Châtel Ski Resort

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Chatel ski resort & Dents du Midi in Portes du Soleil
Chatel ski resort & Dents du Midi in Portes du Soleil
Off-piste powder deep in the Barbossine sector of Chatel ski resort
Off-piste powder deep in the Barbossine sector of Chatel ski resort
Châtel is one of the most charming villages of the French Portes du Soleil ski resorts
Châtel is one of the most charming villages of the French Portes du Soleil ski resorts
Gorgeous Châtel off-piste ski terrain amongst summer farms & shrines in the Barbossine
Gorgeous Châtel off-piste ski terrain amongst summer farms & shrines in the Barbossine
The Linga - Pre la Joux sector of Chatel is hugely popular for its long piste trails
The Linga - Pre la Joux sector of Chatel is hugely popular for its long piste trails
Modern chairlifts extend into & out of Châtel
Modern chairlifts extend into & out of Châtel's Plaine Dranse
Chatel ski resort is part of the Espace Liberte ski pass area & includes nearby La Chapelle
Chatel ski resort is part of the Espace Liberte ski pass area & includes nearby La Chapelle
The slopes of Super-Chatel have wide sheltered pistes for progressing beginners
The slopes of Super-Chatel have wide sheltered pistes for progressing beginners
Fresh tracks on a powder day at Châtel ski resort, France
Fresh tracks on a powder day at Châtel ski resort, France
Chatel ski resort has numerous mountain restaurants
Chatel ski resort has numerous mountain restaurants
Enjoy the afternoon sun & mid-mountain bars at Chatel ski resort
Enjoy the afternoon sun & mid-mountain bars at Chatel ski resort
Super-Chatel beginner ski & snowbaord terrain above Châtel village
Super-Chatel beginner ski & snowbaord terrain above Châtel village
The valley trail from Super-Chatel down into Châtel village is popular
The valley trail from Super-Chatel down into Châtel village is popular
Chatel intermediate piste trail heading into Les Combes
Chatel intermediate piste trail heading into Les Combes
Châtel village & nearby Petit Chatel are quite extensive.
Châtel village & nearby Petit Chatel are quite extensive.
The village of Châtel is authentic & enjoyable
The village of Châtel is authentic & enjoyable
Châtel ski resort is interlinked with the tiny Swiss sking area of Torgon
Châtel ski resort is interlinked with the tiny Swiss sking area of Torgon
The Swiss resort of Morgins shares lifts, trails & powder with Chatel along the border!
The Swiss resort of Morgins shares lifts, trails & powder with Chatel along the border!
Loads to see & ski at Châtel resort in France
Loads to see & ski at Châtel resort in France
Châtel freeride powder heading into Switzerland is just one reason to visit
Châtel freeride powder heading into Switzerland is just one reason to visit

Châtel Ski Resort

Readers Ratings

Chatel

Chatel4.5/52
Chatel4.5 out of 5 based on 2 reviews
  • Recommend
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  • Would Revisit
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Chamonix Ultimate Ski Tour Le Grand

Portes du Soleil Resorts

French

Avoriaz
Les Gets
Morzine

Swiss

Champery-Les Crosets
Champoussin
Morgins
Torgon

    Chatel Ski Trail Map
  • Châtel Ski Trail Map
  • Vertical (m)
    Espace Liberte only
    1,250m – 2,100m (850m)

    Portes du Soleil
    950m - 2,277m (1,327m)
  • Average Snow Fall
    6m
  • Lifts
    Espace Liberté (incl. Chatel) – 56 lifts
    3 Gondolas / cable cars
    19 Chairlifts

    Portes du Soleil – 196 lifts
    11 Gondolas / cable cars
    75 Chairlifts
  • Opening Dates & Times
    Mid December to mid-April
    8:30am to 4:30pm
  • Terrain Summary
    Espace Liberté Runs - 130km
    Portes du Soleil Runs - 600km
    Longest run – 10+ km
    Advanced - 12%
    Intermediate - 35%
    Beginner - 53%
  • Lift Pass Price
    Day Ticket 20/21
    Espace Liberté
    (incl. La Chapelle, Torgon & part Morgins)
    Adult - €44 to 46
    Child - €33 to 35
    Child u/5yr – Free

    Portes du Soleil
    Adult - €55.50 to 59
    Child - €42 to 44
    Child u/5yr - Free
    Portes du Soleil Ski Trail Map
  • Portes du Soleil Ski Trail Map
     French Portes du Soleil Ski Trail Map
  • French Portes du Soleil Ski Trail Map
     Swiss Portes du Soleil Ski Trail Map
  • Swiss Portes du Soleil Ski Trail Map

Châtel Ski Resort France

Châtel is a super family friendly ski resort on the French side of the massive Portes du Soleil. An extensive skiing area in its own right, Chatel has numerous different zones to suit novices & families, intermediate snow riders, plus off-piste powder-hunting experts. To top it off, Châtel is one of the more delightful villages in the French Alps & makes an excellent base from which to explore one of the world’s largest interconnected ski areas.

Pros & Cons for Châtel Ski Resort

Pros

  • Wonderful snow holiday destination with vast terrain & diversity straddling the French-Swiss border.
  • High snowfall zone, particularly in the upper alpine.
  • Exceptionally good value lift pass for the entire resort in the Espace Liberté sector.
  • Superb beginner & intermediate piste trails.
  • Interesting off-piste & freeride terrain options for everyone from beginner to expert, including tree-skiing.
  • Untracked snow in the off-piste can be found several days after a snowfall.
  • Ski lifts being modernised across the resort.
  • Châtel village is authentic & one of the loveliest at any ski resort in the French Alps.
  • Après ski is lively in the mid-mountain sectors of the resort.
  • Ski two countries but speak one language – French (the Swiss sector is in the French speaking part of Valais).

Cons

  • High numbers of visitors at peak periods (but not many riding the off-piste).
  • Relatively low top elevation & shortish skiable vertical of between 400-600m in the upper alpine.
  • Major piste trails in the Linga-Pre la Jouz sector are prone to high skier traffic & the subsequent slope conditions that follow it!
  • Limited advanced on-piste trails & valley trails (i.e. Petit-Chatel would be great if it had one).
  • Lifts in parts of Châtel (& interlinked Morgins) are out-dated (but several new chairlifts are being installed in coming seasons!).
  • Whilst it is fun to get around, some lift & piste connections are awkward & it can be easy to get ‘lost’ - pay close attention to signage as people have been known to end the day stuck in the wrong resort or worse, the wrong country!

Pro or Con (depending on your perspective!)

  • Close to Geneva for quick & easy access private transfer or rental car (but has the subsequent crowds during peak season as a result). Close to the only cross-border pass in the Portes du Soleil.
  • A high number of surface lifts in the Espace Liberté sector may challenge beginner snowboarders.
  • Limited ski-in ski-out accommodation in Chatel (but available elsewhere).
  • Lacks morning sunshine in the village, but receives it in the afternoon, just in time for après!

Skiing & Snowboarding, Lift & Terrain

Châtel ski resort is part of a local ski sector called Espace Libertè, combining the lifts & terrain of Chatel with La Chapelle-d'Abondance, plus the Swiss resort of Torgon & the lame Corbeau sector of Morgins. The resort also has direct lift & trail connections with Avoriaz. Espace Liberte includes around 130km of ski trails & 56 lifts across the sector.

See the Châtel (Espace Libertè) ski trail map.

With a highest lifted point of 2100m, statistically Châtel doesn’t give the appearance of a world class ski area. Indeed, most of its main lifts only serve 350-450m skiable vertical - just enough to be worthwhile. But sometimes a good ski hill is not all about 1,500m skiable verticals. The valley trails have a respectable 750m+ of skiable vert, but it is the appealing location & accessibility of the resort’s terrain to a wide variety of snow-riders that is its true strength.

Chatel’s ski & snowboard terrain is all north & west aspect, soaking in just enough afternoon sun to be pleasant, but not too much so as to turn the hill to mush. It can be divided into three distinct sectors, each with its strengths. Directly above town, Super-Chatel is accessed by the main gondola & is the perfect stomping ground for novices, beginners, families & non-skiing pedestrians. It has easy links to Morgins in Switzerland via the upper tows or an advanced run from the summit of Morclan. Beyond Morclan is the next sector, Barbossine, which is a fun-filled freeride zone for advanced sliders & better. Return access to the resort can be painful, but worth it. In the opposite direction, the third sector, Linga/Pré-la-Joux is joined to Super-Chatel by a long, traversing chair & has the best piste trails for intermediates & advanced skiers & boarders.

From a powder seekers perspective, the Morclan chair is the most important in Chatel. It accesses the stellar Barbossine bowl, several quality piste trails, the border crossing into Switzerland, a north-aspect off-piste bowl into Onnaz & lovely, sunny south-facing 600m skiable vertical off-piste terrain into the bottom of Conche chair, or further all the way into the village.

Some of the ski lifts in the Petit-Chatel & Super Chatel-Barbossine sectors (& indeed, the entire Espace Liberté) are amongst the oldest in the Portes du Soleil. Nearby Torgon has deleted several lifts within the last four years simply due to lack of serviceability. Thankfully, Châtel has reversed the trend of late. New 6-seater chairlifts to replace the painfully slow, old versions of Morclan & Conche, will change the way the mountain skis, removing previous doubts about riding them & making powder day laps ssoooo much more fun!

Interlinked with Portes du Soleil

Whilst a large ski area in and of itself, Espace Libertè is only a fraction of the terrain available in the vast interconnected Portes du Soleil. Lift passes for the entire Portes du Soleil (a.k.a. Doors of the Sun) are €11 to €14 more than local lift passes, but forays into the broader region are definitely worth the extra coin.

See the Portes du Soleil ski trail map.

Where is Châtel France?

The Châtel ski resort is in the Vallée d'Abondance of the Haute Savoie in France near the Swiss border, only 78km east of Geneva (GVA) international airport. Travel time by road in winter is usually around 1¾hr.

The nearest major centre to Chatel is the lakeside city of Thonon-les-Bains, 38km (45min) by road west of the ski resort. Thonon les Bains has reasonable public transport links, including by train, with Geneva. Regional trains depart the Geneva central station to Thonon-les-Bains every few hours during the day, with the journey taking around 1hr. From the railway station, the route 121 bus completes the journey to Châtel in around 1hr. In winter, some bus services run direct from Geneva to the ski resort.

If one does not have a rental car, due to the proximity of Châtel to Geneva, we recommend looking at a direct private transfer from the airport. It avoids a sometimes convoluted public transport journey to the ski resort. A private transfer can be particularly cost effective for groups of 3 or more people. For those with a car, in good road conditions, travel to Chatel from Geneva airport is quickest via the north shore of Lac Leman & the Swiss resort of Morgins over the 1369m Pas de Morgins.

Search & book here for all airport transfers from Geneva to Châtel.

For hints, tips & warnings about getting to French ski resorts in winter, see our Travel in France page.

Châtel Accommodation

Châtel is one of the most authentic villages in the Portes du Soleil. Indeed, it is one of the more pleasant ski resort villages in the entire French Alps. The main village centre is hive of activity during winter & has extensive bus & ski lift links within a few steps of the shops. To the north, connected by local bus is an outlying hamlet of Le Petit Châtel which comes complete with its own shops, bars & chairlift which connects to Torgon & Morgins in Switzerland. Between the two ends of Châtel, a host of hotels, guesthouses, apartments & chalet line the mountainside.

Search & book here for all Châtel ski accommodation.

Down valley from Chatel are numerous lodging options in La Chapelle-d'Abondance and Abondance. La Chapelle-d'Abondance has direct ski lift links into the Portes du Soleil via Torgon. Abondance has its own small ski area that is not lift or piste connected to the rest of the network & requires a free local bus ride to access it.

Over the ridge in Switzerland, Morgins makes a good alternative base from which to ski Chatel. Similarly, ‘over the ridge’, but in France, Châtel can also be easily accessed from the incredible alpine village at Avoriaz.

Ski Rentals & Lessons

Ski rentals are available with our local partners in all the Châtel villages. Receive a discount when you search & book via our Châtel Ski or Snowboard Rental page.

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Review

The Powderhounds skied Châtel in late 2019 & we have been very slack in finishing the review, let alone this overview page! More information is coming soon. Stay tuned for our new photos & insights.

See how Chatel & Portes du Soleil compares to the rest of the European ski resorts on the Europe ski resort ratings page.

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Tours in or near Châtel & Portes du Soleil
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