Morzine is at the heart of the Portes du Soleil, a vast ski area with statistics to dwarf other resorts. There are 650km of groomed runs – the largest linked ski area in the world – taking in 12 traditional towns and villages across both France and Switzerland. The unique selling point of the Portes du Soleil is the on-snow experience.
Les Gets is one of the prettiest villages in the Alps — chic and stylish — both in the town and on the mountain. This is a fantastic place; not just to ski, but to relax with family and friends. The pistes run right back to the heart of the village where bars and restaurants meet the slopes, making this an ideal location for family ski holidays.
Méribel lies at the heart of The Three Valleys ski resort and is an extremely popular village, not only because of its excellent location and access to snow-sure skiing, but also it’s lively yet laid-back atmosphere. Ideal for families, friends or corporate groups alike, the variety of pistes suits beginners through to experts.
It is easy to forget in the midst of a ski holiday that there are other equally exciting things to experience. In reality, such is the plethora of non-ski activities, they warrant an action-packed week’s holiday of their own…
Ice hockey is a local passion. The team has seen international recognition, the French leagues are demanding, the ice rink impressive and the stakes are high. Fixtures vary throughout the winter but there should be a match on most weeks. Enjoy an early supper in your chalet then wander into town for a match in the stadium close to the Mairie. We recommend getting a drink from the bar inside and then finding a seat on the same side of the stadium behind the team benches. There are normally lots of spare seats and you can watch the players tag in and out during the match and listen to some very enthusiastic locals.
LOCAL FRENCH CINEMA
More Cinema Paradiso than giganton multiplex, why not try an authentic French cinema. Located in the centre of the village, just up from the Mairie, the local village Cinema Rex is a one screen, one movie kind of affair. The cinema offers a comfortable and modern, albeit simple interior. Brush up on your French by watching the newest French films, or perhaps a French dubbed American blockbuster; or choose a VOST (Version Originale) and watch the current hit in English. The French are not big on American-style super-sized snacks so you might want to sneak in your own bag of Maltesers or you will be restricted to small packets of pre-cooked popcorn and nonbrand fizzy drinks. After your film why not stop off for a late night chocolate chaud at La Dez Alp next door or order a crepe from one of the many mini chalet huts further up the Rue du Bourg.
The French love ten pin bowling and it offers a really nice change of pace for the whole family. Bowling really does transcend international borders so the rules are the same, the bowling alleys look the same, but occasionally you are encouraged not to drink more than three alcoholic beverages. Most lanes offer on and off-peak times and it is often worth a visit in the quieter times to lose a few hours getting your bowling skills back. Lanes are located in Avoriaz and Les Gets.
Aquariaz is on a basic level a water park located high up in the mountains in Avoriaz – a cable car or drive from Morzine. But this aquatic centre offers a lot more. Yes, there is a fun river that winds through lush tropical vegetation, a slidewinder (which is like a water halfpipe), a children’s paddling pool, a large swimming pool with surrounding climbing walls, massage benches and even an open-air spa heated to 34°C. But this is a hybrid concept of creating a water park that keeps kids entertained but also houses natural tropical vegetation from around the world. There are over 1570 different tropical plants and 183 tropical trees imported from all around the world. It also houses one of the oldest mahogany trees in the world (350 years old). Inexpensive and fun. If you can, visit during their off-peak times when everyone else is on the piste.
NIGHT SKIING, SLEDDING & PEOPLE WATCHING
Other than in Japan where night skiing is a staple part of a ski holiday, piste-time after sundown can be the rarest of European occasions. But night skiing is something we should all enjoy. The pistes are quiet, the snow conditions are different and your senses are heightened knowing this is not normally a nocturnal affair. During winter, Morzine opens The Stade – the piste that runs directly into Morzine town once a week allowing skiers and snowboarders to re-start their ski day at 7pm until around 10pm. If you don’t fancy a ski yourself take a table at Le Tremplin and partake in the French pastime of people watching. You might spot a Parisian skiing in their jeans or witness the sledding madness that happens when the lifts finally close and families, children, and teenagers alike all run up the mountain to slide back down on whatever they have to hand.