On the French and Swiss border, in the shadow of Mount Blanc, the Portes du Soleil ski area attracts skiers and boarders (and hardy sledding fans) who come for the thousands of kilometres of runs on offer between December and April, and the chance to ski in two countries on the same day.
Here’s our top six reasons to make this fantastic area your next snowbound destination:
1. Enjoy the top resorts of Morzine and Avoriaz
Two of the area’s main resorts (there are 12) are Morzine and Avoriaz.
Morzine is a large ski town but still manages to look pretty with wooden chalets and fairy lights adorning the restaurants and bars.
A local bus service runs through the town and will take you to the base of nearby slopes.
Just outside of town is the ski cable car to Avoriaz, perched 600m above Morzine on the cliffs above the valley Ardoisières.
Avoriaz is ski-in, ski-out. No cars are allowed so there are horse-drawn carriages on offer to ferry you around.
2. Showcase your moves at Burton Stash Snowpark
Opened in 2007, the Burton Stash is a snowpark in Avoriaz where boarders and skiers can turn tricks.
The slopes wind among the trees and are punctuated with hidden wooden obstacles that boarders can hit to create jumps.
There are wooden elements including a wall for vertical sliding, logs and tree trunk obstacles and wooden tables for sliding on.
3. Ski the Hauts Forts in Avoriaz
Advanced skiers should make for the Hauts Forts area in Avoriaz, where long, steep runs take you all the way back to the valley floor.
Beginners can try out the area serviced by the TS Seraussaix lift.
The runs are wide and not as steep, so you’ll have plenty of time to work on your moves on the way down.
4. Enjoy the top nightlife in Portes du Soleil
Morzine has restaurants to suit all budgets and lively bars and clubs (Bar Robinson and the Cavern are two to try) thanks to its seasonnaire population.
Avoriaz might be sleepier but there are some great places to eat and drink including the Michelin rated Dromont Hotel. There’s also a bowling alley and an ice rink.
5. Go night sledding in Morzine
Try night sledding in Morzine, where you take a ski gondola to the top of the tree-lined Pleney ski run and slide back down it on a plastic sledge.
6. Get some summertime action
The action doesn’t stop when the snow melts. Instead thrill seekers can take advantage of the mountain biking and hiking trails.
Need to know
When to go: The ski season runs until late April.
Getting there: EasyJet flies from London to Geneva in Switzerland, with bus connections to Morzine.
Visas: Aussies and Kiwis don’t need a visa. Saffas need a Schengen visa.
Currency: Euro. 1 GBP = 1.11 EUR.
Getting around: By ski or snowboard! The village is small enough to explore on foot.
Going out: A beer costs about €5.
Accommodation: Rude Chalets offers catered and self-catered chalets in Morzine and apartments in Avoriaz. Another budget option is The Morzine Mountain Hostel.