Ski and Winter Fun in the Portes du Soleil
Skiing from Chalet Papillon has never been easier now that you can buy your passes online
Online ski passes
This is a great innovation which saves a lot of time – and potentially money. Firstly you buy a hands free pass from the ski pass shop in the resort and register it on the internet. Then before you go skiing up to 1 hr before you can top up your pass online using the serial number on the pass. So if the weather is iffy you can wait until the last minute before buying your pass – check out the web cams too to see what it is like in the resort!
Keep hold of your lift pass - when you get 200 points you can claim a free ports du soleil pass!
Also download the portes du soleil app to your smartphone for the latest resort info!
Ski Tuition and Guiding
The wonderful ESF ski schools operate out of all the resorts for all ages and now have instructors who speak good English.
New Generation Ski - Guided lessons for snowboard and skiing in Avoriaz and Morzine 06 52 96 85 87 www.skinewgen.com
Freedom to Ski www.freedom2ski.com/ski-lessons/ Their meeting point is the top of Les Prodain in Avoriaz. 0044 7762 59 66 22 Pete
Winter Bus route Balad d’Aulps bus
Look here for more information on this regular bus which goes between the resorts. If you want to avoid the hassle and cost of parking in the resort you can park at Le Jotty, Pont de Gys (just below the church of La Baume on the main road) or at St Jean d’Aulps abbey and catch the bus in for a very cheap price. See the above website for details. It runs all day and into the evening.
Portes du Soleil region
The Portes du Soleil region comprises 12 resorts with 286 runs covering 650km of slopes in France and Switzerland and 225 mechanical ski lifts – all with just one ski pass. Whatever the snow conditions and your skiing ability there is a resort to suit you and your family. Stay at Chalet Papillon and you will have a wide selection of resorts to choose from. We can’t emphasise how much choice and variation you can get in your skiing in this area- there are literally 4 or 5 world class resorts easily within your grasp. For snow boarders there are 7 snow parks, 3 half pipes and 4 boarder cross courses. Select your ski equipment from ….. on the main road out of St Jean d’Aulps and you should receive 10% discount.
Portes du Soleil Piste Map (1.4mb)
Col de Corbier/Drouzin le Mont:
This is the small local resort on the mountain directly opposite us. A small ski area which is suitable for beginners / children and much lower cost than the main resort – doesn’t have the buzz of the big ones but you can still have a good days fun here.
La Grande Terche: Reached from our nearest main village St Jean d’Aulps, this resort has a variety of slopes and a good ski school. The 21 miles range from 900m to 1800m in altitude. The resort perhaps offers the more experienced skier less scope but certainly has potential for a few days. An excellent bowl area allows children to try the smaller drag lifts on their own.
Not linked into the PdS but if the snow line is low offers some good skiing. Go into St Jean d'Aulps and just before you enter the village you will see signs up to the right, it is then only five minutes up the hill and you then take a cable car into the bowl area. This is a smaller local resort - cheaper and often quieter, but still with scope for most levels of skiing. There is one lovely nursery slope, ideal for children, whilst a bowl provides many other runs. However, the intermediate slopes back down to the nursery slope can be tricky for beginners, depending upon snow conditions. You can also park at the tourist office and take the ski bus up to the resort it is free.
They have just expanded the beginners runs in the resort so take a look at our news page web address above. Check you purchase the correct lift passes - some are just for this resort only and are cheaper - whilst they also sell the Portes du soleil pass which covers the entire region.
The ski school is situated at the car park level to the right hand side of the lift, next to a ski hire shop. Here you can book lessons with English speaking teachers or a course of lessons. We advise that children join the ESF teaching regime as the system of badges and awards gives incredible stimulus to the children's efforts. The system is by stars starting at beginners and going through to three stars and then competition level. All children who do the full session of lessons which commence on a Sunday morning for six days can take the tests on Friday. This applies to all resorts and is a national scheme.
Ardents/Les Lindarets – linking to Avoriaz, Chatel and Swiss Resorts
This is probably the easiest access into the Portes du Soleil ski area with a large free car park. Take the road to Morzine out of St Jean d'Aulps and follow the signs for Montriond. You will then see then signs for Ardents and Les Lindarets - which takes you past the beautiful Lac de Montriond (excellent Nordic skiing here and a natural ice rink). There is a large car park that soon fills up when busy - but once up in the tele-cabine and away you have miles and miles of skiing up to Avoriaz or to Chatel and away into Switzerland.. There is something for every level here but it is really more suitable for the intermediate+ skier but you can be certain the snow conditions are nearly always good. Chatels slopes are often North facing so hold the snow better in warm spring conditions. If you ski this area you will need the PdS lift pass – The Morzine/Avoriaz lift pass is not valid here.
Swiss resorts include Morgins, Les Croset, Champery and Champoussin – just head straight up the valley and take your passport!
A very French resort, Morzine boasts an excellent selection of wide, long slopes with extensive snow canons on difficult areas. Individual areas such as Pleney and Nyon link into Les Gets and make excellent long ski runs. For the recreational skier there is a hotel with a cafe terrace at the bottom of the main slope, where you can sit and take in the atmosphere.
Morzine and Les Gets link together on the same lift pass which is cheaper than a Portes Du Soleil pass. You can ski between the two resorts. Avoriaz is also accessible from Morzine via the Super Morzine Telecabine but it does require the PdS pass.
If you wish to drive to Les Gets, it is 7km further on than Morzine, about twenty five minutes by car from our chalet. It is a great family skiing resort, you can either park down in the village (underground car park if you have a normal car without top box) or drive past the lower telecabines, the town hall, outdoor ice skating rink and take a narrow turning right up the hill to Chavannes. (This road is sometimes only suitable for 4wd when snow is on the road).
At Les Chavannes there is more limited car parking - so in high season we do advise to be there promptly. Ski lessons and school start from the bottom in Les Gets itself and the school is set back from the road near the town hall and to the left of the open nursery slope area. But if you just want to practise, walk or sledge Les Chavannes is ideal. From Les Chavannes there operates a reduced cost pass system - cheaper after 11am - as well as points cards. Points are ideal for the beginner/intermediate who might not make extensive use of the lifts.
We can highly recommend the Les Gets ski school for group and private lessons at all levels, and English is spoken if required. On the opposite side of Les Gets is the Mt Chery lift that leads up to the lovely sunny but steepish slopes of Mont Chery. At times there are offers on passes for just this area. Here there is a snowboard park with jumps and good runs. Les Gets has lots of nice shops and a little train for children and skiers to move around the town. If you want a break from skiing go to the museum of mechanical music - only open during the afternoons.
Both resorts have excellent shops and Patisserie bars and full of the ski buzz!
There are two interesting snow shoe walks at Grande Terche and Ardents. Go to the local web site and download and print a full itinerary.http://www.valleedaulps.com
Or try some walks at Les gets. Starting from Chavannes up above Les Gets are some dedicated walking routes. Or simply walk out behind Chalet Papillon, go up to the bridge and turn up the mountain track and see how far you can go. Snow shoes can be hired from most ski hire shops or can be purchased reasonably at Decathlon super store next to Cora down on the Lake in Evian.
Local Guide – Herve le Sobre 06 19 42 95 57 offers guided walks and also has a regular plan of walks each week on his website www.alpirandovtt.com. Or go to the St Jean Tourist Office.
CROSS COUNTRY SKIING
Montriond Lake: one cross-country ski circuit, free and designed for skiers of all levels This circuit (about 6km) follows the banks of Montriond Lake and goes through the hamlet of Les Albertans. There are tracks for walkers and skiers. Start from the Hôtel Les Sapins. Don’t be tempted to walk on the lake!
POOR WEATHER ACTIVITIES
Morzine indoor swimming pool
Take some time out from skiing and enjoy the lovely new Morzine indoor pool 25 x 15m. Also a beginners pool and a childrens pool. Other facilities such as saunas and a great bar/restaurant for you to enjoy.
There is also a large indoor ice rink in Morzine. There are cinemas and various activities going on all the time. Just ask in the tourist offices for details.
There are lots of places to visit around the lake and in Evian (there are details in the chalet).
Close by there are other cross-country routes : Super Morzine (start from Avoriaz), Pleney in Morzine (8.5 Km), and Vallée de la Manche in Morzine (25 Km).
Montriond / Les Lindarets / Avoriaz: From Lindarets, a charming mountain village near Montriond, a cable car or ski lifts take you up into the wide open spaces of the Portes du Soleil region. A large car park provides an easy route to the slopes and the final ski down the road, stopping for vin chaud in the village on the way, provides a perfect finish to an excellent day´s skiing. Just pack a rucksack, map, and head off to navigate your way through the Alpine peaks into Chatel and Switzerland and you can really cover some ground. Or ski up into Avoriaz and meet the snowboarders and the high open slopes with always reliable ski conditions, and a snow park to rival the best in France. In the village of Montriond there is a 5km cross-country circuit around the Haute Savoie´s third largest lake.
Chatel: A little further away, but easily accessed from Les Lindarets in just a couple of runs and chairlifts, or a 30-40 minute drive from the Chalet. Chatel is a resort which in our opinion is very versatile, with a snowpark for snowboarders/freeskiiers, and many smaller, less crowded runs hidden away, as well as the usual family orientated slopes lower down.
Les Gets: A popular resort with tourists, Les Gets still retains its French charm. An excellent ski school has English speaking instructors, and the group classes for children are excellent. Lovely gentle wide slopes offer the younger members and not so experienced the chance to test their skills, while the more experienced can head for the heights of Ranfolly and the views of Mont Blanc. Drive up to Les Chavannes (a half way point above Les Gets – the turning is near the mini ice rink in the centre of the village.) and park for a day´s skiing. Here passes are sold at reduced prices as the day goes on, or buy points, which if you are a beginner and making limited use of the lifts, is ideal for the first few days. Also do not forget to ski the other side of Les Gets at Mont Chery – hop on the mini train and spend a trying time on the reds and blacks here. Les Gets and Morzine are also an ideal place to browse around the shops if the weather is bad, Alternatively, try some ice skating at the olympic sized rink in Morzine, or go down to Evian and Geneva for some sightseeing.