Skiing in Châtel 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 is widely known as one of the world’s biggest and well connected ski areas and 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.
So where is Châtel? Châtel is part of the Northern Alps, immediately south east of Lake Geneva / Lac Leman and 90 minutes by car from Geneva airport. If you have skied the Southern Alps, you will know that a transfer takes 3 hours to most ski resorts so a 90 minutes transfer just makes the ski holiday traveling a bit easier.
Châtel is in the Portes du Soleil, a ski area of 650km of piste crossing both France and Switzerland and 12 villages. Within the Portes du Soleil, often called the PDS, Châtel 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 Châtel is closer to the unknown areas of Torgon, Morgins, La Chapelle D’Abondance, 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 pistes are wide, it’s pretty and the Mont Chery side is just gorgeous but…it is at the very far end of the PDS so it does limit your options – to get to anywhere you have to ski hard in one direction, stop for lunch and the pelt it back before the last lift leaves you stranded.
Châtel is made up of 3 areas; Super Châtel, Linga and Pre la Joux. The 3 areas are linked together and to 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, Mont de Grange and the Swiss mountains of the Eiger, Jungfrau and Mönch. Links to Torgon from the Barbossine side and Linga with the Portes du Soleil link.
There are two lifts to get to the ski area from Châtel; the Super Châtel gondola from the centre of the village is the preferred choice for beginners and the Portes du Soleil lift from Lac Vonnes is ideal for those driving themselves (free parking but small). This 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.
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.
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 lessons and is the link to Avoriaz. Three beginner pistes are at the bottom and the Pierre Longue chairlift arrives at the Plaine Dranse bowl with 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 pistes on the Corne Bois / Les Coombes side.
Châtel Ski Facts:
130km of piste within the Portes du Soleil (650km)
1100 – 2200m altitude
1000m max vertical drop
46 pistes: 9 green, 16 blue, 15 red, 6 black
Snow park & border cross
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.