'My new favourite resort': Indulge in a little luxury in Morzine

Jon Secrett finds himself spoiled in a fully catered chalet

Everyone has their favourite ski resort. It's the one where they know the terrain well, the one where they know a good restaurant, the one with (or without) an oompah band to accompany their après ski. As a snowboarder, I particularly like to know where the flat bits are that might slow me down or, worse still, stop me completely. Equally, choosing my holiday has always been something of a formality, largely due to cost: a self-catered chalet is my usual accommodation. I'd never been to Morzine, so it could hardly be my favourite place to ski, but a luxury fully catered chalet? I decided it was time to try something new.

Morzine is one of the more northerly resorts in the French Alps, and within easy reach of Europe's winter-sports hub, Geneva. Just 80 minutes after leaving the airport, the transfer bus was pulling up outside The Loft, my home for the week. It's run by the husband-and-wife team Jon and Sam Dredge of More Mountain, an independent chalet company specialising in what they call "non pretentious" luxury chalet holidays in Morzine.

They cater especially well for the snowboarding fraternity, organising several camps each year, including the end-of-season "Slushy Social" and a men-only freestyle camp aimed at blokes who want to improve their technique.

The Loft occupies the top two floors of a traditional Savoyard farmhouse, now transformed into a place of slick luxury. There's a games and a chill-out area on one level with a large flat-screen television, DVD and satellite, heated floors throughout, an iMac computer and WiFi running the sound system. The views from the balcony over the pretty town and soaring mountains are stunning.

My chalet hosts, Andy and Sarah, wasted no time inviting me to relax on the sumptuous leather sofas, where I drank champagne and ate canapés. Then it was on to the first gourmet meal of the week, washed down with wine and homemade toffee vodka.

It didn't take long before I was mentally redrafting my list of favourite ski resorts. The task became easier as I learned how splendidly connected everything is, thanks to an extensive network of lifts. The Super Morzine and Pleney ski lifts are just a short walk in snowboard boots from the chalet or an even shorter ride in the complimentary chalet pick-up and drop-off service. A fuzzy head dictated the latter option, using the chalet's private shuttle: an ex-military go anywhere and do anything Land Rover Defender called "The Baron".

As the lift rose through low cloud, I was greeted by clear blue skies – and the realisation that Morzine is but a small cog in a very big wheel. It is situated at the heart of the Portes du Soleil region. This is one of the largest ski areas on the planet, comprising 12 linked resorts on either side of the French-Swiss border, with 650km of piste and endless off-piste opportunities. And for snowboarders, Portes du Soleil is about as good as it gets: there are few drag lifts, a scarcity of "cat tracks" and few tough traverses to speak of. All of which means less time spent out of your bindings.

Terrain-park fans are also looked after with a 120m long, six metre-high superpipe and no fewer than nine snow parks, including the Stash, sponsored by Burton. Located above Morzine in the snow-sure resort of Avoriaz, the park is at the heart of a big expanse of ungroomed snow. What sets this park apart is that it has been built with the environment in mind and grown organically using only natural occurring obstacles: snow, logs, trees, tree trunks and rocks. It felt like I was riding a natural fall line.

Later on, I set about covering some ground. Everywhere I looked there was a glorious opportunity for fun: open powder bowls and tree-lined forest runs vied for my attention. And I never got lost. All guests at The Loft have the use of long-range walkie-talkies and Garmin GPS devices. Both quickly became essential daily kit. The GPS was perfect for tracking and reviewing my path across the mountain – and for seeing who among my fellow snowboarders could record the top speed (89.8km/h, since you ask).

Back at The Loft, Andy and Sarah continued to take care of everything with effortless efficiency. Both knew the snowboarding side of Morzine well, from shortcuts on the mountains through to shops where you can get a "dinged" snowboard repaired.

So my favourite ski resort and ski holiday type has now changed – and the reasons are simple.

The GPS record proves conclusively that the slow parts of Morzine and Porte du Soleil are few and far between. Similarly, through fine wine and excellent food, my knowledgeable hosts demonstrated equally clearly the pitiful limits of my previous experiences with self-catering chalets.

And finally, the absurd luxury of the Loft itself has probably spoilt me forever. Snowboarders, beware.

Travel essentials

Getting there

* The writer travelled to Geneva with easyJet (0905 821 0905; easyJet.com).

Staying there

* More Mountain Holidays (00 33 68 60 21 805; moremountain.com) offers one week's fully catered accommodation at The Loft, including return transfers from £449 per person, based on eight people sharing.

Snowboarding there

* Ski Set ( skiset.com) offers six days' snowboard hire in Morzine starting from €107.10.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
people'I hated him during those times'
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleMemoir extracts show iconic designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Life and Style
fashionAlexander Fury's Spring/Summer 2015 London Fashion Week roundup
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late on stage in Brixton show
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
people''Women's rights is too often synonymous with man-hating'
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam