When you’re planning your next vacation, it’s tempting to always choose a sunny beach resort where you can relax, soak up some sun, and sip cocktails by the sea. It’s popular for a reason, but every once in a while it’s good to mix things up a bit. Which is why you should add a skiing vacation to Morzine, France, to your bucket list.
As a traditional alpine town rather than a purpose built ski resort, Morzine offers an extensive variety of things to do, so you’re guaranteed to have fun even if skiing or snowboarding isn’t high on your list of things to do. Here is a full list of activities you, and your family or friends, should do when you go to Morzine.
Skiing and Snowboarding
As stated earlier, Morzine does have a lot to offer if you don’t fancy stepping out onto the slopes, but if you don’t try it at least once then you would be missing out on the town’s biggest attraction. You can choose to go for a complete ski vacation package, and stay at a luxurious ski resort such as Freedom Ski, or you can make skiing a small part of your vacation and just sign up for one day of skiing lessons at the number of schools in the area. You might surprise yourself with your new skills, maybe enough to want to do a ski tour, or glide down one of the higher slopes. After all, the selfies look great from the top of the hill.
Once you’ve mastered your new skill, you can take your skis on the road and do some cross-country skiing across some of the lovely trails. There are two different techniques – classic and skating. Classic is the easiest for beginners; you simply place your skis in two parallel grooves, push off and glide around the trails. Skating is more energetic and a slightly harder skill to grasp; you push your feet out to either side as though you are ice skating and use your poles simultaneously to gain momentum. Whatever your method, it’s a lovely way to explore nature, and you will more than earn your hot chocolate when you get back to civilisation.
Skidoo or Snowmobile Ride
Maybe you didn’t take to skiing or snowboarding as much as you’d hoped, or your legs are about to fall off from all that exercise. Either way, there is more than one way to explore the natural beauty of Morzine. If you like speed, a skidoo or snowmobile ride through the woods, tracks and snow-covered fields of the Portes du Soleil is the sightseeing experience you’ve been waiting for. A guide takes you through a 4km trail specifically reserved for skidoos so you can go at your own pace. You can ride by yourself, or make a romantic afternoon of it by riding with a partner. It’ll be an hour that you never forget.
Yes, you read that right. You can explore the snowcapped landscape of Morzine via husky sledging. The guides show you how to harness the dogs properly, and you’re encouraged to get to know the huskies through a lot of petting and hugging. The dogs are friendly towards people, if a bit aggressive towards each other. They are all rescue dogs that have been given a home and trained by the guides, and customer reviews have suggested that the dogs are all perfectly happy. Each person drives their own sled pulled by three or four huskies, and they are instructed in how to steer before setting off. There are a number of companies in Morzine that offer this activity; it’s not as fast as a skidoo or snowmobile, but it’s still pretty fast. Not to mention, it’s a unique way to get around and will be something to talk about when you get
By now, you’ve probably managed to see a lot of Morzine through a lot of fast transportation, or perhaps you didn’t see much because you were too focused on steering or staying upright on your skis. If you would like to walk through those lovely woods at a more leisurely pace, hire some snowshoes and take all the time you need. Snowshoeing is also ideal if the conditions aren’t ideal for a snowmobile or husky sled.
Scuba diving is not just an activity for tropical beaches. Lac Montriond is a stunning place to visit in the winter and the summer, and there’s a lot of interesting stuff happening under the surface. If you’re feeling daring, sign up for under-ice diving in the lake.
Underwater, the temperature is about 2 degrees Celsius and has a magical atmosphere with its enormous air bubbles stuck to the ice ceiling, reflecting all kinds of shapes. Beginner divers are given a tour by an instructor, but more experienced divers are allowed to swim and explore by themselves. Diving in Lac Montriond will be different from diving off the coast of a sunny beach. Because it is deeply embanked between cliffs of several hundred meters high, this water area doesn’t see the sun from early December to the end of February, which allows the lake to keep a low temperature and to remain frozen, therefore very little light passes through the surface. This diving excursion is not for the faint-hearted, or anyone who feels claustrophobic in silent, or cold and dark spaces.
Don’t worry, you won’t waste a day if you’re the only one in the group who doesn’t want to go diving. It’s a lovely place to go for a walk and a coffee by the water’s edge. So just relax and sip your delicious hot chocolate while you wait for everyone to emerge from the freezing lake.
Just when you thought there wasn’t much more you could do out in the snow, you learn that you could book an igloo experience. The Village Igloo is an annual project that occupies Les Arcs and Morzine-Avoriaz every year, bringing guests and locals of the resorts the chance to enjoy the sheer novelty of enjoying the unique environment created by a giant igloo. The interior of the igloo holds a bar, a restaurant, and an art gallery. You can book a night or two in their overnight accommodation, or you can just treat yourself to a delicious fondue dinner before you put your snow shoes back on and begin to walk back.
If you really need a break from the snow activities at this point, perhaps an afternoon of cheese tasting will be more up your street. In the centre of town there is a big cheese shop, L’Alpage, that functions as a shop, a cheese factory, and a restaurant. The place itself is a beautiful traditional stone and wooden cosy interior with a roaring open fire and huge window panels make this restaurant a special place to have lunch or dinner, and enjoy some of their local specialities or the farm’s own cheese selections, along with the traditional French cuisine. If you pop in on a Wednesday morning, L’Alpage Fruiter runs free sessions where you are shown how the region’s most famous cheeses are made. The shop also sells wine, jams, honey, or even cooked snails.
Spas and Massages
Who said you could only find relaxation by the beach? If you need a day of pampering to recover from the skiing, snowboarding, husky sledging, and ice diving, book yourself in for a massage therapy and beauty treatment. A deep tissue massage at The Little Mountain Spa is just what the doctor ordered after a grueling day on the slopes. You should also check to see if your resort offers similar spa treatments, so when you’re sufficiently pampered you can just stroll back to your room and order room service. After an afternoon of luxurious treatments, you’ll be more than ready to see the rest of what Morzine has to offer.
If you’re still not recovered from your activities, then just sit back and watch someone else do all the hard work. Throughout the winter season, you have a chance to see Morzine’s ice hockey team, Les Pioneers, play at the Palais des Sports. Even if ice hockey isn’t something you usually do, it’s heated, it’s exciting, and there are hot dogs and beer available. Eventually, you won’t be able to help yourself, and you will get caught up in the excitement of the game. Be prepared to lose your voice from shouting so loudly.
Of course Morzine has shopping. As a sports destination, you can expect to find a lot of sports stores in Morzine to supplement your new skiing habit. However, you can also find some fashionable clothing stores, craft stores, and an abundance of souvenir stores. Even if you don’t find anything you’d like to buy, it’s nice to just take a stroll through this lovely alpine town. It’s probably so different from what you’re used to, and there are sure to be a high number of Instagram opportunities.