Avoriaz Winter 2017/18
Perched above Morzine on the Ardoisiere cliffs sits Avoriaz. For the uninitiated, Avoriaz is a purpose built ski resort built in the 1960s. Its neo-rustic design is an attempt to hide it from those looking up from Morzine, camouflaging it against its surroundings. For those familiar to Avoriaz, aesthetically speaking you either love it or hate it. However you look at Avoriaz, it has something for every skier and snowboarder.
Although our chalets and apartments are based in Morzine, we spend a lot of time in Avoriaz because it has a lot to offer. We like its fantastic snow-sure pistes in addition to its links to Chatel and Switzerland. And with all the different ways you can get to Avoriaz it is very accessible from Morzine.
New for Winter 2017/2018
Morzine and Avoriaz are seeing some great developments for winter 2017/18, as you may have seen from our previous blog. Avoriaz has now released full details of what they have in store for us on and off the pistes this winter.
Avoriaz is providing snowmobiles with quiet and efficient electric motors for hire. Unfortunately these are only available for kids from the age of 5 (adults will have to make do with the real thing). Grab yourself a hot chocolate or vin chaud and watch the kids razz around a closed off and supervised course.
Teams of 6 – 12 can re-enact their favourite Game of Thrones battle with bows and foam tipped arrows. Once you have armed yourself, fight your way to the central point of the war-zone at the bottom of the Prodains lift. Apparently this is not as dangerous as it sounds, but don’t let that put you off.
If you prefer something bit less medieval and a little more futuristic, why not shoot each other with lasers instead? Teams of 6 – 10 people are equipped with Infra-red guns and helmets before going in to “battle”. This takes place in the forest at the bottom of the Prodains lift during the day or night (photo may not accurately represent winter laser warfare, sorry).
Burton Riglet Park
Avoriaz isn’t all about shooting each other, little ones aged 3 and above can get their first taste of snowboarding. The Burton Riglet Park is a miniature snowpark designed to introduce kids to the art of sideways sliding on “Trashers Piste” just the other side of the tunnel below the Chapelle park. The park features small slopes and obstacles for “groms” to find their snowboard legs.
The Lil’ Stash was always a fun route down the right hand side of the Proclou run. But Shreddie (the Stash’s mascot) has been making some changes to it for this winter.
He has made it in to a three dimensional piste! Kids can now slide along wooden platforms, walk across bridges and through Shreddie’s tree house. The new feature is six metres above the slopes and looks like it is going to be great fun.
Parents can take advantage of the new picnic area built next to the Lil’ Stash. Now there is no excuse for those who like to have their lunch sitting on the jumps and jib features!
Ski Touring and Splitboarding
Not everything new in Avoriaz involves weapons, electric vehicles and fictional characters. The pisteurs will be busy creating a cross country piste. The piste will be open day and night for you try ski touring and splitboarding in safety. The new piste will be good for first timers to get used to the equipment before booking a guide and doing it for real.
Igloo Village Experience
Avoriaz is home to the Igloo Village. If you are staying in one of our chalets, this may be worth booking for your chalet hosts night off. Meet your guide at the top of the Prodains lift for a snow-shoe hike under the stars. Once you get to your igloo, you will be treated to an aperitif and a traditional savoyard meal, such as a fondue. If you would like to be get first tracks in Avoriaz the following morning, you can even stay the night! My suggestion is to book early in your stay at the Avoriaz tourist office to make sure you can get in.
From 15th – 19th January, Avoriaz is hosting the first Extreme Rescuers event. You will be able to take part in awareness raising activities and learn all about mountain rescue. There will be helicopter demonstrations and information about mountain safety. There will also be a display of the latest vehicles and technology that is used to keep us safe on the hill. If you are around for this event, it would be well worth checking this out as it will be entertaining and interesting.
The Snow Cross zones are dedicated Free Ride areas around Avoriaz. Les Crozats, La Frontalière, Les Brochaux and La Marmotte are patrolled but unpisted areas ideal to head to after a big dump of snow. The idea is for skiers and snowboarders to get the off-piste experience in a relatively safe environment. They are well worth a visit when the conditions are right, but I would still treat them with respect. This means taking avalanche kits and the knowledge in how to use them. You can book yourself on to a course or a lesson with one of our recommended ski and snowboard schools.
The Stash Anniversary
From Saturday 20th – 27th January, there will be celebrations marking the 10th anniversary of The Stash. The Stash is an ecological snowpark built in conjunction with Burton Snowboards. It has wooden features, such as log slides, wall rides and picnic benches hidden in the forest. Freestyle and banked slalom competitions for adults and children will also be going on all week. With further activities in the Lil’ Stash, Riglet park and Burton shop all week, it promises to be a great event.
Living in Morzine year round, we have noticed the rise in popularity in Fat Bikes and E-Bikes. The people of Avoriaz have partnered with Matra, an electric bike specialist to provide E-Fat Bikes for hire this winter. These bikes have big fat tyres to give traction on the snow, while an electric motor assists you in pedalling.
During the evenings of Tuesday 2nd January, Wednesday 31st January, Friday 2nd March and Saturday 31st March, there will be guided night rides under the full moon!
A great one for those bad weather days, you can visit the Ferme De Seraussaix under the Seraussaix chair lift. Meet the shepherd and learn his secrets (in French). Book at the Avoriaz tourist office and pop in for lunch time fondue tasting and afternoon snacks.
The Chapelle Park is a snow park accessible from the top of the Lindarets and Proclou chairlifts. The park has a great atmosphere with a loud stereo system playing music all day. There are rails, boxes and 4 different lines of jumps to take, each one bigger than the last. So there is something for all levels of skiers and boarders wanting to practice their jumps and jibs. Even if you are not the freestyle type, you can see some pretty impressive skiers and snowboarders hitting the big black jumps.
By Tom Fortune