A ski resort on the Up
As the summer holidays come to an end and the first lot of snow starts falling in the French Alps, you know it is time to think about booking your winter holiday (if, you haven’t already). The cross-border ski resort of Chatel, France is definitely one of those places you should consider looking into for your next winter holiday.
Pretty and relatively unspoilt, the village of Chatel definitely has a very French feel about it, especially with the chalet style hotels dotted around the resort. It has so much to offer, from skiing in two countries experiencing different terrain, zip lining across the Alps, to having free wifi in most of the resort. This is great to share your trip on social media and make your friends envious!
If that doesn’t convince you, Chatel France also forms part of the Portes du Soleil ski area, interlinking 12 resorts across France and Switzerland giving you access to over 600kms of ski runs. It is considered to be one of the biggest ski areas in the world, meaning there is something for everyone, from a complete beginner to seasoned skiers. Chatel was my last stop on my ski safari on the French side of Portes du Soleil’s vast and varied ski area.
Ski Runs & Area
With Chatel being right on the French-Swiss border the ski passes can be really flexible, depending on your experience, comfort and budget. You can get a lift pass for the Chatel, France & Torgon / Morgins Switzerland area or the whole Portes du Soleil.
The Chatel Ski Pass also covers Châtel (Barbossine, Super-Châtel, Linga and Pre-la-Joux), La Chapelle abondance Switzerland and some of the Morgins in Switzerland too (Corbeaeu sector)
- Please note though if you want to ski over to the Avoriaz Ski Resort, you will need to get the Portes du Soleil pass.
A quick overview of only the Chatel Ski Area
- Chatel has two separate parts, Super-Châtel/Barbossine and Linga/Pré-La-Joux / Plaine Dranse
- 61 Ski lifts & 73 ski runs
- Plenty of on and off piste skiing, especially through the forest after a fresh dump of snow
- 2 Snowparks
- Night skiing every Thursday from 7.30pm-9.30pm at Linga slope
Fantasticable (Zip lining across the Alps)
I am not going to lie, when I was first informed that Chatel Tourism wanted me to try the Fantasticable (similar to a zip line), I thought what is that? it sounds fun. When I looked it up, I thought wow that looks scary, exciting and insane, all at the same time. I also thought any adventurous person like my husband would love to do this.
Strapped into a harness in a laying position you fly like a bird with speeds of between 8o to 100kmh along a line up at 240m above the hamlet of Paine-Dranse Portes du Soleil. Now, you may be wondering how can you do this with skis and snowboards? Well, you do not have to worry, as they will follow you on the line in a transportation carrier.
Don’t worry if you can’t do it winter because it is also open in the Summer and it involves two lines for double the fun.
Hire a Ski Guide for half day
One of the things I love about being on a press trip is that you get the opportunity to ski with some great local skiers. They are usually happy to show you some of the hidden gems and the best the resort has to offer. If you are anything like me, you also get to learn new techniques too which is just an added bonus.
Whether you are an experienced skier, a complete beginner, a group or a family, getting a guide can be a great idea for everyone. My guide in Chatel France was Paul who was an instructor from ESF, a company that is based all over the French Alps. We had a great day together, he took me to areas that I had not skied before, helped me polished my skiing skills and overall made me an even more confident skier.
The closest international airport is Geneva, which is roughly an hour and a half away from Chatel. Making it super easy to get to and great if you want to go for a weekend trip. Due to this there are numerous ways of getting to Chatel, buses, trains, private transfer, shared transfer all vary in price depending on what you can afford.
I have been to the resort a few times and I had previously used the following company Alpybus. You can also check out the ‘Getting Here’ on the tourism website which has great information.
Chatel has a variety of accommodation spread out in the village from a hostel to luxury chalets. Most of the main hotels are situated in the centre but don’t be discouraged to stay further out especially up the mountain. There is a regular bus service that covers the whole of Chatel that is FREE and they depart near the Super Chatel Gondola. If want to stretch your legs it should only take you about a 15-25min walk to get to most accommodation spots.
I stayed at the cosy Logis Hôtel les Triolets well located in between the Super-Chatel gondola and Petit Chatel lift and only a 10minute walk up the hill from the centre of town. If you didn’t want to walk from the village, then there is a FREE local bus that stops outside the hotel.
It was a really lovely family run hotel with an indoor pool and views across the village from the front of the hotel. The owners were super nice to me and even though I struggled with my French and their English, we were still able to work everything out. I had a comfy room with a small balcony that overlooked chalets on the mountain behind the hotel. It was a half board hotel and the views from the restaurant overlooking the village were beautiful.
Food Heaven on the Mountain
It is not a trip to French Ski Resort without sampling some of the local fresh food. I was on half board, so I only ate a couple of times but, as I have said, I have been to Chatel a few times before. Below is my pick for Dinner off the mountain and lunch on the mountain
Off the mountain – Restaurant le Vieux Four
If you love traditional French food and cheese specialities like Raclette and Tartiflette, this place is definitely for you. Located in the centre of town and only a 2 minute walk away from the Super Chatel gondola is le Vieux Four. It’s a cosy, rustic family run restaurant with an interesting interior to match. This place was definitely a gem, with its great food and really lovely service.
Tip: Try the Fromage abundance cheese melted for the main meal. It is cheese heaven.
On the mountain – La ferme des Pistes
Situated near the top of the TC du linga gondola in the Linga / Pré-La-Joux area is the la ferme des pistes. It is a great spot for lunch or a drink, especially in the spring sun with the views down the valley and overlooking the ski slope.
The first time I went to la ferme des pistes was a couple of years ago when the two new chairlifts opened up and linked all the ski area. We only stopped for a few drinks but since then I have been back a couple of times for local lunch specialities. The food is good, the prices are reasonable and the kir royal really good.
Tip: It gets really busy for lunch, so try to get there early to get a seat.
- We all need WIFI and if you can’t find any, you can go to the tourism office and use the wireless access for FREE.
- Check out the Aquatic centre if you want to take a break from Skiing or want to do something different with the kids.
- You can buy your lift pass online to miss the queue and pick it up from the ski office or they can send it to you. You can also recharge it online too.
- Children under the age of 5 can ski for FREE
- Chatel is right on the French Swiss border, pop over to Morgins Switzerland if you have the time
Chatel is a pretty, traditional French ski resort with beautiful chalet style hotels. I will definitely keep going back time and time again. The atmosphere is relaxed, I love that you can ski in two countries and there are plenty of places to eat and things to do. It is also easy to get around especially now with the two new chairlifts interlinking the resort and the free bus. Also, it is only just over an hour to Geneva airport, which means it is great for a long weekend with family or a group of friends.
Thank you for reading this article, I hope it helped you to decide where to go for your next ski trip. Chatel Ski Resort is truly a beautiful place to ski. If you are interested in discovering more of Portes du Soleil area you can read my post about Morzine Ski Resort and Les Gets Ski Resort
Have you been to Chatel Ski Resort or Portes du Soleil before? I would love to hear your experiences in the comments below.
Disclaimer: Even though I was invited by the Chatel Tourism office All views are my own and based on my own experience.
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