When the ski season comes around those of us that weren’t ‘born on the slopes’ often fear those first few turns…

Where you spend your holiday can have a great impact on how you progress, which is why I was pleased to start my season back in the Portes du Soleil.

Briony gets ready for her first turns of the season

The Haute-Savoie region of the Rhone-Alps has many appealing features,
but – for me – it’s the friendly people that make the place a great find. Followed closely by plenty of good powder!

The view down into the valley

There’s 600kms of piste to tempt you out into the mountains, along with the chance to ski easily between Switzerland and France.

The area has a sense of adventure, as you glance the Mont Blanc one minute and the jagged ‘teeth’ of the Dents du Midi the next – and then there’s the 12 linked villages and resorts to explore …

The ski area includes snow parks, ski-cross options and some belting good off piste, but let’s not get beyond ourselves!

My first few runs were not my finest hour, but the relaxed, easy-going atmosphere, and less packed slopes soon helped me regain my confidence on the welcomingly wide blues and reds.

La Ferme du Lac Vert

My friends and I stayed with Skizeen, at their chalet La Ferme du Lac Vert it was one heck of a base.

The Pleney lift station

Think super funky furnishings, fine food, and staff that indulge you and you’ll be getting there.

Chef Tom Burton’s food made it hard to venture your taste buds beyond the building, but we did find a range of good restaurants when we were out and about.

We walked from the top of Morzine’s Le Pleney lift to La Vaffieu Restaurant for a late lunch of fine French cuisine.

Then it was off drinks and gin tasting at the Tibetan Bar, where host Tony Faletto told us his incredible come back tale. 

His business had burnt down at the start of last season, but he’d rebuilt it, and now has a buzzing, full, basement bar with plenty of fine, live music

The next day it was time to hit the slopes. This was made easy by our chalet’s good links with nearby rental firm Ardent Sports who soon had us suited (to the right skis) and booted. Ardent Sports also offers chalet guests free ski storage at the base of the Ardent Gondola.

We’d got sound advice on where to go from the La Ferme du Lac Vert’s ski concierge, Nicolas Evquoz, or Swiss Nick, as he’s fondly known.

So, we skied Avoriaz, in super sunny conditions, topped by time out on the Linga Run’s authentic restaurant La Ferme des Piste.

ESF’s Montriond’s ski director, Jean-Marc Dubois

The hot chocolate stop was also a chance to meet ESF’s Montriond’s ski director, Jean-Marc Dubois, who skied with us for a while and gave us good tips.

Laurent and the Fat-bikers

Then back in Avoriaz we met Laurent, who introduced us to the fun of fat-biking , which we followed with more fun – a nightfall skidoo ride through the forest .

The next day we opted to take things a little easier, with lunch overlooking the dance scene at La Folie Douce .

Avoriaz is car free but there is always the horse option

Legs lagging, we hailed an alternative mode of transport. It’s been a long time since I’ve travelled by horse-drawn carriage, and it was an additional treat as it gave us time to watch the sunset.

Our final morning was spent at Les Gets, which is ideal for families and early skiers, with pretty, cruisy blue runs and easy to see slopes.

Once again we stopped for another habit-forming hot chocolate, this time at La Grande Ourse, which came with mountains of cream and an incredible 1725m view!

No-one should leave town before taking lunch at Morzine institution, L’Etale so we filled up on fresh pizza before hitting the road.