Morzine is more than just a ski resort, it is a bustling Alpine town with an atmosphere that extends all year round. Although it can suffer from being at a lower altitude, it is never limited by the number or variety of things you can do.
For those that are driven entirely by skiing, do not fear as there is a whopping 600km of ski area to cover. The Portes du Soleil lift pass grants you access to all this terrain, including Morzine, Les Gets, Avoriaz and even Chatel in Switzerland. As well as opening up the entire ski area, this pass also opens up a host of other must-do activities.
Inspired by living in Morzine for an entire winter season, here are 10 must-do things that every visitor should try:
Après on the mountain
1 – Happy Hours Bar – reachable by ski is the infamous yet secret Happy Hours Bar at the base of the Ardent lift off the back of Avoriaz. Benefitting from being out-of-the-way of the main tourist hot spots, this après bar offers live music and frequent events. The special punch that they mix is cheaper than your average drink and is also delicious. If you’ve had too much fun and don’t want to ski back then there is also a bus that runs direct to the bar and a free shuttle bus on certain days.
2 – Inferno Morzine – located on the Plateau De Nyon overlooking Morzine, this après bar boasts some of the most competitive prices in the area if you want to have a good time. There is live music almost every day and a constant supply of BBQ food. This après bar is also suitable accommodation for those on a budget, but for the majority it is still one of the best parties on the mountain for miles around.
Après in Morzine
3 – Le Crepu, Le Tibetan Café, Le Coyote Bar, The Cavern Bar – what’s better than one après bar…four après bars on top of each other! Begin the night at Le Crepu on the highstreet with some good beers and good atmosphere before going subterranean at Le Tibetan Café. This bar has an authentic Himalayan theme and some brilliant cocktails. Afterwards, head deeper into the earth and warm yourself up at the best games bar in town, Le Coyote Bar. Here you can try your hand at pool, air hockey, basketball, darts, you name it. The last stop on this journey to the centre of the earth is the incredibly popular Cavern Bar. Appropriately named, this bar lies several stories below street level so there is no limit to the volume of music. A brilliant place to end a night, the resident DJ’s like to create a blend of euro-pop classics and cheesy sing-a-longs.
4 – Bec Jaune Brewery – if you want to avoid the hectic bustle of après but still want to enjoy a drink and some good atmosphere then Bec Jaune is the perfect place. This bar not only serves some of the best beers locally, it also brews its own right in front of you. Behind the bar you can see the fermentation tanks and systems working in action.
5 – Best burgers in Portes du Soleil
There is extremely close competition for the best burgers in the Portes du Soleil ski area that hinders on two burger bars – Changabang in Avoriaz and Burger Place in Morzine.
Changabang is a ski-in ski-out burger bar at the top of the Prodain lift in Avoriaz with an excellent reputation for their quick service and delicious food. The inside décor makes you feel like you walked into an awesome surf shack while the outside has loads of seating and a good view of skiers racing past.
Burger Place is named so you don’t have to waste time remembering what it is called and what it is known for – ‘shall we meet at the Burger Place’ or ‘that Burger Place was really good’ are some of the phrases you’ll find yourself saying once you’ve been there. This small corner restaurant is located right by the bottom of Le Pleney lift at the centre of Morzine.
Hitting the slopes
Portes du Soleil is one of the largest ski areas in world so there is always somewhere to get your rush from. If you are happy with the standard piste skiing then there are miles and miles to keep you satisfied, however if you are looking for a unique experience that you can’t get in every ski resort then Portes du Soleil offers plenty.
6 – The Stash – the first giant ecological snow park in Europe is an extremely popular run in Avoriaz that attracts skiers and boarders alike. Designed by Jake Burton (you might recognise the name from Burton snowboards) it demonstrates a new generation of snow parks constructed from 100% natural materials. Winding through trees, cutting through fresh powder, and attempting wooden obstacles targeted at different abilities of skiing means that you will keep coming back to this run in order to try everything. This is brilliant shared fun to have while skiing.
7 – Les Pas de Chavanette ‘The Swiss Wall’ – if you prefer to challenge your skiing ability then attempting this infamous slope is no mean feat. Starting at the top of the mountain on the French-Swiss border you take the plunge down the incredibly steep and mogul covered slope towards the Swiss town of Les Crosets. For less confident skiers it is possible to take things slowly, but for the more experienced it can be one of the fastest runs of your life. Either way, once you have made it to the bottom it will make your jaw drop as you gaze up at the seemingly vertical wall of snow that you just successfully descended – hence its popular nick-name, ‘The Swiss Wall’.
8 – Quick refuel
If all day skiing has sapped you of your energy but you’re not in the mood for more food or an alcoholic après stop, then maybe what you need is a ‘posh hot chocolate’ from Altitude Lodge in Les Gets. This hotel-restaurant is open to all visitors during the day and has an amazing menu, however its main attraction is its famous hot chocolates. Offering the options of soy milk and Baileys, it is often by word of mouth that visitors hear about these hot chocolates, and once they have tried one for themselves it is they who are spreading the word.
9 – Support the local team
Morzine has another secret attraction up its sleeve that many visitors overlook, its very own ice hockey rink and local team – the Morzine-Avoriaz Penguins. With regular matches played throughout the winter and summer seasons, it is definitely worth checking to see if any games are on while you are visiting as they are a huge laugh to have with friends and family, especially if you have never experienced an ice hockey match before.
10 – Go out in style – Retro Rentals
If you feel that the current fashion for ski wear has taken a wrong turn over the years then Retro Rentals is a company that solves all these problems. Rent an authentic 80’s ski onesie for as many days as you’d like and wear it whenever you’d like, be that exclusively on the piste or in the après bars and clubs as well. This is the perfect fun activity to do with friends and family as it makes for great holiday pictures and sore sides from constant laughter at each other. Another benefit of the rental suits is that you will never lose your companions due to all of them standing out in their vibrant colours.