A local’s guide to Morzine

Morzine may sit at a lowly 1000m, but with its mix of village charm, country-connecting pistes and varied terrain, it’s easy to see why this French resort is one of the most popular in the Alps for British skiers

Not many ski resorts can claim more than 600km of pistes, a postcard-ready village and a sub-90-minute transfer time. In fact, Morzine might be the only one. Part of the colossal, border-spanning Portes du Soleil ski area, with handy proximity to Geneva airport, it has become one of the best-known spots in the Alps. We Brits especially are suckers for its charm: according to booking data from Trivago in 2015-16, it was the most popular ski resort in the world for British skiers.

Scenery. Tick! Mileage. Tick! Tree runs. Tick! Après-ski. Tick!

Scenery. Tick! Mileage. Tick! Tree runs. Tick! Après-ski. Tick! |Photos Matthieu Vitre, Gilles Lansard

It’s not just tourists who love it. Morzine and its surrounding villages are awash with expats too, from just-out-of-uni ski bums to rat-race escapees – among them our very own Fall-Line editor, Nicola, and her growing family (see here for more on their move). An influx of expats, we reckon, is a sign it really must be a special place. A place with enough terrain to keep discerning riders entertained season after season.

The skiing starts at just 1000m, but sprawls across 14 French and Swiss valleys. The 650km of pistes serve up everything from beginner-friendly greens to world-renowned back runs, such as the mogul-ridden Swiss Wall. And, assuming it’s a good snow year, the off-piste potential is truly epic. Think secret tree runs, mellow alpine meadows and hidden steeps.

Time to let local girl Helena McClintock show us around…

The best run for a warm up…

It’s always worth waking up early and getting a run in before anyone else is up. In Morzine you can’t beat a run down the Face, which is a red underneath the Pleney bubble that will get your legs fired up. If you’re based in Avoriaz – just up the mountain from Morzine – then the Prolays and Junior Downhill are perfect pistes to start the day.

For freshies days after a storm…

I should really keep that a secret, but you can’t beat Mont Chery, above Les Gets. And there’s a bowl off the Pointe des Mossettes that I could lap all day long.

matthieu-vitre-1-694

For a backcountry foray…

Vallee de La Manche is easily accessed from the top of the Le Fornet lift. A short hike will take you to La Vorlaz, or try
the Col de Ratti for something more challenging. Either way, you should have someone in the know with you: the weather
can change really quickly.

The best thing about living in Morzine is…

For me it has everything; jaw-dropping mountain views, gorgeous valleys and beautiful villages. We are also lucky to
have a massive ski area and a vibrant town, all within a snowball’s throw of Geneva and Chamonix.

Don’t leave Morzine without…

Taking a walk to some of our mountain lakes. The hike to Lac Montriond, for example, takes you along a stunning
riverside path.

What’s the biggest misconception about Morzine?

That it’s just for beginners and intermediates. In fact there’s some truly epic off-piste, freeride routes and steeps to be skied here too.

For mountain bites…

Head to Le Chaudron in Lindarets. The owners are very welcoming and the menu has a whole host of options. The
beef carpaccio is delicious, as are all the salads. For something more traditional I’d recommend Chez Nanon in Nyon. It has some of the best tartiflette around.

Morzine Portes du Soleil 74

Morzine at night

For cheap eats in town…

Le Bec Jaune (becjaunebrewery.com) is perfect for a relaxed bite with friends (run by Fall-Line family member Chrigl). It has a great atmosphere and huge variety of dishes, from amazing burgers and sweet potato wedges to scotch eggs and funky salads.

For a splash-out dinner…

I have never been disappointed by Restaurant L’Atelier in Hotel Le Samoyède (hotel-lesamoyede.com). The ever-changing menu is always amazing, showcasing local produce.

For an après-ski tipple…

Tremplin is a great place to end your day, with torchlit displays and a buzzing atmosphere. La Kinkerne, in Prodains, is another favourite. It’s the Portes du Soleil’s answer to Austrian après-ski, with table dancing 100% obligatory.    

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