For High or Low

Posted by Emma on October 4, 2011

Learning how to inspect the snowpack in Morzine Avoriaz on an Onyx and Mountain Mavericks snowboard camp.

Living in Morzine is amazing; something that often sparks a bit of jealousy from our guests as we return them to the airport after another great ski holiday. But over the last few years I have been struggling to persuade a few friends, who I know from doing seasons, that it is the town to settle down in. It has all that other purpose built resorts have to offer as well as a great permanent community and all the facilities of a long standing town and not just being for the purposes of the tourism it attracts.  

The reason I have been struggling to persuade them has come down to the belief that “it’s too low and doesn’t get the snow”. Well having spent a lot of time in the mountains over the years I have not only come to realise that big generalisations are difficult to apply, but in particular the common belief that higher resorts get more snow, isn’t always true and I’m glad to say that Avoriaz at the heart of the Portes du Soleil, neighbouring Morzine, is one resort that proves that.
Avoriaz has the highest average snow fall of any French resort. A fact that is attributed to it’s being situated further north and proximity to Lake Geneva offering up the extra moisture.
If we look at just last year, one of the worst in over 30 years, a time that has seen many a travel writer run to the cliché in the approach to this season. Avoriaz had a higher average snow depth and more open slopes than other higher resorts popular with the British skier.
Average snow depth cm:
                              Nov 2010             Dec        Jan         Feb         Mar        Apr 2011
Avoriaz                 12                          83           112        110        110        47
Val D’Isere          14                          61           86           87           101        59
Meribel                5                            55           59           57           78           46
This coupled with a large number of tree lined pistes, afforded to a slightly lower altitude means that the resort will have more open lifts on bad weather days. All in all, a winning combination.
I know where I’ll be staying and on those heavy snow days (that we are going to get loads of this year)  I’ll be thinking of all those poor folk stuck inside at high altitude, whilst I’m shredding the trees.