The history of Avoriaz is most closely linked to skiing, as this is the purpose for which the village was initially built. The entire infrastructure is based around winter sports and the idea of building a purpose built resort for winter. Therefore, unlike Morzine (which had been settled for hundreds of years before the advent of the winter sports industry), there is not such a rich history to the area that came to be Avoriaz. However, it does still have some interesting history connected to one of the most distinguished families in the area.
The Avoriaz Plateau
The area where the village of Avoriaz would eventually be built was originally owned by the Counts of Rovorée, a very prosperous Chablais family who have had a prominent role throughout the history of the Haute Savoie region. Eventually they gifted the land to the village of Morzine in the valley and the area took on the name of the original owners - Rovorée. Over time this was shortened to Avorée and eventually it became Avoreaz. During this time the only buildings in the area were those used by shepherds for grazing animals in springtime before they would return to the valley in autumn when the climate at altitude would become less hospitable. The buildings that existed at the time were therefore only suitable for summer weather as no one would remain in the area in winter time. The earth was dry and unsuitable for any other sort of farming. At the end of the nineteenth century the Baron de l'Epée realised the potential for hunting on the plateau and began using a hot air balloon attached to a steel cable and winch to take hunting parties up to the plateau.
The birth of skiing
As skiing began to take off throughout the French Alps and the village of Morzine began building ski lifts some intrepid skiers began venturing to the areas above Avoriaz and found some exceptional skiing there. The challenge now was how to bring the skiing in this wild and isolated area to the masses.