Avoriaz – Snow Nirvana
In the late 1990s, I came across Avoriaz while on a ski holiday with my eldest 2 children just over the border in Champéry in Switzerland. Once I discovered Avoriaz, I saw it was a totally magical place, a world away from the muddy fields of Champéry, and I’ve never looked back since! High winds had closed the lifts in Champéry, so we couldn’t get up in the cable car to ski, the children’s ski school amounted to a portacabin in a muddy field at the bottom of the mountain and involved us picking up our daughter only a couple of hours after dropping her off, which didn’t work for her or us. On top of this we had a kilometre walk carrying all our ski equipment, and that of our children, down an icy road in ski boots every day – not really a very good set-up! When we finally got up the mountain ski-ing again after 2 days, we discovered Avoriaz just across the French border found ourselves in a snow nirvana – a complete car free resort at 1800 meters.
The children’s ski school in the resort centre complete with Disney characters, restaurants and ski pistes all around, no cable cars or wind closing the lifts and no mud. In the evenings the slopes gave over to sledging and various activities for the children. With no cars, the only “vehicles” were horse drawn sleighs – there was way more snow than in Switzerland, the trees were full of lights and it was just like walking into a living Christmas card!. The accommodation being largely self-catering is much better suited to family ski-ing than hotel rooms and a lot more cost effective. We had such a wonderful time in Avoriaz, which is so well set-up for families. The children aged 3 and 4 loved the ski school and all the activates after the lifts shut such as sledging, swimming, ice skating, snowman building, craft workshops, candyfloss and hot chocolate, we re-booked again twice that year and soon bought our first chalet (Chalet Ardoisiere), which was a new build chalet that I bought off plan and was completed in 2000.
Within a year I moved to Avoriaz for the whole winter and the children attended the local school for 1 term out of 3 and skied in the local ski club. It was during this time that I met Philip, who was standing in for a colleague as a Ski Club of Great Britain rep.
Having spent several winters in Avoriaz, I was fairly familiar with the landscape and lift systems and I was generally guiding Philip and his group around what is a vast area of over 650km of pistes and stopped him from getting lost on several occasions! Avoriaz Chalets – offering quality and personal service When my eldest son turned 13, it was getting too difficult for him to miss a whole term of UK school and I decided to return to the UK full time, which meant my chalet was empty in the winter outside of school holidays, so we started renting it to cover the costs. This went very well and we soon built up a loyal following. Due to demand we bought a second property (Apartment Choucas), in the original heart of Avoriaz, which we completely gutted and fully refurbished. We made quality and reliability our core values and through word of mouth quickly built up to the 6 properties we have today. We chose Avoriaz because it really is the best family ski resort we know. It is very accessible, being only 90 minutes from Geneva airport, and less than an hour from the train stations with direct trains to Paris. It is also very reliable for snow.
Although it is not the highest resort in France, due to its proximity to Mont Blanc, it has its own microclimate, which gives it exceptionally high snowfall. We have evolved over the years to become a boutique family business. As well as high quality accommodation in Avoriaz, we also support our guests with "Ski Extras" and we can book all your transfers, lift passes, ski hire, ski school courses &, restaurant reservations etc. as well as a wide range of experiences, many of which are unique, such as our fondue and sledge evening.
The 2022/23 season will be the 17th year for Avoriaz Chalets. We are unique in that our group owns all our properties. Philip and I manage them and lead the team in the resort, and our children, who are now adults, regularly help out when they are in town. We pride ourselves on our very high standards of cleanliness and maintenance and have built up a loyal clientele with over 40% of our guests returning year after year.
As well as looking after our properties and our guests, we also love to ski and spend a lot of time on and off the slopes, exploring the vast terrain and enjoying the incredible views on the many sunny days we have high above the clouds in Avoriaz. As all the properties are ski in/ski out, it's just as easy to pop out for a few runs as it is to venture out for a whole day!
As well as being keen skiers, we are also enjoy sailing, which we have done as a family with our children for 18 years. We have been lucky enough to sail in many different areas, from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean and from Asia to Australia. Our home is a moveable feast - in recent years we have split our time between London, Phuket and Cyprus.