Torgon

Torgon

Overall Rating

Torgon

Torgon3/51
Torgon3 out of 5 based on 1 reviews
  • Recommend
    100%
  • Would Revisit
    100%
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     Torgon Ski Trail Map
  • Torgon Ski Trail Map
  • Vertical (m)
    Portes du Soleil
    950m – 2,277m (1,327m)
  • Average Snow Fall
    8m
  • Lifts
    Espace Liberté (incl. Torgon) – 56 lifts
    3 Gondolas / cable cars
    19 Chairlifts

    Portes du Soleil – 196 lifts
    11 Gondolas / cable cars
    75 Chairlifts
  • Opening Dates & Times
    Mid December to mid-April
    8:30am to 4:30pm
  • Terrain Summary
    Espace Liberté Runs - 130km
    Portes du Soleil Runs - 600km
    Longest run – 10+ km
    Advanced - 12%
    Intermediate - 35%
    Beginner - 53%
  • Lift Pass Prices (Day Ticket 19/20)
    Espace Liberté
    Adult - 51CHF
    Child - 38CHF
    Child u/5yr – Free

    Portes du Soleil
    Adult – 63CHF
    Child - 47CHF
    Child u/5yr - Free
    Portes du Soleil Ski Trail Map
  • Portes du Soleil Ski Trail Map
     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

Torgon - Reviews

Torgon - Reviews

Portes du Soleil's forgotten outpost. .... just the way we like it!

Powderhounds Europe
06/03/2019
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Telemarker
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    February

Portes du Soleil's forgotten outpost. .... just the way we like it!

Powderhounds Europe
06/03/2019

A quiet outpost, Torgon is one of those many ‘forgotten’ Swiss ski resorts that is ripe for ‘re-discovery’ by anyone looking for a good value, fun & friendly ski resort. It also happens that Torgon is lift linked to the world’s largest international cross border ski area – the Portes du Soleil. Because if its connection to Portes, some of the review category scores are higher than they otherwise might have been!

Barely rating a mention in most paraphernalia about the massive Portes du Soleil, Torgon is reminiscent of a Japanese ski resort in the late 90s. Hanging on but in decline & showing it. Fear not though. Beneath the veneer is a thriving little community & a ski area that, despite its challenges, provides a ski experience totally different to the majority of the Portes ski areas.

Only a hop, ski & jump from the intriguing lakeside city of Montreux, the short train ride to Aigle & then the route 142 Postbus direct to Torgon La Jorette takes around an hour depending on the train /bus connection. The 142 only runs 5 times per day, so time your arrival at Aigle accordingly.

Aigle also provides the jumping off point to Champery Leysin Villars & Les Diablerets by mountain railway & bus, marking it as an important Swiss ski transport hub. The volumes of people heading to Leysin & Villars is instructive when compared to the handful of people that will be on the bus with you to Torgon.

The beauty of Torgon is that in mid-February, with fresh snow overnight & a blue sky, we skied powder until 1030am before seeing anyone else off-piste. That is why Torgon is a Powderhounds destination. Its lift connections to the Portes du soleil are rubbish & well past their ‘use by date’, but if looking for a quiet ski resort, minimal competition for off-piste powder, superb value accommodation, food & lift prices & with the potential to connect to a massive ‘interlinked’ ski area - Torgon could well be the juice.

From the Tronchay quad chair a series of north aspect freeride steeps is available. Scope them out from the chair on the way up & hit them early. The opposite side of the valley is accessed via a convoluted route from the top of the quad, down to a surface tow, then seemingly backwards again towards Petit Châtel before a sharp right turn sends you back towards Torgon. Take very careful note of the signage. Once in the high saddle, traverse high skier left (noting avalanche dangers!) & drop in steeply on perfect powder, avoiding riding the piste until the very end. Elsewhere, the surface tows up to La Chapelle have some broad powder faces amongst the few piste trails. Options for short pitch tree skiing exist too.

The old Torgon village is down the road a few km from the ski resort base which is called Torgon La Jorette. The chairlifts that once linked the resort village to the main ski area at Plan du Croix have recently been decommissioned, leaving the seven monstrous apartment complexes & the awesome Torgon Alpine Centre disconnected. A free ski bus links the village to the Plan du Croix ski lifts every half an hour from 8.45am.

La Jorette still has a decent surface J-bar, plus learn-to-ski conveyor & handle tow. The ski school is based there & early morning sun make it a great place to find one’s feet on skis. La Jorette is home to the Café Chocolate Suisse & its spectacular marshmallow hot chocolate, complete with cow cups & saucers. The ski school has another satellite base at Plan du Croix in Le Container (which doubles as a lovely bar & creperie).

It is possible to use the tow at La Jorette to access a cat track across to Plan du Croix, but few if any take up the option. Most prefer to use the ski bus or drive themselves.

Torgon La Jorette has a small shop complex with a food market, two café/bar restaurants, ski shop with rental, retail & service/repair facilities. A larger bar/restaurant, the Auberge des Caprins is located slightly up the ski slope. It would have made the ideal après ski location when the old chairlifts were still in service but is sadly out of place now. Regardless the food & service are excellent.

From Torgon the lift connections to the greater Portes du Soleil are poor (particularly if you leave your run after 10am), but despite this, most of the ski areas are reachable in a day rip from Torgon. Quad chairs from Torgon & Petit Châtel converge on an area where the next lift link to Morgins is a single button/J-bar lift. Long lines ensue. Luckily for the Powderhound, if the line is untenable & snow conditions are good, ski straight through the lift queue & ride powder on ridges & through trees into the Barbossine valley. Careful of the odd barb-wire fence below the rock chapel! Either take the Barbossine chair back up & test the queue again or download on the tediously slow chair to Petit Châtel. This can be skied in good conditions; however, it is officially closed to skiing (whatever that actually means!). From the Petit Châtel base, stumble off the chair, grab your skis or board & wait for a bus down to Châtel. All this area is within the Espace Liberté ski pass. It represents great value for money and may be all that most people need when skiing the area. A full Portes du Soleil pass is needed to get past Morgins & Chatel.

Châtel is a lovely, vibrant village. A procession of bars, restaurants & shops line the traditional main street below the Super Châtel gondola. Even if the excruciating journey from Barbossine to Châtel may have near broken you, the village will immediately perk you up.

If early enough, Morgins & the wide-open alpine spaces of the sunny Swiss ski resorts of Champoussin, Les Crosets & Champéry can be reached quickly enough. Four tedious surface tows link Torgon to Morgins (more on the way back!) The trail down into Morgins is a sun-baked piece of nastiness not really fit for its beginner rating. Be wary later in the day. Once in Morgins, spot up the La Folleuse chairlift base across the other side of town & head towards it. It is possible to ski most of the way bar one road crossing. The couple of hundred metres traverse through town may put one’s ski bases in jeopardy though. Your choice! (Note that from here one requires a full Portes du Soleil lift pass.)

The Morgins alpine terrain south of the village is broad & low angle served by the first modern chairlifts one encounters after Torgon– perfect for beginner /intermediates. The off piste provides a good proving ground for those new to freeride powder skiing.

The terrain improves the further south one travels on the Swiss side of Portes du Soleil. Champoussin has some fantastic off-piste, which was still providing fresh turns 3 days after the last storm. Traffic increases dramatically on the journey toward Avoriaz. The excellent piste & freeride terrain appears more readily skied out, & the weight of humanity becomes more obvious - although it must be said, more so on the French side of the ski area. For ridiculous bumps try the infamous ‘Swiss Wall’ or “Chavanette”. The hype is as massive as the Volkswagon Beetle sized bumps. Ridiculously oft referred to “as one of the steepest & toughest slopes in the world”, the run is only 400m vertical & 1km long with a nice 37o consistent pitch. The Swiss Wall is more of an insight into the way skiing used to be (i.e. the bad old days!) & not the type of run that us Powderhounds travel the world to seek. If you like bumps it is a MUST DO, if you like powder, there are plenty of choice freeride lines nearby! On a deep powder day though, those big bumps would be kinda fun.

Forget any thoughts of skiing France’s Morzine or Les Gets from Torgon, simply too far & not necessary. There is plenty to see and do in the rest of the terrain. A round journey from Torgon to Morgins, Les Crosets/Champery, Avoriaz & Châtel back to Torgon will take up a whole enjoyable day. Watch the clock to avoid getting stuck in France. It’s a long walk up, or taxi ride back around to Switzerland if you miss last lifts!

For anyone seeking quality budget lodgings in the Portes du Soleil, the Torgon Alpine Centre is the place. Run by the local ski school crew & also the providores of the best hot chocolates in the region, the centre can cater for singles plus groups large & small. Torgon La Jorette’s main accommodation is within the ghastly multi-storey apartment buildings. Heaps of self-contained apartments are usually for rent. If you have a car, the Hotel de Torgon in the old village has good value rooms plus a fantastic restaurant & bar serving Swiss & Belgian food & beer.

When it snows low & heavy, check out Torgon next time you come to Switzerland &, just like the influx of skiers to Japanese resorts in recent years, help stop it from going bankrupt!