It’s quite funny talking to people that live here in Morzine and the Vallee d’Aulps all year round. We all have many things in common, most have come here in search of a better life. Some, like myself, have long escaped the dreariness of their home countries but have ended up settling here after travelling the world. Others have just packed up their previous life and headed for pastures new. The thing that I find quite incredible though, is the number of people that will tell you that it is the summer season that keeps them here in this world famous ski area. I have to say after living here for nearly two years I would tend to agree.
Like the majority of people here, I originally came to the Alpes for the snow. I worked six winter seasons around the world and although I worked the summers in interesting places too, I lived for snowboarding and skiing. It is very easy to get sucked into the seasonnaire lifestyle and just work for beer money and your travel from place to place. It is a fantastic way to see the world with no commitments or responsibility.
However Morzine seems to have this draw. So many people who come here for a winter season start to talk to their new found friends and colleagues and are persuaded to stay for the summer too. Life here is so different in the summer and inter-season (spring and autumn). The pace is very much slower, whereas in winter you barely have time to sleep, the rest of the year is much more relaxed.
There are so many things to do here once the snow melts. For the adrenaline junkies out there downhill mountain biking is the most popular summer sport. The Portes du Soleil has 24 lifts open to mountain bikers in the summer making it one of the largest lift assisted bike parks in the world. There are loads of events taking place all summer starting with the Passportes du Soleil //www.passportesdusoleil.com/ on the last weekend of June. This is an 80km bike ride around the beautiful Portes du Soleil incorporating nine resorts in France and Switzerland. It is not just downhill bikers that are catered for here though. There are hundreds of kilometres of cross country trails and some of the best road biking in the Alpes. There are lots of road races that travel through the area each year. Bradley Wiggins won the Morzine stage of the ‘Criterium Dauphine’ this summer. Every four years the mighty ‘Tour de France’ passes through.
For those residents that aren’t so into biking there is more walking and hiking on our doorstep than you could ever imagine. Walkers can also use the ski lifts in the summer or just hike up from the valley to one of the many peaks that surround us. There is easy strolling for families and dog walking, ranging all the way up to serious high altitude hikes that require mountaineering equipment. The famous GR5 walking path passes through here and you can either hike three days from Morzine to Chamonix or north for three days to Lake Geneva. Another popular pursuit here is rock climbing and there are loads of bolted routes of varying levels all over the area.
You may also participate in a number of guided activities here including white water rafting, paragliding, canyoning, 4 x 4 driving, horseriding and many others.
For a more relaxed time though many of us spend a lot of time at Lac de Montriond sunbathing, bbq-ing and swimming in the lake. There is also a fantastic swimming pool complex in Morzine with an olympic sized outdoor pool, a 25m indoor pool, children’s pools and play areas and outdoor bathing areas. Also for the golf fans out there our little corner of the Alpes is home to not one but two 18 hole golf courses!
As well as the whole host of activities available to us here the climate is also a large factor in why we all love it here so much. I personally love the changing of the seasons here; it is very cold in the winter with snow covering the ground most years from the end of November to mid April. Spring brings with it the warmer weather, longer evenings and new life. Summer is generally hot and sunny with long warm evenings and sporadic thunderstorms and then Autumn is cool and crisp with the most amazing changing of colours. Of course we do get our fair share of rain but it never seems to last too long!