Monday, January 17, 2022
Morzine Travel Guide - Travel S Helper

Morzine

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Morzine is a lovely, classic Alpine ski town in the center of the massive Portes du Soleil ski region. Morzine is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes from Geneva, making it a perfect ski destination for a skiing weekend or a skiing short vacation.

Morzine is the soul of the enormous, low-lying Portes du Soleil ski resort. It’s an excellent priced, easy-to-access year-round resort with a lovely historic town at its heart, a vibrant nightlife, and ski lifts dispersed about.

Morzine evolved from a modest Savoyarde community dependent on farming and slate mining to a huge international mountain resort with the construction of the “Grand Hotel” by Francois Baud in the 1920s. Its quick transport from Geneva makes it ideal for short holidays, but there’s enough skiing for a week or more in excellent snow conditions.

The town is huge and spread, with various satellite settlements, yet it has a charming center. There are many places to stay, including chalets, flats, and hotels (including 1 and 2 star alternatives), as well as several restaurants and pubs.

Les Gets and Morzine share a ski area.

The Portes du Soleil pass covers here, however it is not part of the regular circuit. It may be reached through the Pleney and Crusaz lifts on the city’s southwestern outskirts, or via the Telecabine at Nyon on the city’s extreme southern outskirts. The runs are largely short blues and reds, although there are some difficult sections for professionals.

Morzine links to the major Portes du Soleil circuit, which connects Avoriaz and Champery to Morgins and Chatel. Access is by the Super Morzine lift from the town center, or through the outlying (but bus-connected) settlements of Ardent and Les Prodains, which have their own lifts.

And for the most part, it is all the skiing that most guests need. However, for dedicated explorers, there are more little isolated Portes Du Soleil outposts at La Grande Terche above St Jean d’Aulps, and at Abondance, both of which are within reach, especially if you’re staying in Morzine’s satellite towns of Montriond and Essert Romand, or have a vehicle. Samoens (connected to Flaine) appears on the map as well, but since the Col de Joux Plane is blocked in winter, you must take an hour-long detour through Les Gets and Tanniges.

So, as long as there is snow, there is no lack of runs to select from. And therein is the rub: practically all of the skiing takes place below 2000 meters. On a severely cold day or during a snowstorm, Morzine’s short, tree-lined lines are more preferable than the stark, exposed bowls that surround high altitude resorts. However, in a warm Spring or a mild December, decent snow may be in limited supply, and you’ll be relying on Morzine to live up to its promotion of being a real year-round resort with lots to do besides skiing.

For those who do not ski or snowboard, there is plenty to do in resort: ice skating; snowshoeing; massage and jacuzzi, visiting the local fruiterie where they show you how they make the local cheeses, the weekly local market, or on the mountain: walks around the beautiful Lake at Montriond snowshoeing with a local guide; paragliding and skidooing for the more adventurous. Geneva, Chamonix, and Annecy are all within an hour and a half’s drive.

Morzine info card

Resort Altitude1000m
Highest Lift2350m
Total Piste650km
Longest Run6km
Directions of SlopesN, S, E, W
Uphill Capacity244148
Total Lifts206
Gondolas/Cable cars14
Chairlifts82
Drag Lifts110
Snow Parks7

Morzine Village

Morzine is a favorite destination for Brits, Dutch, and Belgians during the school vacations.

Morzine stretches over the Vallée d’Aulps, with Avoriaz commanding the Hauts Forts hills to the east. It’s a long way from the peaceful Savoyard hamlet that awoke when Francois Baud erected the first Grand Hotel; it’s now a true Alpine town whose major business is tourism, both winter and summer.

Its history has resulted in a mix of old and modern, with some weird French 60s architecture thrown in for good measure. Because it isn’t as well-managed as some other resorts, there are some weird apartment complexes in amongst the classic chalets and barns.

During the school vacations, it is quite popular with the French, but it is also popular with the British, Dutch, and Belgians. As might be anticipated in a town of this size, there is a plethora of taverns, restaurants, lodging, and amenities of all kinds (and budgets).

Morzine Ski Resort

While the attractive alpine ambiance will make you feel as if you’ve entered a classic winter paradise, Morzine is a modern resort with all mod cons. The wide variety of stores, restaurants, taverns, clubs, and off-slope activities cater to all tastes and contribute to the pleasant, vibrant village life. There’s more to do on and off the hill than you can shake a ski pole at, including plenty of non-skiing diversions, and après ski is vibrant and diverse.

The French Ministry of Tourism has awarded the town the renowned Famille Plus mark for its excellence as a family ski resort. Children are warmly welcomed, with child-friendly restaurants and a wide selection of free events, including children’s entertainment and snow fun for the whole family. Childcare services are outstanding, ski schools are well-known for their excellent children’s instruction, and a merry-go-round adds a pleasant finishing touch.

Another family-friendly component of the resort is its location, which is just a 75-minute drive from Geneva, making it ideal for those who wish to avoid a long transfer. Morzine’s appealing location does not end there: the town is located in the heart of the Portes du Soleil, a network of 12 linked resorts that span both the French and Swiss Alps. You may ski with a local ticket, which allows you access to 120km of pistes in the Morzine-Les Gets region, or you can acquire a Portes du Soleil lift pass, which gives you access to 650km of extensive and diverse terrain, including 7 snow parks. This includes 12 resorts in France and Switzerland: Morzine, Les Gets, Avoriaz, Abondance, la Chapelle d’Abondance, Châtel, Montriond, and St Jean d’Aulps in France, and Champéry, Torgon, Morgins, and Val d’Illiez-Champoussin-les Crosets.

Skiing in Morzine

The vastness of the alpine landscape is astounding, and with the Portes du Soleil pass, it seems to go on forever. All levels are adequately cared for, and you can even heli-ski, speed ride, and enjoy night skiing on the Pleney.

Morzine is a popular destination for beginners, thanks to its outstanding ski schools and conveniently placed nursery slopes. Gernes and Proclo are two examples of mild greens and simple blues for snowploughing. Beginner boarders are also in capable hands: Mint Snowboarding is a high-quality snowboarding school.

In line with Morzine’s family-friendly image, even toddlers can ski due to Babysnow, a scooter-meets-snowboard contraption that children aged 1-3 will enjoy. The Nyon Snowpark offers modest jumps, tunnels, and boxes to inspire the next generation of freestylers, as well as a fun penguin themed section with banked turns, slalom, and a tunnel.

Much of Morzine’s mountain is intermediate-friendly; whether you favor tree-lined pistes, steeps, snow, or a little bit of everything, there’s enough to keep you happy. Chamossiere offers several fantastic high-altitude routes that provide a breathtaking 360-degree view of Mont Blanc, the Alps, and Lake Geneva. The Arbis red run has it all: speed, moguls, steeps, and a gorgeous tree-lined finish. For expert skiers, La Chavanette, often known as the Swiss Wall, is one of the world’s most scary routes, with steep moguls for those seeking excitement. Combe de Machon is a nearly vertical black with plenty of moguls, off-piste, and cross-country terrain.

In addition to significant freeriding terrain, the Portes du Soleil region features 7 snowparks (including an excellent one nearby in Avoriaz), 4 boardercross courses, and 3 half-pipes to suit all abilities of freestyler.

Beginner

Beginners enjoy broad nursery slopes in the town and gondola access to higher lines if snow cover is an issue at either end of the season.

There are also other ski schools to choose from, including a British ski school (unambiguously titled the British Alpine Ski School) if you want to be trained by your countrymen.

Intermediate

The hundreds of miles of piste spreading out on three sides from the settlement provide the best of both worlds for intermediates. On one side, there are the long, broad, tree-lined Pleney pistes that connect the hamlet and neighboring Les Gets, with the calmer but more difficult slopes of Mont Chery beyond.

Then there are the slopes of Nyon and Chamossiere, which provide additional runs above the treeline. The third alternative is to go on to the upper slopes beyond Avoriaz and continue on into Switzerland to destinations like les Crosets and Champery, all on your lift ticket, for a delicious Swiss lunch before coming home.

The region’s more than 240 easy to intermediate ski slopes, the largest of which is 12km (seven miles) long, come in different forms and sizes. Wonderful.

Advanced

Although this is not a resort for expert skiers, locals can show you lots of hard routes both on and off the official piste. The Chamossiere/Nyon sector, which is the closest to Morzine, is best renowned for its steeper terrain and is home to many of the eight local black runs.

Snowboard / Freestyle Skiing

Morzine has a lot to offer snowboarders of all abilities, with a tremendous range of terrain enjoyed by skiers, a small terrain park nearby, and access to bigger parks and much more terrain in the larger Portes du Soleil. Morzine also has the Mint snowboarding school, a team of eager young Brits who focus only on boarding, in addition to the snowboarding departments of the five ski schools.

Morzine’s own small snowpark in the Nyon sector may appear inadequate for such a large resort, but there are larger terrain parks a little further away, including one on Mont Chery on the other side of Les Gets and world-class facilities at Avoriaz – one of France’s top snowboarding destinations – on the other side.

Cross-Country Skiing

Cross-country skiing is popular in Morzine, which has 95 kilometers of defined and groomed tracks in the valley and at altitude above the town. The landscape is divided into 60km of reasonably simple trails, 20km of intermediate difficulty routes, and 15km of severe terrain.

The French ski school (ESF) offers cross-country ski training for beginners and advanced skiers. Cross-country skiing is very popular in the Manche valley.

Morzine Apres Ski

Because it’s a terrific resort for families, the exceptional quality of après ski in Morzine is sometimes neglected. After hours, you’ll discover a vibrant, welcoming environment with a decent selection of locations to suit everyone (and with fantastic childcare services on offer, even parents can sample the nightlife). Le Robinson, a renowned vintage pub with a relaxing environment, is one of the best places to drink in Morzine. Crowds congregate at the foot of the slopes to celebrate in Le Tremplin, while Aubergade serves local beers and beverages. Book a ski vacation during the Rock the Pistes and Basscamp events in March or the End of Season Slushy Social in April to experience Morzine’s après ski at its peak.

Morzine offers 90 slopeside eateries to suit all interests and budgets, including several excellent family-run places. Le Clin D’Oeil is a family and group favorite, La Grange is fantastic for a fondue, and if you’re looking for a fast-food fix, Mamma’s serves great pizza and fish and chips to go.

You don’t have to be tied to a board or two to enjoy Morzine; there are lots of other activities available. For an alternate winter experience, ride a yooner, sledge, snowmobile, or segway over the snow, or try snowshoeing, ice-skating, paragliding, or ice-diving.

Activities abound for all ages to spend some quality family time, as one would expect from a renowned family resort. Free children’s activities, such as arts & crafts and entertainment, are often available. There’s a fun sledge run down the Pleney, with a tipi-dinner provided at the bottom, while a nightclub, ice rink, and two theaters keep adolescents occupied. A state-of-the-art leisure center with three pools, sports courts, a gym, and a well-being area can be found in the village’s center.

Families in Morzine

This is one of our favorite family resorts, and it has received France’s coveted Famille Plus certification, indicating its quality for family ski vacations. There is some fantastic family housing available, whether you want a chalet, hotel, or apartment. Enjoy not having to lift a finger in our family-friendly chalets and hotels, where all meals are cooked for you, or choose for more freedom in a self-catering apartment. We offer everything from budget-friendly hotels to magnificent suites to accommodate all types of ski vacations. If your children are too small to ski, choose one of our hotels with daycare, or if your children are taking lessons, book a hotel near the ski school meeting place.

The tourism office organizes a variety of free events throughout the year to keep children entertained, especially around the holidays of Christmas, New Year’s, half term, and Easter. Morzine is a great site to introduce your children to skiing for the first time, thanks to good instruction, handy nursery slopes, and a plethora of moderate green and simple blue courses. Little ones who are too young to ski are properly cared for, with a variety of daycare alternatives available – they can even enjoy their own kind of skiing due to ‘babysnow’ (a scooter-cum-snowboard that toddlers will love). The Nyon Snowpark is ideal for more confident youngsters who wish to attempt some stunts, while older children may go to Avoriaz for a larger-scale Snowpark.

Not only does the resort and ski area cater well to families, but Morzine’s location in the Alps is perfect for a family vacation. Only a 75-minute ride from Geneva airport, you won’t have to hear the all-too-familiar ‘are we almost there yet?’ for long — buy a package that includes lodging, roundtrip flights, and transportation for an easy trip to the Alps – they’re ATOL protected. If you’re driving, this is also a great spot to ski since it’s one of the closest resorts to Calais – check out our self-drive packages that include channel crossings. If you prefer to plan your trip on your own, look for our accommodation-only options.

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