Skiing in Chatel
Full of Savoyard character, Châtel is a family-friendly resort with a warm and welcoming atmosphere and it is the ideal getaway for skiers looking to experience a rustic French skiing holiday. Châtel is somewhat a hidden gem. Overshadowed by some of the bigger and more popular Portes du Soleil resorts of Morzine and Avoriaz, what Châtel lacks in popularity, it makes up for in its traditional and cultural appeal. Despite being a recognised and established ski resort, Châtel is very much still a farming community and this helps to preserve its rustic village charm. It is not a purpose-built ski resort and its traditional ambience is well preserved and serves to remain at the core of its appeal to skiers. Its Familie Plus certification will perhaps come as no surprise and whilst it may not be known for having a wild apres-ski, Châtel has several non-ski activities that cater to just about everyone who visits.
The resort sits at an altitude of 1200 metres, with its pistes located between 1100 metres and 2200 metres altitude. Sitting just above Lake Geneva, Châtel has two ski areas; north-eastward towards Avoriaz and westbound to neighbouring Morgins and Torgon across the border in Switzerland; the former is called Linga and is the area via which the rest of the Portes du Soleil ski terrain can be accessed and the latter, known as Super Chalet, is the local surrounding ski area which also includes the resorts over the Swiss border ( bar Le Champery, the other resorts in Switzerland, do not form of the Portes du Soleil main circuit).
Skiing in Châtel is generally a great experience. With just over 300 different runs spread out over more than 650 kilometres across the area, skiers of all levels and abilities are very well catered to at Châtel. Although Châtel has access to one of the largest ski terrains in the world, with pistes to suit all ability levels, the pistes surrounding the resort immediate area are best suited to beginners and intermediate skiers. Châtel’s position within the Portes du Soleil as well as being on the French border, naturally allows it to offer a fantastic skiing proposition because it has easy access to the quiet (and great) pistes across the border in Switzerland and a wide array of pistes north-eastbound towards Avoriaz and the remainder of the Portes du Soleil. Both ski areas also differ quite significantly so skiers get a completely different experience depending on what ski area they choose.
Advanced and experienced skiers looking for a buzz should get the Portes du Soleil ski pass and head over to Avoriaz for some challenging pistes and terrain; there are direct lifts that can get you to Avoriaz from Châtel. That being said, there are a number of red runs in the Linga ski area that make for some great skiing thanks to Châtels amazing ski terrain. There’s a steep red from Tete De Linga at 2127 metres, which runs down through the woods above the village and into Linga. A few other reds run down from Cornebois through Plaine Dranse to Pre La Joux.
The Super Chalet ski area is perfect for beginners. They have a number of nursery slopes in the bowl including some sheltered tree-lined runs that are great for building confidence and help beginners progress steadily to intermediate level. Check out the winding green run from Plaine Dranse to Pre la Joux; this is a much favoured and popular run for beginners.
There are long windy blue runs on the Linga ski area of Chalet which are great for confident intermediates. Take the Linga gondola just above the village to access these cruisey blues through the wooded area just beneath Pointe Du Midi at 1850 metres. Still over at Linga, there’s a steep and speedy open blue run from Cornebois at 2200 meters down to Plaine Dranse that is sure to get the adrenaline levels up a tad bit, for intermediates.
Freestyle boarders will be pleased to learn that Châtel has two snowparks. The Smooth Park and Happy Park. The Smooth Park is closer to the resort out of the two, located in Super Châtel while Happy Park is located in Pre la Joux. Smooth Park is a fairly big sized park that is ideal for beginners and intermediate freestylers. There is a good selection of features such as boxes, rails, kickers and a hip all suited to beginner levels. It also has a special Smooth Park ski pass which grants access only to the park for a day or half-day. Comes in handy if you’re on a budget. Happy Park in Pre la Joux is the place for the experts. The area between Linga and Pre la Joux beneath Le Combes lifts has a few natural hits. Across the park, you can find cliffs and drops as well too.
Advanced and confident intermediate snowboarders will find some challenging runs at Pre la Joux. The red runs coming down off the Plaine Dranse chair lifts are long and steep enough to build up a considerable amount of speed. There is also a steep red from the Tete De Linga at 2127 metres all the way down to the Linga base.
There are several off-piste opportunities at Châtel to be found. Check out La Leche ate the top of the Linga piste. It is a north-facing slope with a large powder bowl and excellent snow conditions; the wooded terrain is an added bonus.
Snow Conditions in Châtel
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More on the chilled side of things, Châtel is not famous for having a wild apres-ski atmosphere. Sure, you may not experience the famous table dancing with wild students or loud extravagant parties on the slopes as you find in Chamonix or Val d’Isere but it still has a few “watering holes” where the party animals who find themselves at Châtel gather for a drink. Overall, the village has a quaint traditional feel and appeals to a more family-friendly side of things, however, it still has several lively pubs and bars offering different experiences from the relaxed rustic evenings to merry singalongs. Be rest assured that skiers can still have an enjoyable few drinks after a long day on the slopes.
It’s only right we start at Le Sloopy’s, located under the Super Châtel gondola. This is a late-night spot that is open every day until 5:30 am throughout the season. There are 2 floors featuring great music selections of the ’80s and 90’s hits. For the nocturnals reading this, Le Sloopy’s is one of your destinations. L’ Avalanche is a popular nightspot with a lively atmosphere and music playing until the early hours. It is a British run pub that has live music or DJ sets on most days keeping the evening going. You can also catch up on live sports from Europe and other major sporting events on the TV in the pub. It is popular with both locals and visitors. Check out Nazca for a chilled evening of drinks and tapas served from 6:30 pm every day. There is outdoor seating during the day but as the evening wears on and temperatures drop, there are very cosy and comfy sofa’s inside to get warm. Great atmosphere. The Chevy Bar is located just off the Petit Châtel chair lift and is part of the Arc en Ciel Hotel. If you end your day on the slopes at this chair lift, you really don’t have too far to go! Pop in for a few drinks and a game of darts! The shuttle bus stops just outside the establishment, so there’s also a ride home if you need one! Fancy a bit of beer and bowling? Located in the Super Châtel gondola building are Le Chaudron, a pub and a bowling alley. Other pub games include pool and table football. It is another great place to catch up on sports from the huge screens in the pub. They serve a great pizza as well. Open every day from 7 pm.
There are several facilities and services available in the village of Châtel. Visitors can find everything from store groceries to souvenir shops. We have listed a few examples below.
There are a number of ski hire operators in Châtel where you can get your ski gear, however, to save precious time going from shop to shop, leave the hassle to us and hire your ski gear directly from us online. We have long standing relationships with ski hire operators across the Alps including Châtel. Where you can get top quality brands and great rates and ready to pick up when you arrive at the resort saving you precious time. All you need to do when you arrive is collect your gear and hit the slopes.
Get your Châtel ski passes directly from Erna Low online along with your ski holiday booking. It is by the far the most convenient way to secure your ski pass when you visit the resort. Avoid queuing for long periods in the snow and order your ski pass online. When secured, travel with peace of mind knowing that your ski pass will be waiting for you when you get to Chalet. Contact us to see what’s on offer.
What better way to relax and unwind after a day of snow, slopes and adrenaline. There are several spas and wellness centres in Châtel that offer great services and personalized treatments for a truly relaxing experience. The Océane Spa offers varied treatments featuring different types of massages ( hot stones, relaxing, foot reflexology etc) facials and body treatments. There is a heated indoor swimming pool with lovely views from within. There is also a top-quality sauna and steam room as well. Most of the Châtel hotels have wellness centres within them as well. For example, the Authentique Voyage Spa in the Hôtel Macchi is another top wellness centre. Located in the Abondance valley, just below the village of Châtel, this is an Indian inspired and themed spa that offers great relaxation services from trained and experienced therapists who take you on an “authentic voyage” of unwinding and stress relief. You can expect sophisticated treatments inspired by reliable age-old Indian teachings. The spa is also very well equipped with a sauna, hammam, indoor swimming pool, hot tub and fitness room.
There are several shops and services in Châtel which is impressive given the size and profile of the resort. You can find everything from boutiques, gift and grocery shops, laundromat services, lots of bakeries and elegant hairdressers to name only a few. There is also a hospital and private Osteopathy practice on the resort.
Widely regarded as a family-friendly resort, children are very well catered to at Châtel. The resort has a host of facilities that specifically cater to children from entertainment, child care and ski schools. We’ve listed some of the child facilities available at Châtel, below.
There are a number of instructors and ski schools in and around Châtel, however, why not book your children ski school lessons with us directly and save yourself precious time. We have great relationships with credible and certified schools and can very easily help you to enrol your children as part of your booking. Our partners are highly trained, English speaking instructors. Feel free to contact us for any further inquiries about the ski schools.
There are several non-ski activities that children can get up to in Châtel. Some great outdoor activities include sledging and themed trails. These are a favourite with kids. There are sledging areas at Pre la Joux and Super Châtel and they run from 2-year-olds to 6-year-olds. Châtel also has a fantastic indoor soft play centre to keep children very occupied when they get too cold or wet outside. If your visit is around the Christmas holidays or season, there are Santa Klaus visits to the village which the children absolutely love (this is a village tradition). There is also a leisure centre with a children’s play area and for family evenings, you can visit the local cinema.
There are established and independent child care operators and creches in Châtel with certified English speaking childminders and nannies. A few of them run kids clubs and other child engaging activities to keep children entertained. Inquire with us or at the tourist office at the resort for more information. Châtel Childcare is located also in the village a few meters past La Toison Blanche on Chem des Ruisseaux
As part of the Portes du Soleil, the mountain range extends to cover the whole area, however, the immediate skiing area at Châtel is referred to as the Espace Liberte and is divided between the two mountain ranges of Super Châtel/Barbossine and Linga, Pre la Joux and Plain Drane. The mountain peaks at 2251 altitude with the highest pistes at 2201 metres altitude ( Cornebois). The area also has a 1000 metre vertical drop.