The legendary resort of Morzine offers a wide variety of ski runs for all ages and abilities, from complete beginners to freeride experts, and is part of one of the largest linked ski areas in the world, the Portes du Soleil - all of which is accessible with the same pass.
This giant mountain playground is located just over an hour away from Geneva international airport, making it one of the most convenient Alpine ski areas to come to.
In Morzine itself there are two main piste sectors to be found on opposing mountain faces, with lifts running from the town centre. The main ski area is called "Le Pléney", and when linked with neighbouring Les Gets, it boasts 120km of piste. All of Morzine's runs are accessed by the main Le Pléney gondola.
Morzine and Les Gets have a reputation for being perfect for beginner/intermediate skiers and snowboarders, families and those looking for a relaxing ski holiday swooshing down the wide tree-lined runs. However, the local area also offers plenty of variety for those looking for more advanced adventures - without needing to splash out on a full area Portes du Soleil pass.
If you wish to you can head to the other side of the valley, where you'll find the "Super Morzine" gondola, linking Morzine with Avoriaz and the rest of the Portes du Soleil, which due to its higher elevation is more snow sure at the beginning and end of the season.
- What is skiing & snowboarding like in Morzine?
- Where is the Morzine ski area?
- When to come skiing & snowboarding in Morzine?
- Morzine ski area: South-facing slopes on Le Pléney
- Morzine ski area: North-facing slopes on Nyon
- Morzine ski area: North-facing slopes on Chamossière
- Super Morzine
- Les Gets ski area
- Portes du Soleil ski area
- Best pistes in Morzine
- What is Morzine like for beginners and families?
- Advanced areas in Morzine
- Off-piste areas in Morzine
- Snowparks in Morzine
- Bad Weather areas in Morzine
- More inspiration...
What is skiing & snowboarding like in Morzine?
Where is the Morzine ski area?
Situated in the Haute-Savoie department of France, in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, near Lake Geneva (Lac Léman) and the border with Switzerland, the town is located at a height of 1,001m. The Pléney gondola reaches up to 1,550m and the highest point in the ski area is Pointe de Nyon (2,019m).
The Morzine ski area has been welcoming skiers for almost a century. Currently owned by SA Téléphérique du Pléney, the first ski run was built in 1925 behind the Grand Hotel, which had just opened its doors. However, it wasn't until 1934 that Morzine became a bona fide ski town, when its main lift, the Pléney cable car (the second ever to be erected in France), was inaugurated. Morzine town itself is much older, with origins dating back to the Middle Ages – learn more on our History of Morzine page.
When to come skiing & snowboarding in Morzine?
The Morzine ski season usually takes place from mid-December to mid-April, with some early lift openings depending on snow conditions – see our Ski Lift Opening Dates guide for this winter's schedule. The best time to come skiing and snowboarding in Morzine really depends on what you want your ski holiday to be.
Are you looking forward to sunny pistes and a glass of wine on a piste-side terrace? Then you should come in March or April. Is your idea of the perfect ski break more about quiet slopes and lots of fresh snow? Then perhaps January is the time to come. Do you want to take advantage of the many activities organised for children during the school holidays? February is your month.
Whenever you come, as long as the lifts are open, the local pisteurs will make the best of the snow they have (or even make some artificial flakes) and groom the pistes to perfection, so that you get the best possible conditions.
Morzine ski area: South-facing slopes on Le Pléney
Le Pléney Area
Divided into 69 runs (three green, 29 blue, 28 red and nine black) served by 48 modern lifts, all runs are accessed by Le Pléney télécabine and some older chairlifts; TS de la Crusaz, TS des Mouilles, TS d’Atray and TS des Fys. Lifts here also connect to the linked ski area of Les Gets.
These south-facing slopes leading off the Pléney télécabine are famous for their sun-drenched, wide and tree-lined, blue and red runs that prove very popular among carvers and are perfect for beginner and intermediate skiers. Some would maybe constitute black status if they were not running directly into resort.
The red runs Rénard, Fouine and Abeille are above Morzine town, they are steep but generally wide and are perfect for the advancing intermediate skier or snowboarder. All can be repeated multiple times using the télésiege d’Atray after initially reaching the Pléney plateau via the télécabine.
Olympique is a black run, gaining such status as a result of the piste dropping steeply adjacent to the lift line.
Hermine (a long red run) does likewise but is more frequently pisted, and it runs into the Le Stade, a floodlit red and onward directly into Morzine at the foot of the Pléney télécabine.
For less experienced skiers/boarders the better options are the blue runs: Piste B, Corbeau, and Grizzli, which wind a less vertiginous route down the face of the Pléney, ultimately emerging at the télécabine of the same name. Although an easier grade, these runs still offer entertainment for the more accomplished skier with ample opportunity to carve big fast turns and straight line the flatter sections in a racer tuck.
Even the most experienced of skiers or snowboarders can find their ski legs with a few days on the Pléney side of the valley, plus you'll avoid those queues for the Super Morzine lift. And when there's been good snowfall, get up early and head for the Fys and Atray lifts for some fun in the trees along the edges of the red runs.
Morzine ski area: North-facing slopes on Nyon
The north-facing slopes lead up to the steeper and more challenging pistes at Nyon, the highest peak in the Morzine-Les Gets ski area at 2,019m.
There are also some gentle blue runs here, but this sector is generally favoured by powder enthusiasts who revel in the steep and deep untracked slopes. On a clear day, this peak offers views over to the Hauts Forts, the Col du Cou and the ridgeline marking the border with Switzerland.
From Morzine, access to this area is via the Pléney gondola and Granges blue run, or park at the bottom of the Nyon cable car, where there is always ample space and the lift accesses the Nyon area directly.
Dropping from the Pointe de Nyon, the red Aigle Rouge is initially a steep switchback run reminiscent of an Alpine mountain pass. For the more experienced, there is opportunity to shortcut the switchbacks via steep off-piste drops rejoining the piste, and your less experienced friends. This run gives way to the bumpy Aigle Noir to the skier’s right, or for those wishing to preserve their knees the wide fast red run Combe converges at the bottom of the La Pointe chairlift. Alternatively, continue on the Chamois red run into the trees joining the Lièvre blue run and follow all the way to the Nyon cable car.
For beginners, the Nyon Plateau has a number of wide-open blues, Lièvre and Pâquérages, which start from the Lavouet drag lift and graduate to slightly narrower blues leading to the Troncs chairlift.
Morzine ski area: North-facing slopes on Chamossière
One of the highest peaks in the Morzine-Les Gets ski area at 2,002m, it shows off Mont Blanc and the Aiguilles in Chamonix for a truly spectacular view. From Morzine, access to this area is via the Pléney gondola and Granges blue run, or park at the bottom of the Nyon cable car, where there is always ample space.
Chamossière is a smaller area than Nyon, but has a couple of top-quality runs from the summit: the black Les Creux and the red Arbis. The former is the signature run here, and the steep off-piste close to it provides ample powder day fun - a steep drop under the Chamossière chairlift line. The latter, a slightly less demanding red run, super steep and a little narrow at the top, giving way to wider less steep gradients is perfect for big super G carving lower down the slope – a little bit of everything in one ski run.
The latter returns to the Grand Pré and the TS des Têtes which is the lift accessing the higher Chamossière area.
If you take the Aigle red run, head left and traverse away from the first turn to the weather station. From here you can get all the way down to the Chamossière valley. You really need to be aware of the conditions when riding here, it's very prone to avalanches, and there are a few cannons for avalanche control, so take care. The forested runs directly above the town are perfect for storm-riding on bad weather days, but be very careful there are cliffs here too! Don't take the wrong turn without a parachute.
On the opposite side of the Morzine valley is the Super Morzine télécabine that takes you to the Express Zore ultimately leading onto Avoriaz. In the immediate vicinity are a couple of excellent blue runs namely Zore and Tetras. These two are wide but relatively steep in places, particularly the former and are perfect for advancing beginner/intermediates and those wishing to hone their technique.
Les Gets ski area
Easily accessed from Morzine, Les Gets is a very pretty ski area – tree-lined runs abound in the Ranfoilly bowl and stunning panoramic views await from the top of Mont Chéry, making this one of the best areas for cruising pistes with a stunning backdrop.
For advanced skiers and snowboarders, the Chavannes bowl has a couple of good blacks: Yeti and Myrtilles - take La Rosta and Grains d'Or chairlifts. Particularly fun after a good snowfall, they can get a bit moguly later in the day so they're better tackled in the morning (unless you're into that kind of thing). There are also a lot of off-piste runs here in-between the reds and blues, and some easy runs through the trees which all lead back to a piste at some point, so no chance of getting too lost.
If you like long red runs with a few rollers, head to the Mélèzes run, just don't go whizzing past the 'danger' signs towards that inviting pocket of powder - you'll end up in the river!
Mont Chéry itself takes a bit longer to get to, there aren't a load of runs, but it's great fun for the intermediate/advanced skiers and snowboarders. The back side (north facing) has a red and a black, but as they are mostly shaded they are icy most of the day. There is some good off-piste to be had through the trees and off the sides of the pistes after a good dump. It's great for improving your off-piste experience without fearing for your safety - just watch out for the trees. You can even ride all the way back to Les Gets through farms and gardens in the right conditions.
Read more in our guide to the Les Gets Ski Area.
Portes du Soleil ski area
Morzine and Les Gets linked ski area consists of 120km of pistes, and is part of an even larger linked ski area, the Portes du Soleil. Literally translated as 'Doors of the Sun', it takes its name from a mountain pass that connects Morgins and Les Crosets. There's loads of skiing to be done on the Pléney side of the mountain, and once you've finished there and you're not involved in ski lessons, there's a whole load more skiing to be done across the Portes du Soleil. The Portes du Soleil is also more snow sure at the beginning and end of the season.
The Portes du Soleil area is vast, with 600km of pistes spread across 12 different ski resorts in France and Switzerland. There are 306 pistes and 30 snowparks – including boarder and ski cross tracks as well as fun slopes – all accessed by 195 ski lifts. In the whole ski area there are 38 greens, 131 blues, 105 reds and 32 blacks.
Perched 600m above Morzine, the snow-sure resort of Avoriaz has some of the best snowparks in the Alps and is home to Europe's first freestyle park: The Burton Stash. Powder hounds will love the Hauts Forts sector and the powder fields in Lindarets and Châtel. It's also a great area for beginners and young families. Read more in our guide to the Avoriaz Ski Area.
This sector of the Portes du Soleil ski area includes a good mixture of piste skiing for most levels. Whilst there are no black runs, some gently sloping powder fields are perfect for the off-piste lovers. Read more in our guide to the Châtel, Pre la Joux and Linga Ski Area.
Saint Jean d'Aulps
Although the St Jean d’Aulps ski area is part of the Portes du Soleil, it is not connected by pistes or lifts to the rest of the resort. However, it's worth a look, particularly as a full area ski pass is valid here. Read more in our guide to the St Jean d'Aulps Ski Area.
The Swiss resorts – Morgins, Les Crosets and Champery
The Swiss side of the Portes du Soleil ski area includes six separate resorts which can all be reached relatively easily from Avoriaz, but might require a little more planning and time if you're heading over from Les Gets. You'll find more snowparks, some steeper red pistes as well as the infamous Swiss Wall, the most demanding run in the whole ski area. Read more in our guide to the Swiss side of the Portes du Soleil Ski Area.
Best pistes in Morzine
Perfect for mixed ability groups and families, the Morzine ski area offers a range of pistes, many of which can be easily accessed from the centre of town and the comfort of the Pléney gondola. With wide open runs, some steeper skiing and tree-lined pistes, you're sure to find your favourite piste this winter.
What is Morzine like for beginners and families?
Morzine and the surrounding Portes du Soleil have some very good areas for first-time skiers and snowboarders. A variety of gentle, wide slopes where you can perfect your early turns makes Morzine ideal for absolute beginners and advancing beginners alike with a multitude of greens and blues.
Advanced areas in Morzine
Morzine and Les Gets are not renowned for their steep ski runs but there are a few pistes here that will let you pick up some speed and get the legs working...or more likely the thighs burning.
Off-piste areas in Morzine
Above Morzine sit the Nyon and Chamossière ski peaks, the highest points of the local ski area and the best sectors for powder enthusiasts. These offer lift accessed off-piste, saving the necessity to hike for hours.
Always make sure you are prepared before embarking on any off-piste skiing or snowboarding. Check out our Avalanche Safety page for tips on what to do before setting off. It's always advisable to hire an off-piste guide who will have extensive knowledge of the area and the mountains.
Snowparks in Morzine
The Nyon snowpark is one of the smaller parks in the Portes du Soleil and for winter 2022/23 we're told it's getting a major makeover. As it was the kickers were quite narrow and had quite short landings that necessitated being quite precise. It's a fun little park to pass through but not worth making the trip over to Nyon especially for... so it's with baited breath that we wait for the grand reveal for this season.
Bad Weather areas in Morzine
There are certain runs that offer more contrast providing vast amounts of skiing/snowboarding when the flakes are falling. The trick is to head for the pistes that are tree-lined; the trees help provide definition when everything else seems to be white.