© OT Avoriaz
Whilst Avoriaz is a great place to ski, there are many activities to suit non-skiers of all ages.
When your family and friends want to go skiing, but it really isn't your cup of tea, don't panic. You don't have to ski or snowboard to enjoy a memorable holiday in a ski resort.
Here are some great ideas for you:
- Buy a pedestrian pass and jump on a lift
- Go to après-ski along with everyone else
- Ride a bike, horse drawn sleigh or huskies
- Book a tandem flight
- Go snowshoeing or ski-touring
- Go to the sports centre
- Visit a spa for some relaxation
- Book a restaurant for lunch
- Visit a farm or see a film
- Learn nordic skiing - you might just like it!
Snow fun without the skis
Buy a pedestrian pass
Enjoy the mountains as a non-skier by buying a pedestrian lift pass. It provides access to the main lifts and many mountain restaurants can be reached on foot by ski lift, so it's entirely possible to meet up with your family and friends for some fine dining.
With a pedestrian lift pass there are some fantastic opportunities for winter hiking, with a good network of groomed trails that can be enjoyed by all ages and fitness levels. Easy routes are possible in sturdy hiking boots or snowshoes after a heavy snowfall. You can pick up a guide from the tourist office and escape into the wilderness for a few hours or the whole day. Always dress for the weather - layers are the key, sunglasses and sun cream are vital even on a cloudy day. Stick to the trails, respect the environment and be aware of changing conditions.
Après-ski with everyone else
You don't have to ski to enjoy "après-ski". Meet up with the rest of your group in a local bar and share stories from your day over a beer. Going to party at Folie Douce in Avoriaz is a great way to spend the afternoon watching the amazing cabaret, then dance to the live, dynamic house band. Or head to the local ice skating rink for a fun evening set beneath the snow-clad mountains. Situated in the heart of the resort, there are also push around chairs to help the kids. Alternatively, grab a sled and head to the sledging run behind the tourist office. It is equipped with lights and clearly marked.
Drive a dog sled, relax in a sleigh or ride a fat-bike
Whether on a sledge pulled by huskies, riding in your own horse drawn sleigh, or ripping it up on a fat-bike, there is an excursion choice to suit all levels of adrenaline. The husky sledding will see you control a team of dogs as you ride the Avoriaz landscape. This is a very popular activity which we recommend booking in advance.
As a pedestrianised resort the quickest way to get around is still by horse and cart. Taking a trip on a horse drawn sled really gives you an alpine experience like no other, and is a great way to see the town and enjoy the scenery. You can find them at the entrance to the resort, in the centre near the riding school, and at Jean Vuarnet square, with different tour possibilities depending on the time you have.
Another way to enjoy the snowy trails is on a fat-bike, you can either join a guided group or get the whole gang together - there are organised rides throughout the day.
Book a tandem flight
Take to the skies for a bird's eye view of the mountains with a tandem paragliding flight, or book yourself onto a helicopter tour.
Snowshoeing and ski-touring
You can really get away from it all and disappear into nature on some snowshoes (raquettes). Grab a printed guide from the tourist office or book yourself onto a snowshoe excursion with an activity company to see a side of the mountains that most skiers will never see. Full-day, half-day and night-time options are available to take you into the heart of the mountains – from the highest peaks to the wildest valleys. Equipment and transport are usually included, check when you book.
If you've decided the days of skiing up the mountain all-day, every-day, are well behind you, those with previous skiing / snowboarding experience could try ski touring. There are many famous ski touring routes in Avoriaz, and it's a great way to work up a sweat, earning your burger whilst the rest of the world takes the lifts. Hire a guide and pull on some skins for an adventure away from the madding crowd.
Not just a ski resort
Avoriaz is so much more than a ski resort. In fact, you can really have a great time here without setting foot on a lift.
Go for a swim
More geared towards families than serious swimming, Aquariaz is a tropical paradise in a winter wonderland, featuring climbing walls, massage benches and an open-air spa. You can go there either to exhaust the kids (and yourself), or to relax. The luscious green vegetation inside the building and the snow-covered mountains outside are the perfect contrast, seen nowhere else in the Alps. There are individual entry tickets but if you’re staying for a week and want unlimited access to paradise, consider buying a one-week pass. So don't forget to pack your gym kit and a swimsuit (speedo-style only boys).
Book a treatment at the spa
Or if all of that sounds far too active and you really just want to pamper yourself and read your book, or stare at the view, there are numerous spas and treatment rooms you can enjoy. Many hotels have luxury spas which are open to non-guests, and mobile massage companies will arrange to visit you at your chalet or apartment.
Book a table
And when you feel hungry, enjoy some slap up French cuisine with a glass of fine local wine - you deserve it. Many local restaurants have well priced lunchtime set menus offering the same cuisine as their main menus, but often with considerable discounts. Some offer wine tasting sessions also. The Goat Village, located below the Ardent bubble lift, gets its name from the crowds of goats that reside in this particular part of the resort every summer. During the winter, they are nowhere to be seen, however, the village still attracts groups of people looking for good food or a cosy corner to sip on a mulled wine.
Visit a farm or go see a film
There is a lot of culture in this area and the French are proud to show this off. The Ferme de Seraussaix is a working cattle farm located on the Route d’Avoriaz, open daily and free of charge, you can visit the cows and their calves, look around the shop, and pick up some local cheeses and meats amongst other farm produce. Or drop into the local cinema, grab a box of popcorn and catch up on the latest releases - look for VOST or VO (version originale) for English language films.
Skiing, but not skiing
Still looking for something to occupy your time? There's always cross-country skiing to try. An extremely popular mountain sport, known as 'ski de fond' in France, there are numerous tracks available across the Portes de Soleil area. Avoriaz / Super-Morzine is a high altitude sector with lots of sunny, easy tracks with wonderful viewpoints. The Manche Valley is pure back country with no lifts for miles, simply long, well-maintained tracks from Nyon to the Mines d'Or lake, and it's possible to reach l'Érigné from Morzine by the free shuttle E. You'll find inviting guest houses open to passers-by for a welcome break, where you can enjoy a refreshing drink and a restorative meal. This very accessible sport is relatively low cost, you can hire equipment and arrange lessons / guiding locally, and the views are to die for!