Why choose Châtel ski resort?
Châtel is a village ski resort at the heart of the massive Portes du Soleil ski region. Although still in France, it has great access through to the Swiss villages as well as to the major ski area around Avoriaz.
Compared to the purpose-built architecture of Avoriaz, however, Châtel is very much a village with its traditional wooden chalet construction making up a major part of the destination.
The skiing above the ski resort is suitable for all levels of ability. Intermediate-level skiers and snowboarders will find that they are able to head off on a wide choice of snow excursions during a stay in the village.
Where is Châtel?
Châtel is located right on the French-Swiss border in the Haute Savoie region of the French Alps to the south of Lac Leman (‘Lake Geneva’ as it is sometimes incorrectly called). Because it is at the heart of Les Portes du Soleil ski region it is a little bit more difficult to reach than other ski resorts on the western side of the Haute Savoie mountains such as Les Gets and Chamonix.
The village is located at an altitude of just over 1000 metres, which means that the snow record is relatively good, although the peaks of the Portes du Soleil are generally not as high as in the resorts of the Savoie further south.
Where is the closest airport to Châtel?
The only sensible option for a convenient flight to Châtel is the international airport just outside Geneva. Geneva Airport has a wide range of winter flights and destinations and is both larger and far closer than the alternative airports, which are more suitable for the ski resorts further south in the French Alps.
|Airport||Distance to Châtel|
|Geneva Airport||81 kilometres|
|Chambéry Airport||151 kilometres|
|Lyon Airport||231 kilometres|
|Grenoble Airport||237 kilometres|
How to get to Châtel by train
Châtel does not have its own train station and in fact the closest railway connection is around 20 kilometres away over the border in Switzerland in the town of Monthey in the Rhône valley. This links, via a change at St Maurice, with Geneva Airport.
Alternatively, a local bus service will take visitors to Thonon-les-Bains on the French side of Lac Leman, where there is also a rail connection to Geneva.
How to get to Châtel by car
Arriving from France, the route to Châtel is through the Abondance valley, reached from the D902, which connects to Thonon-les-Bains and the main road around the south side of Lac Leman.
Those heading from Switzerland should note that Châtel is reached via the pass at Morgins at an altitude of just under 1400 metres. Morgins is reached via the Val d’Illiez which rises from Monthey in the Rhône valley. From Monthey, the motorway connects to Martigny to the east and Lausanne to the west.
Where to stay in Châtel?
Much of the accommodation in Châtel is located around the main road that leads into the village from the Abondance valley and out towards the Swiss border. Some more options are situated along the road along the Dranse valley and towards the ski lifts linking into the Les Lindarets valley.
Châtel ski hotels
Three of the hotels in the Châtel area are particularly highly-rated by previous visitors:
The Hôtel Macchi is a four-star hotel with attached restaurant in the heart of the village. It offers 28 rooms of varying sizes as well as an indoor pool and wellness space with fitness area.
The Hôtel Fleur de Neige on the main road near the village centre is a three-star hotel offering 23 rooms and suites. It offers a covered swimming pool in winter as well as a wellness area including sauna.
The Auberge de la Dranse is located in a quiet location in the Dranse valley within walking distance of the base station of the Linga ski lift. The hotel has its own restaurant and bar and hammam facilities.
Map of Châtel accommodation
The hotels in Châtel are far from the only form of accommodation. Those who prefer to stay in self-catering apartments or to rent a chalet can get an idea of general availability for their chosen stay by entering dates of arrival and departure below to see which accommodation options may be suitable. Click the ‘+’ or ‘-‘ buttons to zoom in or out and click on the prices to see more information and/or book a particular establishment.
Châtel ski area
Those looking to ski or snowboard in Châtel have two options when it comes to a ski pass.
The Espace Liberté ski area covers more than 130 km of ski runs between France and Switzerland including all Châtel ski areas and the connecting ski resorts of La Chapelle d’Abondance, Torgon and the Morgins – Corbeau sector.
It is very much a local pass but will satisfy the inexperienced intermediate skier and those who do not want to venture too far afield as well as being considerably cheaper than the full Portes du Soleil ski pass.
The full Portes du Soleil ski pass includes 12 ski resorts in both France and Switzerland and, with the central position of Châtel, it should be possible for the strong skier to reach the majority of them.
The ski area directly above the village centre is reached by the Super Châtel gondola (or alternatively chairlifts at either end of the village). It is full of green and blue pistes ideal for beginners and those looking to get their legs back.
There are two links from the Super Châtel area. The first (and less popular) heads over towards the village of Torgon. From here there is a ski lift link to the small La Chapelle d’Abondance ski area which covers both sides of the valley. A ski bus links the skiing at La Combe or, further down the valley, to the other small area at Abondance.
The other option from Super Châtel is to head over to Morgins in Switzerland. Note here that the local ski pass only covers the ‘Châtel side’ of the Morgins ski area. Carrying on further in this direction leads to the ski slopes of Champoussin and, eventually, to the main Swiss resort skiing at Les Crosets.
This is actually the reverse direction of the popular ‘Avoriaz circuit’ from Châtel and skiers and boarders should always keep an eye on the clock the further away they head from their start so that they can hit the return ski lifts in good time before they close.
The alternative route out of the Châtel ski area is to head down the Dranse valley to the Linga gondola or to the ski lifts at Pre La Joux further down. All of them eventually lead into the Plaine Dranse area where there are lifts up to the ridge above the lovely skiing in Les Lindarets valley.
The Plaine Dranse and the runs on this side of Châtel are also a good choice for a pleasant day’s skiing on the intermediate slopes.
The Les Lindarets valley is a destination in itself, but it also the way over to the skiing at Avoriaz and is part of the ‘circuit’ mentioned above. Those taking the circular route would head up from Avoriaz to the Swiss border and then down the black Chavanette bump run (or the chairlift if the bumps look too intimidating).
From there the route heads towards Les Crosets, then over to Champoussin and Morgins before finally reaching the Super Châtel area.
Anyone who wants to cut out part of the circuit can also head up the Les Lindarets valley to the Swiss border crossings around the Pointe des Mossettes, where red and black runs lead directly down to Les Crosets.