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Morillon 1100 (Les Esserts) Trip Report: March 2016

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Just a brief trip report about Morillon 1100, since it was a brief trip!

Flew out SleasyJet from Luton to Geneva on the 7am departure on a Thursday. Car hired from Europcar Swiss side, which even though the website said would require extra for "Winterisation" we weren't charged anything extra for the winter-tyres and snowchains. Journey back on the 5pm Sunday flight so we did the last run at 12:45 to give us enough time to hit duty free before take off.

The journey to Morillon was easy, although the car SatNav disagreed with the portable TomTom. It takes about 1 hr.

Morillon 1100 has a free public car park as you enter the village, and since you could walk from one end of the village to the other in around 5 minutes, this makes it pretty handy. A Quick change in the carpark and we were in the hire shop (Sport2000) by 12:15 and on the first lift by 12:30.

The price difference between 4hr passes, Massif and GrandMassif passes was so minimal that we just took a 4day GM pass.

Thoughts on the Ski Area
In 2 full days and 2x 4hr days we skied 127 miles (over 200 miles when you include lifts - We don't stop for food!). The area has a pretty good lift system with options aplenty (for skiing past a queue and taking the next lift to another place), but every now and again you find yourself at a slow 2man lift rather than a fast, new 6man lift.
Sairon out of Morillon was closed for 2 days, and the Esserts&Bergin chairs were shown up to be the slow-lifts that they are in comparison.

Les Carroz/Les Molliets: Loads of cruisy blues with red options with a fast route back up, we loved these.
Flaine: I found Flaine to be a barren bowl. We had it in Sun, but I can imagine it being pretty desolate in cloud/poor light.

Cascades: I guess you either love this or hate it. We did it once, simply because then I can say "I've done that".... but I wouldn't do it again; too much polling, and not enough variety along its route. We were lucky that there was a bus waiting when we got to Sixt, but I can imagine it feeling like a waste of time while you wait for a bus to get you back to civilisation.

Morillon Village: Snow this year hasn't been great at these lower levels, and as expected there was around 10m of mud on the route down to the village. Once again, we went down there to say "we did that", but I wouldn't worry about going down there again.

Having skied most of the area, I would recommend staying at Carroz, Morrilon, or Samoen if you want to cover the whole area in a short time (since you'll be central, rather than on an edge in Flaine or Sixt).

Fun Zones:
There are a number of areas around the area where you can scan your skipass and then see videos of your use of the funpark etc. We didn't do this, but we did take a blast down the "Speed zone" which runs under the L'Airon lift. This is parallel to a Red run, and sadly this means some Blue-run skiers try and get down to it. It's a shame that there isn't a Blue route to it too. As it happened, I hit 58kph twice (the video was rubbish though). I then just tucked the Chamois Red run that runs parallel to it and hit 80kph! (go figure!). Speed has never been a big attraction for me (too chicken) but I guess this speed zone at least keeps those that want to race off to a dedicated area.

Thoughts on Morillon 1100
This is a quiet village. Nightlife is provided by the Oak Barrel Pub which is a really good pub. They show the 6Nations rugby on 2 large screens Smile There are around 4 restaurants and the Pub serves food. Some of the restaurants got booked pretty quickly (although maybe if we hadn't been touring around we could have popped in during the day). The Sherpa supermarket stocks everything you will need for a self-catering break, but it closes before the pub does Wink
We stayed in an apartment in Les Hauts block which is next to the "tunnel" under the road and has the Gondola going past the window. A 2 mins walk to the chairlifts up the mountain.

In Summary, I'd ski the area again, and take the family for a more gentle week of skiing.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Thanks. That's a great write up indeed.

I've been there 3 times already and booked a trip for the start of march 2018. I went earlier in the year than that in previous years and it was amazing.

Morillon village feels much more of a community and rural french village than, say, Courchevel. The people are nice and some even remember you year and year. 2016, i remember, wasn't generous in terms of snow at the bottom at 1100. The previous years was a completely different story for me with more snow. However, I have no idea how it will be in March and I'm somewhat scared that I booked at the wrong time. More to come after my return.
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