Do you want to get the most out of your skiing and snowboarding holiday?
Cruising the blues and ticking off the black runs while skiing and snowboarding is great, but there are many other ways to enjoy yourself on the ski slopes of Morzine and the Portes du Soleil. Using personal experience and a bit of research, we have put together a list of activities to get more from your holiday in Morzine this winter.
Number 1 : Biathlon
The Olympic sport of Biathlon has its roots in Scandinavia, where people hunted while skiing with rifles slung over their shoulders.ESF have introduced biathlon courses. Groups and singles of all ages ski around a set course and shoot targets in a safe, controlled environment with a laser. This is great for fitness and for those who want to try something new.
Number 2 : Heliskiing
Taking a helicopter to the top of an untouched powder coated mountain has got to be at the top of most skiers and snowboarders lists. There is nothing like the excitement and anticipation of sitting in a helicopter, grinning like an idiot before making fresh tracks skiing and snowboarding to the bottom of the mountain. If heliskiing is something you have always wanted to do, contact Marco Ski Guide or Guides Morzine to plan your amazing day out.
Heliskiing has been banned in France since 1980, however Morzine’s excellent location makes it possible for you to fly in a helicopter over the Italian and Swiss borders with a qualified mountain guide for this unforgettable experience.
It may be no surprise to you that hiring a helicopter isn’t the cheapest thing in the world, but there is cheaper way to get the heliski experience. A guide will take you to some great off-piste terrain via a hike, splitboard or touring skis to the vallee de la manche where a helicopter brings you back home. For this, we recommend that you contact Freedom2ski early in your stay, where Pete will organise everything for you.
Number 3 : Speedriding
For experienced skiers, speedriding is the hybridization of skiing and air sports. Jumping and flying over huge distances landing in normally inaccessible snow. Speedriding lets adrenaline junkies alternate flying and skiing for the ultimate rush. Beginner and guiding courses are available from Parapente Morzine.
Number 4 : Cross-Country Skiing
Cross-Country skiing was believed to have originated in Scandinavia. But cave paintings dating back around 10,000 years depicting cross country skiing have been recently discovered in China. You can have a taste of this ancient sport by exploring Morzine’s 5 main cross-country skiing areas. This is great for fitness and equipment can be hired from a number of shops in town. Also ESF offer lessons and guiding, so you can hone your technique and get the most out of it.
Number 5 : Ski Touring
Ski touring is bypassing the lifts to get to the mountain’s pristine terrain using specialised equipment under your own steam. Some might think this is a bit silly when there are perfectly good ski lifts. However it is a great way to experience backcountry areas you wouldn’t normally be able to reach.
Expect to see more people “skinning up” the mountain this year due to increased popularity. We recommend hiring a guide to show you how to use the equipment and to take you to the best places in safety. With any off-piste activity you need to know how to keep safe, and a guide is the best way to do this as they will teach you about the terrain and the equipment before setting off. Contact one of our recommended ski schools for availability and prices.
Number 6 : Splitboarding
The snowboarder’s equivalent of ski touring, where the board splits into two skis to allow snowboarders to access slopes that haven’t been ridden. It may seem strange, but earning your turns (like we did in November) on the uphill is part of the enjoyment and not to mention a great workout. Mint offers great guiding and off piste lessons, they will also teach you the safety aspects of riding in the backcountry and how to use all the equipment correctly. Splitboards can be hired from Slope Style on the Rue du Bourg.
Number 7 : Yoga Ski
Do you know your asana from your prana? If so, you can practice them on France’s first yoga piste. Located on the Lievre run in the Nyon area. It has 10 yoga exercises adapted so you can do them on skis. The idea is to get you warmed up and limber to fully enjoy your day on the mountain.
Number 8 : Ski Joering
Do you love skiing? Do you love horses? Then why not get pulled along by a horse on skis? Another Scandinavian invention also popular in parts of North America, Ski Joering is available from Morzine and Les Gets. This unique sport gives you the ultimate experience with man and beast in the snow.
Number 9 : Lessons
Most people only get to go skiing and snowboarding one or two weeks per year, which does make it difficult to progress and skill levels can plateau. Booking an instructor is the best way to improve your skiing and snowboarding, especially if you are in a small group or in a private lesson. The benefits are not just limited to improving your skills. Instructors know where the best snow is at any particular time of day, the best places for lunch and they always have some great stories to tell you on the chair lift, making the whole experience fun and rewarding. Have a look at our recommended ski and snowboard schools, most of them also offer freestyle lessons too. Whether it’s riding switch for the first time or mastering that corked 1080 off the black kicker in the park there is something for you.
Number 10 : Step over to the dark side
Have you ever thought about trying the other sport? If you are a skier and never tried snowboarding or vice versa, maybe it’s time to give it a go. Both are undeniably fun and if you haven’t tried the other one you are certainly missing out. To get the most out of your first go, it all comes back to having a lesson. Think of an instructor as a friend who has been through it all and knows the best way to get you through the troubles of trying something new. The rivalry between the two sports it’s pretty much non-existent these days and is only really supported by the small minded few (unless you are on snowblades). So whichever way you are thinking about swinging, get in contact with Billy from Billski for beginner lessons and he will have you making your way down the mountain on one or two planks in no time.