The Avoriaz Alpine ski school is a team of British and French ski and snowboard instructors who are highly experienced and passionate about sharing snowsports and Les Portes du Soleil with their guests. You can click on any of the instructors below to see more information and client reviews.
Ski School Director,
Ski & Snowboard Instructor
After competing in World Cup moguls Ian set up one of the first British ski schools in the Alps when he established the Avoriaz Alpine Ski School in 1992. After 29 seasons managing a team of highly professional instructors, Ian is running a well-oiled machine and enjoying it as much as ever.
Ian continues teaching during the summer and runs a successful driving school in North Devon.
"I think Ian was incredible for us this year. Especially for my 15year old son RAfi it worked super well with the different challenges we all came with! Thank you!" - Jessica 2022
"Rory had another great week with Ian. His skiing improved so much but most importantly he had a great time!" - Sarah, February 2019
"The boys had a fab 3 lessons with Ian, Jean-Marie & Laurent. They enjoyed the variation on slopes and teaching styles, improved again, in a short space of time. Thanks again and see you next year!" - Sam 2022
"All of the children really enjoyed their lessons and we noticed a marked improvement in all of them over the week. Many thanks!" - Sam 2019
Snowboard Specialist & Ski Instructor
Mountain biking on snow guide!
Laurent Calvet is equally at home on both skis and on snowboard and was one of the original top freestyle riders in the Portes du Soleil. Son of the engineer who masterminded the lift infrastructure in Avoriaz, Laurent has spent a lifetime sharing the Portes du Soleil with people and loving every minute.
When the lifts shut, he also takes guided fat bike tours to watch the sunset!
Thank you so much Laurent - Phoebe, Rosie, Poppy and Bonnie had so much fun and developed their skills. Their happy faces at the end of each day showed how superb an instructor Laurent was. We will definitely hope to book with him next year!! Best wishes for the summer season! - Daisy 2022
"Booked a private lesson with Laurent. I felt the improvement in both the technical aspects of my skiing and general confidence continued to develop as a result of the lesson. As a family we've used you many times over the years, and as always the service was excellent. We'll definitely use you again in the future, both for group and private lessons. We'll be seeing you for the 22/23 season :-)" - David 2022
"I want to say a massive thankyou to Laurent, in a short couple of hours; he fundamentally changed my skiing in an enormous way.
My final couple of days on the mountain after my lesson were an entirely different experience to what my skiing had been previously.
I was now skiing the entire day without leg fatigue, the mogul fields I'd hated before were now relatively simple to get down and my skis just suddenly seemed so much more buttery and fluid. Without exaggeration, all of this was just from a couple of hours of technique change with Laurent. Very excited to take what I've learned onto my next trip in a few weeks." - Edward 2019
Laurent is excellent - and was a great help with our half day getting us more confident. And then Thomas thoroughly enjoyed his private half-day on the off-piste/jumps. All great - many thanks. - Charles 2022
Laurent was brilliant. So experienced and helped me tweak bad habits. I really enjoyed it and booked again. - Lindsey 2022
"Excellent afternoon with Laurent in La Vallee de la Manche. Top man." - Jonathan 2020
"The technical focus of the lessons and coaching on technique was very good. Laurent worked hard to find good terrain and snow. Laurent also passed on a lot of advice and tips e.g. skinning on difficult wind crust snow and with equipment."
Ski Instructor, Off-piste guide and Adaptive specialist
Mark was the youngest British instructor to gain the full International Ski Teaching Diploma from BASI in 2010 and has been teaching in Avoriaz ever since. Mark is experienced working with clients with special needs.
A true adventurer Mark sailed across the Atlantic on a 3 month climbing trip to Greenland to set some new clibing routes.
He was senior beach lifeguard for the RNLI in North Devon and is now based in Morzine where he continues his adventures.
"I loved it" was what both our children gave as their feedback. Our son was in tears at the end of his last lesson, sad that Mark wouldn't teach him again. However, if we have our way, we will definitely get Mark to teach them again next year! Mark was brilliant in terms of flexibility (for meeting-up and collecting points, even coming to our piste-side chalet, which made our life easy), and our children went from absolute beginners to competent gentle blue slope skiers in 5 sessions. As well as learning, they clearly had a lot of fun (they never complained about going). As soon as we know if/when we are coming back to Avoriaz, we will be booking them in for more lessons, ideally with Mark again. Thank you! - Charles 2022
"We were extremely happy with everything about our choice of ski school and instructor. Our young boys LOVED their lessons with Mark, he put them at ease, gave them a great balance of fun vs instruction and we are delighted that they are now keen little skiers who can’t wait to come again. Thank you!" - Jo - 2019
"The lesson was for my wife, who is a 50+ year old beginner. Perfect series of lessons from Mark, with the personal approach really helping her. Very grateful, will definitely recommend and use again in the future." - David 2020
Backcountry guide & photographer
George spent 6 years working as our ski school rep whilst he went through the training system. He gained his BASI level 4 in 2018 and has tought, coached and guided skiing in New Zealand, Japan and Norway. He has chosen Avoriaz as his favourite place and loves teaching all ages and all abilities as he shares his love for the Portes du Soleil.
A backcountry specialist and passionate ski tourer, George also loves photography and making videos. Check them out on the video page.
"I can’t open the feedback from but just wanted to say we were hugely impressed with the quality of service we received from all at Avoriaz Alpine Ski - whether in relation to booking or George’s instruction. Oliver loved George and he was fantastic with Oliver - both in his manner and in his instruction. We trusted him implicitly with our just turned 5yo. They had great fun together and Oliver advanced in his skiing. He also go a little jealous if he saw George on the slope with another lesson - so that can only be a compliment to George. So very sorry your season came to an abrupt end. If / when we are back in Avoriaz we will definitely use the school again and would have no hesitation in recommending you." - Claire & Neil 2020
The boys had George for the first day and then Isla. Both brilliant instructors, the boys really improved and were on red runs by the end of the week, would definitely use again! - Julie 2022
We had 2 instructors george and isla they made the glasses fun and challenging, my girls loved it - Nikky 2022
"George was amazing. I had so much fun and he taught me some really cool skills. I definitely want a private lesson with him again next year."
"George was extremely helpful and patient as an instructor. It was my first time skiing and I learned a lot of the basics of the equipment as well as skiing in his lesson. I particularly appreciated the quality of lesson provided by him because the day before I had booked a different instructor at a different ski company and my and my group were extremely unsatisfied with how the instructor in that lesson did not account for a complete beginner skier when teaching." - Yusra 2020
"Avoriaz was only my third skiing trip, so I began my four day course an utterly terrified pupil: I was physically shaking! George quickly put me at ease and really helped my confidence. Within two days I was traversing blue runs I wouldn't otherwise have dared tackle. I got a huge sense of achievement every step of the way and by combining patience, friendliness, understanding of a nervous skier and technical skill, George proved an outstanding tutor. Thanks for every thing and see you again soon." - Nige 2020
a.k.a Happy Feet!
Ski & Snowboard Instructor
The legend himself, Jean Marie or 'Happy Feet' is notoriously the happiest man on the mountain. He has been teaching skiing and snowboarding in the Portes du Soleil for 32 winters and he is extremely kind and patient. If he is not singing parts of his lesson he will be coining hilarious catchphrases guaranteed to put a smile on anyone's face and make your holiday all the more memorable!
During the summer holidays JM is senior life guard at the swimming lac above Les Gets. Say hello if you are there.
"Absolutely fantastic week with Jean Marie, lots of fun, put us at ease immediately and provided excellent tuition. Would highly recommend." - Ryan 2019
"Our 3 children absolutely loved John Marie. Would highly recommend." - Andrew 2022
"The booking process and customer service was prompt and user friendly. My husband and I very much enjoyed our beginners lessons with Jean Marie who was a fantastic instructor, enthusiastic, encouraging and patient, and made the experience a lot of fun. We would thoroughly recommend him and the ski school to our friends." - Gaye January 2020
"My 6 year old son loved being taught by Jean-Marie - the happiest man in the Alps! He made so much progress and grew in confidence to such an extent that I wil now need lessons to keep up with him. Friendly and professional - we would not go anywhere else." - Jill 2019
"Jean Marie made the lesson a lot of fun, even taking a video for us with commentary! We felt we learned a huge amount that morning and look forward to improving further with future lessons." - Ana 2020
Ski & Snowboard Instructor
Pierre has been teaching in the Portes du Soleil for over 31 years. There are few who know the entire ski area inside out as well as Pierre who has been exploring the backcountry and summits passionately and is certain to find you the best terrain for your lesson. An excellent and very patient instructor
Pierre taught my 9 year old son William, who had never skied before. They got on like a house on fire and William loved his first experience of skiing and cannot wait to return next year - Alex 2022
"I approached three companies to try to book a day's guiding. Your communication was excellent - quick response, detailed info, personal - and it made you the natural choice and also very easy to book with.
On the day Pierre was great - I've been with some Guides where they are a bit distant and it feels like a job, but Pierre was great company, clearly knew the mountains like the back of his hand and seemed to enjoy it just as much as we did, which goes a long way."
All in all - amazing. Thank you" - Simon 2022
Ski & Snowboard Instructor
Isla has been skiing in Les Portes du Soleil since she was three years old. After a number of seasons spent teaching and coaching In Japan and Australia, Isla is returning to teach in Avoriaz this winter and we are thrilled to have her on our team.
Isla was utterly amazing with my daughter. On the Friday before coming skiing Ava was in tears about coming skiing and dreading it, however five days with Isla completely changed her views, it was wonderful to watch her progress and her confidence grow as the week went on. She ended the week loving skiing and so proud of her ability to do jumps, boxes and the odd red run - thank you so much. Thanks also have to go to Sam in the office for her help with Jack who hurt his knee on the first day and didn’t make it to ski school. Your phone calls and emails were much appreciated. - Sam - 2022
"Amazing experience with both Isla & Laurent. Had my 13 yr old son skiing competently after 3 private lessons. Absolutely changed the dynamic of the holiday & made it so enjoyable. Wouldn't ski without these guys!" - Alan 2022
"We were a group and had lessons with Isla, Jean Marie and mark. Everyone of us thoroughly enjoyed our lessons, all instructors were superb. The children had previously had lessons with a different Ski School and didn’t enjoy them, but are already looking forward to next years lessons with you! Thank you so much" - Wendy 2022
Professional Skier &
Having grown up in England, Ben moved to Avoriaz aged 10 and is now the French Mogul Champion and currently 2nd in the World Cup Mogul skiing circuit. When not competing all over the world he joins our team to run Mogul Masterclass clinics. His mogul skiing and freestyle aerial skills seem to defy the laws of physics and it is a pleasure to have his insight each season.
(Samantha) - Office Manager
Sam is the perfect mother hen who super-glues our entire team together and keeps everything running smoothly. It is likely that you will liase with Sam when you call our office and make a booking or enquiry.
Thanks also have to go to Sam in the office for her help with Jack who hurt his knee on the first day and didn’t make it to ski school. Your phone calls and emails were much appreciated. - Sam - 2022
Ski Instructor and Freeride Coach
Amy will return to the Avoriaz Alpine Ski School part time for her fourth season with us. Happy, inspiring and awesome at skiing - Amy is a self confessed gear geek, serial snow seeker and avid adventurer.
"Feeling most at home amongst the mountains, I spend my time between the Portes du Soleil in the French Alps, and Aviemore in the Scottish Highlands."