Where to Ski And Snowboard -

The slopes

  • Extent 5 out of 5
  • Fast lifts 3 out of 5
  • Snow 2 out of 5
  • Queues 3 out of 5
  • Terrain p'ks 2 out of 5
  • Expert 3 out of 5
  • Intermediate 4 out of 5
  • Beginner 3 out of 5
  • Boarder 4 out of 5
  • X-country 4 out of 5
  • Restaurants 4 out of 5
  • Schools 3 out of 5
  • Families 4 out of 5

The resort

  • Resort charm 3 out of 5
  • Convenience 2 out of 5
  • Scenery 3 out of 5
  • Eating out 3 out of 5
  • Apres ski 4 out of 5
  • Off-slope 3 out of 5

Gallery

  • Morzine Pleney

Piste maps

Key facts covers:

  • Portes du Soleil

Key facts

Resort1000 m
Slopes950-2275 m
Lifts196
Pistes650 km
Price index100

Morzine

France

Morzine Pleney

The upside

  • Good-sized, varied, lightly wooded slopes shared with Les Gets
  • Good nightlife by French standards
  • Chalet-style town, popular in summer as well as winter
  • Few crowds on weekdays, but ...

The downside

  • Sunshine brings weekend crowds
  • Just off the Portes du Soleil circuit
  • Some lodgings remote from lifts
  • Low altitude and exposure to westerlies means risk of rain and poor snow
  • Few tough pistes
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    Summary

    Morzine is quite a large, spread out, long-established year-round resort that feels more like a town than a village. It shares with Les Gets a fairly extensive local network of gentle wooded slopes, so is a good place to be in a snowstorm (but be warned: it can, and does, rain rather than snow not infrequently). For keen piste-bashers wanting to do multiple tours of the Portes du Soleil circuit it is better positioned than Les Gets but is not ideal. But that doesn’t seem to deter readers: we get reports every year from satisfied customers.

    THE RESORT

    Morzine is as popular in summer as in winter and sprawls along both sides of a river gorge – though with the centre emphatically on the west side, at the foot of the local slopes. These are shared with slightly higher Les Gets (covered in a separate chapter). Across town is a gondola forming the link with a chain of lifts leading to Avoriaz on the Portes du Soleil circuit.
    Our view that the resort suits car drivers is widely shared. But the roads are busy and the one-way system takes some getting used to. Car trips to Flaine and Chamonix are feasible.

    Village charm

    Quietly attractive
    The resort consists of chalet-style buildings, mostly small or mid-sized; they look cute under snow, and as that snow disappears towards spring, the village quickly takes on a spruce appearance.
    Morzine is a family resort, and the village ambience tends to be fairly subdued as a result; but there are plenty of bars that get busy as the lifts close.

    Convenience

    It’s a big resort …
    Morzine is a town where getting from A to B can be tricky. The best plan is to stay in or near the centre of town, a short walk from one or both of the gondolas. Restaurants and bars line the streets up to the lifts to Le Pléney, where a busy one-way street runs along the foot of the slopes.
    Accommodation is widely scattered; a multi-route bus service links all parts of the town to the lifts, including those for Avoriaz; there is a circular route, but only one way, which doesn’t always suit your purposes. A recent reporter found the buses ‘haphazard, not remotely running to timetable’. There are also buses to Les Gets, and to Ardent, which has a gondola into the Portes du Soleil circuit, missing out busy Avoriaz.

    Scenery

    Quite good from the tops
    Despite their modest top heights, the local peaks of Pointe de Nyon and Chamossière are not without drama (or impressive views, including of Mont Blanc).

    THE MOUNTAINS

    The local slopes are mainly wooded, with some open areas higher up. The local piste map is less clear than it used to be because they have made it smaller. Signposting is good.

    Extent of the slopes

    Good local area, plus the PdS
    Our rating is for the whole Portes du Soleil linked area, the bulk of which is reached via Avoriaz. The local area – shared with Les Gets – is a fair size.
    A gondola rises from the edge of central Morzine to Le Pléney. Several routes return to the valley, including a run down to Les Fys – a quiet lift junction at the foot of the Nyon-Chamossière sector where the area’s most challenging slopes are; Chamossière is served by a six-pack, but Nyon still has a slow chair. This sector can also be accessed by a cable car starting a bus ride from Morzine. A slow chair from Les Fys along with a fast one from Le Grand Pré (further up the valley) connect with the sector of Les Chavannes, above Les Gets. At the far end of this sector, the bowl beneath Le Ranfoilly has five chairlifts together going to different parts of the ridges.
    Beyond Les Gets, Mont Chéry is notably quiet, and well worth a visit.
    Across town from the Le Pléney sector is a gondola leading (via another couple of lifts and runs) to Avoriaz and the main Portes du Soleil circuit. You take the gondola down too – there’s no piste. Alternatives are a bus ride or a short drive to either Les Prodains – for a gondola to Avoriaz or a chair into the Hauts Forts slopes above it – or to Ardent for a gondola to Les Lindarets, from where you can head for Châtel, Avoriaz or Champéry. There’s floodlit skiing on Thursdays and a torchlit descent on Tuesdays. There are lockers at the Pléney base.

    Fast lifts

    More fast chairs needed
    The main access lifts are gondolas, cable cars or fast chairs, but higher up things are not so good: some areas are equipped with fast chairs, but others rely on slow chairs and drags.

    Queues

    New lifts solved most problems
    Recent lift replacements, including the Pléney gondola a few seasons ago, seem to have solved most of the problems.

    Terrain parks

    Lots to choose from
    For this season there will be a new airbag jump and a new freestyle zone at Super Morzine. There’s another park and a snowcross in Les Gets and lots of options (including a super-pipe) in Avoriaz; see http://www.snowparkavoriaz.com/en/snowpark.aspx

    Snow reliability A weakness at resort level

    Morzine has a very low average height, and it can rain here when it is snowing higher up (almost every year reporters mention days of rain). But the grassy slopes don’t need much snow-cover and in a sparse snow year you may do better here than in higher, rockier resorts such as Avoriaz. Snowmaking has been increased, most noticeably on the home runs. Grooming is good.

    For experts

    A few possibilities
    The runs from Pointe de Nyon and Chamossière are quite challenging, as are the black runs down the back of Mont Chéry and the Hauts Forts blacks at Avoriaz. In bad weather the medium-altitude, lightly wooded Ranfoilly bowl is a good place to head for. Plus there is plenty of serious off-piste to try with a guide.

    For intermediates

    Something for everyone
    Good intermediates will enjoy the fine, challenging red and black down from Chamossière. Aigle Rouge on Pointe de Nyon is not steep but is quite narrow, with great views. Mont Chéry, on the other side of Les Gets, has some fine steepish runs that are usually very quiet.
    Those looking for something less challenging have a great choice. Le Pléney has a compact network of pistes that are ideal for groups with mixed abilities: there are blue and red options from every lift. One of the easiest cruises on Le Pléney is a great away-from-it-all blue (Piste B) from the top to the valley. Heading from Le Ranfoilly to Le Grand Pré on the blue is also a nice cruise.
    The slopes down to Les Gets from Le Pléney are easy when conditions are right (the slopes face south). The Ranfoilly and Rosta sectors have cruisy reds and a couple of easy blacks served by fast chairs. And, of course, there is the whole of the Portes du Soleil circuit to explore via Avoriaz.

    For beginners

    Good for novices and improvers
    The wide village nursery slopes are convenient, and benefit from snow-guns, though crowds are reported to be a problem. There are excellent progression runs on Le Pléney, at Nyon, and at Super-Morzine.

    For boarders

    Great for park and ride
    Morzine is very popular with boarding seasonaires because of the extensive slopes, proximity to the excellent terrain parks in Avoriaz and the lower prices here. The slopes in Morzine are great for all abilities and have very few draglifts. But a reporter complained of irritating flat areas. Plenty of treelined runs make for scenic and interesting snowboarding, and the more adventurous should hire a guide to explore off-piste.

    For cross-country

    Good variety
    There are around 70km of varied cross-country trails, not all at valley level. The best section is in the pretty Vallée de la Manche beside the Nyon mountain up to the Lac de Mines d’Or, where there is a good restaurant. The Pléney-Chavannes loop is pleasant and relatively snow-sure.

    For families

    A fine family choice
    Morzine caters well for families. On the mountain there are gentle, sheltered slopes and play areas. And there are plenty of other activities. For childcare facilities, see http://en.morzine-avoriaz.com/day-care.html.

    Blogs, features and news

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