Skiing in Chatel is a hidden gem…ok so maybe we are biased, we live here! But do the search on google and you will find plenty of sites telling you the same. The Portes du Soleil ski area has gained wide recognition as one of the world’s biggest and most well-connected ski areas. Within the ski domain, most people can name Avoriaz Morzine and Les Gets but rarely any of the other 12 villages that create this fantastic ski area.
Where is Chatel?
Chatel is part of the Northern Alps, immediately south east of Lake Geneva / Lac Leman. Only 90 minutes transfer from Geneva airport. If you’ve skied in the Southern Alps, you know that it takes 3 hours to get to most ski resorts. A 90-minute transfer from Geneva airport makes traveling for a ski holiday much easier!
Chatel is a ski resort located in the Portes du Soleil. It has a total of 600km of ski slopes that span across both France and Switzerland. Additionally, the ski domain consists of 12 villages. Within the Portes du Soleil, often called the PDS, Chatel is right in the centre making it the ideal starting place in the whole of the Portes du Soleil to reach all the other ski areas.
This is a massive advantage as Chatel is closer to the unknown swiss resorts of Torgon, Morgins, Champoussin and Les Crosset. And why is that good? Because if they are unknown, there are less people on the piste 🙂
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love to ski in Les Gets, the ski slopes are wide, it’s pretty and the Mont Chery side is just gorgeous. However, it is at the very far end of the PDS so it does limit your options. Basically, to get to anywhere you have to ski hard in one direction, stop for lunch and then pelt it back before the last ski lift leaves you stranded.
Chatel Skiing in Detail
Chatel consists of 3 areas: Super Chatel, Linga, and Pre la Joux. The 3 areas link together and to the other parts of the Portes du Soleil.
A super beginner bowl on the front with more challenging areas on either side and fantastic views of the Dents du Midi and Mont de Grange. As well as views of the Swiss mountains of the Eiger, Jungfrau and Mönch. Links to Torgon from the Super Chatel Barbossine side and Linga with the Portes du Soleil / Gabalou link.
There are two ski lifts to get to the ski area from Chatel; the Super Châtel gondola from the centre of the village is the preferred choice for beginners. The Portes du Soleil ski lift from Lac Vonnes is ideal for those driving themselves (free parking but small). This ski lift isn’t an ideal start for beginners as the top of the chair lift is on a piste just below the beginner slopes area. Both are a short drive from Chalet Cannelle.
The Linga piste is a fave for many – 1000m in altitude top to bottom with various splits on the way down for variation. Not a place for beginners, free parking. Ski links to the Pre la Joux area. We often advise to avoid the top of Linga in the morning because it’s pretty shaded and steep and is nicer once the piste has softened a bit.
Pre La Joux
The most popular start point even though it is further out of the village. This is the main start point for any ski lessons and is the link to Avoriaz. Three beginner ski pistes are at the bottom and the Pierre Longue chairlift arrives at the Plaine Dranse bowl.
Here, there are many restaurants to choose from. It’s a good place to meet non skiers for a mountain lunch as it is possible for anyone to use the chair lift up and down. We love the ski slopes on the Corne Bois / Les Coombes side.
Skiing in Chatel Facts:
130km of piste within the Portes du Soleil (600km)
1100 – 2200m altitude
1000m max vertical drop
46 ski pistes: 9 green, 16 blue, 15 red, 6 black
42 ski lifts
Snow park & border cross – snowboarding heaven!
Links to Portes du Soleil – Torgon, Morgins, Avoriaz
2 Ski pass options, Chatel Liberte (covers Châtel, La Chapelle D’Abondance & Torgon) or full Portes du Soleil pass.