About Winter Activities in Avoriaz
Whatever you choose to do on your winter holiday you are sure to find a huge range of activities across the Avoriaz area. From relaxing to full on adrenaline there is something for everyone, every ability and every age in Avoriaz. Check out the selection of things to do below for some holiday inspiration!
Nordic Walking - Discover the wide open spaces of Avoriaz and the Portes du Soleil, pristine and free noise and traffic. Take your time to enjoy the heart of the forest in the middle of the field of powdery snow. The routes are open to all, adults and children of all levels. Equipment is provided for half day (in the afternoon) or a full day. Afghan walking is a technique of rhythmic breathing, synchronised with the walk in a way that brings stimulation and oxygenation of the body. Practised in the heart of the Avoriaz mountains, discover a new experience of well-being.
Mountain Biking on Snow
Take to the pistes on a mountain bike with free introductory sessions taking place every Sunday evening or 2 hour paid for sessions with a guide for around €50.
Combine Nordic skiing with shooting and you've got the sport of biathlon, which you can try out on your trip to Avoriaz this winter. A minimum of four people are required for a lesson with Avoriaz ESF. Get in touch with them for prices and availability.
There are two bowling alleys in Avoriaz to keep you entertained on bad weather days, or if you're looking for something to do with a group or non-skiers.
Catch the latest films and releases in Avoriaz on your winter or summer holiday. Some cinemas open their doors early on a bad weather day, otherwise you'll find most screenings in the evenings. Look out for VOST for English speaking films.
Get back to nature and explore the lovely tranquil cross-country ski trails. There are two different techniques – classic and skating. Classic is the easiest for beginners; you simply place your skis in two parallel grooves, push off and glide around the trails. Skating is more energetic and a slightly harder skill to grasp; you push your feet out to either side as though you are ice skating and use your poles simultaneously to gain momentum. You can hire the comfortable boots and lightweight skis and poles fairly inexpensively from most sports shops and book a group or private lesson to learn the basics from most ski schools or private instructors. A number of adventure companies also offer cross-country skiing guiding, tours and lessons too. Find your way around with the cross country skiing maps.
Also see: Cross-country Skiing in Avoriaz
Visit the Seraussaix farm shop on the road on the way down to Morzine for some locally made cheeses and take a tour of the farm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays from 14:00 to 16:00. Book in advance with Avoriaz tourist office.
There are over 2.5 million people doing geocaching around the world and some of them (perhaps surprisingly) are right here in Avoriaz! It’s a relatively new craze that started taking the world by storm in May 2000 after a computer geek decided that GPS could be “really exciting”. He hid some treasure at his home in Portland, America, for people to find, broadcast the GPS coordinates and said, “Come and get it”. His only rule: “Take some stuff, leave some stuff”. And that’s exactly what Geocaching is…you go in search of treasure by using the GPS system on your mobile device – once you’ve found it, you write your name in a logbook and replace the treasure you decide to take. It’s pretty simple really and means, as a family, you can be adventurers together. You won’t usually find anything quite as precious as gold, silver and diamonds but nevertheless it’s quite exciting!
Handiski / sit-ski
Enjoying the thrill of being on the pistes need not escape you if you're less mobile or have special physical needs. Resorts all over the Alps offer equipment and fully qualified guides to help you get the most out of your experience. Sit-ski, taxi ski, Vertiski, Handiski.. whichever method you're used to, or would like to try there will be at least one ski school or activity company in Avoriaz that offers this service.
Also see: Disabled Skiing in Avoriaz
Unfortunately, heli-skiing is not permitted in France, however some of the ski schools, adventure companies, local flight companies and mountain guide companies will offer a pick-up/drop-off heli skiing service for you where you will be taken over the border into Italy or Switzerland. It is expensive, but definitely a once in a lifetime experience!
Sit back and admire the mountains from even higher up. Daily panoramic helicopter flights are available (weather permitting) with a number of local flight companies. Relax and enjoy the stunning views as you fly over the snow-capped mountain tops, glaciers and alpine forests of the Alps.
Horse-drawn sleigh rides
Horse drawn sleighs aren't quite the novelty in Avoriaz that they are in most parts of the world - here they are the main form of transport! As Avoriaz is a traffic-free resort horses double up as taxis here - to get you from the car park to your apartment, out for the night, anywhere in fact that you want to go. Horse drawn sleighs are available daily from 8am to 7pm, 7 days a week. With 28 sleighs and around 100 horses they are a common sight on the streets and one of the highlights of visiting Avoriaz. You can either use them as a way of getting around the resort or you can hire one for a scenic trips around the resort. Sleighs can be picked up at the entrance of the resort (“Accueil”), the outdoor parking P2, the top station of the Prodains cable car and in the centre of town. Book a tour through the tourist office for around €20 per person.
Hot air ballooning is a truly unique and fun experience. You can experience views and scenery like never before. The views are stunning, and as you glide over the forests you may see deer and other animals normally hidden from view. The pilot controls the height but the wind determines which direction you take, so the flight can take anything from one to two hours, depending on when a suitable landing site comes into view. Hot air ballooning looks serene, but there are moments of excitement; once the creaking wicker basket rises and you are suspended in the air metres above the ground, with nothing but the wind and the pilot taking you through the blue sky, it can be quite thrilling.
Be in charge of your own sled and team of excitable husky dogs, driving them along forest paths in winter. After a brief explanation of how to make your team stop and start, you set off following the guide’s team. If this all sounds a bit much you can opt for a less physical outing where you sit in the sled and the guide does all the hard work! It's a very popular winter activity, so booking at least 48 hours in advance is a must. They run from early December to the end of April (snow-permitting). Take a look at our video review.
Ice-skating / Hockey
Go to the ice-skating rink in Morzine for fun loops with friends and family. With a refreshment bar, music and lighting you can enjoy the indoor ice skating rink at Parc des Dereches all year round. Open during the day and with night sessions from 09:00-23:00 on Tuesday and Thursday, although be warned these are sometimes postponed due to hockey matches or special events. In the winter you can scoot around on the outdoor ice skating rink situated in the tourist office square, with ice shows on Thursdays. Open every day from 10:30 to 12:30 and 15:00 to 19:00 throughout the winter season. Ice hockey matches league games take place on Tuesdays with Magners Cup games on Saturdays.
Avoriaz has an open air ice rink in the resort centre that is open daily from 15:00 to 20:00 (14:00-20:30 during French school holidays). Holders of the MultiPass can get in for free. The rink may close in the case of bad weather.
The Village Igloo Experience brings you a fantasy attraction of ice caves that could have fallen straight out of a fairytale book. Beautiful and unique, the Village Igloo is an annual project that occupies Avoriaz 1800 (at the bottom of the Arare piste) every year, bringing guests and locals of the resorts the chance to enjoy the sheer novelty of enjoying the unique environment created by a giant igloo. It's open from 09:00 to 18:00 7 days a week.
Once the pistes are closed, the mountain empty and the sun setting you would think the only thing happening would be piste grooming.... Well not in Avoriaz!! Now you can race down the empty slopes on a mountain bike. Grab the gondola up and race, bump, slide and enjoy your descent down the snowy mountain on two wheels. The activity costs around 40 euros, which may seem steep but can definitely be worth it with the beautiful view, the sun setting and the thrill of the experience, plus it includes the rental of the bike, safety gear and a guide to take you down. The session will be around 2 hours and at the end there will be a nice warm glass of mulled wine waiting for you, what better way to end two hours of biking on the snow. Contact Ecole Rustine to book your snow mountain biking experience.
Also see: Mountain Biking in Avoriaz
Night skiing takes place on the Pleney piste in Morzine every Thursday weather permitting.
Paragliding / Parapenting
If you’ve never tried paragliding before then Avoriaz is a great place to learn how to fly. Known as “parapenting” in France & Switzerland, there are a great number of clubs and organisations in the area whose sole purpose is give you the experience of flying. From the heights of the mountain tops you can glide down to the bottom of the valley on a tandem paraglider controlled by the instructor. He manoeuvres the parachute while the passenger enjoys the ride and fantastic views. Top tip: go on a sunny, warm day when the thermals will keep your airborne for longer. Take a look at our video review.
The Segway is a two wheeled scooter that allows you to transport around in a fun and different way. Now you can enjoy this fun mode of transport on the mountains in Morzine. To move the Segway you use your own balance and just lean forward to make the Segway move forward, they are extremely popular in America and are a fun new way to get around and see sights. You can take your Segway tour in the evening and in a group it will guarantee some giggles.
Many people would not automatically think of Avoriaz as a place to shop, however, the town boasts some great stores. As you would expect from an outdoor sports resort, there are plenty sports stores where you can get your hands on some of the top mountaineering, ski and snowboard brands but there are also some fashionable clothing stores, and plenty of shops selling traditional mountain goods.
Ski Joering hails from Scandinavia, indeed the word 'joering' itself means ski driving in Norwegian. In France the preferred style is to use a rider-less horse which is controlled by the skier. A rig with reigns is connected to the horse’s bridle and the skier is towed along behind the horse on skis, holding onto the rig. The skier steers with vocal commands and by pulling on lines connected to the horses bit. Ski joering is a sport that is suitable for all ages and rides can be tailored to suit any standard of skier, from a gentle hack to a gallop through the snow.
Avoriaz is popular for ski touring, whether it's going up the pistes that most people normally ski down, or tackling more of a back country route. A number of ski schools, private instructors and companies can show you around, or if you've got all the necessary equipment you can head out in your own group.
Skiing & snowboarding
The main draw for people coming to Avoriaz in winter is of course the skiing and snowboarding. With 5 different parts of the valley to ski in, as well as a wealth of off-piste areas, Avoriaz has something for every level of experience. There are some great snowparks here including the Stash (for grown ups) and the lil' Stash which is especially adapted for children from 6-14 years old to try.
Also see: Ski Areas in Avoriaz
Sky-diving & parachuting
If you want to experience the beauty of the mountains and the thrill of falling through the mountain sky then you can do just that in Avoriaz. Just turn up to the Skydiving school, they will teach you all the basics you need to know about skydiving in a quick session, take you up in small plane and then jump out of it with you! Sky diving gives you an extreme thrill seeking experience like nothing you have ever done before. It is a truly new experience, with the total free fall at the beginning of the jump and then once your parachute is up the gentle movement through the sky, if you want to give sky diving a go then Avoriaz is definitely the place to do it. Expect to pay around €380-400.
Sledging / Tobogganing
This is one winter activity that doesn't require a lot of expensive equipment, just grab your sledge and head for the nearest snow-covered hill! You can pick up a sledge at one of the many ski hire shops or sports shops in Avoriaz. Night sledding also takes place in Avoriaz in winter on a special 3km long track. Go up using the ski lifts and come down on a sledge with a head torch. Minimum age 16.
Raquette à Neige or Snow-shoeing in and around Avoriaz is a perfect activity for bad weather conditions or for non-skiers. Don't forget to wear comfortable and waterproof boots. Either set out on your own, or join a group led by a knowledgeable local guide and explore the hidden parts of the ski area. Snowshoes and ski poles are provided by most companies offering this as an experience, or you can hire snowshoes from most Sports Shops or Ski Hire Shops, grab a trail map from the Tourist Office and head off on your own adventure. Be sure to check the weather forecast before you go.
Snowmobile / Skidooing
Snowmobiling can be a fun, fast, snowy activity. In Avoriaz it is held in the evenings, from 5.30pm to 10.30pm, giving you free range of the snow and the Alps. If you are in a group or just fancy doing it on your own it can be a fun and exciting activity to participate in, especially as the sunsets and darkness descents. Scooting around on a snowmobile enjoying the views and the empty mountains, it gives you a whole new perspective of Avoriaz. Take a look at our video review.
Avoriaz and the wider Portes du Soleil is a favourite for freestyle skiers and snowboarders. With a permanent halfpipe, Europe's first Burton Stash and parks in Avoriaz, Les Gets, Crosets, Nyon and Chatel it's no wonder it is so popular.
Also see: Snowparks in Avoriaz
Spas & massages
If it is calm and relaxation you are after then head to a luxury day spa or book in for massage therapies and beauty treatments. A day spa is also the perfect activity when the weather turns. You can keep warm and revive aching muscles in saunas, steam rooms and jacuzzis or take a refreshing dip in a swimming pool. Unwind, relax and indulge.
Speed-riding / Speed-flying
The idea behind speed riding is to combine the sensations of skiing and paragliding into one activity, and then descend off-piste sections of the mountain using a mini-wing to enable you to access areas that you might not normally go. Learning and having fun with speed riding comes very fast as long as you are a competent skier; you need to be able to ski red pistes with confidence in any type of snow. Speak to one of the companies offering this activity who can show you the ropes (literally).
There are two squash courts in Avoriaz open every day from 09:00 to 19:00. You can book a slot through the main tourist office. Expect to pay around €6 for half an hour with an additional €2.50 for racket hire.
In Avoriaz the 'Aquariaz' centre is an aquatic paradise offering a huge water park made up of a gentle flowing indoor river, a slidewinder (an aquatic halfpipe), a toddlers paddling pool & water playhouse, a large pool with natural climbing walls.
Telemarking is a form of downhill skiing where you are only attached into the binding at the toe, so to turn, you have to lunge and bring your heel upwards. Talk to one of the ski schools or private instructors who can teach you how to telemark and take you out on excursions using this technique.