Resort Profile: Avoriaz

By adamrowden, 15 Nov '12 at 09:12

Avoriaz represents a breakthrough in modern resort design. While ski centres in the 1960s were being 'thrown up' or developing in areas of great natural beauty in France, Italy, Switzerland and North America, Avoriaz was arguably the first to consider the importance of architectural design. Built on a cliff edge above the already successful French resort of Morzine, Avoriaz still seems 'space-aged' and unique 40 years on.

Sitting on the border with Switzerland, at a snowsure altitude, car-free and in one of the largest lift-linked ski areas in the world, it has a lot going for it. From a great distance it can be seen standing out against the white mountains but, because its style is so important, it appears more as a sculpture than a sprawling resort.

Nearer to it, the effect changes to tall angular buildings that shine gold in the sunlight and right up close you realise that this isn't an especially hi-tec construction, the buildings just being clad in natural local red cedar wooden slates with plenty of glass, giving it a rather warm feel. The buildings are supposed to blend in to their natural environment, and in a way they do, although it should be stressed that the resort is well above the treeline on a vast snowy plateau.

The architects created a large square in the centre of the resort and put a children's tobogganing slope in the middle. At one side of the square there is an open-air ice rink, on another a festival hall. The resort is designed so that all accommodation is slopeside with access over snow only.

The runs in Avoriaz are 100% natural and zigzag the border of France and Switzerland. Avoriaz has the highest altitude of all of the resorts in Portes du Soleil and offers you a wide and varying range of terrain. It has wide and sweeping runs above the treeline and also plays host to some stunning pistes that cut through the trees.

All levels of skier and snowboarder will have slopes to suit them. There are plenty of comfortable beginner and intermediate runs and some brilliantly challenging runs for the more passionate experts out there.

Avoriaz plays host to the famous ‘Stash’ park concept. This is a snow park, where all of the obstacles are built from natural materials. The Stash weaves its way through the forest and contains grind boxes, jumps and wall rides, so freestyle skiers and snowboarders can thoroughly enjoy themselves and flex their creative muscles.

The Highlights:

- The Stash
- Highest altitude resort in the Portes du Soleil
- Suits all levels of skier
- Good snowfall throughout the winter
- Decent après bars

For more resort profiles click here. Or, to find a good transfer company to take you to Avoriaz click here.

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