Built on a sheer granite cliff and well placed on the Portes du Soleil circuit, arguably the world's largest lift-connected ski region. Avoriaz is famous for its wood clad buildings in award winning architectural style and indeed won an award for this. A "doorstep skiing" pioneer, linked to Swiss resorts in the Region via the legendary 'Wall' descent (you can take the chair down instead if necessary). Skiing for all standards, plenty for experts including five testing blacks (20 in Region). Famous childrens' village in the centre. Avoriaz is a car free zone designed for relaxed living.
Avoriaz represents a break-through in modern resort design. While ski centres in the 1960s were being 'thrown up' or developing in areas of great natural beauty in France, Italy, Switzerland and North America, Avoriaz was arguably the first to consider the importance of architectural design. Two aspects of design also - firstly the layout plan, secondly the architecture. Built on a cliff edge above the already successful French resort of Morzine, Avoriaz still seems 'space-aged' and unique 40 years on.
Sitting on the border with Switzerland, at a snowsure altitude, car-free and in one of the largest lift-linked ski areas in the world, it has a lot going for it. From a great distance it can be seen standing out against the white mountains but, because its style is so important, it appears more as a sculpture than a sprawling resort. Nearer to it, the effect changes to tall angular buildings that shine gold in the sunlight and right up close you realise that this isn't an especially hi-tec construction, the buildings just being clad in natural local red cedar wooden slates with plenty of glass, giving it a rather warm feel. The buildings are supposed to blend in to their natural environment, and in a way they do, although it should be stressed that the resort is well above the treeline on a vast snowy plateau.
The architects created a large square in the centre of the resort and put a children's tobogganing slope in the middle. At one side of the square there is an open-air ice rink, on another a festival hall. The resort is designed so that all accommodation is slopeside with access over snow only.
Avoriaz has its own TV and radio channels broadcasting events information and snow reports in several languages including English.