Champery Ski Resort Switzerland
Ultimate Skiing Guide
The Champery Ski Resort was my last stop during my ski safari across France and Switzerland skiing through the Portes du Soleil area. After continuously skiing for 10 days straight, I was exhausted and was looking forward to my 4-day stay. Not just because it was supposed to be beautiful but I had not skied on the Swiss side before and I am always up for exploring new areas.
Like so many others before me, I fell in love with Champery Ski Resort and village as soon as I set eyes on it. Champery Switzerland is both a postcard
Champery is ideal for someone that wishes to ski/board on good long and sometimes steep runs with scenic surroundings and wants to indulge in great traditional food. If you are a super confident skier and are looking for a challenge, Champery is also home to one of the worlds most dangerous runs The Swiss Wall.
Swiss Side of Portes du Soleil
Don’t worry if you’re not keen on steep runs though because Champery is one of five villages that make up the Swiss side of the Portes du Soleil and your Champery lift pass will cover all these villages, apart from Torgon. Each of these villages, Champery – Les Crosets – Champoussin – Foilleuse/Morgins offer something different for everyone, for instance, Les Crosets is great for families and has the child-friendly Superpark. They are all also easily accessible to each other.
If that doesn’t convince you, the Portes du Soleil ski area interlinks 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. The best bit is Champery is a cross-border ski resort, so you can ski in France half a day and then back to Switzerland in the afternoon, which I always think is pretty cool.
Ski Runs & Area
Ski passes are really flexible, you can get a lift pass for the Champery – Les Crosets – Champoussin – Foilleuse/Morgins ski area or the whole Portes du Soleil, depending on your experience, comfort and budget. However, if you want to ski in the Avoriaz ski resort on the border above the Swiss wall then you will need to make sure you have the Portes du Soleil pass.
The combined Swiss area contains a vast range of wide, sunny, long intermediate runs, typically far quieter than over on the French side of the Portes du Soleil like Avoriaz. With this in mind, I noticed that there were more intermediate to advanced skiers and boarders in the area.
One of my favourite days’ skiing was when I transferred from the resort of Chatel to Champery, passing through both Morgins and Les Crosets along the way. Most of these runs are red and are atop the Swiss mountains overlooking the resorts (apart from when we skied through them). It would have to be one of the most scenic runs in the Portes du Soleil with the Dents du Midi and the Dents Blanches as your backdrop.
A quick overview of the Champery Ski Area
- The Champery Ski pass (Known as the CLCF) covers the 4 Swiss resorts
- 37 Ski lifts & 100 klms of ski runs
- Plenty of on and off-piste skiing, especially after a fresh dump of snow
- The famous Swiss Wall
- Superpark based in Les Crosets
- Night skiing every Wednesday & Saturday in Champery
The Famous Swiss Wall
The Champery ski resort is home to the infamous “Swiss Wall” or officially known as the Le Pas de Chavanette. Situated on the Swiss-French border, this 1klm run with a 400-metre drop is definitely not for the fainthearted and is considered to be one of the world’s toughest runs. This run is so steep that the snow grooming machines cannot go down it, meaning that the run is consistently covered in moguls from the start of the season until the snow melts.
This year I had the pleasure of attending the Red Bull ‘Bataille des Bosses’ Switzerland challenge, where skiers raced against the clock and against an opponent on the Swiss Wall. It was such a fun and intense race to watch and was definitely worth attending, it was cool to watch the skiers go underneath you while you’re on the chairlift.
Take a Boarding Lesson
In most cases, you are either a skier or a border and in my case, I am a skier. I have always wanted to try snowboarding but I just never had the time and to be honest I am happy being in my comfort zone on a pair of skis. When the opportunity came up that I could try my hand at snowboarding in the Champery Ski Resort I jumped at the chance, as I wanted to see if I could be converted.
My lesson was with Nicolas (or Nick for short) from Freeride Company and even though I was on a red run (on the flat bit) learning, he made me feel nothing but at ease. I don’t know whether it was the muscles that I had not used before, the very hot sun or the fact that I had been skiing consistently for 12 days but after my lesson, I was completely knackered but satisfy at what I had achieved.
Have I been converted? No, but I will definitely try Snowboarding again.
Try your hand at curling
From my own personal experience, I really underestimated just how hard Curling was until I tried it in Champery Ski Resort and like most people, the only thing I knew about it was that it is a sport competed at the Winter Olympics. It is definitely a game of skill and strategy but also a lot of fun.
Curling is a sport in which players slide a granite stone on a sheet of ice to get as close as possible to the target area at the end of the ice route. An intro-to-curling workshop is a great activity for family or a group of friends, especially if it is cold and snowing heavy outside.
If you don’t want to try curling, the Palladium Sports and Cultural Centre also offers a variety of other activities, like indoor ice-skating and indoor rock climbing.
- Groups of 7 to 50 people: 40 CHF per person for 2 hours
- Have a drink in the Palladium bar and restaurant when you’ve finished slip-sliding on the ice
Take a well deserved break at The Thermes Parc Spa
Nothing beats a nice massage or a spa after a hard day of skiing/snowboarding, especially when your muscles are tight and sore. After skiing for nearly two weeks straight, my body was tried, it was suggested to me to go to the Thermes Parc Spa to put my feet up and relax.
The Thermes Parc Spa is the perfect place to go as a family or if you want to unwind after a fun day of skiing. It is made up of a large indoor Spa pool, outdoor pool, which you access via an indoor/outdoor plastic flap interface and unfiltered outdoor Spa water pools.
All the pools are heated at various temperatures from 41c to around 31c.
- The train from Champery stops on the hill and it’s a 5-7 min walk down.
- The towels and robes are available to rent.
The closest international airports is Geneva Airport and the best way to get to Champery Ski Resort is either via transfer or car. Making it super easy to get to and great if you want to go for a weekend trip.
My understanding is that from the start of this December PowdAir will doing flights to Sion Airport, which is even closer than Gevena.
As I was with the tourism board, I was picked up and I did not use one of the transfer companies. However, you can check out the ‘Getting Here’ on the tourism website which has great information.
Given the size of Champery, there is plenty of different types of accommodation available and everything is within 10-15mins walking distance from the centre of town and also the main gondola Télépherique Champéry – Croix-de-Culet. You can choose from bed and breakfast to luxury chalets and there is even a cute hostel Le Petit Baroudeur which is perfect if you are on a budget.
Le Chalet de l’Atelier Champery
Situated in the centre of Champery Village at the foot of the Dents du Midi and within 5 minutes of the Télépherique Champéry – Croix-de-Culet Cable Car, is Le Chalet de l’Atelier Champery. I stayed in this cosy chalet hotel with only four rooms and two restaurants, during the winter season. Their service was really great and I loved coming back in the afternoon and having a relaxing drink in the bar. Whether you are skiing or enjoying a summer holiday hiking in the mountains, Le Chalet de l’Atelier Champery is a great place to stay.
The Lodge Champéry by Mrs Miggins
If you close your eyes and imagine a luxury chalet with your own private hot tub with the most amazing views of the Swiss Alps, then The Lodge Champery by Mrs Miggins is definitely your place. Not only does this place have everything you want from a private chalet but it is in the prime position, 1-minute walk to the Télépherique Champéry – Croix-de-Culet and to the Palladium Centre and supermarket. I didn’t stay here in winter it was during my summer trip but it is open in winter and it even has drying room and storage for your skis and boards.
Swiss Food Heaven on the Mountain
The Croix de Culet
Situated at the top of the Télépherique Champéry – Croix-de-Culet, with views overlooking both Dents du Midi and the Dents Blanches and the Swiss Wall, is the Restaurant de La Croix-de-Culet. It is a modern Swiss restaurant with all your traditional Swiss specialities with a great terrace displaying some of the best views in the Alps. If you are not hungry but still want to enjoy the views that is not a problem, as you can also stop in there for a coffee or apre-ski while taking in the views.
Tip: Even though the restaurant is on the mountain, you don’t need to be skiing or boarding to get there as it is literally just outside the gondola. You don’t have to have a ski pass either, you can just get a pass to go up on the gondola separately.
Le Nord Cafe
Situated in the centre of Champery village underneath Le Chalet de l’Atelier is the cosy Le Nord Cafe restaurant. It is definitely one of the best places to eat in town and it is easy to see why, with its selections of fondue and other traditional Swiss food. My problem was deciding on what to have and when I did choose(steak tartare with salad), I was not disappointed.
Tip – I definitely recommend booking as it only has two sitting times 11:30 to 14:00 and 18:30 to 21:30.
- 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.
- 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.
- Take the Chavanette chairlift up to the top of the Swiss Wall and have lunch at O’Padcha. The restaurant sits right on the French and Swiss border and not only can you have lunch in both countries. There is also an amazing view to enjoy over the Alps.
- Children under the age of 5 can ski for FREE
- If you are too tired to carry your equipment there is a little courtesy train that goes from the main gondola the Croix de Culet Cable Car to the centre of town.
- If you have time, definitely ski in both Morgins and Les Crosets Resort, which will be part of your pass.
I am not going to lie I definitely have a soft spot for Champery Ski Resort and is definitely a place I would not hesitate to go back to time and time again, and it is not just because I was invited. From the moment I arrived until the moment I left, everyone in the village made me feel welcome. It is a small working village with a habitat of 1300 people, so most people knew why I was there and the villagers would stop and talk to me and asked me if I need anything. Even when I went back in Summer, I was taken aback how many people remembered me and were so nice.
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As I said earlier, Champery Ski Resort is a postcard
It is also easy to get around especially with the courtesy train to take you from the main gondola to your hotel for free. And with it being around an hour and a half from Geneva airport, it makes it a great resort not just for a week skiing but for a long weekend too.
Thank you for reading this article, I hope it helped you to decide where to go for your next ski trip. Champery Ski Resort is truly a beautiful Swiss ski resort. If you are interested in discovering more of Portes du Soleil ski area you can check out my posts on the other ski resorts Morzine and Les Gets
Have you been to Champery 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 Champery Tourism office All views are my own and based on my own experience.
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