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December is when the ski lifts open and the Christmas holidays are on the horizon.
Across the Portes de Soleil we can expect sports competitions, opening parties, and there will obviously also be lots of festive celebrations including a visit from a certain Papa Noël. As you are no doubt aware, most things in December revolve around the last two weeks of the month, schools break up and travellers from near and far descend on the valley. There are a plethora of events coming up, from parades to special Christmas menus and New Year's Eve blowouts.
Read on for a look at what we like to do in resort throughout December.
What are the weather & snow conditions like in Morzine in December?
Whilst there will be snow up the mountains, a white Christmas is never a guarantee in the village itself. However, it's definitely cold with temperatures averaging from -3°C to 5°C, with around 10-11 days of snowfall. Make sure thermals are on your Christmas list.
What's on in Morzine in December?
Spartan winter trail race
This first winter event of the season takes place mid December, the weekend before the lifts open. The worlds leading obstacle race company bring this challenging race to Morzine. There is the Spartan kids final and the Trail Blanc a demanding obstacle course over either 10 or 20km. If your planning to go to Morzine for this event and would like to get some early skiing in, it's the opening weekend up in Avoriaz.
Christmas in Morzine
With so many families visiting for the festive season, there is a real child-like excitement as the big day draws ever closer, and usually there's an opportunity to spot the main man himself meeting and greeting people around the resort. With the streets lights turned on and a magical atmosphere in the air, it's hard to ignore that Christmas is nearly here.
To prepare you for your French Christmas, here are a few festive facts that make the French Santa Claus a little different:
- Rather than a red hat, Père Noël wears a red cloak with a hood trimmed in white fur - a small difference easily unnoticed.
- Children do not wake up to presents under the tree on Christmas morning, because traditionally le Père Noël brings toys to good little boys and girls after evening Mass on Christmas Eve.
- Children do not leave milk and cookies for Papa Noël, but at the very least they'll leave him a glass of Calvados or wine.
- Children do not hang stockings, but rather leave their shoes and slippers out and if they have been good Père Noël will fill them with treats.
- Children in France behave around the holidays out of fear of Le Père Fouettard, who follows Père Noël to discipline naughty children.
Whilst Morzine is full of great après-ski spots, in December the bars are always throwing parties to get the locals out celebrating the start of winter. The legendary après-ski hot spot Bar Robinson is always worth a look-in.
For more events check out our events calendar link below.
School holidays Skiing
The Portes du Soleil lift company usually schedule a partial opening around the middle of the month, with full opening planned by Christmas. Of course, this absolutely depends on the snow conditions, so keep an eye on our news page and social media as we'll let you know as soon as there's any information.
Christmas and New Year is a popular month for families so the slopes are noticeably busier as soon as the holidays begin. Fortunately, the Portes du Soleil ski area is so vast, that even in high season you can find quiet slopes and minimal lift queues. Here are our insider's top tips for the school holidays:
- It will be almost impossible to book private lessons over this period, group lessons are the best option. Make sure to get your ski and snowboard lessons booked well in advance to avoid disappointment.
- If you're not in ski school, be an early bird. Arrive at the lifts before they open so that you get up and away before the ski school classes set out around 09:15.
- Ski over lunchtime. The slopes are calmer between 12:00 and 14:00 while the French take a leisurely lunch break.
- Pre-book your lunch and avoid the queues. Some restaurants offer a Click & Collect service. It's the best way to avoid the queues and make the most of your time in the mountains.
- Seek out the peripheral areas. Try to avoid the busy main ski areas closer to Morzine town and head over to the less-trodden pistes, such as the Mont-Chéry area in Les Gets.
- Get off-piste. Competent off-piste skiers can book a local mountain guide and explore the vast off-piste areas in the valley or even go touring to find complete solitude in the backcountry.
Bars & Clubs
If, like a lot of people, you like to follow several hours of exercise with several hours of drinking, especially during the festive season, you can hit up any of a number of local après-ski sessions.
New Year's Eve
Always a big night, the village is full of revellers. The restaurants will be busy, so it would be best to make a reservation to ensure you can get a table, and many of the bars and clubs are ticket-only, so if there's somewhere you plan to see the New Year in, make sure you've planned ahead.