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“A fantastic place” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Portes du Soleil

Portes du Soleil
Rue du Centre, 74260, France
06 83 90 22 73
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Ranked #462 of 1,286 things to do in Rhone-Alpes
Attraction details
Medford, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“A fantastic place”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2013

I wanted to treat my two daughters for a family ski vacations. We were initially thinking of going to Colorado (we live in Massachusetts) but when I looked at the overall budget, it was not more expensive, even slightly cheaper, to go to France instead (lifts and lodging are cheaper in France). I must also say that we are French. My sky level is very good and my daughter's is good.

The whole experience was wicked awesome! It starts with transportation: Geneva is only 1.5 hour from Châtel where we were staying and which is one of the closest resorts you can get to in the Alps from that airport. This is also where I realized that we were not the only ones coming from the US. Lots of Americans and British at the airport.

I stayed in Avoriaz a long time ago and we tried Châtel this time. I loved Châtel and we stayed from 2/16 to 2/23 (typical apartment rentals are 7 days in France). This is a real village with real people who live there all year long. It is very family oriented and very cute. It is nice to walk through after a day on the mountain.

There are shuttle buses taking you to the different entry points to the slopes, from wherever it is that you're staying. Let's start by saying that the mountain is huge. We didn't get to go everywhere even after 6 days of skiing. Not only the system is extensive but the views are simply breath taking.

The lift system is very good and we never waited for more than 10 minutes, 2-5 minutes being the average. Though it was vacation time for one of the scholar zones in France, it never felt over-crowded. When certain runs seemed a bit too busy to our taste, it was always very easy to change direction and find quieter places.

The snow was great and abundant (6+ feet at the bottom and about 10 feet at the top).

A typical day was organized as a big loop. Starting in France at the Linga for example, skiing through Avoriaz and stopping right at the super-market with our skis, buying fresh bread and cold cuts for our sandwiches eaten right on the slopes under the sun, crossing to Switzerland and slowly making our way back to Châtel. All this without taking the same run twice.

We did the Chavanette (aka the Swiss wall) once and this is something you want to try if you are a decent skier. This is supposedly one of the top-10 runs in the world. If you are an intermediate skier or unsure, take the seats down instead.

Off piste is easily accessible if you are tempted though you should be careful and watch for avalanches. There seems to be great options for randonnée ski (aka Alpine Touring - AT) as well if you are into that. I had taken my skins with me in case but spent the whole time on the slopes with my daughters instead. I even saw people skinning up on the side of the slopes at the end of the day (probably getting a workout after a day at work), which is not allowed in the Northeast US at least.

By the way, you need to be ready with the French way with lines. It was a discovery for my daughters. Lines are so well organized in the US. Lines are a bit messier over there. Instead of a nice line it looks more like a big pizza slice trying to enter a bottle. if you stay on the side and may never make it. Learn to softly but steadily push your way in. It may ask you some intellectual efforts but don't worry and take it easy: you are on vacation, relax and just do the same as others; you'll be fine.
My daughters understood and mastered the system after one day.

In summary, this was a great vacation in a great place and I am strongly considering going back another year.

Thanks to Jean-Michel, Patrick and Catherine for being our guides during this week. Thanks also to "Lelette" for having kept us entertained at all times.

Visited February 2013
Thank frog_in_ma
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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21 reviews from our community

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berkshire, england
Level Contributor
140 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 99 helpful votes
“Great ski area but lift system way behind in places.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2013

Just had a week's skiing staying in Chatel and skiing the Portes du Soleil area. The skiing was excellent overall but I was surprised at how poor the lift system was in places with old 2 person chair lifts on several key connecting runs particularly on the Swiss side and a lot of old drag lifts overall. It was also very cold and some of the long chairs could have been a lot more comfortable with covers. Fortunately I am used to cold conditions and was well prepared but others be warned to take warm clothing. Was disappointed not to be able to check ski performance from ski pass number which is possible in many other places in Europe. Best skiing was near Champoussin, Le Crosets and Morzine, Les Gets. Super Chatel ok for beginners and avoid Morgins. Suggest also taking CH Fr if in CH area as poor rates with Euro. Swiss Wall was a good challenge as we had Fresh snow. Lots of good blacks although some really reds. Good week and would return again.

Visited January 2013
Thank taffy_on_the_road
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Puyallup, Washington
Level Contributor
158 reviews
113 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 125 helpful votes
“Wide variety of skiing for all levels!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 9, 2012

This place can accompany all levels of skiing ability. The variety of pistes goes on forever, the area is HUGE! I have skied many areas in Europe and I think this place has a great value for the money. I believe there are about 650 km of runs to choose from when all the areas the pass includes. Basically, you would never have to ski the same run twice if you didn't want to! You can ski safari with your group from France to Switzerland and back again. Definitely a GREAT TIME!

Visited February 2012
Thank mopps4life
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
new york city
Level Contributor
103 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
“Morzine and Avoriaz Skiing”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 19, 2010

Pros : Wide variety of skiing. Trails easy to follow even off piste. Lunch is near lifts, but not at top of mountains. Snow conditions was fair for mid-March. Rain washed lower mountain snow on our last day. Majority of people can speak some english, but best if you learn simple french travel phrases. One movie theatre showed current variety of english speaking movie per night.
Cons : Travel between 12 resorts NOT as easy. Either by bus, or your own car. Multi-mountain hands free ski lift pass is the best deal IF you plan to ski 2-3 mountains per day, otherwise just by the individual mountain lift pass on a per day basis. Not much of social / night time activities except for bar/drinking. Food portions NOT same as USA. I had to order 2 entrees for dinner just to feel full since I passed on lunch while skiing. Euro vs. Dollar exchange not in our favor.

1 Thank BklynFung
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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