Winter in Champery Switzerland is both a postcard
Skiing in Champery was my last stop during my ski safari across France and Switzerland through the Portes Du Soleil area. After continuously skiing for 10 days, I was exhausted and was looking forward to my 4-day stay.
Table of Contents
- About Champéry Ski Resort
- Portes du Soleil – Swiss Side
- Ski Slopes & Pass
- Overview of skiing in Champery area
- The Famous Swiss Wall
- Attend the Rock the Pistes Festival
- Accommodation in Champery
- Where to eat in Champery
- Getting to Champery Ski
- Tips before heading to Champery Resort
- Would I recommend skiing in Champery
- Other Ski Resort in Switzerland
About Champéry Ski Resort
Champery is a small working village with a population of 1300 people and an altitude of 1,050m. It is an across-border ski resort located in Switzerland and bordering France.
The village has that warm welcoming feel about it and the people don’t hesitate to assist you. When I was there they would stop, talk to me and asked me if I needed anything.
Champery is ideal for someone that wishes to ski/board on good long and sometimes steep runs with scenic surroundings. As well as wanting to indulge in great traditional food and wine.
Don’t worry if you’re not keen on steep runs as Champery is one of five villages that make up the Swiss side of the Portes Du Soleil. Your Champery lift pass will cover all these villages, apart from Torgon.
Portes du Soleil – Swiss Side
The Portes Du Soleil ski area is interlinked by 12 resorts across France and Switzerland. With access to over 600kms of pistes, 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 villages in the Portes Du Soleil on the Swiss side are Champery – Les Crosets – Champoussin – Foilleuse/Morgins and Torgon. They are all easily accessible to each other, as well as to the French side, like Chatel and Avoriaz.
⇒ Click on the link to check out the latest deals on skiing in Switzerland with Neilson Holidays.
Other resorts in Portes du Soleil Ski area
- Where the season starts early – Morzine France
- More to offer than a Ski Resort – Lets Gets France
- What to do and where to ski – Chatel France
Ski Slopes & Pass
Champery Skiing Pass
Champery skiing passes are flexible, you can get one for the Champery and Swiss resorts. Or for the whole 12 resorts in the Portes du Soleil which is 600kms of ski pistes. If you want to ski in Avoriaz ski resort on the border located above the Swiss wall. Then you will need to make sure that get a Portes Du Soleil pass.
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. Once you have your Champery ski pass, you can recharge it online.
Champery Ski Slopes
Champery covers 165kms of marked ski slopes connected with 37 ski lifts. If you combined this with the Portes du Soleil ski area other resorts, there is over 600kms of pistes across 280 ski slopes interlinked by 196 ski lifts.
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.
For snowboarders, there is a terrain park and a half pipe. 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.
My Skiing experience in Champery
One of my favourite days’ skiing was when I transferred from the resort of Chatel to Champery. I skied over the border from France to Switzerland through both Morgins and Les Crosets. Most of the piste was red and are atop the Swiss mountains overlooking the Dents du Midi and the Dents Blanches.
It would have to be one of the most scenic areas in the Portes Du Soleil. The best bit about skiing in Champery is a cross-border ski resort, meaning you can ski in both Switzerland or France.
Overview of skiing in Champery area
- The Champery Ski pass (Known as the CLCF) covers four Swiss resorts
- 37 Ski lifts & 165 km of ski runs
- Plenty of on and off-piste skiing, especially after a fresh dump of snow
- The famous Swiss Wall – Ungroomed
- Superpark based in Les Crosets
- Night skiing every Wednesday & Saturday in Champery
- If you have time, definitely ski over to both Morgins and Les Crosets Ski Resorts. It is included in your Champery ski pass.
Whether you are confident skier or beginner, it is always best to wear a ski helmet when skiing.
Off-piste skiing at the top of the mountains – 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 1km 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.
If you don’t want to ski down but still want to see the views and watch other skiers and boarders. Then you can take the Chavanette chairlift 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.
Non-skiing Activities in Champery
There is so much more you can do during winter other than skiing in Champery ski resort. From dog sledging, curling to simply just enjoy the food and Swiss wine. I like to mix up my days by skiing half a day and doing an activity for the other half.
Here are just a few other activities you can do in winter;
Red Bull ‘Bataille des Bosses’ Switzerland challenge
I attended the Red Bull ‘Bataille des Bosses’ Switzerland challenge, a few years ago now. It is 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
I am a skier but have always wanted to try snowboarding, however, I just have never had the time. When the opportunity came up that I could try my hand at snowboarding in the Champery, I thought I would give it a go and see if I could be converted.
My boarding instructor was Nicolas (or Nick for short) from Freeride Company. Even though I was on a red run (on the flat bit) learning, he made me feel at ease. I had a great lesson and it was fun learning something new on the slopes. I was completely exhausted afterwards but satisfied with what I had achieved.
⇒ Have I been converted? No, but I have taken another Snowboarding lesson at The SnowCentre in England.
Try your hand at curling
I underestimated just how hard Curling was until I tried it at Palladium Sports and Cultural Centre in Champery. The only thing I knew about it was it’s competed at the Winter Olympics. Curling is a sport in which players slide a granite stone on a sheet of ice. While trying to get as close as possible to the target area at the end of the ice route.
Palladium Sports and Cultural Centre offered an intro-to-curling workshop, which is what I did. It is a great activity to do with family or a group of friends, especially when it is snowing heavily. It is definitely a game of skill and strategy but also a lot of fun too.
- 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
- The centre also offers a variety of other activities, like indoor ice-skating and indoor rock climbing.
Take a well deserved break at The Thermes Parc Spa
Nothing beats taking a well-deserved break at a Spa, especially after a hard day of skiing in Champery. The Thermes Parc Spa is the perfect place for families or on your own. It is made up of a large indoor Spa pool, outdoor pool and an unfiltered outdoor Spa water pool. Which can be accessed via an indoor/outdoor plastic flap interface.
All the pools are heated at various temperatures from 41c to around 31c, meaning you should always stay warm. I went to the Thermes Parc Spa after skiing for nearly two weeks straight. It was just what I needed to put my feet up and relax with a swim.
- 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.
- Remember – To take your Swimwear
Attend the Rock the Pistes Festival
If you only ever attend one ski festival in your lifetime, then it will have to be Rock the Pistes. It is an annual music festival spread across the entire Portes Du Soleil ski area, held over a period of a week. Each resort hosts a series of both indoor and outdoor events, with the drawcard being the on-piste concerts.
The festival provides the perfect opportunity to ski or snowboard while enjoying music from international acts. The best bit is the concerts are absolutely FREE as they are included in your ski pass.
I attended Rock the Pistes for a few days and to experience exactly what it is like to attend a concert at high altitude in Portes Du Soleil. I had such a wonderful time, the atmosphere was electric, the bands were great and the views across the Alps as the backdrop were stunning.
There is no doubt in my mind that this one of the best ski festivals in Europe.
Most of the concerts start in the afternoon after lunch. So if you don’t want to miss out on skiing, get up for the first run of the morning. Then you get the best of both worlds, skiing and music.
Ski racks are provided at each concert venue on the slopes, for your equipment. As skis and snowboards need to be removed for entering the concert areas.
- The lifts will stay open half an hour later than usual during the week of the music festival.
360 in the VIP area at Rock the Pistes Festival
Accommodation in Champery
Given the size, there is plenty of different types of accommodation in Champéry available. With everything being 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, luxury chalets, hotels and BnB’s. On a budget, there is even a cute hostel Le Petit Baroudeur which is perfect. Feel free to check current availability for accommodation in Champery.
⇒ Electrical equipment: Switzerland uses two different types of plugs. Plug type C (which has two round pins) and type J ( which has three round pins).
Le Chalet de l’Atelier
Situated in the centre of Champery Village at the foot of the Dents du Midi is Le Chalet de l’Atelier. A stylish chalet hotel with only four rooms that made it feel cosy. The hotel also has two restaurants and a bar that is open during the winter season. The Télépherique Champéry – Croix-de-Culet Cable Car was only 5 minutes walk away.
I stayed here during my first trip skiing in Champery and loved my chalet styled room with views of the Dents du Midi. I enjoyed coming back in the afternoon and having a relaxing drink in the bar. Click to check for availability and prices for Le Chalet de l’Atelier.
• Address; Rue du Village 106, 1874 Champéry, Switzerland
The Lodge Champéry by Mrs Miggins
If you close your eyes and imagine a luxury chalet with your own private hot tub and 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. Just 1-minute walk to the Télépherique Champéry – Croix-de-Culet and to the Palladium Centre and supermarket.
I stayed here during the summer season and loved everything about this accommodation, especially the hot tub. During the winter season, there is a drying room and storage for your skis and boards. Click to check for availability and prices for The Lodge Champery by Mrs Miggins.
• Address; Route des Tavys 8, 1874 Champéry, Switzerland
Where to eat in Champery
There are lots of yummy restaurant and cafe places to eat in Champery village and on the ski slopes. There are also some great options in the surrounding villages especially if you have a car. Here are just a few places where to eat in Champery.
Additionally, if you like more food options then take a read Resort On the Up, Chatel Ski Resort. It is located just across the border on the French side not too far from Champery.
The Croix de Culet
Address; Route de Planachaux 160, 1874 Champéry, Switzerland
Situated at the top of the Télépherique Champéry – Croix-de-Culet is the Restaurant de La Croix-de-Culet, just outside from the Gondola. It has views overlooking both Dents du Midi and the Dents Blanches and the Swiss Wall. This modern Swiss restaurant has all your traditional Swiss specialities. However, it boasts a great terrace to take advantage of the amazing views of 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 apres-ski while taking in the views.
- You don’t have to have a ski pass either, you can just get a pass to go up on the gondola separately.
L’Alta Restaurant- Pizzeria- Wine Bar
Address: Rue du Village 71, 1874 Champéry, Switzerland
Looking for somewhere to eat in Champery village, then try Alta restaurant. A wood-fired pizzeria restaurant and wine bar, located in the village on the main street. It also has some pretty nice views of the Dents du Midi.
There was a great selection of wine and food, as well a friendly welcoming atmosphere. I had delicious crumbled cheese for starter and then a mouth watering risotto paired with local Swiss wine. This is definitely a great spot to come in the afternoon after skiing in Champery.
Le Nord Cafe
Address: Rue du Village 106, 1874 Champéry, Switzerland
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.
- I definitely recommend booking as it only has two sitting times 11:30 to 14:00 and 18:30 to 21:30.
Getting to Champery Ski
Champery is located on the Swiss side of the Portes Du Soleil on the border between France and Switzerland. With Geneva being the closest international airport. Sion Airport is closer but only a couple of airlines go there and they are limited. Your options of getting to Champery is via car, transfer or train.
Going via train, you will need to change at which Aigle to get to Champery village.
⇒ If you are flying from any UK airport to Champery, you can instantly save on airport parking before you leave.
Geneva to Champery is roughly around 124 kms. If you are going by car it should take an hour and a half via A1 and A9. Making it super easy to get to for a weekend trip.
Hiring a Car
Alternatively, if you are hiring a car, Geneva airport has plenty of options. Just make sure to check if you booked it on either the French or Swiss side. As the airport is based on both sides and it is easy to do if you don’t know the airport. As well as use it for day trips places like Chambery, Annecy or even Geneva.
⇒ Check out Travel Supermarket for FREE, easy fast comparison on car rental in Chambery.
Tips before heading to Champery Resort
- FREE WIFI is available at the tourism office.
- I always carry a day backpack when skiing, as well as a water bottle. It keeps me hydrated especially with my rare heart condition and pacemaker/ICD.
- Children under the age of 5 can ski for FREE
- Exploring other parts of Switzerland while there? Think about getting a 4 day Swiss Travel Pass.
- There is a little courtesy train that goes from Croix de Culet Cable Car to your desired hotel. Which you can take your skis and snowboard on if you’re too tired to walk.
- The currency used is both Swiss Francs and Euro’s
- Transfer; Book a transfer in advance from Geneva to Champery in winter
Would I recommend skiing in Champery
Skiing in Champery Switzerland is definitely a place I would not hesitate to go back time again. From the moment I arrived until the moment I left, everyone made me feel welcome. The atmosphere is relaxed and I love the fact you can ski in two countries. Not to mention there are plenty of places to eat and things to do.
Getting around the Champery village is easy too, especially with the courtesy train. Which goes from the main gondola to your desired hotel. As I said earlier, Champery Ski Resort is a postcard perfect alpine village with beautifully styled hotels and chalets.
Being only around an hour and a half from Geneva airport and a gateway to the Swiss side of Portes du Soleil, makes it a great ski destination not just for a week skiing but for a weekend too.
Other Ski Resort in Switzerland
Unsure about your next skiing destination? Here are some other great options for other ski resort in Switzerland. Read about the ski area and things that you can do.
- Wengen Switzerland; A Guide to the Lauberhorn Ski Races
- St Moritz Switzerland; Top things to Do and See
- Davos Switzerland; A Guide on Things to Do
⇒ Before heading off on your next ski holiday, make sure you have the right travel insurance.
Staying there before or after your ski holiday. Or maybe simply want to take a break from skiing. Geneva has plenty of activities to do if you are
Thank you for reading my article about skiing in Champery Switzerland. I hope that it helps you decided on where to take your next ski this season.
⇒ Do you require a visa before heading to Switzerland? You can Check for FREE if there are any special requirement restrictions before you go.
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Have you been to Champery Ski Resort skiing or any other of the Portes du Soleil Resorts before? I would love to hear your experiences in the comments below.
Disclaimer: Even though I was invited by the Champery Switzerland Tourism office. All views are my own and based on my own experience.