How to Ski The Portes du Soleil Circuit – Ultimate Guide
Last week I spoke about the amazing landscape which surrounds us in Morzine – Les Portes du Soleil. Today, I would like to share with you one, of the many ski routes we follow when we decide to ski the Portes du Soleil circuit.
So, what is the Portes du Soleil Circuit?
The circuit takes in most of the 13 ski resorts which make up this region. So, for us it means starting in Morzine, crossing the border into Switzerland and then coming back into France. This is all done via cable cars, chairlifts, draglifts and a few short walks.
7 Points to Consider Before Heading off on your Ski Adventure
- Be sure to check the weather forecast. You will want a blue bird day. So, blues skies and sunshine all the way as there is so much fantastic scenery to take in.
- Take a piste map! You will be covering some serious distance and will be glad of some help if you take a wrong turn. This can be a paper copy and one on your phone. There is a great Portes du Soleil app you can download (App Store and Google Play)
- Get an early start. This is definitely a first lifts day. The lifts open at 8:45am for skiers and snowboarders.
- You need to consider the ski ability of those in your group. This tour is recommended for competent skiers who are comfortable on red runs. The main thing to keep an eye on is the time. You do not want to get stuck in Switzerland towards the end of the day!
- An obvious one but worth mentioning; make sure you have a full Portes du Soleil ski pass rather than the local Morzine/Les Gets one.
- If you are a snowboarder keep an eye on the flat sections. There are a few spots on route where you will need to keep your speed up.
- Remember to put on sun cream and take it with you. The risk of sunburn is high in the snowy mountains. Firstly, you have a thinner atmosphere, and less pollution is present to filter out ultraviolet (UV) light. Secondly, the snow can reflect up to 90% of UV rays so they are more likely to burn areas such as your chin, lips and nose!
From Morzine head to the 3S Prodain Express Cable Car: This will whisk you up to Avoriaz in just 4 minutes.
If you are on time and arrive into Avoriaz just before 9am, you have the option of starting your day with the famous Women’s World Cup Downhill run, Coupe de Monde.
Be warned this is a black run but skis very much like a red run once you get going. So, everyone in your party must be comfortable with this. To access this exciting run, take the Lac Intrets chairlift. This is the second chairlift on the right as you ski straight ahead from the top of the Prodain Cable car.
The views first thing in the morning are spectacular as you look back down the valley towards Morzine. You will then ski down to the top of the Prodain cable car you just came from and head for the Telesiege du Tour chairlift.
Les Lindarets towards Chatel
From the top of the Telesiege du Tour chairlift head for the Les Lindarets bowl and take the Chaux Fleuire chairlft towards Chatel.
You will then be looking down into the Plaine Dranse bowl. You might see some skiers or snowboarders being launched across the valley like superman. Fantasticable, is a ride to remember as you fly through the sky head first in a harness. However, you will not have time for this today and should head for the Chaux des Rosées chairlift.
From the top of this chairlift, on a clear day, you will see Lac Leman (Lake Geneva) in the distance. Your next target is Les Combes chairlift which can be reached by some lovely free flowing red and blue runs. Les Combes will bring you to the base of the Tete de Linga mountain which stands at 2,127 metres.
Linga to Super Chatel
The “Linga run” as I call it is one of my favourite runs in the Portes du Soleil. It goes on and on, but make sure you turn right towards the Gabelou and Portes du Soleil chairlifts which will drop you into Super Chatel.
Super Chatel to Morgin
As you come off the Portes du Soleil chairlift take the Coq drag lift. Then head towards the Corbeau drag lift which is a short ski away.
The Corbeau will take you over the top of the ridge and link you up with the very long Chalet Neuf 1 & 2 drag lift, so hold on tight!
From here head to the Ecotis draglift. At the top lunch should be firmly on the mind. Fortunately, there is a lovely restaurant called Le Corbeau (The Crow) which has a great terrace with views of the spectacular Dents du Midi (3,257m) and Dents Blanche (2,756m) mountain ranges.
Morgin to Champoussin
After lunch you will ski down to the picturesque village of Morgin. It is a short walk across the main road to catch the Foilleuse chairlift towards Champoussin. Once at the top head for the Bochasses lift.
Champoussin to Les Crosets
You will then be zig zagging your way across the valley from Champoussin to Les Crosets. Firstly, take the Aiguille des Champeys chairlift followed by the Pointe de L’Au.
Les Crosets to Avoriaz
You are then on the run down into Les Crosets. From here you can choose which lift takes you over into Avoriaz. Grande Conche is a good option. You are now back in France and can head for home.
Avoriaz to Morzine
I suggest you head down the home run towards Les Brochaux and take the Brochaux chairlift. From there, ski down into Avoriaz to the top of the Prodain Express cable car you came up at the beginning of the day. You can then ski all the way to the bottom of Prodain and catch your lift home for a well deserved rest!