Portes du Soleil Ski Resort

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Portes du Soleil ski resort is vast & full of surprises
Portes du Soleil ski resort is vast & full of surprises
Ski powder at Portes du Soleil France and/or Switzerland!
Ski powder at Portes du Soleil France and/or Switzerland!
Avoriaz is the highest & most intriguing Portes du Soleil resort village
Avoriaz is the highest & most intriguing Portes du Soleil resort village
Portes du Soleil rises above Lake Geneva & the city of Montreux
Portes du Soleil rises above Lake Geneva & the city of Montreux
Many of the Portes du Soleil Swiss ski resorts are sun soaked delights.
Many of the Portes du Soleil Swiss ski resorts are sun soaked delights.
The Swiss Portes du Soleil village of Morgins
The Swiss Portes du Soleil village of Morgins
Avoriaz France has Portes du Soleil highest terrain
Avoriaz France has Portes du Soleil highest terrain
Portes du Soleil ski-in accommodation at Les Crosets Switzerland
Portes du Soleil ski-in accommodation at Les Crosets Switzerland
Torgon Switzerland is Portes du Soleil Powderhounds favourite
Torgon Switzerland is Portes du Soleil Powderhounds favourite
The French ski village of Châtel is the base for a vast section of Portes du Soleil
The French ski village of Châtel is the base for a vast section of Portes du Soleil
With 600km of piste trails, Portes du Soleil is the world
With 600km of piste trails, Portes du Soleil is the world's largest ski area
The multinational & multi-village signage emphasises the vastness of Portes du Soleil ski resort
The multinational & multi-village signage emphasises the vastness of Portes du Soleil ski resort
The notorious Swiss Wall is an iconic Portes du Soleil ski run
The notorious Swiss Wall is an iconic Portes du Soleil ski run
Crosets is Les Portes du Soleil
Crosets is Les Portes du Soleil's best ski-in ski-out resort village
Nearly 200 ski lifts grace the slopes of Portes du Soleil
Nearly 200 ski lifts grace the slopes of Portes du Soleil
The Portes du Soleil freeride terrain is immense & includes natural & man-made terrain features!
The Portes du Soleil freeride terrain is immense & includes natural & man-made terrain features!
Portes du Soleil ski resort view into Switzerland
Portes du Soleil ski resort view into Switzerland
Ski Portes du Soleil or just relax & take in the view!
Ski Portes du Soleil or just relax & take in the view!
Mountain huts are as abundant as the lifts & trails in Portes du Soleil ski resort
Mountain huts are as abundant as the lifts & trails in Portes du Soleil ski resort
Ski Portes du Soleil
Ski Portes du Soleil

Portes du Soleil Ski Resort

Readers Ratings

Portes du Soleil

Portes du Soleil4/52
Portes du Soleil4 out of 5 based on 2 reviews
  • Recommend
    100%
  • Would Revisit
    100%
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Portes du Soleil Resorts

French

Avoriaz
Chatel
Les Gets
Morzine

Swiss

Champery-Les Crosets
Champoussin
Morgins
Torgon

    Portes du Soleil Ski Trail Map
  • Portes du Soleil Ski Trail Map
  • Vertical (m)
    950m – 2,277m (1,327m)
  • Average Snow Fall
    8m
  • Lifts (195)
    13 Gondolas
    78 Chairlifts
  • Opening Date & Times
    December to mid-April
    8:30am to 4:30pm
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 600km (incl. routes)
    Longest run – 11km
    Advanced - 12%
    Intermediate - 35%
    Beginner - 53%
  • Lift Pass Price
    Day Ticket 20/21
    Portes du Soleil Lift Pass
    Adult - €55.50 to 59 (64CHF)
    Child - €42 to 44 (48CHF)
    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 (Lac Leman). Whilst it may not be the highest ski area in Europe, Portes du Soleil's combination of lift pass price, terrain & village diversity, extent of piste trails & backdrop of the spectacular Dents du Midi make the region a mandatory addition to the 'places to slide before I lose control of my bowel function' list.

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! Read on to see our best crack at describing this amazing ski area.

Pros & Cons for Portes du Soleil Ski Resort

Pros

  • Huge snow holiday destination with vast terrain & diversity straddling the French-Swiss border.
  • High snowfall area, particularly in the upper alpine.
  • Exceptionally good value lift pass for the entire resort, but also within local sectors - i.e. Morzine-Les Gets, Espace Liberté & the Swiss CLCF 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 & Montreux - quick & easy access via direct train (particularly to Champery), bus or car.
  • ’Ski in’ accommodation available in several resort villages including (but not limited to) Les Crosets, Champoussin & Avoriaz.
  • Variety of resort villages in splendid surrounds & for all tastes.
  • Après ski is lively in the French sectors of the resort.
  • Ski two countries but speak one language – French (the Swiss sector is in the French speaking part of Valais).

Cons

  • Huge snow holiday destination with high numbers of visitors at peak periods.
  • Relatively low top elevation & shortish skiable vertical of between 400-600m in the upper alpine.
  • Major piste trails in Avoriaz & the adjacent Linga-Pre la Jouz sector of Châtel are prone to high skier traffic & the subsequent slope conditions that follow it.
  • 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 (but several new chairlifts in Chatel are bucking the trend!).
  • Accommodation in some of the resort villages books out very quickly.
  • A high number of surface lifts in the Espace Liberté sector 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!)

  • Ski lifts being modernised, particularly in the French sector.
  • 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 suits your own tastes & needs.

Skiing & Snowboarding Terrain

The raw statistics are impressive. Over 600km of ski trails (incl. routes), 196 ski lifts, high average winter snowfall of 8m & a longest run of 11km. We explored much of it & were impressed, depressed, enthralled, excited & bemused all at once. Any way one looks at it, the lift pass price for all this terrain is astoundingly good.

See the entire Portes du Soleil ski trail map here.

There are 10 resorts interlinked by ski lift, piste trail & lift pass. Five of these are in France, with 4 making up the bulk of the ski terrain - Avoriaz, Châtel, Les Gets, Morzine, & La Chapelle d'Abondance (only part interconnected to Torgon).

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 - Les Crosets, Champoussin, Morgins & tiny (but sensational) Torgon.

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 NOT ski lift or piste trail interlinked with the 10 other areas – Abondance (close to Châtel & La Chapelle d’Abondance) & St-Jean d'Aulps (close to Morzine). 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 & piste trails can suffer as a consequence, but we found untracked lines days after the last storm, particularly in Torgon, Champoussin & the Barbossine sector of Châtel.

For more information on each area, see our Portes du Soleil Ski Resorts page.

Lift Passes

As one can imagine, with all these ski resorts there are a bucketload of ski lift pass options. The simplest (but not the cheapest) 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. Avoriaz has a local pass. 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 Swiss-French Espace Liberté Torgon-half of Morgins-all of Châtel pass; & also the Torgon-La Chapelle Abondance cheapy lift pass. Confused, so were we, but not so much anymore! It makes more sense once you are there.

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. If in Morzine or Les Gets, check out the super-cheap Saturday (Samedi) & weekend lift pass prices valid in the local sector. Note also that many (or most) of the ski pass options are significantly cheaper if bought online.

The basic rule that the Swiss ski resorts are 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 2,277m, 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 1,500m 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 France/Switzerland?

Regardless of where one is heading in the Portes Du Soleil, the gateway airport is Geneva (GVA). The journey to some villages is more difficult than others, however each is easily within 2hr travel of the airport.

The French heart of the Portes du Soleil ski resort at Morzine is only 80km by road east of the Geneva (GVA) international airport. Transport options from the airport are abundant & transfer time is super quick. Direct buses, combinations of train (to either Cluses or Thonon-les-Bains) & bus or private transfer make more sense than car rental. Avoriaz & Les Gets are accessible from Morzine. Châtel is more difficult, but best accessed via Thonon-les-Bains.

On the Swiss side, the train is the recommended mode of travel. A fantastic local train goes directly to the ski lifts at Champery from the main Geneva-Montreux-Martigny line, with one change 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. Morgins, Les Crosets & Champoussin require buses or private transfers to get too.

For detailed information on how to get there, see our Travel to Portes du Soleil page.

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. Hotels in the region are generally limited in number, but apartments & chalets are in abundance. If a village is not lift connected into the broader resort, a free navette (bus) will be available.

Search & book all Portes du Soleil ski accommodation here.

Of all the alpine villages, setting aside the architectural triumph of Avoriaz (simply due to its size & number of beds - i.e. humans) the tiny Champoussin & Les Crosets appear to be the picks. The village of Avoriaz is certainly a sight to behold. It may polarise opinion, but we found its location & design superb. If it had to be built, it was done the best it could be.

For value, Morgins & Torgon are the picks. Both are at the forgotten Swiss end of the resort in sunny dispositions overlooking the Rhone river valley.

Down in the valley on the French side, Châtel is gorgeous & worth a stay.

For more information on the best places to stay, see our Portes du Soleil Accommodation Info page.

Ski Rentals, Lessons & Guiding

Ski rentals are available throughout the Portes du Soleil via our local partners in the various resort villages. Receive a discount when you search & book via our Portes du Soleil Ski & Snowboard Equipment Rental page.

Whilst exploring the freeride terrain at Portes is not too difficult, the area is immense. Off-piste ski lessons &/or guiding may make all the difference to a stay at in the region – particularly if searching for fresh lines days after the last snowfall. for more information & booking, see our Portes du Soleil Ski Lessons & Guiding page.

Review

The Powderhounds reviewed Portes du Soleil in 2019 & have been too incredibly busy (or slack - you decide!) to finish the reviews & information relating to this magnificent ski area and its many & various parts. Take our word for it and just go there. Click on the review links in the left column on this page (or top of page if on a mobile) to read our (eventually) long-winded but humorous & inciteful thesis-like prose, plus see a few additional photos.

See how Portes du Soleil compares to the rest of the European ski resorts on the Europe ski resort ratings page.

Follow Powderhounds Europe on Facebook or Instagram to see where we are currently skiing.

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