Morzine is a historical town. With a history stretching back 1000 years, there is a lot to discover. The history is all around in the architecture and the layout of the town. But it is also a town that has adapted with the times and looks to the future, which is also evident all around.
Built in the 1960s on Morzine territory, Avoriaz does not have the long tradition and history of Morzine, but it never the less has a fascinating story to tell.
The main projects planned for the town show the forward thinking attitude towards tourism. A large part of the planning for the future has involved looking at ways to improve the infrastructure of town. This Includes improving the traffic flow to ensure that traffic jams and pollution are reduced. It also includes plans for better linking Morzine with Avoriaz.
As the town continues moving forward and developing for the new demands of increased visitor numbers the ski area continues to develop with new projects.
The Prodains lift, which opened in 1962, was replaced in 2013 with the 3S high speed gondola, vastly increasing the number of people who can get up to Avoriaz per hour - up to 2,500 people an hour now. The Brochaux lift has also recently been upgraded and a new blue run has been built to link up with the upgraded lift.
In Avoriaz the Aquariaz waterpark has been the biggest development in the town in many years. It features, amongst other things, an outside heated spa area, water slides, a climbing wall, massage tables and an aquatic childrenís play area.
From the inception of the first ski lift at the Pleney in 1934 there have been a number of key dates that have contributed to the development of Morzine as a ski resort, from the construction of new lifts to the unification of the local resorts into the Portes Du Soleil.
The key dates in Avoriaz's development can be broken down to the development of the original resort in the 1960s when Jean Vuarnet returned from the Winter Olympics, the construction of the Prodains Express to link the valley with Avoriaz and the continued development of the ski area to link up with Switzerland and make a truly international ski area.
Looking further back into the heritage of Morzine shows the development from a small agricultural settlement to a major centre for the slate industry. These helped to bring money into the area which put Morzine in a perfect position financially when the ski industry began to take off, allowing the town to develop the ski area. The modern history of Morzine is inextricably linked with this era of Morzine history and all contributed to the development of the modern town.
Initially, the mountains were mostly used for grazing animals in the warm summer months and little else.
As Morzine has developed into a well known tourist destination the town has hosted various events to help promote local businesses and tourism in the area. Over the years these have included FIS World Cup ski races in the winter, the Passportes Du Soleil mountain bike event to get the summer mountain bike season under way, the Harley Days Harley Davidson bike festival every two years and probably the biggest event of them all, the Tour de France which has visited Morzine on a few occasions in its history, with some huge climbs in the area providing a real challenge for the riders and an epic backdrop for the spectators.
In Avoriaz, a film festival began in 1973 and continued till 1993 and featured films by many acclaimed directors (Spielberg, Wes Craven, ...). Recently Avoriaz has also hosted music festivals in the winter such as the Snowboxx festival and the Transition festival.