February is just around the corner and that means the school holiday crowds are on their way. This means long lift queues and crowded pistes, with ski schools snaking across the slopes.
There are ways to avoid the crowds, however, as certain areas are far more popular and other areas get far less skiers visiting.
The areas around Avoriaz are always busy. They are central to the Portes Du Soleil, so attract visitors from all areas, and they are the highest areas with some of the best conditions and most popular areas. The trees around Lindarets are particularly popular and become very crowded. The Stade, Intrets and Tour chairlifts, which provide access to Lindarets and the Arare and Fornet sectors get very crowded with very large lift lines.
Access to Avoriaz via Super Morzine can also be problematic. The Proclou and Serrausaix lifts have been upgraded and speeded up in recent years but this area can still be a bottleneck, with long waits for the lifts.
The best option for getting to Avoriaz is often to go via Ardent. It isn’t used by as many skiers as Prodains and Super Morzine, so it has less queues and provides access straight to Lindarets.
From Lindarets, it is well worth making the effort to head over towards Torgon, on the swiss side of the Portes du Soleil. It takes some time to get there, via the Chaux Fleurie lift and heading across the Pre La Joux/Linga area towards Super Chatel, but once there skiers will be rewarded with almost empty pistes and spectacular views. Allow plenty of time to get home in case there are large lift queues on the way back!
On the Pleney side of Morzine, Nyon is also well worth a visit. Most skiers and ski schools stick to the main Pleney runs and don’t make the effort to get over to Nyon. It is, however, easily accessible from the top of Pleney via the Belvedere chairlift. Nyon and Chamossiere are always quieter and have excellent conditions. It is even possible to avoid the queues at the bottom of Pleney by getting the bus to the bottom of the Nyon cablecar.
Over in Les Gets, Mont Chery is a hidden gem that always has less skiers than the main Chavannes side. It has incredible views across to Mont Blanc and has fantastic skiing and sunny slopes. The back of Mont Chery is even less skied. Mont Chery is accessed across town from the main skiing area of Les Gets. It can take some time to ski over there and return to Morzine afterwards during busy periods, but is well worth the effort.
These are some options to get away from the crowds during the hectic February months and get the most out of your time on the mountain.