Morzine is a very attractive old mining village at its core, boasts a busy apres and nightlife scene, and offers plenty of skiing. All things considered, it is a good value resort and its easy to reach location makes it a clear favourite favourite for many Brits year upon year. But we must admit – sitting at just over 1000m, snow reliability can be an issue.
The town itself is quite large and sprawling with several satellite villages, but has an attractive centre. There are some lovely owner run chalet companies offering a really luxurious stay. Further, there are some well located apartments in the resort centre, as well some some great hotels, allowing Morzine to be enjoyed at by those with low, medium and high budgets, Morzine shares its local slopes with Les Gets and the slopes form part of the the Portes du Soleil ski area.
On the Les Gets side, slopes can be accessed by the Pleney and Crusaz lifts and on the other side (the Avoriaz side), Morzine connects into the main Portes Du Soleil circuit from both the centre of town via the Super Morzine lift, or from the outlying (but bus-connected) hamlets at Ardent and Les Prodains, which have their own lifts.
As well as the main circuit, we must mention St Jean d’Aulps, and Abondance which are two areas often overlooked by those in the region.
We need to mention that almost all the skiing is below 2000m. Whist in recent seasons, there has been a wonderful snow cover from December through to April, there is always an element of risk in booking a trip here early or late season.
1000m – 2460m
December – April
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For those staying centrally, the main nursery areas are the top of both the Pleney and the Nyon telecabine. Both areas have mountain restaurants beside the lesson meeting points. Those staying in the outlying Morzine villages and hamlets might choose different areas. There are good beginners’ slopes at les Lindarets, close to Ardent. Novices based at Les Prodains have a tougher time and should really head to Pleney /Nyon areas.
With the basics mastered, the area really comes into its own with some many easy routes down the mountain. Apart from the odd black (which intermediates best avoid), intermediates can literally ski anywhere.
Advanced skiers should certainly ski the blacks, particularly Chamossiere. If it is off piste you are looking for, in the right conditions, there will be great powder found in Morzine, and beyond in neighbouring Avoriaz and Les Gets, and across the whole of the Portes du Soleil. Similarly in good conditions, there is off-piste heaven below Pointe de Nyon, but a guide is essential. On the Les Gets side, the far side of Mont Chery has black runs below the Planeys and Chery Nord lifts. A little bit further afield, experts will enjoy the steep black runs at les Hauts Forts down to Les Prodains, the Swiss Wall into Champery and the offpiste below the Pointe de Mossette heading towards Les Crosets.
There are no dedicated facilities for snowboarders and freestylers in Morzine. Whilst the above applies to boarders as well as skiers, Avoriaz is the place to be to find dedicated snowboard and freestyle facilities.
The main swimming complex in Morzine is fantastic. It offers a 25 meter swimming pool alongside a plunge pool and a kids splash area. If you’re looking for a serious swim then there are lanes cordoned off for just that at all times. There’s also a large swimming area for the more leisurely swimmer. The pool is part of the Palais des Sports complex in the centre of Morzine. The complex also boasts a sauna.
Spa and Gym
If what you really want is relaxation and complete luxury then you’ll be pleased to hear that there are a number of spas to choose from in and around Morzine. The Dahu hotel with its indoor pool and pamper centre offers packages for the non-skier that include massages and a day pass for all of their facilities. It focuses on clean living with a smoothie bar and delicious food menu. Mountain Rehab is a great place to head if your way of relaxing involves something a little more physical. Based at the Aiglon hotel in Morzine, Mountain Rehab has Morzine’s only fully equipped gym, has on-site masseuses and runs a busy timetable of fitness classes including Yoga, Spinning and Pilates.
Morzine’s offering of shops and cafes has really increased over the last few years. Most shops shut around 12:00 and reopen again after 14:00 giving you the ideal opportunity to enjoy a long lunch with a glass of wine in one of the town’s restaurants.
Sledging (including night sledging)
The Aubergade hotel at the base of the Pleney is the perfect base for a family sledge. It has a vast outside area backing onto a fantastic sledging slope. You can enjoy a drink or two whilst having some free fun! If you don’t have access to a sledge then most of the ski hire shops will lend you one for very little money. You can also partake in night sledging down the Pleney. These sessions run several times a week depending on take up and are hugely fun! You are taken to the top of the Pleney, given a sledge and a head torch and guided down the slope as dusk falls over the mountains. Night sledging costs around 25 euros per person depending on the size of your group.
Not skiing doesn’t mean you can’t experience the amazing snowy countryside of the Portes du Soleil. Why not hire some snowshoes and explore some of the amazing walking routes around Morzine and Les Gets. Plan your route first to ensure it’s safe and not avalanche prone. Stick to pisted and safe routes especially if you’re unsure of where you’re going. If you want to go a little further afield then there are also walking guides who will take you out to explore some of the hidden gems of the regiong.
Morzine and Les Gets both have amazing outdoor ice rinks right in the centre of the two resorts. They’re open most afternoons and both boast stunning views of the surrounding mountains. If the weather is bad and you don’t fancy skating in outside, then Morzine is also home to a huge indoor rink. This is open to the public most afternoons and is a perfect bad weather activity.
View the live snow report for Morzine here
Morzine is extremely proud of its Famille Plus status, which it was awarded for excellence in catering to families with kids.
Ski School and Child Care in Morzine
The Piou Piou Club is run by the ESF and offers childcare and ski school for kids aged from 3 to 14 years. Younger kids will love playing around and finding their feet in the club’s snow garden and kids ski area, while older kids can hone their skills with the school’s expert instructors. Lunch and snacks can be provided and there are also indoor facilities for when the weather closes in. The Piou Piou Club is located near the base of the Pleney lift, so to make life easy for yourself opt to stay in one of the hotels in that area, such as Hotel Les Airelles. For kids that are too young to ski, there’s a range of creche, nursery and nanny services. The French-run L’Outa Nursery in the centre of Morzine takes children aged from 3 months to 5 years. It’s open 6 days a week (Sunday to Friday) from 9am to 5.30pm, and has both indoor and outdoor play areas to keep your little ones entertained. There are also a number of British run ski schools that offer lessons for both children and adults, including BASS, Mint Snowboard School and our friends at New Generation.
Hotel Le Tremplin
Hotel Les Airelles
Hotel Le Dahu
Hotel Le Petit Dru
Geneva Airport (87km / approx 1h15m)
Geneva is without a doubt the best airport for travel to Morzine. There are many shuttles scooting to and from the resorts
Chambery Airport – 130km / approx 1h30m
Unfortunately the main bus services don’t run to Morzine, so the best option is getting a private transfer or by renting a car.
Lyon Airport – 210 km / approx 2h15m
Again the main coach services don’t serve the route between Lyon airport and Morzine, so the best option is getting a private transfer or by renting a car.
When arranging your route try using www.viamichelin.com, as they provide great directions, toll road costs, and fuel estimations. The journey is easily doable in a day at between 7 and 10 hours from Calais. We strongly suggest you add snow chains to your travel check list, top up your radiator fluid with a heavy mix of anti-freeze, and check the weather forecast before you set off.Parking in Morzine is no problem with three main pay and display car parks located near the tourist information office and cost between 30euros and 40 euros per week.
Unfortunately taking the train to Morzine requires a bit of a planning compared to the resorts further south in the Tarentaise. It involves taking an early service from London to Paris Gare du Nord, a change of station in Paris to Gare de Lyon and from here you can take the domestic TGV service to Cluses, about 30 km from Morzine. From Cluses you need to take a half hour taxi up to resort.