Wide view of skiers amid snowy landscapes.

Morzine

Les Portes du Soleil, Haute-Savoie, French Alps.

Morzine lies in the Massif du Chablais, just below Lac Léman (aka Lake Geneva), a 15min drive from the A40 autoroute exit at Cluses, with high-speed rail links from Paris, and around an hour’s transfer from Geneva airport.

This kind of accessibility makes Morzine and the neighbouring ski villages firm favourites with UK skiers.

Often substantial snowfalls, combined with predominantly north-facing slopes, help offset the comparatively modest altitude.

Skiers descending wide piste between trees with snowy mountain background.

The Ski Area

With access to 650 km of slopes, spread across 12 villages in France and Switzerland, the vast Portes du Soleil area offers near-limitless skiing for all levels. Morzine’s local pistes are on both sides of the valley – on one side is terrain shared with Les Gets and topped-off by the Pointe d’Angolon (2080m), while on the other is Super Morzine and the remainder - the greater part, in fact - of the Portes du Soleil. Each option has rapid gondola access.

As you’ll discover, it’s hard to convey on a piste map just how big the combined ski area actually is, although getting around is becoming steadily easier as lifts are upgraded. Skiing from Morzine not only brings rapid access to Les Gets but also to Avoriaz, beyond which lie the respective delights of Les Crosets, Champéry, Champoussin and Morgins in the Swiss sector. Intermediates will have no problem getting over there, while débutantes have enough dedicated facilities closer to home to get them off to a confidence-building start.

Resort Information

Altitude : 1000m - 2466m
Morzine
Pistes Total:
120 km
5 Green
24 Blue
28 Red
9 Black
Ski Resort Lifts : 49
3 Magic Carpets
13 Draglifts
26 Chairlifts
3 Gondolas
2 Cable Cars
Portes du Soleil
Pistes Total:
650 km
33 Green
119 Blue
104 Red
27 Black
Ski Domain Lifts: 197

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The Ski Village

Although continuing to develop its skier accommodation, Morzine remains a year-round, working village and a refreshing contrast to higher-altitude purpose-built resorts. The look is unmistakably Savoyard, although with a conspicuously-Anglicised feel, at least in winter. If you’re looking for somewhere Brit-friendly then look no further.

Fresh snowfalls transform the bustling heart of the village into a near-seamless link between the ski areas on each side of the valley. Getting between them doesn’t take long on foot, although getting around the valley floor from less centrally-located accommodation involves shuttle-bus journeys, so check timetables to avoid long waits outside peak times.

Ease of road access and an unstuffy, down-to-earth vibe have brought Morzine a deservedly loyal following among UK-based skiers, who have all that cross-border terrain close at hand, just waiting to be tracked...

Staying There

Value for Money Accommodation Dining Out Nightlife Village Charm

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Large groups of skiers outside mountain restaurants

Best For

A Famille Plus Montagne resort, Morzine provides activities and services for all age groups, plus skiers with a disability. Mixed-ability groups will find variety locally, and there’s some great cruising terrain to help build fitness before you commit to clocking-up real mileage around the Portes du Soleil. Above the sector shared with Les Gets, for example, are steep-and-deep (but generally wide) Red-graded runs, ideal for raising both fitness and technical abilities. There are Blues here as well, for less experienced skiers or those who prefer to take it easier, plus a whole lot more intermediate terrain past Avoriaz and across the Swiss border. For independent travellers, there are lots of accommodation options, the emphasis being on chalets, although there are some very comfortable, welcoming hotels, too.

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Skiing There

Beginners / Families Intermediates Advanced / Expert Mountain Scenery

Snowboarding

Quality freestyle fun plus a Videopark and Videototem.
1 Snowparks
1 Snowboarder Cross


Cross-Country Skiing


12km Cross-Country and Nordic Ski Trails

Handiski...

  • Discounted Les Gets/Morzine ski pass for a disabled skier and their companion (conditions apply).
  • Adapted hotel and self-catering accommodation available. Contact reservation service for help on +33(0)4 50 79 11 57
    reservation@morzine-avoriaz.com
  • SYMConcept - a company that will organise your mountain holiday for you. Information on www.symconcept.com
  • Specialist instruction for physically and mentally disabled skiers and loan of equipment by ESF www.esf-morzine.com

icon-smileyYes please...

  • Capable snowmaking and well-prepared pistes.
  • Huge ski area, combined with friendly village atmosphere.
  • Capable lift system with hands-free passes.
  • Environment friendly resort.
  • Short transfers from Geneva airport.

icon-frowneyYes but...

  • Portes du Soleil is not the highest-altitude ski area.

icon-winkingOur Tips

  • Check accommodation is near lifts or a bus-stop (or offers a guest transfer service).
  • Download the free iPhone app. It's compatible with the iPhone, iPod and iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later.

Practical Information

Getting there

By Car
For Dover-Calais ferry travel, other cross-channel routes, offers and bookings visit P&O Ferries

Take the A40 direction Chamonix and exit at Cluses. Follow signs for Tanninges on the D902, pass through Les Gets and follow signs for Morzine.

By air
The cheapest and quickest way to reach the Portes du Soleil from the UK is via a low cost flight to Geneva (75km from Morzine).

By train
For the Portes du Soleil travel by Eurostar from London to Paris then to Cluses(4½ hrs) or Thonon-les-Bains (change required). See Altibus for shuttle details, an adult return journey costs around €22 from Cluses or Thonon-les-Bains.

Book your TGV fast train from Paris or Eurostar’s ski train direct to the French Alps with .

Transfers
Visit Ski-Lifts for the best range of ski transfer destinations from airports and main rail stations.


Things to do

Tried and tested Fruitière de Morzine

337 Route de la Plagne
Morzine
Tel: +33 (0)4 50 79 12 39


Cheesemaking at the Fruitière de Morzine

See Nicolas Baud and his assistants make the morning's batch of cheese while he explains the process and traditions of local cheese-making. M. Baud will translate into English if you make yourself known. An introductory video (available in English), plus a visit to see the maturing cheeses, rounds off a fascinating hour or so. Afterwards visit the shop, the only place in Morzine to buy their cheeses. They sell a wide variety of other local products and gift baskets. The visit is FREE and held at 0900hrs on Wednesday and Thursday mornings - no need to book, just turn up. If you prefer, you can observe the cheesemaking every afternoon between 1500-1900 hrs. Visits are organised by the Tourist Office, who have more information.




Espace Aquatic- Indoor Swimming Centre

Palais des Sports
608 Route du Palais de Sports
Morzine
Tel: +33 (0)4 50 79 01 69
Wind down after a day's skiing, in this superb facility in the heart of Morzine, where there's a selection of pools (all supervised) suited to youngsters, fitness or relaxation and well-being. There's also a sauna and hammam to help soothe muscles. Open midday until 8pm every day during the winter. Adult entry €7 or €12 incl. well-being, reduced tariffs during Happy Hours 1200-1400 and 1900-2000 €5/€8.



Where to stay

Tried and testedThe Lodge Morzine

1100 Route de la Plagne,
74110 Morzine

The Lodge, Morzine

Friendly British-run hotel with comfortable and well-equipped apartment accommodation in the main building plus duplex apartments in a mews development to the rear, where there's also some outdoor parking and ski storag. Apartments in the main building are let on a half-board basis, including buffet breakfasts and 4-course à la carte evening meals served in the hotel restaurant.
Apartments are spacious and in Savoyard style with cosy furnishings and natural wood. We stayed in a 2-bedroom apartment which had a well-planned and equipped kitchen/dining area and lounge with balcony. There's a TV (English channels) and free WiFi, although this wasn't working during our stay. All beds are singles but can be pushed together for couples. There was plenty of storage and the bathroom was modern and clean, with a separate WC.
There's a small wellness and fitness centre with Jacuzzi and sauna. The popular hotel bar and restaurant on the lower ground floor are also open to non-residents. We found the staff friendly and very helpful, although the overwhelming "British-ness" of the experience might not suit everyone.

Situated about 1km from the village centre (15 min walk to the central Tourist Office), you are reliant on free ski buses to get to and from lifts and sevices become less frequent outside of peak times. Half-board guests can use the hotel shuttle service.
Guests can get worthwhile discounts at the Alpine Sports Warehouse, Route de la Plagne, Morzine.


Tried and testedChalet Twenty26

The Boutique Chalet Company
2026 Route de la Manche
Morzine
Tel:+33 (0)4 85 80 01 22

A beautifully-presented chalet with every home comfort, guest transfer service and excellent home cooking. Welcoming and attentive hosts, too. We loved it.


Le Mas de La Coutettaz

429 Chemin de La Coutettaz
Morzine
Tel:+33 (0)4 50 79 08 26

Authentic farmhouse with original features, even a "mazot" converted into intimate luxury accommodation for two. The house style is traditional comfort, Alpine style.


Where to Eat

Tried and testedLa Ferme de la Fruitière

337 Route de la Plagne
Morzine
Tel: +33 (0)4 50 79 12 39

Restaurant La Ferme Fruitière, Morzine

Run by cheese maker Nicolas Baud, whose family have lived on the site for generations, the restaurant has been completely rebuilt using reclaimed timbers and wooden shelving from the cheese cellars. You can see racks of maturing cheeses through a glass wall in the lower dining room. A roaring fire contributes to the very convivial atmosphere in the main dining room, where people were evidently very content. And why not? The food is superb, presented with brisk but friendly efficiency by attentive staff. We had a delicious raclette with salad and a selection of charcuterie, and a local speciality - Berthoud, accompanied by a Savoyard wine. All rounded-off nicely by Framboisine - raspberry sorbet, fresh fruits in alcohol with cream.


Tried and testedLe Vaffieu

Le Pleney
74110 Les Gets
Tel: +33 (0)4 50 79 09 43

Mountain restaurant Le Vaffieu, Morzine

Situated on the Pleney slopes, this busy mountain-restaurant gives a warm welcome to diners, either inside or on a sunny terrace. Pedestrians can walk here from the Pleney cable-car. Serving traditional Savoyard dishes, steaks and snacks, they have a few specialities worth trying such as the Tarte Vaffieu (savoury cheese flan), or a Risotto with trompette mushrooms and Savoie cheese - a very satisfying lunch. Both were vegetarian-friendly, and veggie versions of other main dishes such as Tartiflette can be prepared on request. Main courses cost between €15 and €24. Book a table in advance to avoid disappointment..


Tried and testedLe Coup de Coeur

85 Route de la Plagne
Morzine
Tel:+33 (0)4 50 79 15 87

This cosy bar with terrace, where the seating is adorned with furs, is situated in the heart of the village near the Tourist Office, and is the perfect place to sample wine by the glass with a plate of tapas. Friendly service and a relaxed ambiance meant we enjoyed our late lunch - a couple of generously-garnished pizzas (daily plat du jour is around 14€ served over lunchtime only), while we took advantage of the free WiFi.
The bar is owned by La Chamade restaurant, notable for the large wooden carvings above the entrance, and was recommended to us as a great place to dine in the evenings.


Also recommended...

Chez Nannon

An old mountain chalet in the Nyon sector at the top of the Troncs Express lift. It has a welcoming Alpine interior and serves mountain specialities including their "Patates au Reblochon" - melted cheese over fried potatoes. Booking advised.

Chris Hamblin, owner of luxury ski Chalet Twenty26 recommends the Beanies Coffee Bar & Ski Shop for its selection of coffees, loose leaf tea, hot chocolate and milk shakes, plus a range of ski and outdoor gear. You'll find Beanies on the Rue du Bourg, Morzine.


Insight: Morzine

Chair lift view of mountainside with skiers at Morzine

Insight: Morzine

Our arrival in Morzine coincides with the tail-end of heavy snowfalls, and low temperatures, a desirable combination in most ski areas, and particularly here, since the village sits at a relatively modest altitude. In the past our timing has been less than ideal here, but today we find Morzine – the entire valley, in fact – looking postcard-perfect. We can’t resist the lure of the gondola lift which provides rapid access to SuperMorzine, gateway to the vast amount of terrain around Avoriaz and beyond, so that’s where we begin. For now the further terrain on offer on the opposite side of the valley can wait for another day.

…today we find Morzine – the entire valley, in fact – looking postcard-perfect. We can’t resist the lure of the gondola lift which provides rapid access to SuperMorzine, gateway to the vast amount of terrain around Avoriaz and beyond…
SuperMorzine is the gateway to routes to Avoriaz and beyond.
Avoriaz and its giant snow-park are close at hand - an attractive plus-point, particularly for families with younger skiers.

The SuperMorzine gondola is tucked away in a side-street across from the Tourist Office, and gives ever more impressive bird’s-eye views of the village and the valley on the rapid haul up the mountain. At the top is a large restaurant, but we continue onwards, transferring to the Zore chairlift before things become too crowded with the morning’s skiers. The high-speed four-seater drops us at 1754m, with an option to take the Baron draglift for a choice of Blue pistes back down. We ski onward, however, to ride the relatively short Séraussaix chair, then the longer and more powerful Proclou high-speed four-seater offering fine views across the la Chapelle snowpark to high-rise Avoriaz perched on its dramatic escarpment. It sounds a lot more more arduous than it is, and in a just few minutes we’re at a useful 1873m, from which it’s finally time to do some meaningful skiing on the memorable run down to Les Lindarets, a living, working mountain hamlet and a key navigation point, since it’s blessed with no fewer than six lifts.

In good snowfall years the Léchère chairlift from Les Lindarets offers a truly magical ride.
The Pointe de Mossette sits on the Franco-Swiss border, and offers panoramic views to mile-hungry skiers.

From Morzine into Switzerland…

Our next lift, the near-horizontal Léchère chair gives us one of the most magical rides we can remember and one of the slowest. But amid scenery like this we’re in no hurry, even as the border with Switzerland slow-zooms ever closer. The drop-off point at Les Brochaux is a snowy bowl and a lively spot, thanks to a couple of large and well-patronized mountain restaurants. After hanging in the chill breeze on the lifts the prospect of coffee on a sun terrace while watching the world ski by is irresistible, so we take a break before hopping on Mossettes. The high-speed four-seater chairlift’s loading area still has border control signs, which warning us to arm ourselves with passports, appropriate currency, etc. We hop aboard and are whisked rapidly to the 2262m summit, where we get great the panoramic views we’ve been expecting.

The scenery in all directions is dazzling, in fact, and from here it takes just a few minutes to drop in on the Portes du Soleil’s Swiss sectors around Les Crosets, Champéry, Champousin and Morgins. We plan to do just that a couple of days later, after having skied not from Morzine but from from Châtel, as we recount in our Resort Review dedicated to this stylish village.

Not that today we’re in any mood to turn around and ski straight back down. Having come this far we at least want the satisfaction of knowing we’ve actually skied across the border, so we cruise along a rather flat ridge until we reach a left-hand turn onto the slightly steeper drop to just above Les Crosets, where the six-seater Grand Conche high-speed chairlift gleams slightly incongruously among classic cuckoo-clock-style chalets. The run down is graded blue, but we later see on the piste map a more direct red alternative which would have brought us to the same spot. Aware that we’ll soon be returning, we ride the lift back up to the 2130m ridge and begin to work our way back to Morzine, via a different route and taking in the fresh set of views afforded by heading in the opposite direction. It’s an enjoyable return journey, made even more so by the kind of snow conditions we’d hardly dared hope to find.

Meanwhile, closer to Morzine

Day Two produces more fine weather, but it isn’t due to last, so we turn our attentions to what lies across the valley. In 2013 the Pleney high-speed gondola lift took over from the both its outmoded predecessor and the historic cable-car which opened up the sector back in 1936. The result is dramatically improved access to Morzine’s home terrain, which is linked with that of Les Gets. On the way up there are worthwhile overviews of some of the facilities on offer close to the village, including the Stade slalom piste and, further to our left, a gentle and accessible debutant area served by a couple of draglifts.

At the top we ski down to the Belvedère chairlift for a relaxed haul up to 1548m, passing the Pingouins Parc children’s area, while taking in the impressive surrounding scenery. The feel over here is very different from that of SuperMorzine, thanks to the presence of a substantial natural boundary ahead, in the form of the 2090m Pointe d’Angolon. From here it’s possible to join the Charniaz Express lift and drop neatly into the Les Gets sector, somewhere we’ve already had the pleasure of getting to know, so instead we press onward, cruising between attractively-forested areas on the Blue-graded Granges piste before gaining a bit more altitude on the Têtes chairlift, which drops us at around 1650m.

Skiing of the Chamossière chairlift at 2002m – highest lift-served point of Morzine's own groomed terrain.
While snow-clouds gather, afternoon skiers head for Les Gets on the Crocus Blue piste, in Morzine's Pleney sector.

The short but sweet Red-graded Blanchots piste fires us onto our next lift, the Chamossière Express six-seater. At the top we’re around the 2000m mark, with Mont-Blanc (4810m) looming over the ridge to our right, while closer at hand to our left is the 2090m Pointe d-Aiglon, whose slopes are officially designated as a free-ride zone. We peel off right on Arbis for a Red-graded drop past the Col de Joux Plane and onto Choucas, a Blue piste which plunges between more forest to bring us to the departure point of several lifts. This time we climb aboard the six-seater Troncs Express, which serves the slopes of the Pointe de Nyon (2019m) sector. It’s a speedy and therefore brief ride, dropping us at 1598m for a choice of two feeds onto the Raverettes Blue piste for a connection with our final high-altitude haul, the Pointe chairlift. It’s a long haul up to the 1950m mark, taking in a snowpark and an intermediate station serving a lengthy slalom piste.

At the top there’s another panoramic viewpoint, which diverts us for a few moments before our attentions turn to the Red-graded Aigle Rouge piste – a memorable descent through a series of twists and turns, some of them tight, before easing again for the liaison with our old friend the Raverettes Blue piste. From here it’s all downhill, or virtually; after a Red-graded run down Chamois we emerge from the trees and find ourselves confronted unexpectedly with a passerelle (a snow-covered footbridge) across a deep gorge. Once across we join the fast-rising numbers of other skiers heading back to Morzine village on the Retour des Nantes. Minutes later we’re back at the front de neige again, snapping out of our bindings with the satisfaction that we’ve not only covered a lot of mileage but also accumulated a very respectable vertical drop figure. The bottom line, then, is that while the attractions across the valley are real enough, there’s still a lot to enjoy closer to home over here – and Les Gets awaits.MountainPassions heart icon