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Skiing & snowboarding in Morzine by Bieuville Jean-Baptiste

Skiing & snowboarding in Morzine

Introduction

Heyday Chalet is located in Morzine, a world-class resort which is a firm fixture at the top of the bucket list for any serious skier or snowboarder. Just a few minutes from Chalet Flori's door you will find the first of 197 ski lifts, giving you access to a massive 650km of marked pistes. This is not just a ski resort. This is ground-zero for some of the best winter sports you will find anywhere in Europe.

Something for everyone

No matter what your age, interests or experience level, there is something in Morzine for every skier and boarder. Use this page get just a flavour of what's available to you when you arrive at Heyday Chalet.

Portes du Soleil Ski Area

Morzine marks the centre point of Europe's largest ski area, the Portes du Soleil. Spanning two countries and encompassing a further 11 ski resorts besides Morzine itself, this world-renowned ski area is a firm fixture at the top of every serious skier's bucket list. More experienced skiers and snowboarders who want to take advantage of the Portes du Soleil's vast expanse should be sure to get a full-area liftpass.

  • 1000m resort altitude (Morzine)
  • 2400m highest skiing altitude
  • 197 ski lifts
  • 650km of marked piste
  • 10 Snowparks
  • 12 connected ski resorts

The ski resorts

The Portes du Soleil is made up of 12 interconnected ski resorts. Few visitors to Morzine will visit all 12, and the further north and east you go (towards Torgon), the more likely you are to be faced with drag lifts and smaller, slower chairlifts. But experienced skiers will be missing out if they don't leave the local confines of Morzine itself. So here is just a glimpse of the best and nearest ski resorts.

Morzine

Home of Heyday Chalet and your basecamp for your time with us in the Alps. A dream for intermediate skiers with great access to neighbouring resorts of high-altitude Avoriaz and family-friendly Les Gets. Find out more by visiting our Morzine village guide...

Avoriaz 1800

With easy access to high-altitude slopes reaching up to a lofty 2277m, Avoriaz is perhaps the most snow-sure destination in the region. Expect good offpiste and fantastic snowpark access (five terrain parks and a super-pipe). For the most experienced skiers and boarders, the legendary Swiss Wall beckons.

Les Gets

A picture-postcard, family-friendly resort very near to Morzine itself, Les Gets is a firm favourite among beginner and intermediate skiers. The famous Les Gets 'Bowl' is perfect for mixed-ability groups, allowing everyone to find their own level while meeting up for regular coffee stops.

Montriond

Offering direct access to Avoriaz, Morzine, Chatel and Les Crosets, Montriond is the perfect waypoint in the middle of the day: en route to the larger and busier resorts, the many piste-side restaurants here offer great opportunities to refuel in comfort. Montriond is famous for its lakes and the photo-opp hamlet of Lindarets, the so-called "goat village".

Champery-Les Crosets

Lying between the Dents-du-Midi peaks and the summits of the Dents Blanches, Champery is a truly stunning destination with skiing terrain to match. Have your camera ready in a landscape that will leave you torn between incredible skiing and group photos that are just too good to miss.

Châtel

Like Les Gets and Morzine, Châtel has put a respect for tradition at the heart of its architecture and town planning. For the look and feel of the village alone, it is well worth the visit. With only two lifts leading out of the resort itself, this is not a location that will keep experienced skiers occupied for very long. But the terrain is great for beginners and the off-piste is much-loved by snowboarders.

Pistemaps & Downloads

A handy collection of downloadable pistemaps and other ski resources.

Beginners

With a wealth of English-language ski schools and easy, cable-car access to the nursery slopes, Morzine is a great place to try skiing or snowboarding for the first time. The focal point of your first ski trip should be daily ski or snowboard lessons which will introduce you not only to the fundamental techniques but also to the local landscape and its beginner-friendly slopes. These will be colour-coded in green.

As you begin to grow in confidence, as well as familiarity with getting on and off ski lifts, you may wish to explore some of the blue-coded intermediate slopes. In Morzine, the most beginner-friendly blue slopes centre around three areas which we can identify by their ski lifts.

Pléney cable car

Piste B, and Piste Daguet both lead from the top of the Pléney télécabine to the its start at village base level. Of these, Piste B offers the more leisurely, winding route into the village, allowing you to avoid any steep descents while you build your confidence.

TS des Fys and TS d'Atray

Steeper than their counterparts in the Pléney sector, Corbeau and Grizzli present a chance to test your skills as your confidence and experience levels grow.

Super Morzine télécabine and Express Zore

On the Avoriaz side of the valley, Tetras and Zore present opportunities to practice your technique, with steeper and perhaps bumpier descents than the above-mentioned blue slopes.

Ski FAQ for First-timers

First time skiing or snowboarding? No problem. Here is a quickfire FAQ to cover some of the fundamentals and the jargon.

  • Do I need lessons?

    Short answer: yes. If this is your first time skiing or snowboarding, the only way to avoid likely injury and guaranteed frustration is a course of lessons with a professional instructor who knows the area. Just talk to us about your needs and we can organise everything for you at no extra cost.

    Before you arrive in the Alps, it's a good idea to have some basic lessons in the UK at a dry-slope or snowdome centre. As well as learning to stop, start and turn, you will cover some important fundamentals like putting on your boots, attaching your skis/board, and safely carrying your equipment.

  • What is a liftpass?

    Both in Alpine skiing and in snowboarding, all the fun is in coming down the hill. To get up there in the first place, you need a ski lift. Some of these are cable cars, some are sit-on chairlifts. Some slide you along the ground with your skis or board still touching the snow. But one thing that they all have in common is that you need a contact-free liftpass to gain access.

    The liftpass is not included in the price of your stay with us, but we can arrange everything for you and have it waiting for you on arrival at Heyday Chalet. The price varies depending on how many days the liftpass is active for, what distance it covers (local or full area), and also the time of year. See more information about liftpasses...

  • Do I have to buy ski equipment?

    No, in fact it is not recommended. Unless you are spending multiple weeks in resort, hiring from a local provider will almost certainly offer better value than buying hard-to-transport gear. We can arrange equipment hire for you at no extra cost. You will need skis and poles or a snowboard, plus a helmet and boots.

  • Do I have to buy ski clothing?

    While it is possible to hire ski clothing, most people choose to buy their ski wear even for a first trip. If you're used to summer holidays with a bikini and some factor-50, it's quite a shopping list. You will need a purpose-designed ski jacket, ski gloves, salopettes (i.e. ski trousers), mid-layers such as fleeces, good ski socks, and base-layers for upper and lower body. A neck gaiter or balaclava is also a must. Plus, snowboarders are advised to buy wrist guards and spine protectors, too.

    When you're not skiing, you will be very glad that you brought a hat, scarf, gloves and thermals — lots of toasty thermals!

  • What is a piste?

    A piste is an official ski trail, marked on local 'pistemaps' and classified according to its difficulty level. They range from green slopes for novices to blues for intermediates, reds for experienced skiers and black runs for experts. Green, blue and red slopes are 'groomed' (usually nightly) to give the perfect smooth surface for the next day's skiing. Black runs are rarely groomed and therefore develop an undulating surface of hard-to-navigate mounds called 'moguls'.

    As a beginner skier or snowboarder, it is important that you stay on marked pistes, choosing green and blue trails which are appropriate for your level of confidence and experience. Skiers who choose to go "off-piste" always do so at their own risk: off-piste skiing and boarding are far more challenging than on-piste, and are commonly excluded from winter travel insurance cover.

  • How do I find my way around?

    When you get your liftpass, you should also be given a pistemap (if not, ask at any liftpass kiosk or ski lift base station). Marking all the local ski lifts and pistes, this is a vital piece of kit and you should take the time to learn how to use it. It is very different from what you will see in Google maps on your phone, often reversing the poles to put south at the top and north at the bottom to give a clearer view. So do get a copy and keep it on you whenever you're on the slopes.

    Reading a pistemap is a bit like a game of Snakes and Ladders. You use the lifts to go up and the pistes to go down. There won't always be a direct route from where you are to where you want to be, so you will have to plan a sequence of lifts and pistes that will get you there.

    As a beginner, it will be quite natural for you to follow the more experienced members of your group wherever they think is suitable for you. However, it's always advisable to keep checking your pistemap so that you know exactly where you are. Skiers and boarders who take greater ownership of where they are going and how they get there tend to grow in confidence and expertise more quickly.

  • Will I crash?

    Yes. Sorry, but you will. The people who quickly become good skiers and snowboarders are the ones who can laugh at themselves falling over a lot. And keep laughing. Falling over is not a 'bug', it's a 'feature'. In other words, it's supposed to happen. It will never stop happening altogether. But it's all part of the fun. If you are anxious about crashing, talk to your instructor.

  • Do I need to be physically fit?

    No, but it definitely helps. Your legs are going to work very hard in ways that they have never worked before. And, afterwards, they are going to ache. To prepare for this, lots of isometric and plyometric leg exercises will help: wall squats, squat jumps, box jumps and kettlebell workouts will all help prepare you for the first few days. In resort, drink lots of water, get good quality sleep and stretch before and after what is ultimately an all-day workout.

  • Should I choose skiing or snowboarding?

    Ah, this old chestnut. Well, it's ultimately a matter of preference, of course. They say snowboarding is harder to get started; skiing is harder to master. That means your first week on snow is more likely to be satisfying if you spend it on skis. But, if you have 10 friends who are all snowboarders and they all go on holiday together every year, it might make more sense to follow that trend since you're almost certainly going to end up going to places that suit boarders better than skiers.

    If you'd like to know more, our friend Phil Teare has written this helpful article about skiing vs snowboarding for our friends at The Ski Gathering.

Intermediates & veterans skiing in Morzine

Intermediates & veterans

Although it offers something for everyone, Morzine is arguably best for intermediate skiers and snowboarders who are comfortable cruising the blues and reds. At this level of experience, you will be able to explore the wider reaches of the Portes du Soleil ski area beyond the confines of Morzine itself. If you're looking to explore, skiing to Switzerland and back easy easily doable for those willing to rise early for the first lifts. Within easier reach, the slopes of Avoriaz and Les Gets will offer mileage and variety enough to keep you well entertained for several days at least.

Morzine for intermediates

The central Morzine resort can be split into two halves, the Pleney side and the Super Morzine side (named after their main TC cable cars). As an intermediate or advanced skier, you will likely come to view the Super Morzine side as a means of accessing Avoriaz, rather than a place to spend your day.

On the Pleney side, turn right off the top of the telecabine and a wealth of cruisable piste awaits. While you're getting your ski legs back, look for Piste B, Crocus, Les Chardons, Corbeau, Daim and Daguet. As you grow in confidence, a left turn off the top of the Pleney will bring you to three fairly steep red runs called Abeile, Hermaine and Renard.

For more challenging red runs, head for the steep and challenging Nyon and Chamoissiere red runs, accessible via "La Pointe" and "Chamoissiere Express" high-speed chairlifts.

Avoriaz for intermediates

At higher altitude, Avoriaz offers snow-sure slopes throughout the season but is a bit more exposed on windy or snowy days. For intermediates looking to explore, there is a wealth of good skiing to be enjoyed here. From the top of the Brochaux and Prolays lifts, there is a network of criss-crossing blues to suit a variety of tastes and experience levels.

For those willing to put a few more miles in, there are big rewards for making the journey to the "Prodains" region of Avoriaz which is connected to Morzine by the supersize Prodains Express cablecar (accessible by bus from Morzine centre). The Lac-Intrêts lift delivers a buffet of blue-slope options while, further up, the Chavanette bubble serves up some short but sweet reds, as well as a photo opportunity that's too good to miss.

Les Gets for intermediates

Accessible via the Pleney quarter of Morzine, Les Gets is a beautiful resort which is well worth the trip. From the top of the Pleney bubble, all areas of Les Gets can be reached without unclipping your skis, except Mont Chery which is on the opposite side of the Les Gets valley.

From the top of the Belvedere lift, skiers should follow Crocus until it joins Bruyere for a winding and picturesque descent into Les Gets centre. Snowboarders who wish to avoid Bruyere's flatter stretches may wish to head for the top of the Charniaz Express lift. From here, the long main-artery Gentiane piste will delivery you to Les Gets centre, or you can drop into the famous "Bowl" via any of three fun reds – Rhodos, Ambresalle or Fenerets.

The Bowl is a basin of networked blues, reds and blacks which provides the perfect playground for mixed-ability groups who want to try different things with regular meet-ups at the bottom. If the many ski schools operating here make the mornings a bit too busy, jump on the Grains d'Or Express lift and head for the fantastic Meleze red run. When you reach the bottom of the high-speed Perrieres lift, experienced skiers and boarders will almost certainly want to go again.

Though further afield, the Mont Chery side of Les Gets is usually quiet and presents a great afternoon's skiing for anyone who enjoys exhilarating reds or the occasional technical black.

Offpiste skiing in Morzine

Offpiste

Offpiste skiing is the preserve of the most skilled and experienced skiers and boarders only. It is not recommended that you undertake offpiste skiing or boarding without a professional local guide who knows the local terrain and avalanche protection systems. You should never undertake offpiste snowsports without taking all the appropriate safety gear.

Because of all the above, we can not advise you on where to go if you do decide to head offpiste, though online guides such as this one do exist, we can't and don't make recommendations or judgements on their reliability.

What the experts say

Expert skiers and boarders who visit the Portes du Soleil for its offpiste conditions are pretty unanimous that it is one of the premier destinations in Europe.

Don't forget
  • Hire a local professional guide
  • Take a course in avalanche awareness
  • Pack avalanche protection equipment, including a transceiver (remember to turn it on!)
  • Pay attention to weather forecasts and avalanche warnings
  • Plan your routes carefully and tell others where you are going
Snowboarders in Morzine

Snowparks

If you're all about freestyle boarding or skiing, the Portes du Soleil will not disappoint. Morzine has its own small Snowpark in the Nyon Sector but most freestylers are going to be jumping on that Super Morzine bubble and heading for Avoriaz with its five separate snowparks.

The Stash (Avoriaz)

The brainchild of Burton Snowboards, The Stash makes great use of the surrounding landscape of the Lindarets bowl. Here you will find rails, wall rides, logs, picnic tables and more all made from local, natural materials. To avoid the crowds, visit The Stash at off-peak times.

Snowpark Arare (Avoriaz)

With big features attracting riders who are capable of them, Arare is the place to go if you're an experienced high-level freestyler. Jumps range in height from 12m to 20m and higher. If you're practicing some new tricks, there is an airbag that is free to use.

Superpipe (Avoriaz)

One of the best halfpipes in Europe, Superpipe is pleasingly underused and is served by its own drag lift, meaning you can do multiple laps without needing to unstrap. Helmets and back protectors are required here.

Les Crosets Superpark (Chatel)

Enjoying a sunny aspect and an eight-seat high-speed chairlift, Les Crosets Superpark is fantastic for intermediate to expert riders. Expect a range of 6m to 20m+ tabletops, plus a bunch of other highly entertaining features.

Chatel SmoothPark (Chatel)

Served by two button lifts and featuring a free-to-use airbag, Chatel SmoothPark is quieter than its Avoriaz rivals which can make it worth the trip even if it's a bit further away. It's usually open only in the afternoons, so check opening hours before making the journey over.

Snowparks for beginners and kids

Everyone starts somewhere. And the best place is at the beginning. If you're new to freestyle skiing and boarding, head for Nyon Snowpark (Morzine), Snowpark de la Chappelle (Avoriaz), L'il Stash (Avoriaz), Burton Kids Parkway (Avoriaz) or the slightly more advanced Les Gets Snowpark (on Mont Chery in Les Gets).

Guiding & Exploring in Morzine

Guiding & Exploring

If you want to go off the beaten track and discover the backcountry, there are few better places to do it than the Portes du Soleil. This is especially true of Morzine which hosted the European championships in 2007. However, if you're going into the backcountry, it is essential that you hire a qualified local guide to show you where it is safe to explore.

What is backcountry skiing?

In most Alpine skiing, you get the lift up and then you ski back down before repeating the process. But if you want to explore further afield, with the promise of untouched powder, then ski lifts are not going to help. So, instead, backcountry skiers use specialist skis called "climbing skins" which allow them to walk uphill with skis still attached. When you reach the top, the mountain is yours.

Finding a local guide

If you would like to go backcountry skiing, we will be very happy to arrange a guide for you at no extra cost. Alternatively, the Morzine tourist board provides this list of qualified local ski guides.

Chairlifts in Morzine

Liftpasses

To make use of the excellent lift infrastructure in Morzine and the surrounding Portes du Soleil ski area, you will need to buy a lift pass. At Heyday Chalet, we can take care of this for you and have it waiting for you when you arrive in resort — all at no extra cost.

That said, you might want to think carefully about what you're likely to need. Some guests at Heyday Chalet have unpredictable working arrangements and might only go skiing spontaneously when work allows. If this fits the expectations of your own stay, and if you are staying for less than a month or so, then it might make the most sense to pay-as-you-go by simply buying one-day or even half-day lift passes on an ad hoc basis whenever you need them.

If you're planning a long stay with us, then you might want to consider a half-season or even a full-season lift pass. This can work out a lot cheaper than buying lots of short-term passes. For example, a half season costs roughly the same as a 14-day liftpass.

Local area

For beginners, short stays or anyone who just wants to stay close to home, a local-area lift pass can be a cost-effective choice. There are two options available: the Morzine-Les Gets area; or the Avoriaz area. The location of Heyday Chalet can make this a difficult choice because both sides are easily accessible and equally alluring.

For seven days, you should expect to pay around €280 for a local area lift pass. The full ski season costs around €715 but please be advised that very few people would spend multiple weeks in the Portes du Soleil without going well beyond the limits of a local area pass.

Full Portes du Soleil

Located on the Montriond side of Morzine, all of our properties offer easy access to the Super Morzine cable car, connecting you to Avoriaz and the vast expanse of the Portes du Soleil beyond. Just across the valley, the Pleney lift promises days and days of exciting adventures in Les Gets and the southwest reaches of Morzine itself. To ski both sides and explore the full ski area, you will need a full area lift pass.

For seven days, you should expect to pay around €335 for a full area lift pass. The full ski season costs around €1030, but there is also a half-season option for a good-value €565. All prices are approximate. For the latest rates, visit the local tourist office lift pass prices page.

Ski equipment & clothes hire

If you do not own your own ski or snowboard equipment and are planning on spending less than a month or so in resort, it might make sense for you to hire your gear from a local provider. There are many ski hire outlets in Morzine centre, and some even deliver and provide a fitting service in the chalet. As with most other local services, we can arrange this for you at no extra cost.

If you plan to spend several weeks in Morzine, it will probably be cheaper to buy your equipment. It should be said, of course, that there are two disadvantages to using your own gear. First, the cost is all front-loaded, so you can't change your mind if you need to leave early or swap the gear when you want to try something else. Second, your own gear is your own responsibility. If it breaks or needs maintenance, you're going to have to pay somebody to sort it for you.

  • Alpine Sports
    Ski hire shop
  • A very convenient ski hire shop located just 220m from the Super Morzine bubble. Ideal if you're skiing on the Avoriaz side.

  • +33 450 49 11 57
  • info@alpine-sports.eu
  • www.alpine-sports.eu
  • Caribou Morzine
    Ski hire shop
  • A bi-lingual ski shop situated 350m from the Super Morzine lift and 250m from the Pleney cable car.

  • +33 4 50 79 02 20
  • info@caribousport.com
  • www.caribousport.com
  • Crevasse Clothing
    Ski clothing hire
  • Crevasse Clothing has been providing up to date, stylish ski and snowboard clothing to customers for the last 11 years.

  • +44 2032 874 740
  • michael@crevasseclothing.com
  • www.crevasseclothing.com
  • Doorstep Skis
    Ski hire delivery
  • Ski and snowboard hire delivered and fitted in the chalet. They also have a shop in Morzine centre.

  • 0033 674 937 896
  • info@doorstepskis.com
  • www.doorstepskis.com
  • Intersport Morzine
    Ski hire shop
  • Located immediately across the road from the Super Morzine. For skiers, you can't get less time walking in ski boots than this.

  • +33 450 75 93 25
  • www.intersport-morzine.com

Ski & snowboard lessons

If this is your first winter sports holiday, you will definitely need ski or snowboard lessons. Equally, if you're already confident on the slopes but want to raise your game, it often helps to enlist a professional to take you out of your comfort zone while keeping you safe and refining your technique.

When it comes to booking ski and snowboard lessons, we will happily arrange everything for you at no extra cost. But, if you prefer to go direct, here is just a flavour of what's available.

  • Avoriaz Alpine Ski School
    Ski & snowboard lessons
  • This small, friendly team has been offering lessons in Avoriaz and Super Morzine since 1992.

  • +33 4 50 38 34 91
  • info@avoriazalpineskischool.com
  • www.avoriazalpineskischool.com
  • Easy2Ride
    Ski & snowboard lessons
  • Local instructors who know Morzine and Les Gets like the back of their ski gloves. Check their reviews.

  • +33 4 50 79 05 16
  • info@easy2ride.fr
  • www.morzineski.fr
  • Les Gets Snowsports
    Ski & snowboard lessons
  • LGS have been a trusted and reputable name in Les Gets since 2006 for kids ski school, private ski lessons and snowboard tuition.

  • +33 6 15 10 52 11
  • info@skischool.co.uk
  • www.skischool.co.uk
  • Mint Snowboarding
    Snowboard lessons
  • A specialist local school designed exclusively for snowboarders, serving Morzine, Avoriaz, Les Gets and Chatel.

  • +33 4 50 84 13 88
  • info@mintsnowboarding.com
  • www.mintsnowboarding.com
  • New Generation
    Ski & snowboard lessons
  • New Generation have over 20 years’ experience helping people develop technique, build confidence, and have fun.

  • +44 1462 674 000
  • Contact Form
  • www.skinewgen.com
  • Peak Snowsports
    Ski lessons
  • Making memorable moments on snow. PEAK Snowsports is built around the idea that all people can learn how to ski but it takes exceptional instructors to free all people from their comfort zone and enter adventures, experiences, and memorable moments.

  • +44 1483 616 522
  • hello@peaksnowsports.com
  • www.peaksnowsports.com
  • Ski with Ease Ski School
    Ski & snowboard lessons
  • One-to-one, private or shared group lessons in Morzine, Les Gets and Avoriaz. Beginner to advanced.

  • +44 7943 411 160
  • talk2us@skiwithease.com
  • www.skiwithease.com
  • The Snow Institute
    Ski lessons
  • TSI Snowsports are industry recognised specialists, who consistently deliver high quality, bespoke ski lessons, whatever your level.

  • +44 7903 186 819
  • lessons@tsi.ski
  • www.thesnowinstitute.com

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