Avoriaz Resort was founded in 1960 on the site of an alpine pasture. Since it was built from the very beginning as a ski center, unlike many other alpine resorts, it is distinguished by the convenience of street layout and functional architecture, which is organically integrated into the landscape. Avoriaz is located in the province of Chablais at an altitude of 1800 meters and is part of the famous Portes du Soleil ski area. An interesting feature of the ski base is the complete absence of road transport as it was banned from the very beginning for the reasons of environmental friendliness. But you can see many horse-drawn carriages on the streets, which is the only type of transport here.
How to get there
The nearest international airport is located in Geneva that is 87 km away from Avoriaz. Transfer from there takes about two hours by bus or car. Another route option is to take a TGV train from any major city in France to the train station in Thonon-les-Bains or Cluses and then change to a bus or a rental car.
The skiing season at the resort lasts from mid-November to the end of April. Almost all this time there is a snow cover with a height of about eight meters. The resort is located at an altitude of 1800 meters, which is lower by 666 meters than the highest skiing point there. There are 42 tracks in total, the 3 of which are green, 21 are blue, 14 are red and 4 more are black. They are served by 38 lifts, among which there are five high-speed chairlifts, two gondolas and one funicular. The ski area is divided into four sectors: Lindareth, Hout Forts, Fornet and Super Morzine.
Simple green slopes are the closest to the foot. There you can find the special runs for children. Chavanette is considered the most interesting among the sloping runs and for skiers who have mastered skiing on the intermediate level there are Arare-Hauts Forts and Pointe de Chesery. Skiers will find excellent carving slopes at Col du Fornet. The slopes in the Le Lindare Valley area are also very popular. Those who have enough experience for black runs can try themselves on Mur Suisse – the most difficult and dangerous area in Avoriaz. The steep and hilly descent of the Mur de Chavanette is slightly inferior to it. The 12-kilometer La Croix des Combes is the longest slope and Le Proclou is the highest one. Freeriders have an opportunity to explore the slopes not only near the marked runs, but also in remote extreme areas by getting there on a helicopter. The Vale de la Manche is especially popular among freeriders, which is a valley between Avoriaz and Morzine.
There are as many as five snowparks of various difficulty levels for the fans of snowboarding, two of which are intended for children – Kids Parkway and Lil’Stash. Beginners will find it easy to learn freestyle tricks at La Chapelle, while more experienced ones will love Arare, which hosted the first Snowboard World Cup in the late 1980s. The Stash ecological snow park that was designed in collaboration with Burton’s specialists deserves special attention. There are many snowdrifts, jumps, drops and other figures, and the height difference reaches up to 450 meters. Moreover, the resort has a 120-meter superpipe with a wall height of six meters.
There are eight looped tracks with a total length of 38 kilometers for the lovers of cross-country skiing.
The resort has French and international ski schools including the Village des Enfants d’Annie Famose school for children. Five hectares of special slopes equipped with belt lifts have been allocated for training beginners.
Ski-passes and equipment
There are several ski-pass options in Avoriaz. They offer ski-passes for different sectors, including a single pass for all Portes du Soleil zones, and for different periods. On average, the cost of a ski pass will be 59 euros per day for an adult, 44 euros per day for a child under 16 and 53 euros per day for teenagers, as well as for the older people of an age of 65 years and over. You may get a discount up to 10% off by booking a ski-pass in advance. Also, there is a system of family passes for four or more people and children under 12 years old can ride the slope during the Christmas period absolutely for free.
There are about 15 rental shops at the resort. The most popular are Skiset, Sport 2000 and Ski Republic. The cost of renting skis and snowboards is starting from 23 euros a day.
The best accommodation options in Avoriaz according to the guest reviews are the five-star L’Amara apart-hotel with an indoor pool and spa-salon, the four-star Dromonts with a sauna and fitness room with direct access to the slopes and the cozy Alaya and Cridelf chalets.
Recreation and entertainment
The resort boasts a varied and extensive range of entertainment options. For active leisure enthusiasts there are ski tours in the surrounding area, paragliding, ice diving to a depth of 15 meters in the lake Montriond, sled races, snowmobiling and dog sledding. There is also a 3-kilometer-long Le Crôt toboggan run nearby. On the other hand, you don’t have to go somewhere to relax as there are three large spa salons, a gym with exercise equipment, billiards and bowling, an ice rink and a large water park in the central part of the village.
Avoriaz becomes the venue for several large-scale events in December and January, including the Avoriaz Jazz Up music festival. And you can always find music that does not stop until the morning in the l’Opera and Yak nightclubs.
The resort has dozens of restaurants offering mainly French and English cuisine for gourmets. The best among them are La Chamade, Chez Flo and Les Trappeurs.
Avoriaz is a comfortable modern resort with a large ski area and a great service. It does not pretend to be the capital of Alpine shopping or a prestigious get-together place, but it has everything you need for a pleasant pastime. It is worth highlighting its close location to Geneva, the abundance of good red and blue slopes and the high level of ski schools.