From the summit of Chamossière Mount, you can make out Lake Geneva to the north, Mont Blanc to the south, and the Swiss border is as close as chucking cheese;.
Morzine and the other villages that share the surrounding slopes which straddle the Swiss/French boarder are in true ‘regte egte’ European Alpine ski country, and here’s five reasons to give them a shred:
1) Alpine authenticity
A real draw card for Morzine is that it was an Alpine town before skiing was an international obsession. This means the resort village has retained the character of its past, with wooden facades, sculpted balconies and roofs covered in Morzine slate (and snow at this time of year). It has held onto this rustic charm by avoiding the building of large apartment blocks. This means the après-ski has depth, is rooted in tradition and is simply classy.
2) Wallet-friendly for a quality experience
Sharing a chalet with other ski-loving strangers has always been the idea of the perfect ski holiday and Morzine has an abundance of small independent catered chalet companies. The great thing about Morzine is that competition between the smaller companies keeps prices down and service levels extremely high. Consequently, the bigger holiday companies can’t compete or dominate the town, leaving a good range of companies from the uber-luxury to very basic. The common theme however is small, owner-managed operations; most of their attention is focused on making customers happy so they want to come back.
3) Convenience at the heart
The village of Morzine is at the heart of the of the Portes du Soleil ski area which is huge, taking twelve resorts under the one ski-pass. There are two major lifts within an easy wobbly-booted walk of each other, giving access to both sides of the valley and everything beyond. Morzine also has easy links to Geneva airport (an hour and 20min drive). A transfer won’t break the wallet and your chalet may also offer to pick you up themselves. There are a range of low-cost airline options to Geneva from London.
4) Lots of piste for every skill level
The village has direct access to three separate resorts, which then link on to more. What this allows is a wide choice for all abilities. For experienced skiers and snowboarders, there are over 650kms worth of piste! At the other end of the spectrum, beginners and kids have more than one ‘learner area’ that can be easily accessed, giving them far more opportunity to explore than normal. And for the gnarlier set, Morzine’s direct neighbour and partner Avoriaz was the first resort in Europe to build a snowboard park and remains at the forefront of freestyle facilities to this day; boasting three parks, pipe and the Burton stash.
5) Great places to stay
As we mentioned, there are a range of small companies owner-led chalets you can find in Morzine. Australian Times staff have spent several seasons pounding the powder there and while you’ll be hard pressed to be disappointed by any of the options, here are two we can suggest getting in touch with.
Both of these chalets have great en-suited rooms, include breakfast and 6 days of three or even four coarse dinners all cooked for you, usually with loads of wine. Oh, and yes they have hot tubs… so don’t forget your cozzie!
The Mountain Lodge Company: Run by Richard and Karen, their Les 4 Vents chalet is £700-£850 per person for a week, depending on the time of season, from December through to April.
Mountain Mavericks: Are just above the mid-price range and a week with them is from around £640 per person for a week. Season starts mid-December, usually a week before the Christmas, and runs through till last weekend in April.
In addition to your accommodation, don’t forget you will need a pass for the ski lifts. If you are staying for more than a weekend we wholeheartedly recommend getting the lift pass for the whole Portes du Soleil ski area. You can also get passes for individual resorts.
If you don’t have your own ski or board equipment, you will need to hire it. Ski and snowboard hire can go from around €70 for six days for a basic set up, including boots, up to around €200 for advanced. You may also consider buying a helmet and they are a must for kids. Most chalets have a preferred hire shop they work with and can often arrange for them to bring the gear to the door for you.
For the first timer, lessons are an absolute must, especially if you want to make the most of this incredible ski and boarding area. Ask your chalet about this when booking.
And of course, don’t forget your ski/board clothes. If it’s your first time, the cheapest option is to see if any of your friends are willing to lend you theirs. Otherwise, suitable jackets, pants and ski goggles can be purchased in every Alpine village, but you may find better bargains in London before you go.
By Travel Desk and Bryce Lowry