‘I moved to Morzine in 1996 to start my own snowboard school, Mint Snowboarding. We are lucky to have some amazing snowparks in the Portes du Soleil, here’s a guide to those in Morzine, Les Gets & Avoriaz. I hope you enjoy them… remember, respect the park rules, be safe and know your ability! If you’re after a confidence boost, why not take a freestyle lesson with Mint to learn the basics or get radical in the air, in the pipe or on any number of jibs, boxes and rails?
Avoriaz has a huge selection of snowparks, supported by Burton, which range in size thus providing well for rider progression. Avoriaz has everything from short ride-on boxes and little rollers, where riders can get the feel of the terrain before stepping up to the medium size hits, rails off the ground and then onto much more. And once you’ve got the taste for air, you send it on the big jumps and in the Superpipe. Start small and learn big!
If you want to start small then the Burton Parkway is a great entry-level park for freestyle newbees & kids. It has low-lying, wide boxes, very small jumps & rollers and is tucked away in a totally intimidation free zone!
Next is the Chapelle Park. It’s a perfect arena to learn, progress and hone your skills. Features vary every year, and throughout the season, but generally the Chapelle park has two blue jump lines, two jib lines, as well as two green jump lines. Each line consists of four or five jumps or features. The jump lines range from tiny jumps to 10m tabletops, again with progression in mind. The jib lines include wide boxes, a range of rails and other features.
The Arare Park contains much bigger features and there’s a high level of riding to be seen here. There are usually a couple of smaller jumps at the top of the park, leading into larger jumps ranging from 12m to 20m+. There’s usually a hip at the bottom of the park as well as an airbag, which is free to use, as well as a great way to learn tricks. The Arare Park stays in the shade a lot of the day so landings can remain pretty solid mid winter.
One of my favourite spots is the Avoriaz Superpipe, which is well maintained on a daily basis. It’s one of the best in Europe, yet it isn’t too imposing. Not only is the pipe right in the centre of the resort, but it’s also serviced by its very own button lift so you can lap the pipe without unstrapping!
Avoriaz is also home to The Stash, a fun, creative & organic snow park invention by Burton. It’s a wooded tree run in the Lindarets bowl, scattered with natural jibs, gaps, features & transitions. There are rails, wall rides, logs and picnic tables all made out of natural materials. It’s a great place to head in bad light or low visibility and it’s great fun to loop with friends, connecting hits and getting creative.
The park in Les Gets is on the Mont Chery area and is south facing and so gets plenty of sun. Mont Chery is always pretty quiet, thus a good place to head to get away from the crowds during the holiday periods. The Mont Chery park has a number of features; from jumps, rails, boxes and often a wall ride at the bottom.
Les Gets is also home to a decent sized and well-maintained boardercross course, which runs under the Chavannes lifts. This is definitely the best of the boardercross courses in the Portes du Soleil and great fun for racing against friends.
There is a small park on the Nyon area of the Morzine piste map and I’ve heard talk of big development plans for Winter ’13.
Chatel & Les Crosets
There are great parks in both Chatel & Les Crosets which, although further afield, are definitely worth a taking the time to check out.
Mint Snowboarding offers freestyle lessons, courses & camps for all levels. They also offer group & private lessons, off-piste sessions, instructor courses, a range of snowboard camps & much more!