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Downside: compared to the other big Swiss ski resorts, the Portes du Soleil lifts are outdated, mainly on the French side.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