The French Alps offer a lot of choice for snowboarders and skiiers. And if you’ve been shopping about for an online winter break deal, you will likely have spotted offers for Avoriaz.
So how does Avoriaz stack up as a ski resort? Well, we’ve been and checked it out and this is our uGOsnow guide to Avoriaz.
Where is Avoriaz?
Avoriaz is in the French Alps in the Haute Savoie region, around 75 kms from Geneva, Avoriaz is around 1 hour 30 mins from Geneva airport with a private transfer or by car.
Avoriaz is part of the Portes du Soleil ski region which includes Morzine, Les Gets and Chatel. It spans the French/Swiss border and you can actually ski from Avoriaz over the border into Switzerland.
The resort itself sits on the top of the mountain above Morzine, which is nestled in the valley below. In fact many of the hotels look over the edge of the valley down to the town below.
One thing to note if you’re driving to Avoriaz is that the resort is almost entirely pedestrianised, and cars cannot go beyond the first block of hotels. The Residence L’Amara (where we stayed) has a sprawling underground car park and there is also a large car park right at the entrance to the resort.
What is Avoriaz like as a resort?
One of the best things about Avoriaz is that it is almost entirely ski-in/ski-out. Because cars are not allowed into the resort, the only vehicles you’ll see driving around are service vehicles, snow ploughs and horse and carts. This also means that most paths and roads in the resort are skiable or snowboardable, meaning that you can ski across town – in theory.
The Boulevard des Skieurs is the main ‘high street’ which runs from the Folie Deuce at the top to the bottom of town. There are drag lifts which pull you back up the hill, or you can also use the telesiege (chair lifts) from right at the bottom edge of town.
As for conveniences, the centre of Avoriaz contains all the important things you might need, including:
- A choice of boulangeries (bakeries)
- A small Carrefore and other small stores for general supplies (Sherpa)
- A couple of pharmacies
- Countless branches of SkiSet and other ski rental shops
- A great selection of cafes and restaurants in the town centre
- Several ski and snowboard brand clothing shops
- A public swimming pool ‘Aquariaz’
- A health care centre, doctors, police and fire station
In short, there are all the essential things you might need if you do forget some supplies or get caught short.
One thing to bear in mind is that because it is mostly ski-in/ski-out is that the streets are covered in snow. Of course. Which can make walking around a little tricky if the snow is deep. The piste bashers do smooth out some of the roads here, but not all of them.
But if you’re coming with kids for a family friendly stay, or your hotel is on the far side of town, factor in the difficulty with arriving and departing. Especially if you have big bags. You can hire a horse and cart taxi to carry you across town which is very advisable if you need to get from, say the entrance to the bottom end of town.
Prices for an Avoriaz snow taxi service/horse and cart run from about €7 up to €15 depending how far you go. They will also charge you an extra €2 for large luggage, per bag.
What is Avoriaz like for ski and snowboarding?
The appeal of Avoriaz is that it is very beginner friendly. For starters, there is the huge Proclou run, a wide and steady green run which skirts the edge of the resort and takes you down to the ‘Super Morzine’ lift, which is the cabins which take skiers up and down to the valley below.
Beginners will likely spend the majority of their time in this area, and it can get VERY busy. In fact, if you’re an experienced skiier or snowboarder, you might find the Proclou run a bit congested at times. But don’t let that put you off.
There is also a fun forested section running parallel which is ideal for those looking for a bit of a challenge.
My fave spot in Avoriaz though was the Lindarets bowl.
Taking the lift up from Proclou drops you at the top of Crete, a blue run which carries you into the valley. From here there are variety of paths you can take to take you either all the way down to Lindarets, via a lovely wooded run (which gets a bit slushy in the afternoon) or head up the mountain and cross to Chatel and the Swiss side.
It’s worth pointing out that the Avoriaz ski area doesn’t allow you to cross into Switzerland and you will need the full Portes du Soleil pass to go exploring that side. But there is plenty to keep you amused in Avoriaz!
Lindarets is also home to The Stash, which is the snowpark with lots of fun features to try out your tricks. I’ll be honest, I didn’t check it out but it looked a lot of fun from the chairlift.
At the time I was a novice snowboarder and I found the Lindarets area a good mixture of challenging and enjoyable.
On the other side of town, the more challenging terrain on the side of the Fornet peak is definitely one for the more experienced. The access to the mountain here is via a long steady flat which is not entirely snowboarder friendly, especially if you’re not confident. The return is also quite flat and thin, but the ride on the mountain itself was worth the sketchy passage.
What is apres like in Avoriaz?
For party fiends, you’ll be glad to hear there is plenty of apres in Avoriaz. La Folie Douce sits right at the gateway to the resort as you arrive back from the mountain, and it’s pretty much bumping from midday. But there are also bars dotted around the valley, including in Lindarets.
I was actually in Avoriaz during the Snowboxx festival, so the apres ski at the time was pretty sick. Obviously.
But even out of season you’ll find ample options for dancing and partying the aches away at various spots around Boulevard des skieurs.
How to find the best deal for ski holidays in Avoriaz?
Avoriaz is actually a relatively affordable ski holiday destination, as far as the French Alps go. Sites such as Snowtrex regularly offer incredible offers on some of the best hotels in Avoriaz.
Another benefit of Snowtrex is that they include the ski pass in the package price, and it’s super easy to upgrade and get ski hire or whatever else you need.
We also like to check Skiworld for their deals, as their prices also include flights and transfers too. So although their prices might *seem* higher, they actually offer a very convenient hassle free option. Be sure to check out their Ski-All-In deals which include lift pass and equipment too…
We found Avoriaz to be an excellent resort, perfect for intermediate skiers and snowboarders, but with plenty for both the advanced and the beginner too.