Despite its recent expansion, Chatel is still an attractive French mountain village with local slopes to suit all standards. It's also on the main Portes du Soleil ski circuit, and so is lift-linked to half a dozen other ski resorts, with plenty of terrain for better skiers to explore. But it's not high enough to be snowsure in a poor season.
Local Skiing in and around Chatel
Chatel has such good connections to the other Portes du Soleil ski resorts, it’s easy to overlook the quality of its own slopes. Closest to the village is the Super Chatel sector, shared with the neighbouring Swiss resorts of Torgon and Morgins. This consists mostly of gentle blue runs suitable for beginners and intermediates who like easy cruising pistes, but with a few challenging blacks. Chatel’s other ski sector, Linga-Pre la Joux, has some green and blue pistes but the reds are noticeably steeper here and there are good off-piste opportunities too (guide recommended). There is also a third small, isolated and often deserted ski area just 5.5 kms down the road at Chapelle d’Abondance which is easily reached by bus for those who like gentle, uncrowded, tree-lined blue and red runs. For beginners, both Super Chatel and Linga have nursery slopes.
Les Portes du Soleil ski area
Chatel’s Linga sector is the start of the anti-clockwise Portes du Soleil circuit. Keep skiing on it, and you go to Avoriaz, then (if you resist the temptation to veer off towards Morzine and Les Gets) you move onto Champery, Les Crosets, Champoussin, Morgins and back to Chatel. If you want to do the circuit the other way around you start at Super Chatel and head towards Morgins. Although both circuits can be completed in a day, there is a lot of skiing off to the sides and alternative routes to explore so repeat visits are recommended. The combined ski area is one of the largest in the world, and whilst there are sections that will test even experts (most notably the Swiss Wall between Avoriaz and Champery), the basic circuits are accessible to intermediate skiers. It does have one weakness, however: its lack of altitude. Chatel is located at only 1200m above sea level and almost all the skiing here and throughout the Portes du Soleil is below 2000m, and that’s not high enough to be snowsure. With help from artificial snow-making there is always enough snow in the middle of the season, but in December and April, you might experience ice or slush and some closed runs due to lack of snow cover.
Staying in Chatel /Accommodation
When you’re not on the slopes, Chatel is an attractive place to stay. Surrounded by mountains and set among working farms, the village has an authentic core. Although it grows bigger every year, the newer developments on its edges or in outlying suburbs like Vonnes, Petit Chatel or Villapeyron have mostly been built sensitively. Most of the restaurants and bars are near the centre.
Chalets and chalet holidays in Chatel
UK travel agent Alpine Answers offers a good selection of chalet holidays in Chatel. Currently they are offering Ultimate-Ski readers a £20 discount per group booking so make sure you mention Ultimate-Ski on their enquiry form if you want to claim this. Search their Chatel chalets >>>
Hotels in Chatel
Chalet-Hôtel Macchi (4 stars) is highly rated by previous guests and includes a gourmet restaurant and a spa with indoor pool and sauna. It’s near the centre of the resort but it also provides a shuttle bus to take guests to the lifts. There are many good 3-star hotels to choose from but keen skiers might consider Auberge de la Dranse (close to the Linga lift), La Perdrix Blanche (close to the Ruby and Pierre Longue lifts) and Arc en Ciel (close to the Barbossine lift). Of the 2-star hotels Hôtel Eliova l’Eau Vive is 100 yards from the Linga lift, whilst Le Roitelet consistently gets good reviews from previous guests. L’Escale does not have any stars and is a one-off: it’s located up the mountain and only accessible by cable car (so make sure you get there before the lifts close).
Search these and other Chatel hotels and book online >>>
Apartments in Chatel
Some of the apartment complexes in chatel are now classified as ‘ApartHotels’ because of the quality and quantity of the services and facilities available to guests. For instance the 4 star CGH Les Chalets d’Angele residence offers spacious apartments with access to an indoor swimming pool, kids room, sauna, hammam and a concierge service. Résidence Les Fermes de Chatel is similar and is only 100m from the Super Chatel lift. Cheaper and more basic apartments can be found at Chardonneret which is close to the Petit Chatel lift and La Ferme Bon Accueil which is within walking distance of the Barbossine lift. But there are over 100 other apartments to choose from, so use the search link to find them, check availability, compare prices, see locations, and read previous guest reviews.
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Chatel Ski & Snowboard Hire
SKISET has four outlets including one at Villapeyron and one at Petit Chatel, and they give discounts of up to 50% if you book online via this link.
ALPINRESORTS.com also works with several ski hire shopes in and and around Chatel and they can secure big ski hire discounts if you book here.
Chatel Ski Schools, Mountain Guides and Private Instructors
There are plenty of ski instructors and ski schools to choose from in Chatel. Ultimate-Ski partner CheckYeti lets you compare lessons and prices and book online.
Getting to Chatel /Airport Transfers
Chatel is about 1 hour 45 minutes drive from Geneva Airport. Ski-Lifts arrange private, door to door transfers for individuals and groups of any size from Geneva or any other airport. They also do transfers from the nearest railway stations to Chatel at Thonon-les-Bains, Aigle or Monthey.
Chatel Pros & Cons
+ Good local slopes for all standards
+ Part of the vast Portes du Soleil ski area
+ Good links with other resorts
+ Attractive French mountain village
+ Good value
– Too low to be snowsure.