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.
The main things to know about the Morzine ski area are:
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 get to.
Great for families and beginners
Morzine and Les Gets have a fantastic reputation for beginner/intermediates and families looking for a cost-effective winter holiday.
Part of huge interlinked ski area
If you wish to explore further afield you also have access to the vast Portes du Soleil, which due to its higher elevation is more snow sure at the beginning and end of the season.
Morzine & Les Gets ski area
Situated in the Haute-Savoie department of France, in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, Morzine is near to Geneva and the border with Switzerland on the Western edge of the French Alps.
What's it like to ski and snowboard in Morzine?
Located at a height of 1,001m, Morzine has been welcoming skiers for almost a century, with the first ski run created in 1925. However, it wasn't until 1934 that Morzine became a bona fide ski town, when the Pléney cable car (the second ever to be erected in France), was inaugurated. Today the cable car reaches up to 1,550m and the highest point in the area is Pointe de Nyon (2,019m). Morzine town itself dates back to the Middle Ages (read more on our History of Morzine guide).
The ski area is loosely comprised of three areas it's worth remembering the names of:
- The local area of Pléney/Les Gets
- The nearby areas of Nyon and Chamossière
- The wider area of Super Morzine and the vast Portes du Soleil
Le Pléney/Les Gets
The area offers plenty of variety for beginners and intermediates on a week long holiday, currently consisting of 120km of pistes. Le Pléney is where all runs are accessed by the main télécabine from Morzine; its two main areas are on opposing mountain faces with lifts running from the town centre. Skiers will not be disappointed with the gentle, tree lined slopes and carvers will love the runs around the gondola.
Les Gets is an easily accessible, very pretty ski area, where tree-lined runs abound in the Ranfoilly bowl and stunning panoramic views await from the top of Mont Chéry. Les Gets is one of the best areas for cruising pistes with a stunning backdrop. There is a free beginners zone in Chavannes and the blues here are wide and cruisey. For intermediates you can access runs off The Chavannes Express and the TC des Chavannes, plus there are more runs over in the Chavannes Bowl, which is serviced by five lifts, where multiple blues, reds and two blacks offer something for everyone to enjoy. All the runs converge on the lifts at the centre of the bowl, making it a perfect area for a mixed ability group to spend the day.
Mont Chéry deserves a special mention as a little visited mountain opposite the Chavannes side of Les Gets, served by TC du Mont Chéry, you'll find mainly steep long mogul runs dropping down the face. This aspect is south-facing so does get slushy quicker later in the season.
Nyon and Chamossière
For those looking for more advanced adventures you will enjoy the slopes here (see the piste maps).
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 Combe red, both converging at the bottom of the TS de la Pointe. Alternatively, continue on the Chamois red into the trees joining the Lievre blue and follow all the way to the télépherique de Nyon. Rather than access this area via the Pléney and onwards to the Grand Pré ski area and the Troncs télésiege, park at the TPH de Nyon, there is always ample space and the lift accesses the Nyon area directly.
Beginners are unlikely to venture here, but if you do, then the Nyon Plateau has a number of wide-open blues from the TK du Lavouet which graduate to slightly more demanding blues (they are narrower) leading to the Troncs télésiege; Lievre and Pâquérages. Worth a visit if you're over this side is the activity area at Pointe de Nyon, accessible on foot and on skis/snowboard, you can discover the majestic Eagles and enjoy a unique aerial display, held at various times throughout the day.
Chamossière is a smaller area but has a couple of top quality runs from the summit; Creux and Arbis. The latter an only slightly less demanding red run, super steep and a little narrow at the top giving way to wider less steep gradients perfect for big super G carves 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.
The Super Morzine gondola is located on the opposite side of the Morzine valley from Le Pléney; and takes you to the Express Zore across a large suspension bridge, ultimately leading onto Avoriaz and the rest of the Portes du Soleil, should you decide to splash out on a full area pass. For families with young children and beginners in lessons a full area/Portes du Soleil pass is not a necessity.
Portes du Soleil ski area
There's loads of skiing to be done on the Pléney side of the mountain and once you've finished there, there's a whole load more skiing to be done across the Portes du Soleil. Literally translated as 'Gateway to the Sun', the Portes du Soleil takes its name from a mountain pass that connects Morgins and Les Crosets. The Portes du Soleil is more snow sure than the Pléney/Les Gets area at the beginning and end of the season.
The 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 can be reached via three access points from Morzine: The Super Morzine bubble from the centre of town, the Prodains bubble and the Linderets Express. It has some of the best snowparks in the Alps and is home to Europe's first freestyle park: The Burton Stash, just one of the six dedicated freestyle zones that fall under the Avoriaz Snowzone umbrella. By welcoming snowboarders with open arms and eagerly adopting the freestyle scene they brought with them, they have used their talents to create snowparks, a halfpipe, a big air, snowcross and more, all designed to ensure adults and children alike enjoy themselves, progressing at their own pace. If you're up here make sure you visit one of these fun zones.
It's also a great area for beginners and young families, but perhaps a bit of a trek when Morzine has plenty to keep you occupied. However, intermediates and above will appreciate the vast range of runs, nearly 250km of blues and reds to choose from.
Powder hounds will love the Hauts Forts and Chavanette sectors and the powder fields in Lindarets and Châtel. You'll find tougher terrain if you head down to Les Prodains, and Hauts Forts has multiple blacks and a downhill course. Anyone seeking moguls should head for the Swiss Wall - a notorious run linking France to Switzerland, be warned it really is for experts only.
Linga and Châtel
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 off-piste lovers.
Accessible via the TS Chaux Fleurie out of Linderets, the Linga ski area has steep reds that offer a real challenge for experienced skiers and snowboarders. The reds dropping down to Plain Dranse converge into one red run, Les Rochassons, with the exception of Les Voraches. There is some great off-piste, and nearly all are lift-accessible. From the top of the Chaux Fleurie or Rochassons lifts follow the ridge past the old chairlift, and after as short 10 minute walk you'll reach the summit. From here you can see Pré la Joux and Châtel in one direction, and Lac du Montriond in the other. Both sides of this ridge have great powder fields and are popular with locals after a dump.
If you continue further afield towards Châtel using the TS des Combes, you can do a top-to-bottom steep long run all they way into Villapeyron down the red Le Linga. If you want to explore this area further you can hop onto the Gabelou chair then onto the Portes du Soleil lift - it's a long ride which skirts you round the edge of Châtel, where you'll find multiple runs and a huge number of button lifts. Châtel also has a good freestyle park that includes an airbag and modules that were used in the Nike Chosen Series back in 2012. There are also some great powder fields to explore over here that don't tend to get tracked out, but be careful - there's trees and rocks to navigate. One more thing: remember to leave in time to catch the last lift back to Lindarets otherwise you're in for an expensive taxi ride home.
St 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. A little-known secret, it's worth a look, particularly as a full area ski pass is valid here. Accessible by car, it's about a 20-minute drive from Morzine centre, and the skiing is suitable for mixed abilities, mainly constituting blue and red runs, with one black. The high points of the area are the Col de Grayon and Grande Terche at 1,800m each, both with long reds back down from the top.
The Swiss resorts
The Swiss side of the Portes du Soleil ski area includes six separate resorts: Les Crosets, Morgins, Champoussin, Champery, Val-d'Illiez and Torgon - all of which can be relatively easily reached from Avoriaz or Châtel, 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. If you head over here, ensure you leave enough time to reach the lifts you need to get home - taxis home aren't cheap.
Of the six areas Les Crosets is the biggest and is easily reached from the Lindarets valley. Take the Express Mossettes lift and drop down into Les Crosets, head up the other side of the valley on the TS Crosets II where you'll find a big snowpark and a blue run that turns into a very long red run all the way down to Champery from the top of the TK Ripaille. If you then want to head home, drop down to the TS Chavanette, under which is the famous Swiss Wall, a huge un-pisted steep mogul drop - one mistake here and you'll keep going for hundreds of metres. Beyond a black, it's classified as an orange run, with 1km to ski on a vertical drop of 331m, it really is a run for expert skiers only, and even then it's debatable if it's enjoyable or not.
In the opposite direction from the top of Mossettes lie Morgins and Champoussin. Head to Morgins first via the long blue run, get on the TS la Foilleuse and then head back up towards Champoussin for the last lift of the TS des Mossettes. Faster skiers will have time for a run or two at Morgins. There's more than a day's skiing over here but don't miss that last lift back to France.
Torgon is often missed out by tourists, and for those that can get there and back home in time for tea and cake, it's worth it. During the busy peak weeks it's often one of the few places with small queues and open, empty pistes. The views are spectacular off the back of the Morclan in the Châtel sector, and there is a freeride section under the Tronchey chair that is good fun when conditions allow.
When is the ski area open in Morzine?
The winter season usually runs from mid-December to mid-April, with any early lift openings depending on snow conditions (check Ski Lift Opening Dates for this winter's schedule). Your holiday will be very much determined by the weather and snow conditions, and therefore the time of year you choose to visit is important. If it's sunny pistes and a cold glass of wine on a mountain restaurant terrace, come in March or April. If your perfect ski break is about quiet slopes and lots of fresh snow, then January is the time to come. Or if you want numerous activities organised for your children during their school holidays, February is for you.
Whenever you choose to come, as long as the lifts are open, the local pisteurs will make the best of the snow (real and/or artificial), and groom the pistes to perfection so that you get the best possible conditions.
Beginners and family areas in Morzine
Morzine's Pléney area is essentially all you'll need to know if you're coming here as a beginner. A variety of gentle, wide slopes where you can perfect your early turns makes it an ideal destination for first timers and advancing beginners alike with a multitude of greens and blues.
As a beginner in Morzine, this is where you will spend all of your time. Of the 69 runs in this area alone, three are greens and 29 are blues. These south-facing slopes all lead off the Pléney télécabine and are famous for being sun-drenched, wide and tree-lined - perfect for beginner and intermediate skiers and snowboarders. Especially worth noting for those less experienced are the blue runs Piste B, Corbeau, and Grizzli which wind a less vertiginous route down the face of the Pléney back to the télécabine.
There are free "Mappy's Areas" set aside for all beginners regardless of age. The area has two magic carpets and a tow rope, and it's a natural sun trap with restaurants and bars nearby where you can rest and enjoy the views of the surrounding peaks: Ranfoilly and Mont Chéry. There's a fun ski park for children adorned with totem poles and American Indian decorations, where they can try small tunnels and jumps and have their faces painted in the main teepee. As you gain in confidence there are some long wide blues from the top of the Chavannes Express.
For beginners, the Nyon Plateau has a number of wide-open blues, namely Lièvre and Pâquérages, which start from the Lavouet drag lift and graduate to slightly narrower blues leading to the Troncs chairlift.
Located on the opposite side of the valley to Le Pléney, this gondola connects Morzine to Avoriaz. In the immediate vicinity of the lift are a couple of excellent blue runs namely Zore and Tetras that are wide but can be relatively steep in places, particularly the former. Perfect for advancing beginner/intermediates and those wishing to hone their technique.
Advanced areas in Morzine
Morzine and Les Gets are not renowned for their steep runs but there are a few pistes here that will allow you to pick up some speed and get the legs working...or more likely the thighs burning.
The south-facing slopes leading off the Pléney télécabine are very popular among carvers, and 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. 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 Le Stade, a floodlit red and onward directly into Morzine at the foot of the Pléney télécabine.
For moguls head for the Aigle Noir under the TS de la Pointe lift.
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 mogully 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.
The north-facing slopes lead up to the steeper and more challenging pistes of Nyon, the highest peak in the Morzine-Les Gets ski area at 2,019m, which on a clear day offers views over to the Hauts Forts, the Col du Cou and the ridgeline marking the border with Switzerland. This sector is generally favoured by powder enthusiasts who revel in the steep and deep untracked slopes. From Morzine, access 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 that rejoin the piste, and any 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 take the wide fast red run Combe which 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.
A smaller area than Nyon with one of the highest peaks in the Morzine-Les Gets ski area at 2,002m, it easily competes with 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.
There are 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 before 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.
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.
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.
Snowparks in Morzine
Portes du Soleil
The Portes du Soleil is a haven for freestylers, with no less than 11 snowparks, four boardercross, a superpipe and several airbags - something suitable for all levels. The majority are Avoriaz-based, where there are five dedicated zones. But you don't have to travel to Avoriaz to enjoy a snowpark or a boardercross whilst you're based in the area.
The closest thing Morzine has to a snowpark is in Nyon, and it is one of the smaller parks in the Portes du Soleil. However, for winter 2022/23 it's due a major makeover. As it existed it was not very well shaped, the kickers were quite narrow and had short landings that necessitated being precise, plus is was often full of ski schools. It was a fun little park to pass through but not worth making the trip over to Nyon especially for... so it's with baited breath we await news of great things from 2022's big reveal.
Located at the top of Mont Chéry, this park has one of the best views in the whole of the Portes du Soleil. Accessed via the Grand Ourse chairlift which almost never has a queue, it's a great place to head to to get away from the crowds during peak holiday periods. The features here include boxes and rails in abundance, all usually suitable for beginners and intermediates. There is also a pole jam, a hip and a spine. It's south-facing and is best enjoyed in the colder months, usually becoming too slushy in Spring. There is also an airbag here for practising any new tricks, but availability is dependent on snow conditions.
Les Gets is also home to a decent sized boardercross course which runs under the Chavannes lift. The best in the whole area, it's used for international competitions and is great for advanced skiers racing against friends. It has a proper competition entrance, tabletops and fast banked corners, so if this is your first rodeo (so-to-speak), you may be better off giving it a miss.
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.
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.
Nyon has a multitude of lines down the face inbetween the pistes, and Chamossière has a perfect unpisted bowl to skiers' left. Traverse and drop in, you'll pop out at the foot of the old TS Chamossière where you'll follow the piste and return to the Chamossière Express. The area gets tracked out pretty quickly, but it's big enough to enable you to get multiple lines down before it loses its appeal.
Les Gets' best area for off-piste is the Mont Chéry side, it's quiet, north facing on the back side and has one of the best views in the whole area. Head to the top via the TC Mont Chéry and the Grande Ourse chairlift, skirt round the back and drop down the side next to the Bouquetin black run, and then pick up the old rickety Planeys chair to do it all again. Alternatively take the Chéry Nord chair and drop off the back. Another good area to head to is the Chavannes Bowl. The off-piste is clear from the lifts but the area is big and takes a while to get tracked out, and then you can head to the trees. All routes lead back to the lifts, so there's little chance of getting lost.
Always make sure you are prepared before embarking on any off-piste skiing or snowboarding. Check out our Avalanche Safety guide. It's always advisable to hire an off-piste guide who will have extensive knowledge of the area and the mountains.
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.
The many runs accessed via the Pléney are luckily tree-lined in many cases, making them ideal for low visibility days. The Pointe du Nyon is high and exposed, but the runs coming down from the Nyon Plateau to the Charniaz bowl or to the base of Nyon itself are tree-lined, making them a great choice on a white out.
The off-piste run under the lift line of the TC des Chavannes provides a number of lines that reconvene at the bottom of the télécabine, and rather than being exposed to the elements the bubble keeps you warm in-between runs.
The Chavannes Bowl offers loads of little cut throughs off the side of the pistes near to the trees, gaining contrast in the white out conditions, but you'll need to brave the long Chavannes Express lift. To get up close and personal with those trees use the TS Rosta, Grains d'Or Express and the Ranfoilly Express to spot the cut throughs. The latter runs are all tree-lined, just be sure to avoid getting into ungroomed areas or finding yourself too tightly committed into the trees where 'that' turn is compulsory, not optional. Eeek!