Winter Holiday Tips
Over the years of going on and providing winter holidays, we have learned a lot about making the most of our time in a ski resort. We had a brain storm in the office and thought it was about time we shared some winter holiday tips with you. These are little holiday hacks will make your ski or snowboard holiday a bit easier and a bit more fun.
1. Chalet Host’s Night off
Wednesday used to be the chalet host’s day off, not just at More Mountain but the most of Morzine. However, this season, things are changing, which means there are now two nights where you can eat out in town during the week. This means restaurants get booked up very quickly. So it is best that you book a table as soon as you can for your chalet host’s night off, especially in peak weeks. You can either do it when you arrive in Morzine or let us know where you want to eat in advance and we can book it for you before your arrival.
2. Where to Ski when it is busy
During peak weeks some pistes can get very busy. Our top tip for these times is to use the lift system to explore the Portes du Soleil. The pistes that just over the Swiss border are much quieter, this is because during the school holidays many people have lessons and the ski schools tend to stay on the most accessible slopes to make it easier for their pupils. You can enjoy virtually empty pistes during the busiest times if you are prepared to go further afield. Just remember to get back before the lifts close, or you will have an expensive taxi ride back to Morzine or a cheap hotel for the night.
Lessons are a great idea what ever level skier or snowboarder you are. There are many ski and snowboard schools in Morzine and Avoriaz to choose from. They provide lessons for all levels and styles. Whether you are just starting out, want to nail your first 360, improve your technique or want some off-piste guiding, there is something for you. Instructors know the area really well and will take you to the best places to ensure you get the most out of your day and find the best snow.
4. First time?…Go catered
If you are new to winter sports, it is a great idea to book a catered holiday. Catered holidays are much easier, especially for families. Your breakfast and dinner is all cooked for you by your chalet hosts and they even leave a tasty cake out for you for afternoon tea! Hosts will drive you to and from the ski lifts too, so you don’t have to carry your skis etc through town. The other great thing about having chalet hosts looking after you is, they are always on hand to give you advice on places to go and things to do.
5. Practice before you arrive
Most people only get to ski or snowboard one week per year. A great way to get your legs snow ready is by visiting a snowdome or dryslope before your winter holiday in Morzine. Practice on your own or go on one of the available courses to build up the muscle memory you will need on holiday. Snowdomes and dry slopes are not going to get your legs used to the 650km of piste we have, but any time on your skis or board will help.
6. Charging your gadgets
Phones, kindles, GoPros, Ipads, Walkie Talkies, cameras, electric tooth brushes, electric shavers and portable games consoles all need charging. Bring a 4 gang extension lead to charge them. This way you will only need one European plug adapter and you can charge multiple devices at once.
7. Packed Lunch
If you are on a budget, make yourself a packed lunch. Spending a few Euros in the supermarket on sandwich ingredients is a lot cheaper than eating in mountain restaurants every day.
8. Foggy Goggles
We have all done it, taken our goggles off and put them on top of our helmet. This usually results in fogged up lenses especially if your helmet is wet. There is always the temptation to wipe the inside of the lens, but that is the last thing you should do as it damages the special coating. Go to a mountain bar or restaurant and use their hand dryer to dry them off. Then GENTLY polish any residue off with a dry microfibre cloth.
9. What is for dinner?
If you are planning on a big lunch one day on the mountain, it is always good to find out what your chalet hosts are cooking for you on that evening. Having a local savoyarde dish is great, but do you want a fondue at lunch and a tartiflette in the evening? That is a lot of cheese in one day!
10. Board lock/ split skis for security
Unfortunately skis and snowboards do go missing from time to time. Think about all of that equipment outside a bar or restaurant either up the hill or in town. These places are perfect for an opportunist thief. So we use snowboard locks, they are just a small version of a bike lock with a combination code. Locking our boards to a ski rack or a fence will give you piece of mind while having a beer or lunch. There are versions of these locks for skis too, but if you don’t have one, split up your skis, they are harder to steal if thieves can only find one of them.
11. Best snow
Many people gravitate the centre of the slopes. The centre of the slope can get very icy especially when the sun hasn’t yet been on it. Stick to the sides of the slopes, the snow is much nicer and you can stay out of the way of the people struggling down the middle.
12. Get through lift queues quicker
When the slopes are busy, lift queues can get quite long. We have found that People join a queue from the side closest to them. So if you stick to the outside of the lift queue you should get though it quicker.
13. Beat the crowds, ski at lunch time
Getting the most out of your day on the mountain can all depend on timing. Plan on having a late or early lunch, this means you will be on the slopes while everyone else is having theirs. During lunch time the pistes are quieter and so are the lift queues. Then when you go for something to eat the restaurants are empty…..win-win!
14. Follow the sun
Keep an eye on where the sun is shining on the mountain. This will make a big difference to the condition of the snow. Snow that has been in the sun for a while will be a lot softer. It will also make the chairlift journeys a bit more pleasant on those really cold days.
15. Get a helmet and goggles that fit
We see it far too often, holiday makers with ill fitting helmets and goggles. It is pretty funny to be honest, but we don’t want our guests to fall in to this trap. Having a gap between the top of your goggles and the bottom of your helmet will result in a bright red stripe across your forehead. When you buy a helmet take your goggles with you or vice versa. You will be able to make sure the fit is just right protecting you from the “punter gap”.
16. Get fit
If you want to get the most out of your holiday, being as fit as you can really helps. Strong legs and higher endurance makes skiing and snowboarding easier, meaning you will be able to do more. Have a look at our blog for fitness tips so you can enjoy the 650km of piste open to you in the Portes du Soleil.
17. Benefits of Aprés
Aprés is a great invention, finish your day on the mountain and go for a few drinks. Usually there is some live music or a DJ to enjoy while you are doing it in one (or more) of Morzines fantastic bars. Once aprés is finished, head to your chalet for a shower and some great food. Of course you can hit the town after dinner for “aprés aprés” or relish in the fact that you have had a great night already and chill out in the chalet. The fact that you have had your fun early means you can get first lifts next morning without a hangover.
18. First lifts
Speaking of first lifts, this is a must do. There is something really satisfying knowing that you are on the very first bubble up the mountain. It means you can get the first tracks on perfect corduroy or powder whilst beating the crowds.
19. Listen to your chalet hosts
Chalet hosts are a fountains of knowledge. They know what is going on during your stay, where the best bars and restaurants are and the best places to ski. They also know all the right people to contact in resort for whatever you may need, such as instructors or different things to do.
20. Try something new
While on a winter holiday in Morzine, why not try one of the many different things to do? There are lots of things for skiers and snowboarders, but there are also lots of things to do that are not related to sliding down a mountain.
By Tom Fortune