Coming to a ski resort for the first time as a beginner skier or snowboarder can be a bit daunting. With a little locals know-how, our tips and tricks will help you make the most of your time here and hopefully leave you desperate for more.
Morzine is part of the vast Portes du Soleil, an enormous ski area linking 12 different resorts on the French and Swiss borders. But it's not all about riding in the forests, chasing powder, snow parks, half pipes and border cross. There's a wonderful world of beginner slopes to explore in and around the resort and across the whole of the area.
Here are our top tips:
- You may not need a full lift pass - beginner slopes are usually low down, easily accessed and some don't require a lift pass at all
- Book into ski school, don't let your mates / partner teach you, trust us and hire a professional
- Consider your choice of equipment hire shop
- Plan your outfit before you arrive
- Utilise free public transport
- Enjoy the fun zones, they usually have a beginner area
- Explore the whole resort, seek out the blue and green slopes away from the beginner areas
- Explore the blues and greens of the other resorts included in your pass
- Enjoy après-ski - after all you'll have earned your stripes
Whilst it is possible to arrange these things once you're in resort, we wouldn't recommend it - especially lessons. Plan ahead, book what you can, and take the pressure off that first morning.
If you're a complete beginner and booking into ski school you probably won't need a full Porte de Soleil six-day pass. You can buy a Morzine / Les Gets lift pass, which includes Morzine, Les Gets, and a little place called Mont Chery (a lesser known area just a short walk through Les Gets town). The Morzine / Les Gets pass is great for beginners and family adventures, boasting a wide range of mellow terrain and lifts perfectly aimed at the more nervous beginner. It's worth checking with your ski school before you buy, some schools offer packages that include a lift pass. Buying online couldn't be easier and the pass itself can be recharged / reloaded next time you visit. And rather than opt for them to be mailed to your home address, simply pick them up in resort. It's one less thing to remember to pack.
Don't let your friends or partner attempt to teach you to ski or snowboard. Trust us, for the sake of your relationships, put yourself in the hands of the professionals. Luckily there are many ski schools in Morzine offering group and private lessons with friendly and knowledgeable English speaking instructors. If you're the only beginner in your group it's definitely worth joining group lessons. You'll learn in a safe and fun environment, and make new friends with rest of your crew over your shared experiences. Lessons are definitely something you should book well in advance to ensure you get your slot - especially if your ski trip is during the school holidays.
Renting your gear online is often cheaper than in resort, and most shops have beginner ski / snowboard packages on their websites. Also it's worth making sure your pick up point is close to your accommodation, so it's not too far to carry your gear. Some shops offer free locker use near the slopes for customers, delivery services, and may even come to you for fittings on arrival if pre-arranged, especially if there's a group of you. It's worth checking this with the shop before you book.
Make the most of your time
All the gear, no idea
For the beginner skier or snowboarder it might seem expensive to lay out for the right apparel before you arrive, and there aren't many places that rent clothing in resort, so borrow what you can, and check out the sales and online discounts. At the bare minimum make sure in addition to your trousers and jacket, that you've got a helmet, some goggles, gloves, and technical ski socks. Plus a lightweight back pack is always handy for carrying water, sunscreen and an extra layer.Where to rent your gear & clothing?
Get on the bus
Plan your route from your accommodation to the beginner slopes, and use the resort's excellent public transport system to get around until you get the knack of carrying skis and poles like the pros.
The beginner slopes
For the beginner skier or snowboarder on holiday in Morzine, the Pleney is where to head. Piste B, C and D can be accessed at the top of the Pleney, right after you get off the lift and to the right. Piste N (also a blue), which surrounds the 'pinguins parc' - a beginner area for kids - is accessible by the Belvedere lift. Les Gets has a free ski zone for beginners with two magic carpets and a tow rope, accessed from the top of the Chavanne chair lift, plus there are three green slopes nearby. All of these places are where you will usually see the kids and beginners lessons going on, and they are all very gentle and beginner friendly.
The fun zones
In Les Gets the family snow park can be accessed via the Chavanne chair lift and is called 'Le Grand Cry'. Adorned with totem poles and American Indian paraphernalia it's a great place to go as a family, whatever your level. The snow park in Morzine is small and not really ideal for beginners, if you fancy having a go you should head to Avoriaz which has a beginners snow park or to Les Gets.
It’s easy to stick with the tried and tested slopes that you have come to know, but Morzine is a truly magnificent ski area that should not daunt the beginner. Head over to Avoriaz for the day and take the Proclou lift, which grants access to the 'mini stash' and some really nice, long green runs.
After all you have earned your stripes (and probably some bruises), now it's time to share your stories from the day with your family and friends, new and old.
Morzine is a great place to let off some steam after a day's exertions on the slopes. Whether that's in the local après-ski scene over a beer or two, in a local restaurant, or with a swim and sauna to relax those aching limbs. Parc des Dereches has indoor swimming pools, an ice rink, and a large spa and sauna area.
These are great options for a day off the skiing, in the event of poor weather or a great way to spend a few hours after the slopes close.
Families, at the very least, may finally have a shot at exhausting the kids with this option!
So what are you waiting for? Get yourself out here and have some fun in the snow!