Before I mentally put away our lovely holiday, thought I'd share some snaps and information about where we like to stay when we go skiing.
Some people would probably think we are mad to keep going back to the same place for our hols, but we've found somewhere that really suits us, and there's so much to enjoy there!
Avoriaz is in the heart of the Portes du Soleil, which (with 650km of pistes) is the largest skiing area in Europe and one of the largest in the world. Stretching from Mont Blanc to Lake Geneva, it takes about an hour and a half by car to reach Avoriaz from Geneva airport, though it is also not too difficult to drive from the UK - about a ten hour drive from Calais, with fairly generous stops.
Avoriaz is a purpose-built resort, set at an altitude of 1800m, so a good bet for snow coverage. It has a unique architectural style, with acutely-angled and cedar-clad buildings. From the surrounding valleys, it simply blends into the mountain scenery - no scar on the landscape.
Notice what's missing?
Avoriaz is car-free. You drive up to the arrival point, unload your bags and park in one of the car parks, or you can park down near Morzine (this is free at the moment) and take the cable car up. You can then either lug your bags to your accommodation yourself, with the help of one of the wooden cratey-sledgey things, or ask for a 'transport'. During the daytime and early evening this normally means one of these...
A tinkly, clippy-cloppy horse-drawn sleigh!
(At other times it's a 'navette chenillée' - a pod on caterpillar tracks. if you're lucky, the driver will do a 360 degree handbrake turn as they arrive to pick you up!)
There are a few chalets, though not of the traditional Savoyard design...
... and one hotel, the HÔTEL DES DROMONTS ***
which used to be a really trendy destination in the 1960s and 70s -
the 'Saint Tropez de Neige '.
But most of the accommodation is in self-catered apartments.
Ski-in, ski-out is the order of the day in Avoriaz - no buses to run to in ski-boots, lugging skis and poles; no cramped cable cars to reach the slopes.
There's the renowned Annie Famose Children's Village (where Miss U-t-B wants to work when she's a bit older), lots of fun for children of three and up as they get confident with skis and have lots of fun in the snow.
There are pistes to suit most skiers, from the easy greens and blues of the Super-Morzine
area, to the blues and reds down to the Lindarets area, and the reds and blacks of the
Fornets and Haut-Forts areas.
You can quite easily ski to the slopes of nearby Châtel or over to Les Crosets, Morgins or Champéry in Switzerland.
If you want a challenge, the world-famous 'Swiss Wall' is a two-lift ride away from the
centre of the resort - but DON'T expect to find me there!