Exploring the Portes de Soleil

Getting to the slopes

There are various ways to get up to the mountains. We normally drive to Ardent, and get the bubble up from there – head towards Morzine, at the roundabout by the bridge go straight on into Montriond, follow the road up the hill, and then turn left at the top of the hill (by the restaurant, just before the church) and follow the road into the mountains to the end. There’s free parking here. You can buy lift passes at the Caisse below the lift. From Ardent, you have on-ski access to Avoriaz, Lindarets, Plaine Dranse, Chatel, Super Chatel and Switzerland.

If you go to Morzine (access to Morzine, Nyon and Les Gets), there is paying parking under the Pleney bubble. Watch out, the spaces are tiny – and it closes in the evening! Head into Morzine on the main road (don’t go through Montriond) and then go straight ahead till you see the sign to Pleney parking on the right.

There is also a free shuttle bus throughout the ski season, which picks up at the junction of the road behind the Abbey in St Jean. Check the timetable there.

You can buy ski passes in advance, but watch out where you need to collect them from. We buy via Serma (, which means we can collect them from Ardent (see above).

Skiing and boarding

There are so many lovely areas to ski in! The St Jean ski area has a great one day itinerary, and some spectacular views, and suits everyone from beginners to off piste specialists. For more than a day, head to Avoriaz, or over into Switzerland. If you need to stay high in the snow, head to Avoriaz and the Fornet bowl, or the Arare runs; otherwise, head over to Plaine Dranse and then over towards Chatel – the Linga area. There is also a great beginner area in Avoriaz – several connected runs that head down from the ESF Plateau.

Morgins is another good itinerary, and often rather empty! it’s a great day trip out, heading off via the Mossettes lift and down a long track, and then slowly making your way back. If the snow is amazing, head to Mont Chery for the day (it’s not connected to anywhere else). Morzine and Les Gets are also lovely, but Les Gets only if it’s cold and has snowed loads, as otherwise it can be slushy, particularly at the bottom of the slopes.

Morzine also has a great ice hockey team – might be worth trying to catch a game!

Mountain food

There are loads of great places to eat on the mountains. Some of our favourites are:

  • La Cremaillere (Les Lindarets/Goat Village)
  • La Poya and Les Trappeurs (Avoriaz, by the Prodains cable car arrival station)
  • Le Grand Ours (Mont Chery)
  • Ferme des Pistes (half way down the Linga, on the left)
  • Chez Nanon (Morzine, heading down towards Nyon)
  • Pomme des Pins (Lindarets Bowl)
  • Les Marmottes (Lindarets Bowl)
  • Chez Gaby (Champoussin)
  • La Croix de Culet – top of the cable car in Champery
  • There are also a couple of nice burger etc places opposite the ESF meeting point on the Plateau in Avoriaz.

If it’s busy, it’s always worth booking these in advance. You can either phone (they will speak English) or you can usually pop in first thing to book for lunch.

Ski schools

We have regularly used Freedom2ski, PDS Academy and Avoriaz Alpine up in Avoriaz for everything from children’s group lessons to privates and off piste sessions. In Morzine, BASS are good. ESF do lessons everywhere, including at La Grande Terche, and we’ve used ESF in Avoriaz for competition race lessons.

Eating in town

There are lots of restaurants in Morzine, St Jean and Les Gets for good food. Our favourites are below:

  • Clin d’Oeil (near the Carrefour in the middle of Morzine)
  • Le Chaudron (Morzine on the main high street near the tourist office)
  • Dez’Alpes (Morzine, above Intersport and the Carrefour).
  • The National (St Jean, pizza and a weekly quiz)
  • The Alba (St Jean, good selection of food, live music on occasions)
  • Chez Toto (St Jean, delicious burgers)
  • Mon P’tit Resto (St Jean, Savoyard)