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Spring has sprung in the Portes du Soleil

Sun and slush throughout the mountains

Featured in:

Giles Towler | Avoriaz Reporter | Published: 17 Mar 2017


Spring has sprung in the Portes du Soleil

There is just over one month left of the winter and spring has arrived in Morzine with warm weather and sunny days. The temperature in town has been hitting a tropical twenty degrees and there is barely a ski jacket to be seen at the moment.

There is still plenty of snow thanks to the recent snowfall and conditions are generally very good. It tends to be icy first thing in the morning before getting slushy by late morning and very slushy by late afternoon. It’s a good idea to keep your skis or snowboard well waxed as the snow does get very slow by the afternoon.


The better snow is in the higher, more shaded areas, such as the Arare. The lower, more exposed slopes have lost quite a lot of their snow cover now. The lower parts of Super Morzine, just above the lift station, for example, now have muddy patches coming through. The bottom slopes of Pleney still have snow on the pistes but there is very little to the sides now, and people have already begun taking mountain bikes into the woods.

The current forecast says that there is heavy precipitation on the way on Saturday. The freezing level will start at around 1600 metres, which will mean that there will hopefully be fresh snow falling above Avoriaz. However, the forecast also suggests that the freezing level could rise to 2200 metres which would be bad news for the snow conditions Hopefully, the temperature will drop more than predicted and there will be more snow than rain. The forecast heading into next week is increasingly uncertain, with some possibility of precipitation as well as sunshine throughout the week.


It is not advisable to head off-piste at the moment. There isn’t really anything worth skiing off piste at the moment, with most routes very tracked and no powder left. Over on the Champery/Les Crosets side, there have been a number of avalanches in off piste areas, some of them sliding all the way down to the mud.

The snow on the pistes is still holding up well. Throughout the Morzine/Avoriaz/Les Gets area one hundred and eighty two out of one hundred and ninety eight lifts are open and two hundred and seventy four out of three hundred and thirty one pistes are open. A couple of the black runs in the Arare sector are still not open.


The parks and half pipe are open, although the half pipe and the kickers get increasingly slow as the day progresses so it is a good idea to get there as early as possible. There is also a small beginner pipe next to the large pipe for anyone wanting to try it out.

Conditions are still good over in Chatel with sixty four out of seventy six pistes open and fifty nine out of sixty lifts open. The lower slopes of Super Chatel are always the first to suffer when the snow starts to melt and it might be worth considering avoiding the final run and getting the lift down to town at the end of the day.

On the higher slopes of the Portes du Soleil there is still a good base depth on the pistes, up to around two metres on the highest slopes, dropping to around forty centimetres on the lower slopes, which could be a problem for the very lowest pistes if there is heavy rain next week.


With conditions being what they are, the best time of day to head up the mountain is probably around mid-morning when things are starting to soften up before finishing up for the day around three PM when it is really starting to slow down a lot. By that point of the afternoon, the best way to finish the day is sitting outside in the sun. Changabang in Avoriaz or Happy Hours at the bottom of Ardent get plenty of sun in the afternoon. Make sure to bring plenty of sunscreen though!

The pistes are generally very quiet at the moment and there are no lift queues to speak of, so combined with the sunshine and warm weather things are generally very good!

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