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Shredding the reds and blacks in Avoriaz 2019

Challenge yourself on some expert terrain

Featured in: | Roz Tod, Avoriaz Reporter | Published
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Avoriaz is a resort in what makes up one of the world’s largest ski areas, the Portes du Soleil (PDS). The PDS is home to 197 lifts, which enable you to access 650km of snow covered pistes, and link up 13 villages across France and Switzerland. Of those pistes, 105 are red runs, and 26 black. Avoriaz alone has 34 lifts, giving access to 51 ski runs. It is a family friendly ski resort, so the majority of runs are blue, but I’m here to give you a grand tour of the best red and black runs in resort.

Starting from Prodains, ski down to the Grandes Combes chair lift. This lift is a hidden gem, one worth knowing about. It’s one of the best lifts in Avoriaz for a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s tucked away in the trees, slightly off the home run piste, and therefore it tends to get less traffic than the other lifts that will take you to the top of the Arare. Secondly, it takes you to the top of three out of four black runs in Avoriaz; the Combe du Machon, Coupe du Monde and Arête des Intrêts.

The Combe du Machon is a steep mogul run that takes you right under the chairlift, so when you’re on the lift you can see what it looks like and decide whether or not your legs are feeling up to the challenge. The Coupe du Monde is less moguly but more exposed and usually quite windblown, making it a steep, icy run. These runs both join onto the Gouilles Rouges, which will take you back to the Grandes Combes chair lift.

Now that your legs are warmed up, from the top of Grande Combes you can make your way over to Fornet, via the Bleue du Lac, a chilled blue run with gorgeous views across to the Dents du Midi. When you arrive in the Fornet bowl, take the first lift you come to, the TSD Fornet. At the top you can take a short hike to reach a viewpoint, the perfect spot for a picnic if it’s not too windy. From here, head down the Snowcross Pschott, a wide red that leads you back to the bowl. Jump on the long button lift, La Chavanette and ski down Les Lanches until you reach the up-n-over chair, Cubore Morzine. 

This chair takes you around the Pointe de Vorlaz and over to the Mossettes area of resort, which has some fun red and black runs waiting for you. The piste you get to from the Cubore Morzine will spit you out onto the Cubore Montriond, a short, bumpy red run. This then links onto the Abricotine, a mellow blue which will take you to the bottom of the Mossettes chair. If you take this lift up you’ll find yourselves at one of the best spots in resort.

The Cookie Café, highest restaurant in the PDS, is well worth visiting for a warming hot chocolate, refreshing beer, or delicious feed. On a good weather day the views are breath-taking, and in white-out weather you won’t want to leave the cosy upstairs seating area. This peak marks the border between France and Switzerland, so once at the top make sure you have the correct lift pass for whatever piste you choose to take.

From the lift you may have spotted the Snowcross Frontaliere, a scenic black slope that runs down the Col des Portes du Soleil ridge. Alternatively, you can loop around underneath the chair and follow the Abricotine track until you get to Les Cases, a wide red. Les Cases links back onto the Abricotine lower down, and this will either take you back to the Mossettes lift, or to the Lindarets bowl if you keep up your speed along the much flatter final section. When you reach the Lindarets bowl the first lift on the left that you will get to is Chaux Fleurie. Take this up and you will again reach the Avoriaz border, veer right and you will drop into Châtel where you’ll need a PDS pass.

Keep left and you’ll head down the Chaux Fleurie run, an easy red that joins onto the Grand Plan blue run before you get back to the Lindarets bowl. This is a great route for exploring Avoriaz and its various bowls, lifts, pistes and view points, all whilst skiing intermediate red and black slopes. It’s well worth studying the Avoriaz piste map before you get here, if only to pick out the main resort landmarks such as the Prodians and Ardent lift stations. This should give you a sense of bearing, and hopefully allowing your day to run as smoothly as your skis on snow.