Morzine has a long and interesting history. But it must keep pace with the modern world to avoid falling behind the times and losing out on visitors to other resorts.
One large difference between Avoriaz and Morzine is that Avoriaz from its history is a far more modern town than Morzine. The idea behind the project of building Avoriaz was to design a town to provide access to the mountain for skiers and to allow the most convenient ways to get onto the ski slopes. For this reason there has not been as much need to redevelop for the ski industry and increased number of visitors as there has been in Morzine.
Morzine is constantly trying to find ways to attract more visitors and give holidaymakers an even better experience to bring them back.
Since the Pleney first opened in 1934 it has always been an issue how to get the best possible access to the ski area without it becoming too intrusive to the town and the surrounding mountains. With this in mind a great deal of planning and research has gone into the proposed link between Morzine and Avoriaz. The proposed link would go from the top of Rue Du Bourg, in the heart of Morzine, to the bottom of the Prodains and then up to Avoriaz. It would make access to Avoriaz far easier and reduce the number of cars and buses on the roads, and therefore pollution. The proposed route will keep the number of pylons to a minimum to reduce the impact on the mountainside. At the moment the lift is still only in the planning stages and the town must decide if the high cost of building it will make it viable, but the benefits to the town - lowering pollution, bringing in more visitors, reducing traffic jams - are massive and it is to be hoped that the town can move forward in the future.
One area that really needed development was the Prodains express. The lift was starting to show its age, having opened in 1962, and was not an efficient way to get the increased number of visitors up the mountain. In 2012 building work began on a new lift and in 2013 the old lift was replaced with the 3S cable car. With 12 cars, taking 35 people each and a travel time of four and a half minutes it can transport 2500 people an hour up to Avoriaz.
With increased visitor numbers in recent years it has become increasingly necessary to improve road access to allow people to get around town without major traffic jams. Due to the unique nature of the challenges of construction in a town surrounded by mountains, combined with the fact that Morzine's infrastructure was never originally designed for the high number of visitors it welcomes every year, studies have had to be conducted to decide the best course of action. A number of proposals have been put forward, including a new tunnel, and it remains to be seen what direction the new work will take. There are also plans in place to turn the cemetery into a garden of remembrance and move the deceased to an ossuary in order to alleviate the problems that flooding causes.
With this in mind the resort built Aquariaz - the highest waterpark in Europe. Finding the space in Avoriaz to build a large scale waterpark was always going to be a challenge and so it is not as large as most waterparks, but the designers have used the space available by packing it with features. Amongst these are "The Slidewinder", a ten metre high water half pipe for rubber tubes, a gentle river, a play area for young children, a climbing wall and an outside spa area with water heated to 34 degrees and an outdoor jacuzzi. There is also tropical vegetation all around the pools.
With many proposals in place, Morzine is set for some major development in the coming years. With careful planning this can be extremely beneficial for the town and only increase its reputation as a great holiday destination.
As visitor numbers continue to increase, there are bound to be new challenges ahead to cope with this. The lift operators have shown that they are more than capable of rising to the challenges and ensuring that holiday makers get an outstanding experience during their stay.