by Kelly Taylor | 19th August 2020
If you’re anything like us, your thoughts may already have drifted to more borders re-opening, planes taking back to the skies in their masses, and snow falling again in the Alps. Perhaps you’ve already taken advantage of some early booking deals. If you’re still weighing up the options, and undecided where to go for your next ski holiday, we can help you decide…
Morzine is without a doubt the largest resort town in which we operate our catered chalets, and has a lot to offer as a ski holiday destination, no matter your age or experience.
Morzine is centrally located within the huge Portes du Soleil ski area which encompasses 12 different French and Swiss resorts, and is one of the two resorts we operate in that offer you the opportunity to ski over the border into another country. The 650km of piste playground offers so much varied terrain that there are always great skiing conditions to be found.
The Portes du Soleil provides plentiful intermediate territory, but also offers great opportunities for beginners, advanced skiers and powder hounds alike. The town itself is nestled in the bottom of the valley and situated at 1000m. From central Morzine, you have the option to ascend via two main ski lifts: Pleney heads up to the Morzine/Les Gets side of the ski area (local area passes are available for just this area – perfect for inexperienced skiers!), whereas the Super Morzine gondola heads up towards Avoriaz and gives you access to the more expansive Swiss side of the resort. The two areas are not linked by ski runs, so if you purchase a full area Portes du Soleil pass, it’s worth choosing one area per day, though a small road train does circle the resort centre and between the two lift stations!
Morzine has a lively après scene, with plenty of bars and a large selection of restaurant choices for your hosts night off, with something for every budget. There’s a huge array of additional activities including shopping, sledging, an ice rink, swimming complex, spa days and walks by the Dranse river through Parc de Dereches on the valley floor.
A firm favourite with families due to its proximity to Geneva Airport; a minibus transfer to Morzine is only 75 minutes. The short transfer time also makes it a very popular option for short breaks: catch an early flight and you could even be on the slopes before lunch time!
Sitting at an altitude of 1850m, La Rosiere is one of the most snow-sure resorts in the French Alps, and well known for attracting plenty of sunshine thanks to the south facing slopes.
With Mont Blanc less than 20km away as the crow flies, expect breath-taking views of the highest mountain in Western Europe, as well as the stunning vista across the Tarentaise Valley. A smaller ski area than some, but for a small area, it certainly packs a punch and still offers 152km of piste. Perfect for beginners and intermediate skiers and boarders, but there’s also ample opportunities for those more experienced, with some steeper pistes, a freeride area and a lot of (relatively untouched) off-piste opportunities.
As part of the Espace San Bernardo ski area, La Rosière is linked with La Thuile and boasts the opportunity to hop over the Italian border to experience what the Aosta Valley has to offer. It’s worth being aware that there is a relatively long (although not steep) drag lift to get over to the Italian side of the ski resort, but it’s well worth it for that authentic (and incredibly good value) Italian coffee/pizza/gelato (delete as appropriate, or take them all!).
La Rosière is split into two distinct areas around 1km apart, La Rosière Centre and Les Eucherts. Our chalets are located in Les Eucherts which has its own chair lift, plus some shops, restaurants and bars. The two areas are linked by an idyllic snow-covered pathway which is lit at night, but there’s also a complimentary bus service which runs into the evenings. The whole area is low-rise and new developments are built in the traditional chalet-style, which has preserved the authenticity and charm of the resort. It’s generally quite quiet compared to some of the more bustling resorts, and if you like to avoid the lift queues of the bigger resorts, La Rosière could be a perfect option for you. Although there is something for everyone here, it is very family orientated. The aprés scene is fairly quiet, but Moo Bar and Le Comptoir do offer weekly live music and late-night dancing. A perfect choice for a family holiday with little ones, and you’ll find it one of the best value resorts for accommodation.
Situated at 1400m, La Tania isn’t the highest of our resorts, however you’re only two ski lifts away from both Courchevel and the Meribel Valley, and the 600km of pistes rising to above 3200m altitude provide endless opportunities. There really is something for everyone here; beginner slopes (newly landscaped with a new magic carpet for Winter 2021!), an abundance of intermediate terrain, and extensive territory for advanced skiers including freeride and off-piste opportunities. The various runs down to resort are tree-lined and the Folyères ski run literally passes through the centre of the vehicle-free village, making it a true ski-in ski-out resort! Snow cannons ensure runs back to resort remain open throughout the season.
La Tania itself is located on the hillside in a pretty woodland setting. It’s a small but lively resort, with a great après scene and live music every Sunday through to Friday. The restaurant offering is small but varied, with everything from a very reasonably priced Pub le Ski Lodge burger, to local Savoyard specialties at La Taiga, to a Michelin starred degustation menu at Le Farçon. We recommend booking in advance to secure your preference for your chalet hosts’ night off.
La Tania is all about the skiing so there isn’t too much in the way of other activities, however a complimentary bus service operates throughout the winter giving access to the other Courchevel resorts. Some of our favourite stops include people watching and [window!] shopping in Courchevel 1850, and heading to Aquamotion in Courchevel Village which is home to swimming pools, water slides, a fabulous spa and climbing wall.
Courchevel Le Praz
Situated just 5 minutes down the road from La Tania, the quaint Alpine village of Le Praz has retained its authentic charm. With all the same benefits of the Three Valleys ski area, Le Praz is another great choice for anyone looking for extensive skiing.
Worth knowing that the two runs down into resort are red runs, but for beginners there is always the options to return on the gondola, and a newly landscaped nursery slope is located at the bottom of the main pistes. We also love that Le Praz is home to the covered Forêt chairlift, so even on a heavy snow day you can stay snug and dry on the chair lift, and head straight down the forested runs back towards to Le Praz which are often less crowded and great in snowy weather due to better visibility among the trees.
In contrast to the traditional village, the modern yet subtle Alpinium development was brand new for Winter 2019/2020 and houses the new tourist office, undercover parking, and the station for the new 10-seater gondola which accesses Courchevel 1850. In Le Praz you will also find the ski jumps from the 1992 Olympics, which still hosts International competitions and practice sessions.
The après scene is relatively quiet, and much more centered around sitting in a cosy bar with a delicious vin chaud or glass of wine. For those wanting a livelier bar, Le Praz is on the free bus route around Courchevel so it’s easy to get around. There is a great selection of gourmet restaurants in Le Praz – definitely expect more classy than cheap and cheerful!
New to our chalet portfolio for Winter 2021/2022 is La Plagne, located on the edge of the Vanoise National Park and another great choice for a high-altitude resort.
La Plagne itself is made up of 11 smaller villages, and forms part of the Paradiski area which extends over to Les Arcs thanks to the double-decker cable car, creating another extensive ski area with 425km of piste. Over 70% of the Paradiski ski area is above 2,000m altitude, meaning it is snow-sure throughout the season, and you never have to worry about not being able to ski back to your chalet. It’s a family-friendly resort, generally considered perfect for intermediate skiers, but also offers a great selection of both beginner pistes and plenty for experienced skiers looking for more of a challenge.
Our chalets are located in Plagne 1800 which is one of the more traditional chalet areas of La Plagne. Getting around the different villages is easy thanks to both the free navette buses and some of the connecting ski lifts which remain open into the evening. Plagne 1800 itself has various dining options and is home to a great (although quite English!) après ski bar Le Mine with live music several times a week, and a large outdoor terrace.
One of our two favourite things not to miss in La Plagne is the Ice Grotto located at the top of the Plagne Bellecote glacier at 3417m. The ice cave is full of amazing ice sculptures, a great experience for everyone. And secondly, don’t miss the opportunity to hurtle down the 19 bends of the Olympic Bobsleigh track at speeds of up to 120km/hr!
So what is most important to you?
Large resort with lots of shops and non-skiing activities? Morzine
A small compact resort with minimal walking? La Tania
Shortest airport transfer? Morzine
As much sun as possible? La Rosière
Sales & Guest Services
There’s not much that Fiona doesn’t know about ski holidays. A catered chalet guest since the tender age of 3, she’s also done just about every job in resort. A mine of useful information, you can count on Fiona for recommendations, top tips and straightforward, no-nonsense advice.
by Kelly Taylor | 1st August 2020