The ski season is well underway and in our quest to find the more environmentally conscious ski resorts, we took to Morzine, positioned in the French Alps.
Morzine is the central location between two adjacent resorts of Avoriaz and Les Gets. If you want to take your board or skis and get further afield then it is also possible to pass into Switzerland – to Chapel. To make life easier, you can pick up ‘The Port du Soleil’ lift pass which covers all of this area and more – that gives you over 650km of slopes and 14 interconnected resorts – not even to mention the numerous parks and famed off piste areas – unfortunately my stay was only four days or I’d still be boarding my way around now!
So where did I stay in this lovely village of Morzine? A interestingly named accommodation; Rudechalets! The chalets aren’t your average chalet, they pride themselves on location, quality, affordability and unique partnerships such as Burton, Xbox, Redbull, and exclusives such as Marc Ward art prints or one off boards. Most of this decorates the chalet and provides a unique cool, yet still relaxed atmosphere before and after the slopes. The values and qualities of the business coupled with the ideal staff, created such a friendly vibe whereby everyone in the chalet seemed almost family. A treat when staying at Rudechalets is that you can take advantage of being ‘mountain hosted’ by the staff, an option I most ceretainly utilised which enabled me to see both Morzine and all the connecting resorts.
In terms of eco-friendly, well obviously like all ski resorts, nearly everything is made wood, but Morzine and its neighbour resorts have some further eco credentials. Avoriaz is is famous all over the world for its unique all-pedestrian resort village centre and architecture which melts into natural surroundings. It is very rare to find a car-free tourist destination, and because of this, the snow is not needed to be cleared from the streets, further enhancing the green aspects of the resort.
People move around the town either on foot, sleds or horse-drawn carriages, and of course possible by skis or snowboard which cross inside the resort. Avoriaz town is not the only eco credential it provides! Being famous for its ability to continuously invent original skiing concepts, the latest is also a green credential – The Stash – a giant, spectacular, ecological, snowpark, and believe me it is, probably one of the best fun parks I’ve boarded. It was created in 2008 by Jake Burton, a legendary figure and snowboard visionary. The Stash snowpark is aimed towards freeriders and freestylers and communicates environmental protection. Built within the Lindarêts forest it utilises the natural environment as much as possible through its many trails and hidden challenges, gring rails and rainbow runs utilising the timber, picknick benchs, jumps over dead wood, its got a bit of everything.
Les Gets is also eco minded, again its resort has much greenery with trails through the woodlands, not common with many ski resorts but a fantastic benefit when boarding its slopes! Les Gets has infact had a long history of sustainable development, and continually gives priority to initiatives promoting responsible tourism by establishing projects designed to preserve this mountainous environment. The schemes are aimed towards its visitors’ awareness and to its local inhabitants, to enforce the message that the mountains are actually a fragile and precious eco-system needing ‘sustainable’ protection. They have received awards for their eco stand point; the Lift-Operating Company (Sagets) received the ISO 14004 accreditation in 2008. In pursuing the environmental pledge, it is now the Tourist Office that is working towards an environmental accreditation. The medium-term objective is to encourage the businesses, shop keepers and accommodation providers in Les Gets to do the same by involving them in future initiatives to protect the local environment for the future. Les Gets seems to be leading the way as such it is a pilot site in the European Initiative “ClimAlp Tour” (Climate change and its impact on Alpine Tourism). The project has the support of 16 participating partners spread over 6 alpine countries: Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Slovenia and Switzerland.
In all, the resorts not only promise a realisation of an eco-awareness even to those visitors who are not actively aware, but also provide some of the best slopes in the Alps – a factor recognised by many pro-boarders. Rudechalets complimented and completed the holiday with its equally unique feel and great sence community aspect.
I would definitely advise to visit this area and Rudechalets, if you are looking to get out before the end of the season I highly recommend getting a stay around April 2-9, this is the time of the Wild Concert Festival. A unique festival featuring exceptional concerts all over the slopes. Ski or board to the location of temporary stages, deep in the heart of nature for each show and experience the live outdoor music, don’t think it could sound any better to me! In fact I’m actually hoping to go…
Fully catered prices for Dec 2010 – April 2011 /// range from £379 pp/pw – £719 pp/pw and include return airport transfers, ensuite accommodation, half board, unlimited wine & mountain hosting. rudechalets™ cater for groups of all sizes, families and individuals and can also help organise ski schools, equipment hire, lift passes, in-chalet nannies & exciting non-skiing activities including night time sledging and parapenting.