Review of Avoriaz

1st February 2009 by Steveb27 

Just back from a week in Avoriaz (Late Jan 09). The weather for the weekend was generally good - significant dump on the Sat, sunny Sun, hi level cloud Mon & Tues, sunny for rest of week. I skied pretty much everything on-piste and visited all the linked villages except La Chapelle & St Jean - too difficult, but they are probably very proud of their runs! My thoughts as a User Report on the Portes Du Soleil - I’ll try and concentrate on Avoriaz here.

- First impressions of Avoriaz were good - OK it’s a high-level French ski resort but at least they have tried by the wooden cladding on the buildings and banning traffic.

- On Sat eve, the green luggage sleds were scarce - either grab one early, use the local sleighs/cats or yomp. There didn’t appear to be many around all week - maybe people kept them?

- The car free nature of Av was different. Whilst you’re free to walk anywhere, beware the horse drawn sleighs - very green & traditional, but they don’t hang around - or appear to take prisoners!

- The variety of shops, bars etc was pretty good - better than many French ski resorts. Prices were pretty normal for a ski resort.

- I stayed in a (typical) apartment in a block about main ‘street’ - great for access to slopes, shops & bars; less fun when bars kick out at 2am and people seem to have lost ability to talk quietly, then at 6am the piste bashers and cats start trundling

- The variety of the skiing is good - open sunny slopes & sheltered skiing amongst the trees. The blues and reds were typical although some were flattering. The Swiss Wall held some good snow - biggest challenge was avoiding everyone else skiing it. The biggest surprise was the quality of the blacks off the Les Haute Fortes - a mix of pisted and natural runs that were very good and well worth doing.

- The Avoriaz piste map is poor - it’s all there but it’s hard to comprehend. I’ve skied all the major French resorts and can usually suss a piste map - but this took some effort. The map did not indicate lift closing times which isn’t a big deal unless you are doing a circuit and you haven’t visited the lift - result you tend to err on side of caution rather than push that last run.

- The Avoriaz map did a good job of showing linkage with the other parts of the Portes Du Soleil - the ‘depart by’ times were useful.

- Signage was obvious and straightforward to follow. The Avoriaz/Crosets ‘mini’ (approx 2.5 hrs) circuits (Blue, Red & Black) were a nice idea.

- Bus link to Morzine (Prodains/Morzine) was good - easy to understand and frequent. Skiing to Morzine was OK if not very inspiring. Toy town train in Morzine was different and a little chaotic at the stops!

- The PdS circuit was worth doing - maybe not as well linked as 3 Valleys, but it feels like a real tour and you see real places. The skiing is not difficult - probably well within capabilities of most on a good day with decent snow at all altitudes. There is no real preferred way other than to note that the lifts to Pointe de l’Au were closed - Crosets lift is under major refurbishment, Champoussin lift no idea why.

- Going clockwise, circuit was straightforward until you get to Champoussin. With the Point de l’Au lift closed, you ski a track from top of Ag des Champeys lift and take a short (approx 100m) rope tow, then a track round to Crosets - this was not marked on the piste map or that obvious.

- Going anti-clockwise, you avoid this by taking the Tovassiere (blue from Pointe de Mossette) to Morgins then either yomp or bus to the Combe lift for Chatel or the Folleuse lift to Champoussin.

- There are plenty of sporting (old) chairs throughout the PdS with a ‘positive takeoff’! Some of the drags are sporty too! Champoussin has a fair collection of T Bars - enjoy!

- There are plenty of places to stop and eat/drink - both full on meal or snack avec frites! All pretty typical of a ski resort. All the Swiss places take Euros - but main price is in CHF (obviously); less obvious was when I paid in euros in Torgon, my change was in CHF - not a big deal but worth knowing.

Overall, worth a visit - enjoy!

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