Portes du Soleil Ski Resort

Portes du Soleil ski resort.
Portes du Soleil ski resort.
Portes du Soleil ski resort.
Portes du Soleil ski resort.
Portes du Soleil ski resort.
Portes du Soleil ski resort.
Portes du Soleil ski resort.
Portes du Soleil ski resort.
Portes du Soleil ski resort.

Portes du Soleil Ski Resort

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Portes du Soleil

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Pyrenees Hut to Hut Ski Tour Carros de Foc Didac Guide
Wagner Custome Skis

    Portes du Soleil Ski Trail Map
  • Portes du Soleil Ski Trail Map
  • Vertical (m)
    950m – 2,277m (1,327m)
  • Average Snow Fall
    8m
  • Lifts (196)
    12 Cable car
    75 Chairlifts
  • Ski Hours
    December to mid April
    8:30am to 4:30pm
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 600km
    Longest run – 11km
    Advanced - 12%
    Intermediate - 35%
    Beginner - 53%
  • Lift Pass Prices (Day Ticket 18/19)
    Portes du Soleil Lift Pass
    Adult - €45 to 53
    Child - €34 to 40
    Child u/5yr – Free

    Local Resorts Lift Pass
    Adult - €25 to 44
    Child - €18.60 to 34
    Child u/5yr – Free
     French Portes du Soleil Ski Trail Map
  • French Portes du Soleil Ski Trail Map
     Swiss Portes du Soleil Ski Trail Map
  • Swiss Portes du Soleil Ski Trail Map

Portes du Soleil Ski Resort France & Switzerland

Portes du Soleil ski resort is the largest international skiing area in the world, straddling the border of France & Switzerland in a high snowfall region south of Lake Geneva.

As to exactly how many ski resorts comprise Portes du Soleil is up for debate. Depends as to whether it only includes the lift interlinked resorts, the lift pass-linked areas or all the village/base areas. Some might say “who cares?” Well, we do. See below for our best crack at it.

Pros & Cons for Portes du Soleil Ski Resort

Pros

  • Huge snow holiday destination with vast terrain & diversity;
  • High snowfall area, particularly in the upper alpine;
  • Excellent value lift pass;
  • Superb beginner & intermediate piste trails;
  • Massive off-piste & freeride terrain options for everyone from beginner to expert;
  • Untracked snow in the off-piste can be found several days after a snowfall;
  • Close to Geneva, easy access via direct train, bus or car;
  • ’Ski in’ accommodation available in several resort villages including Les Crosets, Champoussin & Avoriaz;
  • Variety of resort villages in splendid surrounds & for all tastes;
  • Ski two countries but speak one language.

Cons

  • Huge snow holiday destination with high numbers of visitors at peak periods;
  • Several low elevation resort base areas are being challenged by warming winter trend;
  • Lifts in the northern sector are outdated (Torgon plus parts of Châtel & Morgins in particular);
  • Accommodation in some of the resort villages books out very quickly;
  • A high number of surface lifts in some areas may challenge beginner snowboarders;
  • Easy to get ‘lost’ (pay close attention to signage as people have been known to end the day stuck in the wrong country!).

Pro or Con (depending on your perspective!)

  • Such a huge interlinked ski area that it can be hard to know where to stay & ski (a nice problem to have!);
  • As per above, the size of the ski area may mean you don’t get to see or ski the whole resort (again not really a problem!);
  • The character of the ski resort villages varies markedly, so choose wisely a village that suites your own tastes & needs.

Portes du Soleil Skiing & Snowboarding Terrain

The raw statistics are impressive. Over 600km of ski trails, 196 ski lifts, average winter snowfall of 8m and a longest run of 11km. We explored much of it & were impressed, depressed, enthralled & bemused all at once.

There are 10 resorts interlinked by ski lift, piste trail & lift pass. Six of these are in France & they make up the bulk of the ski terrain - Avoriaz, Châtel, Les Gets, Morzine, La Chapelle d'Abondance (only part interconnected) & Montriond

See the French Portes du Soleil ski trail map here.

Five resorts are in Switzerland, generally facing east so are delightfully sun soaked in the morning. They include Champéry, Morgins, tiny Torgon, Les Crosets & Champoussin.

See the Swiss Portes du Soleil ski trail map here.

A further 2 French ski resorts are part of the Portes du Soleil lift pass but are NOT ski lift or piste trail interlinked with the 11 other areas – Abondance & St-Jean d'Aulps. Glad everyone is clear on that!

The terrain diversity at Portes du Soleil is wonderful. Terrain across all aspects & for all levels abounds. Tree skiing is available too. The northern part of the resort is quieter than the southern end. Some areas are heavily trafficked & pistes suffer as a consequence, but we found untracked lines days after the last storm, particularly in Torgon, Champoussin & the Barbossine sector of Châtel.

Lift Passes

As one can imagine, with all these ski resorts there are a bucketload of ski lift pass options. The simplest is to just get a Portes du Soleil pass. The only catch is that one needs to start every day in the country it was purchased in! What the…?

Local resort passes are available but in amongst the main interlinked ski area, one needs to be mindful of the boundaries. There are lift passes linking smaller resorts together like the Swiss CLCF Champery-Les Crosets-Champoussin-Morgins combo, the French Morzine- Les Gets combo or the Espace Liberté Torgon-half of Morgins-all of Châtel pass. Confused, so were we, but not so much anymore!

Due to the magnitude of the region, it may behove one to first buy local passes for a few days, then branch out with a full Portes du Soleil pass once you have your ski legs.

The basic rule of the Swiss ski resorts being less crowded than the French ones, may guide your lift pass choice!

Snow & Weather

Whilst the highest lifted point in Portes du Soleil is only 2277m, the resorts geographic location south of Lake Geneva on the edge of the Alps places in an extremely high snowfall zone for the many winter storms coming from the NW. Lower elevation villages & base areas (Torgon, Morzine et al) in the interlinked areas do suffer a little from warmer temperatures, but the high altitude areas above 1500m have no such issues. Snow-making is abundant, ensuring full connection of the entire ski area regardless of what mother nature throws at it.

Where is Portes du Soleil?

The heart of the Portes du Soleil ski resort at Morzine is only 80km by road east of the Geneva international airport. Transport options from the airport are abundant. Direct buses, combinations of train (to either Cluses or Thonon-les-Bains) & bus or private transfer make more sense than car rental.

On the Swiss side, a local train goes directly to the ski lifts at Champery directly from the main Geneva - Martigny line. One change is required at Aigle. At Powderhounds we love a train that goes straight to the ski lifts - such a wonderful way to journey to the snow. POW - Protect Our Winters. Buses from Aigle train station also make the journey up to isolated Torgon.

Search & book train tickets to Champery, Aigle, Morzine or Cluses at Portes du Soleil here.

Portes du Soleil Accommodation

As the Portes du Soleil ski resort comprises a dozen or so villages in two countries, the question of where to stay is vexed indeed. On the French side, the highest ski resort village is Avoriaz & it provides the best snow, ski-in ski-out options & great links to the best terrain & Switzerland. A caveat though that it is an architecturally challenging collection of high rises, albeit in a spectacular location. We enjoyed the Avoriaz village, but it is not everyone’s cup of tea.

The easiest villages to access by road are Morzine (the area’s largest village), Les Gets, Montriond (requires a bus to get to the slopes) & St-Jean d'Aulps. The village of Châtel is one of the more isolated but has good lift links to the quieter Swiss resorts of Torgon & Morgins plus has a wonderful atmosphere in a traditional setting.

In Switzerland, several villages including Morgins & Torgon provide surprisingly good value for money accommodation. The caveat being the lift links to the rest of the Portes network are not great! Champery is the most convenient to reach via public transport & has swift access to the best terrain in the region. Champoussin is the smallest & cutest of the ski resorts villages, & also, the hardest to find accommodation. Les Crosets is the perfect ski-in ski-out location & one of our picks to stay if you can afford it.

Search & book all Portes du Soleil accommodation here.

Review

The Powderhounds reviewed Portes du Soleil in 2019. We truly love some of it, loathed other bits. More information is coming soon. Stay tuned for more our photos & insights.

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