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Is Morzine good for beginners?

© Sam Ingles | Peak Snowsports

As a novice skier, choosing the right resort for your level can be a challenge – and understandably so! There are 1159 ski resorts in the Alps with more than 300 in France alone. Picking a beginner-friendly resort can be the difference between falling in love with the sport and hanging up your skis for good. To help you choose, we spoke to Ski Instructor David Walton from the ski school Peak Snowsports about why Morzine is one of the best resorts for beginners.

Is Morzine good for beginners?

Is Morzine a good ski resort for beginners?

Morzine is an excellent resort for beginners to start skiing! There’s everything from a beginner’s paradise to an off-piste playground here. 

The Morzine ski area has a quick uplift from the resort to the learning slopes via the high-speed Pleney bubble lift. Step out of the lift and step onto the Tapis de Nabor Magic Carpet, which will take you up to the bottom of the beginner slope. Magic Carpets are great for beginners, as you can simply step onto them without the fear of tackling chair lifts straight away. This Magic Carpet will take you up to the original Viking Magic Carpet. Step onto this and it will take you, at ground level, to the top of the beginner’s slope. This makes it easy for beginners to keep doing a loop and learn how to balance and master speed control.

Once you gain a bit more confidence, there are longer beginner slopes around the Super Morzine and Avoriaz sides with higher altitudes making for better snow conditions to practice in. There are great links between Morzine and the neighbouring resorts of Les Gets and Avoriaz. 

You also have progressive slopes with gentle chairlift access to help you perfect your turning technique without pushing too hard. After you’ve done your first green slope with the Magic Carpet, you can move onto the chairlift which has the same terrain. You never have to upgrade to a steeper slope to access it. 

Another great factor that’s often overlooked about Morzine is that some of the cafes and restaurants are within easy walking distance from the beginner’s ski area. As a beginner, having that opportunity to go to the bathroom or grab a refreshment in between lessons gives you some breathing space to relax before getting back out on the slopes. 

Plus, all the ski shops in the resort allow ski storage so you can drop your kit off at the end of the day and mooch around in your comfy trainers rather than lug all your equipment around.

I’m a bit biased but Morzine also has some awesome ski schools for all skill levels. The resort in general is orientated around British visitors so we have some excellent, high-quality English-speaking ski schools. 

I’ve got all the gear on. Now what do I do?

Start with taking the Pleney bubble lift up the mountain. At the top, get on the Magic Carpet which will take you to the bottom of the beginner slopes on your left. Step onto the second Magic Carpet to get to the top of the beginner slope where you can start practising. 

Skiing has a lot of unintuitive movements for most people, so learning good technique from the start will be a huge help. I would book ski lessons or a ski camp to really maximise your time. After all, you’re here to make awesome memories skiing down beautiful slopes with your friends and family!

Once you’ve completed the first beginner slopes and ski lessons, there’s a chairlift after the bubble lift which will take you to a beautiful green run called Seraussaix. 

It’s one of the longest green runs in the Super Morzine ski area and it’s at a slightly higher altitude, so it has better skiing conditions. The slope cuts all the way across Morzine to the bottom of Avoriaz. It’s a great progressional milestone for beginners once they’ve got to grips with speed control. 

If you want to ski the Avoriaz side, your Hunter Chalets driver can drop you off at the Prodains bubble lift and from there, it’s easy to get to the ski area. 

You come out of the lift onto a small plateau and your first progression technique is to learn how to do a snowplough stop. Then you go up a three-person chairlift, which takes you along the side of Avoriaz to the beginner’s area on the plateau. 

This chairlift will be replaced by an open bubble lift so pedestrians can reach restaurants on the plateau without skis. For now, they can catch the elevator from Prodains to the plateau or be picked up by a horse and cart.

Where should I start practising?

© Morzine Tourist Board

It depends on your level but you should aim for a run where speed control is not a problem. I advise testing your skills on easy slopes before challenging your nerves on harder slopes. Your ski instructor should provide you with lots of practice activities that you can tick off before you move up to the next slope level. 

Start with practice slopes that have a quick turnaround like Piste B and D in Pleney, Nabor in Super Morzine and Rhodos in Les Gets (for beginner intermediates). 

Bleue du Lac in Avoriaz is another great run because you have a wonderful feeling of being up in the mountains but it’s well-protected and has a consistent gradient. It’s also close to the chairlifts.

Are group lessons or private lessons better for beginners? Where would I meet you for ski lessons?

© Sam Ingles | Peak Snowsports

Meeting points tend to be at the top of the main bubble lifts, so Pleney in Morzine, Prodains in Avoriaz and Chavannes in Les Gets. The instructor will introduce you to the ski area and work with you to establish how to make the most of your time together.  

The duration of your ski lesson is important to consider. Most beginners assume that booking a one or two-hour session will be enough, but it’s not. By the time you’ve got up the chairlifts, got your equipment on and built a rapport with your instructor, the actual time you spend skiing in a short lesson is minimal.

We recommend booking three-hour lessons as a minimum. They give you more time to pace yourself and build up your skills, rather than tire yourself out with shorter lessons that cram more in. It’s a much better learning experience. 

Private lessons are popular for adults who are complete beginners, while intermediate skiers like to join in group lessons. We often get requests for adult and children group classes, but we always advise keeping them separate as we have different teaching techniques for each. 

Teenagers have much more fun if they’re in a group lesson with their peers, but older teens are welcome to learn privately with their parents if they prefer to. 

Tell me about the Magic Carpet in Morzine.

© VTL Photography | Morzine Tourist Board

The Magic Carpet is the closest we’ll ever get to flying Aladdin’s carpet! It’s a slowly revolving rubber carpet that skiers stand on and get transported up to the top of the learning slopes. 

There are no chairlifts involved and you don’t have to worry about buttons or t-bars. It’s less faff and you get more ski time!

Do you need to organise ski lessons in advance or can they be arranged when you arrive?

© Sam Ingles | Peak Snowsports

Always book in advance to guarantee the type of lesson and instructor you want. It’s a risky game to wait until you arrive. Some of our clients book lessons with us a year in advance! 

We do sometimes have availability for last-minute bookings, so it’s always worth checking with the Hunter Chalets concierge team to see if any late spaces have become available.

How should beginners prepare themselves for their very first lesson?

The first thing you want to do is get your body ready. We’ve got a selection of fitness videos on YouTube that you can start following a month or so before you arrive. They will help you with proprioception (AKA limb position and movement), balance, ankle joint, thorax, rotation and more. Use them to work on strengthening your core, perfecting your balance and building up your flexibility.

For what to pack, bring some sports shoe inner soles to put in your rental boots for better comfort and fit. Make sure you wear multiple thin layers rather than relying on a big bulky ski jacket. It’s a much more effective way to keep yourself warm. 

Once you’re here, arrive early for your lesson so you know exactly where you’re meeting. Have a couple of goals lined up for your session as they will give you and your instructor something to focus on. I’d also suggest having a piste map so you know what to do if you get lost or have an accident. 

Finally, follow Peak Snowsports and Hunter Chalets on social media to get a feel of the resort and start getting excited for your ski holiday!

What can beginners expect from their first lesson?

© Sam Ingles | Peak Snowsports

You’ll learn some warm-up exercises, activities and focus points to take away and practice on your own. You’ll get to grips with speed control and safety as well as gain a good understanding of posture, movement and balance. 

Your instructor will also guide you through using the Magic Carpet and bubble lifts. You will most likely want or need to have a few lessons over the duration of your holiday to help you build up your confidence.

Once I’ve mastered the basics, should I move on to a run?

© Sam Ingles | Peak Snowsports

If your instructor gives you the green light, go for it! Normally when we see beginners parallel turn, they’re ready to venture onto independent skiing.

Be careful with challenging yourself on the slopes too soon. You might find yourself losing confidence and picking up defensive speed control techniques, which take a while to unlearn.

Where are the best runs in Morzine for beginners?

Start around the magic carpet area at the Pleney bubble lift. Once you’ve done that, move on to Narbor, Piste B or try Seraussaix on the Super Morzine side. 

After you’ve learned to control your speed when turning, runs like Combe a Floret in Avoriaz are fantastic for beginners who want to progress to the next level. It’s one of the longest blue runs you can do and it traverses through the Enchanted Forest to Les Lindarets which is just beautiful. 

The Grizzly run in Morzine is nice and quiet because people tend to forget about it. You can find it when you go past the Pleney bubble lift on your right. You’ll come to a huge satellite pole at the end of the fence. Turn right again and you’ll see the blue run which cuts across a steep red slope and enters into the forest. 

Nyon is another good run for advanced beginners because it’s quiet and you’ve got quick chairlifts. The slopes up there have an even gradient so it’s good terrain to practice turns. 

Les Gets is also one of the best ski areas for beginners because the slopes are wide and gentle. The Chavannes bubble lift from the resort makes it easy to get up from the resort and from there, you’ve got magic carpet areas and another gentle chairlift that takes you to the plateau. 

At the Les Gets plateau, Piste 64 is great for beginners wanting to try their first run after the magic carpet. The next best one is a blue run called Violette that goes through the forest and reappears back at the plateau.

How do you know which runs to go down first?

© Sam Ingles | Peak Snowsports

In France, ski runs are listed on a colour scale from green to black. On the side of each slope, you’ll have lollipop signs with the piste name, colour, and number. The higher the number the longer the slope, and the numbers decrease as you descend. They’re useful for telling you where you are on the run. 

The easiest runs are labelled green, which means they’re suitable for beginners and children. Green runs have more emphasis on crash zones, so there’s always somewhere safe for skiers to land if they lose control. 

They have a gentle gradient with wider slopes, so there are fewer hazards to watch out for. Having said that, the ski runs are tracks on a mountain, so expect some runs to have bumps and curves. It’s best to get local knowledge from your instructor just to be sure. 

The main difference between a green run and a blue run is that greens are reserved for beginners and kids only. They’re slow, quiet zones where you can focus on your skiing and not be put off by more advanced skiers whizzing past you.

While blue runs are beginner-friendly, they tend to be busier with skiers of different levels, as they’re used as a way to access harder red and black runs. 

What advice would you give novice skiers attempting their first green run?

Assuming they can already control their speed and direction, I would advise them to plan the route of their run. Start by dividing the run into vertical sections with the aim of doing 10 turns and a stop per section. Next, divide the width of the slope into lanes (use the width of a piste basher to guide you) and stay in one or two as you go down.  

Read the slope for curves, corners or any potential hazards to avoid. Always look for the next apex of a turn as it keeps you coordinated and helps other skiers predict when your next turn will be. 

Once you reach 10 turns, come to a stop and plan the next section of the slope. Pacing yourself like this allows you to gather information without becoming overwhelmed. You can then focus on your technique and where to turn. This promotes rhythm and predictability for other skiers and helps to control your speed.

I recommend having an instructor accompany you as you go down your first green or blue run. The magic carpet has no more than 10 to 15 turns and it’s a very “closed off” area to beginners whereas on a green slope, you’ll feel more exposed with other slope users at different levels, have much longer sections to ski and have to deal with undulating terrain. It’s quite a big difference!

What should you do if you find a run too challenging?

Stop on the side of the slope and re-gather yourself. You can then tackle the remainder of the slope by side slipping. This is a nifty trick that allows you to lose height by going sideways down the slope with your ski edges gripping against the snow. You don’t need to go face down or do any turns.  

Your other option would be to zig-zag across the slope to minimise the amount of turns you need to do. Your only turns would be at the side of the slope. 

Have you been inspired to start skiing in Morzine?

Check out our ski chalet winter availability to find out more. Once you’ve booked your chalet, you can ask our concierge team to book your ski lessons and request David or one of the Peak Snowsports team.

Morzine winter chalet inspiration

  • Lodge Des Nants
  • Where to travel in winter 2020 covid
  • Chalet Genepi
  • The Bungo

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