The Chablais Alps is the western portion of the Alps near Lake Geneva in Switzerland zigzags to the Mont Blanc pinnacle. The Col des Montets keeps them from reaching Mont Blanc proper, however. There are several large mountains in the area too. The tallest is Dents du Midi (Mountain Teeth) at 3257 meters, with others like Mont Ruan at 3053 meters and Dents Blanches at 2759 meters. Chablais, Les Portes du Soleil, then, is a sizable quarter of the Chablais Alps housing some thirteen resorts between Mont Blanc in France and Lake Geneva in Switzerland.
Each of the communes offers up their own culture and history, with walking tours, tourist's offices and true Swiss culture everywhere. It could take days to tour and learn something new about each one. The highest commune, by example, is Avoriaz. This modern area built in the mid-1960s used a lot of materials such as wood and stone from the area, rendering it both attractive and eco-friendlier before the word existed. The other bonus is Avoriaz is pedestrian-friendly with a no car policy. If you're looking for the most snow in this area, you'll neither get any better snow nor any higher altitude than here.
Other resorty towns in the area include Morzine at 1000 meters. There's a traditional market and chalets near the river gorge giving pristine views. Beginners, you'll find the best skiing here making it one of the best bases for families. Plus, Morzine is bull's eye center in one of the best regions of the Porte du Soleil for getting around. Not to be confused with Morzine, Morgins is not as crowded as the French side of the ski area. Here, there are also some really nice cozy chalets for families wanting to escape the noise and throngs in higher Chablais Porte du Soleil ski resorts. You'll find plenty of other resorts with their own ambiance. Champery, Val D'Illiez and Torgon are just a few Swiss resorts that have a different mood you might be looking for.
You'll not only find contrasts in the resort towns but in the activities extended by each. You'll almost always get a heartfelt welcome-it seems the farther you traveled, the more balmy the welcome. There are more cultural and historical sites to behold here than any other ski resorts in the area, on either side of the border. There are four ways to get here. You can here in less than an hour from the Geneva airport. You can come from anywhere in Europe by car, by train or even by boat (given that you are on waterways and Lake Geneva).
It's hard to hold back from a visit when the ski region is so expansive: 14 valleys, 645 square kilometers, 650 of marked ski runs and nearly 230 lifts can keep hundreds of thousands of tourists in good spirits for their entire ski vacation. Though the highest ski lift only takes you up to 2466 meters, the snow cannons jet fresh powder on the runs ensuring great all-day skiing. Different slopes face different ways, with nearly each one offering something for every skill level. If you're whole family wants to go to Chatel, for example, and find over three main ski areas to choose from-one for Mom, Dad and Child.
In the region of Chablais in the Porte du Soleil, you'll find the highest lift taking you upwards of 2400 meters to below 1000 meters above sea level. There are over 80 chairlifts and four cable lifts. The 14 gondolas, however, take care of the larger groups in no time at all. If you know your level, you'll be able to find your marked path. The area was initially developed with beginners in mind, so there are 112 blue runs at hand. With the growth and integration of the ski areas, there are now 146 green runs, quite a few more than beginner runs to date. Additionally, there are 23 red runs and six black runs.
If skiing on your entire vacation has got your legs shaking, then you can try a plethora of other outdoor and indoor activities. In addition to snowboarding, you can snowshoe and hike through the area. There are alpine races, leisure parks and museums and cultural affairs nearly every day of the high ski season. Moreover, the restaurants and bars and après ski options never go dim. You can find something to do anytime you get a hankering to have a great time. And, if you're in photography, don't forget you're in the Rhone Valley, one of the world's best spots for alpine peaks and landscape photography. The Chablais region of Porte du Soleil is second to none for a skiing vacation. Once you arrive, you and your family will have the best times of your lives.