to mix and mingle.
La Folie Douce has an outlet on the piste near the entrance to Avoriaz and it follows the franchise formula with a wide selection of beers and spirits, pumping beats and tabletop dancing.
Le Yak is the resort’s only nightclub – open from midnight to 5am, resident and guest DJs spin a selection of genres, but four on the floor House beats are heavily favoured.
Facilities in Avoriaz
Avoriaz offers facilities and activities for every member of the family – choices include cinema, bowling and laser quest, and the Aquariaz waterpark is the biggest in the Alps. When you want to relax and unwind, there’s a wonderful choice of wellness centres here too. Find out everything you need to know about facilities in Avoriaz below.
Ski Hire in Avoriaz
There are several ski hire shops in Avoriaz, but save yourself the hassle and let Erna Low take care of it for you – we’ve been working with trusted partners here for years so we can find you the best equipment for your skiing style and ability at a great price. If you’d like us to add ski hire to your package, please contact us anytime to do so.
Ski Passes in Avoriaz
Pre-booking your ski passes with Erna Low means you can often benefit from free upgrades, child passes and special discounts, and we’ll send them to you prior to arrival so there’s no need to queue when you get here. To find out which special offers on ski passes are available on your desired dates, drop your details in the box below:
Spa and Pool in Avoriaz
Splashing around in the pool and heating things up in a sauna are great ways to relax and refresh yourself after a hard day having fun on the slopes. Some Avoriaz accommodations have in-house spas but your best bet for a public facility is the 180 m sq Altiform Fitness Centre, which has a sauna, hot tubs and pay as you go fitness classes.
Alternatively, the aforementioned Aquariaz has a spa with steam rooms and Jacuzzis adjacent to its family water park.
Shops in Avoriaz
Avoriaz has a wide selection of shops where you can pick up everything from daily essentials to souvenirs. Maison Tavernier sells mouth-watering cakes and pastries, Snow Palm is stocked with gifts for friends and family back home, and Les Delices D’Antan is a delightful deli serving local fare. Fans of ski couture are well catered for here too with Fusalp, a classic Alpine clothing boutique – browse around and you might pick up a bargain.
Facilities for Children in Avoriaz
There’s loads for kids to do in Avoriaz, both on and off the slopes – your only problem might be packing every activity on offer into your busy itinerary!
Ski Schools in Avoriaz
The Erna Low Team recommends ESF ski school for adults and teenagers in Avoriaz – they have 120 expert instructors who can pass on pro tips on everything from Alpine skiing to cross-country.
For young children, Village des Enfants is a wise choice – it’s an academy that accepts kids aged 3 to 16 where they learn with peers and develop at their own pace.
Entertainment in Avoriaz
Kids electric snowscoots are fab fun and children can try these entertaining machines under adult supervision in a specially enclosed area. There are smaller snowscoots for 5-12 year olds and larger machines for those aged 12-16.
Laser Quest is another popular option and the arena at Avoriaz has invested in cutting-edge RAPTOR 2S guns that have an impressive range of 150m.
Tag Archery is suitable for kids aged 8 and over – teams battle it out with each other armed with bows and foam tipped arrows and it’s as thrilling as it sounds!
Childcare in Avoriaz
The Avrizou nursery at 251 Route des Rennes in Avoriaz welcomes children aged 6 months to 5 years old in a clean, modern facility with fully trained and regulated staff. It’s open from 8:30am to 5:30 pm.
Avoriaz Mountain Info
With an efficient lift system, a vast network of blue and red runs for intermediate skiers, black and off-piste opportunities for more advanced enthusiasts and a central Children’s village, Avoriaz has it all tied up when it comes to family Alpine adventures. Snowfall volume is excellent, but the resort has also recently invested € 2 million in snow-making facilities with capacity to cover half of the ski area in artificial snow if necessary.