Les Portes du Soleil

Skiing in Portes du Soleil ski: A guide to the Swiss ski resort

Ski resort figures

Slopes

500

of slopes

ski pass

63

Day ski pass for adult

Slope difficulty

250

of blue slopes

Blue slope

200

of red slopes

Piste rouge

50

of black and yellow slopes

Black slope

Altitude

1037

village

2500

peak

Snow cover

ND

of the ski resort is snow-sure

Our review of Portes du Soleil

The giant of the ski resorts

Stretching along the French-Swiss border, the area is gigantic: 12 villages (4 in Switzerland, 8 in France), a variety of slopes and landscapes, a hundred or so restaurants on a total of 600 km of slopes. An intermediate level is required as most of the slopes and lifts are designed for skilled skiers.

Apart from its size, the big plus of the domain is its accessibility from the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Champéry, in Switzerland, is 1 hour’s drive from Lausanne, and Les Gets, in France, 1 hour’s drive from Geneva.

On the Swiss side, the heart of the ski area is Champéry: a beautifully preserved old rustic village at the foot of the impressive Dents du Midi. On the French side, the village of Morzine has the best and most central access to the entire ski area.

Photos: Les Portes du Soleil / Unsplash / Oliver Goldbold / Matthieu Vitre / Joel Jasmin, Forestbird, Sylvain Cochard

Skier in Portes du Soleil
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Video by Oli Owens

Our review of the skiing area

A heaven for intermediate skiers

From Champéry, skiers access the Planachaux plateau via a cable car. From there the Swiss sections of Champéry-Les Crosets and Champoussin-Morgins are accessible, which are wide and varied enough to satisfy most skiers for a few days. The ski pass for Switzerland alone costs CHF 52.

Access to the French area

From Planachaux you can easily reach the French border via Avoriaz with 2 or 3 ski lifts. The linked area thus accessible by ski lift from Switzerland, represents about 50% of the total ski area, i.e. 300 km of slopes. The pass including France costs 63 CHF, a very affordable pass compared to other ski resorts in Valais of similar size (72 CHF for skiing in Verbier (4 Vallées) and over 80 CHF for skiing in Zermatt).

Downside: compared to the other big Swiss ski resorts, the Portes du Soleil lifts are outdated, mainly on the French side. There are still many crossbows.

Photo: Les Portes du Soleil / Oliver Gobold

Beginners

The skiing area is not ideal for beginners. From Champéry, it is first necessary to take the cable car to reach the learning area. The slopes are relatively cramped and have old ski lifts. Les Gets, in France, is more suitable for those who are skiing for the first time.

Intermediate and advanced skiers

The entire ski area is a heaven for intermediate skiers, with lots of red runs, even some blue ones will please them, as they are already too difficult for beginners. Les Chavanettes (or “mur suisse”), is a bumpy steep slope, a challenge for very good skiers. On the Avoriaz side, the slope accessible with the “Grandes Colombes” chairlift has some beautiful black runs.

Photo: Les Portes du Soleil / Sylvain Cochard

Snow cover

Most of the slopes are relatively low in altitude, between 1’500m and 2’300m, and very sunny. There is therefore a risk of insufficient snow cover at the beginning and end of the season. If you book your holidays in advance, the months of January and February are the best.

Off-piste skiing

It’s easy to get off the marked tracks to make a few off-piste runs between the trees. Be careful, however, there are no yellow marked trails, and therefore they are not secured, as is the case in other resorts.

Freestyle

The snowparks of Champéry and Les Crosets are completely redesigned every year and have more than eight different lines. Also not to be missed is the huge superpipe in Avoriaz.

Photo: Les Portes du Soleil / Matthieu Vitre

How to get to Portes du Soleil?

Location and access

The Portes du Soleil are spread over the French-speaking canton of Valais and the department of Savoie in France. The villages of Champéry, Morgins and Torgon, which are located at equal distances from the French-speaking part of Switzerland, all give access to the Portes du Soleil ski area.

The car is the fastest way to reach the ski area. Morgins and Champéry are about the same distance from the main Swiss cities. Each village has a large car park at the base of the lifts (free in Morgins, 5 CHF/day in Champéry).

Champéry can be reached by train from Aigle, but it is necessary to take the bus to Morgins or Torgon. The journey to Champéry is significantly longer by public transport than by road, as the regional train serves a large number of villages between Aigle and the Swiss ski resort.

  • Take the train to Aigle.
  • At Aigle, change to the S36 train to Champéry.
  • The cable car is located next to Champéry station.

The nearest international airport is Geneva-Airport. By public transport

  • At Geneva airport, head towards the SBB train station.
  • Take the InterRegio 90 to Aigle.
  • At Aigle, change to the S36 train to Champéry.
Total journey time: 2h30 Adult price per journey without reduction: 53 CHF Access to Morgins is a little more complicated. It is necessary to get off the S36 at Troistorrents and take the bus 61 to Morgins.

The villages of Champéry, Morgins and Les Crosets are very compact. You can easily get around on foot.

Hotels in Portes du Soleil

The best hotels of the ski resort

On the Swiss side, most of the hotels are located in the charming village of Champéry. The village of Morgins, with its access to the domain by chairlift, has also a few affordable hotels to stay. Further up the mountain, the hamlet of Les Crosets offers direct access to the slopes.

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