Family ski holidays

Avoriaz keeps it high octane and snow-sure for family ski holidays

Last updated 14th March 2024

In search of a snow-sure family ski-break this February, Andrew Dent discovers the lofty resort of Avoriaz and the cocooning luxury of VIP Ski catered chalets.


Avoriaz above the clouds © Nicolas Rosset

It is undeniable. An early February ski trip is not supposed to register 15°C up at 2000m. It is certainly not meant to reduce perennial favourite resorts like Les Gets and Morzine into looking like scenes out of a summer brochure.


Port de Soleil ski area © Sam Ingles

Fortunately, thanks to the extensive piste network provided by the Portes du Soleil you can get high, literally. And, the most efficient way to do this is to stay high. Hence, we found ourselves in the purpose built, car-free, resort of Avoriaz, which is perched like a Bond lair at 1800m; well above the valley floor. Staying high is going to become more and more of a consideration when planning your next ski holiday and Avoriaz definitely ticks that box.


Horse-drawn sleigh, resort of Avoriaz

After a relatively short two-hour transfer from Geneva we found ourselves at the reception area for the resort. That’s the end of the road, again, literally, because from here we waited to be whisked off to our chalet, by horse-drawn sleigh. It’s a unique and fun last leg, which the kids will love.


View from Ipaka Chalet, VIP Ski, Avoriaz

Welcome to new VIP Ski chalets in the resort of Avoriaz

Our accommodation was with the boutique UK chalet operator, VIP Ski. Before, you ask, yes, they live up to their name.

We were staying in a new collection of chalets in prime position overlooking the main resort area. Even better they’re genuinely ski-in-ski-out, with a convenient boot room right at the front door. No lugging of kids skis required here.


Spa pool, Ipaka Chalet, VIP Ski

There are three adjoining chalets, each with three bedrooms. So you can take one or all, depending on your party size. My chalet had a fabulous jacuzzi area, while the one next door had an indoor swimming pool and steam room: everything you need to soothe those aching muscles. The rooms are modern and spacious and the bed was so ridiculously comfortable I yearned for more hours in it, but VIP Ski and Avoriaz are always offering up the next drink, meal or activity.

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Living room, Kipnuk Chalet, VIP Ski

The luxury of catered chalet life is very seductive

Talking of meals, the food was excellent, with breakfast and dinner made in your very own kitchen by the wonderful chalet staff who were young, British, charming, fun and personable, and nothing was too much trouble for them. This is the fundamental difference between self-catering or hotel options: you really feel part of something with this catered chalet vibe. Also it’s nice to arrive at the chalet dining table to cakes, steaks, wines, teas or cocktails depending on the time of day!


Afternoon tea, Ipaka Chalet, VIP Ski

Worth noting that all dietary requests are catered for, and the vegetarian in our group was consistently impressed. Then there was the wine. VIP Ski have a policy of pricing the wine at the same price as you would find in a local supermarket. No mark up here, which feels refreshing. They will even arrange a cocktail making masterclass with the expert coming to the chalet. Very fun, but proceed with caution would be my advice!  All in all, everything was so comfortable and well catered for, we never left the chalet outside skiing hours.


Ski school Avoriaz © ESF Avoriaz

Prepare to be won over by the resort of Avoriaz too

So what about the resort of Avoriaz? Frankly it is a winner. There are a multitude of runs and a great lift system with 35 lifts in total, and the resort caters for all levels of skier, although it’s perhaps best for intermediates. It also connects, via the Porte du Soleil, to Morzine, and further over, to Les Gets. Then, in the other direction, you head across to Switzerland where you can ski the Champery-Les Crosets area. It’s certainly fun to have breakfast in France followed by a Swiss lunch.


Family snow park, Avoriaz

There are lots of things to keep kids of all ages interested here: four snow parks; The Stash and L’il Stash runs; chair lifts that soar through the village with apartments below and, after a day’s skiing, Aquariz water leisure centre.


Skijoring, Avoriaz © Oreli

We even tried Skijoring, where you get ski towed behind a horse through the forests. It’s another exciting experience that kids of 12 and over can try too.


Escaping the crowds, Avoriaz © Oreli

My one complaint would be that Avoriaz is busy. At times it felt very packed on the piste and you need to keep your wits about you with respect to the crowds. However, this might have been due to the fact that the surrounding lower resorts didn’t have good snow when we were there, so skiers staying there were heading up to more snow-sure Avoriaz. My advice? Think about hiring a guide for a day or two who’ll not only find you the best snow, they should also be able to take you away from the crowds.


Avoriaz, car-free since 1966 © Avoriaz

The resort of Avoriaz is a sustainability pioneer

The resort of Avoriaz itself has long been conscious of the environmental impact of the ski industry, and is something of a sustainability pioneer, having been designed from the outset (1966) with an environmentally sensitive approach. So, long before climate change became the focus for the industry, Avoriaz had set out its stall as a fully-pedestrianised resort, with snow covered architecture built using slate and wood from the local area.

But over the years, they’ve kept pace with the environmental movement too, and in 2021 were awarded the ‘Flocon Vert’ (Green Snowflake) label. This award, created by the Mountain Riders Association, is one of the most comprehensive global recognitions of good practice. So it’s comforting to know that one of the pioneers of sustainable alpine tourism has a current team that’s equally committed to doing the best they can in the present day.


Resort of Avoriaz, Haute-Savoie, France © Poppr VR

The food, fun and après-ski scores high here too

All that is well and good, but you’re here on holiday after all and you want to enjoy yourself. So, how about one of the most important elements of family ski trip? The on-mountain food and drink.


Village des chèvres, Haute-Savoie

For most families the morning hot chocolates, the lunches and the après ski are always fun and a big part of the day, and the resort of Avoriaz delivers here.

I would recommend one lunch on the Swiss side and one at the cute Goat Village (try Le Chaudron). Then, to cap it all off, take the group to the famous La Folie Douce. While La Folie can get pretty rowdy from 4pm onwards, it actually serves an excellent lunch, caters well for kids, and all ages are welcome. When we were there, children from 10 years were on the tables strutting their stuff.

La Folie Douce is an icon of the Alps, and the Avoriaz version is one of the best. It’s also situated at the base of the mountain, so those who want to stay on and party, can. But for those who don’t, it’s only a short distance to the comfort of your VIP Ski Chalet and the friendly chalet staff, where you’ll be safely back in your luxurious cocoon, well away from the crowds.

Plan a ski break in Avoriaz

How to get there

British Airways flights from London Heathrow to Geneva from £61pp one way. Flight time from 1 hour, 40 minutes

Book British Airways flights

VIP Ski family holiday offers 2025

A 7-night stay at Chalet Kipnuk in Avoriaz, from £9,225. Based on family of 4 (2 adults, 2 children) arriving 16 February 2025.

A 7-night stay at Chalet Kipnuk in Avoriaz, from £7,227. Based on family of 4 (2 adults, 2 children) arriving 06 April 2025.

Prices include scheduled coach transfer from Geneva Airport and catered accommodation

Find out more and book Chalet Kipnuk

Good to know

Adult 6-day lift pass for Portes du Soleil, from £278

Child 6-day lift pass for Portes du Soleil, from £177

See all lift passes

Adult 6-day ski hire, from £93

Child 6-day ski hire, from £62

See all ski hire at Antoine Ski

Find out more about the resort of Avoriaz