The Portes du Soleil ski area is a freestyle lover’s paradise with no less than 11 snowparks, 4 boarder-cross, a superpipe and several airbags. A huge variety of modules are to be found across the area’s parks from kickers and rails to wall-rides and everything in-between, suitable for riders of all levels.
Snowboarding in Morzine has always attracted a strong community with regular competitions in slopestyle, pipe and bordercross. Many pro riders either base themselves in Morzine or return frequently to the area to take advantage of the amazing facilities. What’s more, Morzine’s central position within the Portes du Soleil allows easy access to all the best parks on offer. Freestyle skiing has also grown in popularity in the area and a visit to any of the parks will reveal a host of local talent.Avoriaz
Avoriaz is a favourite for freestylers with no less than five dedicated zones for all levels and disciplines including half-pipe, border-cross, and a variety of parks for slope-style.
The Stash Natural Terrain Park
The Burton Stash has recently been voted the best ski run in the world by a panel of experts brought together by CNN. It is easy to see why when you visit this amazing alpine playground running through the Lindarets forest. Avoriaz, thanks to its strong reputation as a centre for snowboarding, was chosen by Burton as the site for their first European stash. This eco snow-park has modules exclusively made of wood including several wall-rides, rails, tables and even an incredibly shaped tree. View a map of what’s on offer on the dedicated Burton Stash website. Avoriaz also offers a mini-stash to allow riders to learn and progress.
La Chappelle Snowpark
The Chappelle park is located just under the top of the Proclou lift next to the beginner slopes in the centre of Avoriaz. The park is accessible from a number of lifts including the Lindarets, Prolays and Tour chairlifts. Known by locals as the ‘baby park’, in reality the park caters for a variety of levels. The Chappelle offers 3 lines of kickers (green, blue and red lines) as well as 2 lines of boxes and rails. Beginner freestylers can transition from the Avoriaz micro-park to the green kickers and flat boxes in the Chappelle, whilst the red kickers and good selection of rails on offer are perfect for strong intermediate and advanced skiers and riders. Avoriaz snowzone normally hosts a series of slopestyle competitions here throughout the winter season.
The Arare Snowpark
The Arare park is located above Avoriaz and is accessed via the Lac Intrets chair and the Arare drag-lift. Known as the ‘Big park’, the features here are generally larger and more technical than in the Chappelle and include several sizeable reds and a large black kicker at the bottom. There is also normally a hip and quarter-pipe depending on snow conditions. A boardercross runs from near the top of the park to the shapers hut and picnic area where there is also a free airbag. For sunny days there is a barbecue available to anyone who wants to bring and cook their own food.
Avoriaz boasts its very own superpipe which is located at the foot of the Arare and hosts a number of competitions throughout the season. In the 2013/14 season, the Avoriaz team also built a ‘beginner-pipe’ alongside the superpipe which was really popular amongst those venturing into the pipe for the first time. This mini pipe gave many skiers and riders the confidence to approach this pipe’s big brother.
The Smooth Park – Super-Chatel
Accessible via the super Chatel Gondola and the Coqs and Bossons lifts, the Smooth Park in Chatel offers beginner to advanced freestylers a great variety of features to try. The shapers here have been allowed to use their creativity to create a vast playground in this space. Features vary from green rollers to a wide selection of boxes and rails (including a c-box, rainbow box, a rail on a spine etc). There is also normally a quarter-pipe, butter box and several larger kickers. A boardercross runs the full length of the park’s left hand-side, whilst there is an airbag at the bottom of the park open between 13h30 à 15h30 each day. The Smooth Park website features photos, videos and information in French.
The Champéry/Les Crosets Superpark
The Crosets park is the daddy of the Portes du Soleil parks and an ideal stop-off for advanced skiers and riders. The park lies under the TS Les Crosets II offering some eye-wateringly large kickers and technical rail lines. There are also some intermediate kickers and rails in this park but no features that are really suitable for beginners. Since winter 2012, the park has hosted the Swiss Freeski Open. For park maps, latest events and more, visit the park’s dedicated website.
There is a small park in Morzine located up in Nyon under the Point de Nyon charlift. The features here are usually small (greens and blues), however they are not always shaped that frequently so do look before you leap! Whilst it may be a little limited, it’s worth a look If you’re passing through.
The Mont-Chéry Snowpark
The Les Gets Snowpark is located at the top of Mont-Chéry, offering some of the best views in the whole of the Portes du Soleil. Take the Mont-Chéry Telecabine and Grand Ourse chairlift to access the park and escape the crowds! The features here are normally suitable for beginner to intermediate freestylers with boxes and rails in abundance. There are also normally a few kickers, a pole jam, a hip and a spine. Dependent on snow conditions, there is also an airbag on offer.
The Les Gets Boardercross
The Les Gets Boardercross is the real deal, used for international competitions and is therefore ideal for advanced riders. With its proper competition entrance, tabletops and fast banked corners, the course is super-fun but if you are looking for an introduction, you are better off heading to the Arare.