Morillon, much like its neighbour, Flaine, is well suited to beginners and families – with a low-key atmosphere. Morillon village has its own nursery slopes and – conditions permitting – you can ski back to the village at the end of the day. There are a few easy green runs up at Morillon 1100 Les Esserts, and some blues to progress to for slightly more of a challenge.
The main schools are ESF Morillon offers skiing, snowboarding, ski-touring and mountaineering, snowshoeing and adaptive skiing classes. ZigZag is the alternative ski school with lessons in ski and snowboarding, telemark, off-piste, cross-country, adaptive and taxi skiing, and heli-skiing. Heli-skiing is only legal in France if you’re dropped at the top of a chair-lift, and in for this particular operation a typical day might involve descending the Gers bowl from the Samoens side, returning to Flaine by helicopter, descending Pas de Sales for a picnic in the abandoned Sales village, skiing to Sixt and returning to the Grand Platieres by helicopter.
From bumps to off-piste
ZigZag also offers cost-effective ‘top-up’ clinics for groups of three to eight people, with a choice of carving, steeps, bumps and off-piste in the two-and-a-half hour sessions.
ESF Sixt (+33 450 34 47 78) has the usual group and private lessons in skiing and snowboarding, but also offers snowshoeing, ski-touring, and cross-country. For off-piste skiing there is Le Bureau des Guides de Sixt Fer a Cheval . Christophe Rezette, and La Compagnie des Guides et Accompagnateurs du Haut Giffre are based in Samoens .
Sixt Fer a Cheval is one of France’s main sites for ice-waterfall climbing. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced climber, you will find around 60 routes varying from 40m to 500m. It is strongly recommended that you are accompanied by a mountain guide – from either Guides Alpes or Bureau des Guides Sixt who are experienced in this weather-dependent activity. The Sales valley area is best for first-timers, with some spectacular scenery, while the Cirque du Fer a Cheval area is more challenging.
Especially for kids
ESF and ZigZag are the ski schools offering children’s classes. The Village des Enfants (+33 450 90 72 15) is a nursery and daycare centre up at Les Esserts that accepts little ones from six months to 10 years of age, with ski lessons from three years old. Located inside a renovated farmhouse among the trees beneath the cable-car arrival station, the Village is set apart from the skiing but connected to the main area by a piste.
Morillon has two pistes set aside for tobogganing, one at Les Esserts and the other in Morillon village.
The Loupiots kindergarten (+33 450 34 13 96) in Sixt is for children aged three to six year olds, with an outdoor play area, activity and games rooms.