Insiders guide to Portes Du Soleil | Mountain and Tradition
Skiing Off Piste in les Gets

Insiders Guide to Portes Du Soleil The definitive review of the Portes Du Soleil

Pistes of the Portes du Soleil

If you are a higher intermediate or above then you might want to consider skiing the full area of the Portes du Soleil. This truly does have everything for everyone. It's a collection of 14 individual resorts that all interconnect on the one lift pass, creating the largest ski area in Europe. There's a wonderful circuit of blues and reds where you can ski from village to village, mountain to mountain, exploring all the different resorts and even skiing from France into Switzerland and back all in the one day.

Ski France and Switzerland on one Lift pass

If you are a higher intermediate or above then you might want to consider skiing the full area of the Portes du Soleil. This truly does have everything for everyone. It's a collection of 14 individual resorts that all interconnect on the one lift pass, creating the largest ski area in Europe. There's a wonderful circuit of blues and reds where you can ski from village to village, mountain to mountain, exploring all the different resorts and even skiing from France into Switzerland and back all in the one day.

There's no shortage of high and challenging skiing, Avoriaz and Chatel - Le Linga being the places for those looking for big open bowls above the tree line. Also Avoriaz is one of the top places in Europe for free-style skiers and snowboarders, so if that's your scene then it is definitely one to check out.

It is a wonderful ski area, and it's truly enormous, far too large to fully explore in a week! Below is a guide to the different sections so you can plan which you might like to explore. If you have any questions about the area then please don't hesitate to get in touch, we know the skiing here rather well and would be more than happy to share our thoughts on the best spots with you.

Avoriaz

The first area you come to once you've left the local Les Gets and Morzine ski area is Avoriaz. Based high up at 1800m, this snow-sure area has a lot to offer. High, open bowls, challenging off and on piste skiing are all there in abundance. There's plenty of wide blues and reds for intermediates looking to go exploring all the villages, along with a few wonderful areas to eat. For those looking for haut-cuisine on a mountain side then check out Goat Village, a small collection of some of the best restaurants you'll find by a ski slope anywhere.

This is also the free-style skier and boarder's paradise. With 3 jump parks of varying level, a rail park, a super pipe (large half-pipe), forest park and Burton-sponsored "The Stash" run, it's quite a playground. Touring competitions come through, and it's also worth going to sit by the side of the big jump park just to watch the locals practising their skills, it's quite a sight to be seen.

Avoriaz Piste Map
Avoriaz Piste Map

Ski Les Gets to Avoriaz

There are two ways to get into Avoriaz. For both you start by skiing into Morzine.

From there you can either walk or take the little road train across the village to the Super-Morzine lift up. The Super-Morzine lift option gets you back on the slopes quicker, but there are some flat areas up there so in fresh snow or on a snowboard it's not the best option.

The other option is to catch the free bus to from Morzine Village to Les Prodains Express, then take the lifts up from there. Les Prodains option means about 7 minutes on a bus but the ski lift brings you right into the heart of Avoriaz Village, definitely the better option for snowboarders to avoid the flat parts.

Chatel - Le Linga

As one of the choices of where to go next after Avoriaz, Chatel - Le Linga offers high altitude skiing for intermediates up-wards. Lots of wide and varied blues and reds, it's a personal favourite of mine for a place to ski when out exploring the Portes du Soleil. It's easy just to "pass through" lots of the Portes du Soleil due to it's sheer scale, but this is an area worth spending some time in to explore all the runs. My favourite run of this section is the one at the far end running down into the village, it's called Le Linga. Very long red, doing the full run in on go is a tiring but exhilarating ski experience.

Chatel Piste Map
Chatel / La Linga

Les Crosets

Les Crosets is the other option for a place to go after Avoriaz. It is in Switzerland, you can ski across the boarder and you do not need any passports with you. There are two ways in, a red run and the infamous Swiss Wall!

The Swiss Wall

The Swiss Wall is reputed as one of the hardest mogul runs in Europe. In reality it can vary wildly. It's always long and steep though so it's tiring even in good conditions.

Les Crosets Piste Map
Les Crosets, Champery, Champoussin, Val d'Illiez, Morgins

I've been down there when it's been pretty flat with soft snow and it's be quite a pleasure indeed, not too challenging. I've also been down when there has been head-high moguls with a vertical down hill-side to them, and icy to match! It is a great challenge but please check out the conditions before attempting "the wall". You can also take a chair lift down the wall, which makes a great view point to watch those tackling it's challenges.

Les Crosets boasts one of the largest snow parks in the whole ski area, both in number and scale of the jumps. The rest of the skiing is reds & blues, lovely intermediates' ground. It catches quite a lot of sun though, so it's worth doing in the morning if you are there later on in the ski season as mid-late afternoon can be quite soft in late March or April time.

Super Chatel

Here we are really getting into the far extremes of the ski area. Super-Chatel is a long ski from Les Gets, do remember to leave here with several hours to spare to make it back to Les Gets before the last lift closes! It's an interesting area, varied and a bit more old-fashioned than the high and developed Avoriaz & Chatel - Le Linga areas. It's worth doing as part of the loop or as a day trip, though a bit to far away to come too more than once or twice in a week-long holiday.

Super Chatel Piste Map
Super Chatel

You can expect more old-fashioned slopes, a place where you can find a bowl with just one winding run in the bottom and one lift to take you back out. It's got a more peaceful and relaxed feel to it, though it's still got quite a few drag lifts to contend with!

The Rest of the Swiss Side

There are many other small Swiss resorts making up the far end of the Portes du Soleil Ski Area - Champery, Champoussin, Val d'Illiez, Morgins and Torgon. These are a bit too far away to ski regularly on your holiday, but if you are a keen intermediate or advanced skier who likes exploring it's well worth taking a day skiing to do the Portes du Soleil Loop to see them.

Skiing these resorts is like stepping back in time. Much smaller and less developed than the big French resorts, they still have T-bars, meandering pistes in quiet valleys and a certain relaxed charm. They do though catch quite a bit of sun so are worth heading to earlier on in the day.

Champery Piste Map
Champery, Champoussin, Val d'Illiez, Morgins and Les Crosets

The Portes du Soleil Circuit

This is another one to tick off the list for anyone who enjoys the exploration that skiing allows. It's a circuit taking in 8 different ski areas crossing between France and Switzerland. It's no small undertaking though, you should leave early in the day and expect a full day's skiing to make it around and back in time.

From Les Gets you go through Morzine into Avoriaz. From here you've a choice of which direction to do the loop.

Portes Du Soleil Piste Map
All Portes Du Soleil

If you've some people in your group hoping to attempt the swiss wall then your loop would be Les Crosets - Champoussin - Val d'Illiez -Morgins - Chatel - Avoriaz, before then skiing through Morzine again to return back to Les Gets. If you are not planning on skiing the swiss wall you can do the loop in either direction.

It is a long way though and it's not unheard of for people to miss the lifts home! If you think you might miss the lifts home then the important thing is to try and get yourself into the Avoriaz area, as from there you can always ski down into Morzine then take the bus back up to Les Gets.

Last Updated: 09 September 2019