Avoriaz was built in the 1960s, perched high on the cliffs above Morzine. As a newer, purpose built resort, it does not have the historic culture of some of the other villages in the Portes Du Soleil. However, art has been an important part of the development of the village right from its inception.

History

After returning from winning gold at the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, Jean Vuarnet was given the task of developing the skiing in Morzine. Vuarnet had long dreamed of opening up the siing areas around Chavanette, and after seeing the resort of Squaw valley he was inspired to build a new resort above Morzine. This would go on to become Avoriaz

Architecture

Vuarent hired Gerard Bremont to oversee the development of the town. He hired ambitious,visionary young architects Jacques Labro, Jean-Jacques Orzoni and Jean-Marc Roques to design the new village. At a time when many purpose built resorts in the Alps were being built to resemble tower blocks, with no thought for integrating with the surroundings, the Avoriaz design team came up with a revolutionary design. They drew on different artistic styles - Contemporary, Avant Garde, Fantasy and, as a nod to the artistic history of the area, Baroque. A new era was beginning allowing architects to work more as artists and have a greater freedom of expression. The architects strove to work with their environment, with buildings designed to resemble the mountains around them and to blend in with them, whilst also using sharp angles in a way that had not been seen before. This was also practical as it helped the snow to fall off the roofs! The buildings were also covered with wooden tiles to help blend in. The team of architects have all won awards for their work, such as the Academie des Beaux Arts, the Equerre D'Argent and the silver medal from the Architectural Academie. In 2003 the French Minister of Culture awarded Avoriaz a prize for being one of the great cultural achievements of the 20th Century.

Film Festival

The Festival International Du Film Fantastique d'Avoriaz was begun by Gerard Bremont to increase the fame of the new resort. The first edition was held in 1973, where Steven Spielberg won the prize for his film Duel. Amongst the big names who have shown their films there are Brian De Palma, David Lynch and David Cameron. The festival ran till 1993.