Avoriaz is a ski-in, ski-out, purpose-built resort in the heart of the Portes du Soleil. It opened in the early 1970s and sits just inside the French side of the Franco-Swiss border, approx 80km east of Geneva. The resort was built on a sunny plateau of land that was donated by the farmers of nearby Morzine and became the lynchpin of the Portes du Soleil region, which today offers 650km of skiing for all abilities. The plateau drops away in dramatic cliffs and the love-it-or-hate-it shingled apartment blocks tower above the cliffs – it’s a memorable place to stay.
The resort was the brainchild of the Olympic skier Jean Vuarnet, who wanted to link the pistes of Morzine to those over the border in Switzerland in resorts such as Champery and Les Crosets. Today, skiers travel freely backwards and forwards over the border and benefit from a network of slopes that spans 13 resorts. Avoriaz is France’s first car-free resort making it safe for young children to walk around the snow-covered centre (watch our for horse-drawn sleighs though!), and the beginner area is right in the centre. Nearby Morzine is a traditional old farming town and offers more for the non-skier, but if you are looking to ski hard and play hard in a high-altitude resort look no further than Avoriaz.