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The Portes du SoleilA human storySince 1964

A human story

A story of men and friendships. The Portes du Soleil is first and foremost the story of a group of friends who, 50 years ago, had a dream, the dream of a huge French-Swiss ski area linked by ski lifts.

The first cross-border link


Pierre Béteille, a Pyrenean, built the first cross-border lift: he extended the Coq ski lift with the Corbeau ski lift. The Super-Châtel sector is now linked to Morgins. By staying on the slopes, a skier can now pass from one country to another without leaving his skis. Skiing without borders is born!

The National Exhibition in Lausanne


Based on this first experience and carried by true visionaries, the idea of a cross-border domain made its way.

The potential of the Haut Chablais and Valais mountains for the winter sports enthusiast was certain. All that remains is to unveil this project to the general public.

This will be done in May 1964 with the presentation of a model at the National Exhibition in Lausanne. This giant 3m by 3m model made at 1:10,000 presented all of the connection projects of what would become the Portes du Soleil. A great advertising medium for the time, it highlights the possibilities for the development of winter tourism offered by the resorts of Les Gets, Morzine, Avoriaz, Châtel, Abondance, La Chapelle d’Abondance in Haute-Savoie and Champéry, Morgins, Les Giettes-sur-les-Monthey in the Val d’Illiez of Valais.

The birth of the name "Portes du Soleil


The project presented in Lausanne in 1964 was initially entitled the “Haute Route des Familles” in reference to the famous Chamonix-Zermatt crossing.

For Jean Vuarnet, this name was not media-friendly enough.


Gustave Trombert says:

During a session at the Carnotzet du Grand Paradis, Jean went around the table to see what we had to offer. I was the only one with an idea. The French were grimacing and my proposal was timidly received, Jean suggested that we think about it some more but we had to get out of here with a definitive name! As expected, there were no other proposals and the name Portes du Soleil (named after the pass located in Les Crosets) was adopted!

Jean Vuarnet
Champéry-Avoriaz link via Chavanette


In 1968, a fixed-grip double chairlift was built at Chavanette by Téléchampéry to provide a link to the French resort of Avoriaz.

At the same time, Avoriaz was embarking on the construction of a ski lift, which was finalized by the end of summer 1968.

The two sides were connected!”

The opening through Chavanette opened up new possibilities for skiers: a magnificent course that allowed access to the famous “Swiss Wall.”

First cross-border ski pass


The link between Avoriaz and Champéry logically gave birth to the first cross-border ski pass of the Portes du Soleil, the international Avoriaz-Champéry-Les Crosets pass.

The Portes du Soleil, a land of events


From the Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival to Rock the Pistes and the Pass’Portes du Soleil MTB and the Portes du Soleil Pass Walk, the Portes du Soleil resorts have created major events that are internationally recognized and popular with participants.

The 1st Portes du Soleil package


The advertisements of the time boasted a complex without complex:

from the small resort with its chalets on the mountainside huddled around the diptych bell tower / school to the futuristic resort where you live ski in ski out, there is your resort, the one that suits your tastes and your budget!

Bref an area where it’s just you and your spatulas and where there really is a longer ski for a shorter price.

That hasn’t changed!”

Creation of the International Association of the Portes du Soleil


Creation of the International Association of the Portes du Soleil
The International Association of the Portes du Soleil is born in 1981. That same year, the Rochassons chairlift linking the resort of Châtel to that of Avoriaz was inaugurated. To reinforce this new structure, a cross-border chalet housing the administrative offices of the Portes du Soleil was built in the commune of Châtel. Symbolically located in Vonnes, between the French and Swiss customs, it was inaugurated on March 26, 2005.

Les Portes du Soleil Bike & Ski


In summer, the snow gives way to the mountain pastures that stretch as far as the eye can see across the territory of the 12 village resorts of the Portes du Soleil.

The first mountain bike arrived in France in 1983: the craze created by this new discipline was enormous. Very quickly, the most reckless see in this new machine the possibility to ride down the slopes! But it is necessary to go back up !

Precursors, the ski lift companies of the Portes du Soleil see very quickly the opportunity of development offered by this new practice: this will give birth to the first connected mountain bike area and to the organization of mythical events for the discipline:

the Freeraid which became Pass’Portes du Soleil MTB between 2003 and 2004, the world events of Les Gets 2004 and more recently those of Champéry in 2011 and Les Gets in 2022.
And many good surprises should arrive soon !

The Multi Pass


In 2009, Les Portes du Soleil is reinventing the mountain in the summer with the Multi Pass. Holidaymakers on a staycation, on a day trip or regulars of the domain, the Multi Pass Portes du Soleil allows everyone to enjoy more than 50 facilities or equipments with unlimited access!

And at a very low price: 1€ at its creation, 2,50€ today!