The first weekend of the French ski season was snowy. We landed in Geneva on a Friday evening, just as the blizzard hit – the snowflakes were falling in hypnotic spirals, and we could barely make out the rear lights of the car in front of us.
Luckily our destination, Morzine Avoriaz, was just across the Franco-Swiss border – around an hour’s drive away, making it one of the easiest resorts for British tourists to get to. .
Needless to say, I only got my first real glimpse of the snowy mountainous landscape of Morzine the next morning, but it was well worth the wait. Pulling back my curtains, the sky was a translucent blue, painting the perfect contrast to the tree-lined peaks.
Going down to the ground floor, I took a first look at the eight-bedroom chalet I was staying in, run by AliKats Mountain Holidays – one of their seven self-catering and self-catering chalets available all year. year. As part of the catered vacation package, I woke up each morning to a fresh pot of AliKat’s homemade coffee and cooked breakfast to set me up for the day.
The dish that first morning was savory and indulgent French toast, with gooey Gruyere cheese and richly seasoned mushrooms – the perfect start to my French Alpine getaway. After breakfast, my skis and ski boots were fitted at the chalet (all part of the service), while our personal driver waited to take us to the ski lift in the village of Morzine.
The whole experience so far couldn’t have been less stressful – now I just had to pray to remember how to ski.
The slopes of Morzine Avoriaz connect the charming village of Morzine to the purpose-built resort of Avoriaz, nestled on the mountainside. The main ski area is called “Le Pleney”, which together with the local area of Les Gets is home to 120 kilometers of pistes divided into 69 runs (three green, 29 blue, 28 red and nine black), served by 48 lifts all accessible using the same ski pass. For an adult, the full run of the slopes from Morzine to Les Gets costs €280/£236 for seven days, while a single child costs €217/£183 for the week.
However, this is only the beginning of the whole mountain range that can be explored. Hopping over the valley, visitors can experience even more connections via the ‘Super Morzine’ gondola, linking Morzine to the rest of the Portes du Soleil – making it one of the largest linked ski areas in the world.
So, who exactly is trying to seduce the resort of Morzine Avoriaz? New skiers, young skiers, families, experienced skiers? That’s a good question, and while “everyone” might seem like a bit of a cop-out, I’m going to say it anyway. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, but Morzine Avoriaz really has something for everyone.
Let’s start with families. Avoriaz is undoubtedly one of the best family ski resorts in France, with a village dedicated to children – ski school, leisure center and crèche all rolled into one. Here, kids of all ages and abilities can hit the snow with half- or full-day lessons including ski lessons, meals and activities to keep them busy while parents explore the slopes wider.
The ski-in ski-out nature of the Avoriaz hotels is another asset, the entirely pedestrianized high-altitude resort offering both comfort and safety to young families looking for a serene return to the slopes.
Then, when your legs are frozen, you can dive into the glorious 30-degree waters of Aquariaz, Europe’s highest water park (open Monday to Saturday throughout the winter season). Aquariaz has everything from rapids and hot tubs to flumes and water cannons – just the thing to thaw frozen fingers and toes.
There’s also the resort’s après-ski scene, with the likes of chic JaJa Bar (jajabar-avoriaz.com), Le Shooters – famous for its array of colorful shots – and The Place (theplaceavoriaz.com), where those those who still like have energy to burn will find a different band headlining each night.
But for those in the know, La Folie Douce (lafoliedouce.com/en/home-avoriaz) is the place to go for après-ski, attracting the young and ready to party with a steamy concoction of cocktails. snowy and sumptuous cabaret. Naturally, as is the case with all bars in the resort, dancing and late night events are subject to French Covid-19 restrictions.
Although I was unfortunately unable to enjoy Morzine’s nightlife, my chalet AliKats was far from a second class option. After exhausting myself on the slopes, I had the absolute pleasure of returning each evening to double bubbles – i.e. prosecco and a hot tub – plus a locally sourced three-course feast prepared by my wonderful hosts. After that I could relax by a crackling fire and think that was perhaps the most relaxing and indulgent way to experience the mountains.
Connect to the official websites of the tourist offices of France (uk.france.fr) and Switzerland (myswitzerland.com) to stay up to date with news relating to Covid-10 regulations.
British Airways (ba.com) flies from London Heathrow to Geneva direct, with January 2022 prices starting at £78 return.
A week’s stay at AliKats Mountain Holiday’s Chalet de l’Ange costs from £878 pp in April 2022. The price includes breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner for three dishes with canapes five nights a week. The chalet also has a hot tub, parking for six cars, a storage room, an open fireplace and a terrace. Visit alikats.eu.
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