Chatel France is a traditional village that transforms into a modern-day alpine ski resort in winter. It is one of only a handful of French ski resorts that has remained completely unspoiled with its beautiful styled chalet buildings and charm. This is due to Chatel being carefully developed so as not to lose its authenticity, while at the same time keeping up with the demands of offering a state-of-the-art ski resort.
The resort itself is quite big and offers 73 ski runs with a total length of 83kms serviced by 61 lifts. It is a cross-border resort that also forms part of the Portes Du Soleil ski area. It makes up one of the 12 interlinked ski resorts across France and Switzerland. Giving you access to over 600kms of ski runs with around two hundred ski lifts.
Table of Contents
- Winter in Chatel France
- Activities in Chatel
- Chatel Ski area
- Quick numbers of the Chatel Ski Area
- Chatel Ski Pass
- Skiing from Chatel to Avoriaz for a day
- Skiing from Chatel to Morgins
- Chatel Ski School and Guide’s
- Fantasticable Zip line in winter
- Aquatic centre Forme d’O
- Rock the Pistes Music Ski Festival
- Winter accommodation in Chatel France
- Restaurants in Chalet
- Le Vieux Four
- Le Fiacre
- La ferme des pistes
- Best way to get to Chátel France in winter
- Tips and information for Chatel Ski Resort
- Read more on the other ski resorts in Les Portes du Soleil
The cross-border resort was my last stop on the French side of the Portes du Soleil, while on my skis safari before heading to Champery Switzerland. Although I have been to Chatel ski village a few times before in winter, I always get excited about returning and skiing.
The ski area still feels untouched and there is just a real authentic feel about the resort. I liked it even more when the TS Portes Du Soleil and TS Gabelou chairlifts opened connecting the whole of Chatel ski area.
Here is what you need to know about skiing and other activities in Chatel Ski village France during winter.
Winter in Chatel France
Chatel is a working village located in the Haute Savoie region in south-eastern France bordering Switzerland. The village lies at an altitude of 1200m with the ski lifts taking you up to around 2200 metres. During the winter season, the Chatel France ski area gets an average of 616cms of snow. It is also a fantastic resort for families and holds the French government’s highest ‘Family Plus’ certification for its family-friendliness.
Being a cross-border Ski resort Chatel has easy direct links to the Swiss resorts of Torgon and Morgins as well as Avoriaz in France. It is also linked to the rest of the Portes Du Soleil via the other ski resorts. In summer, you can also get around these resorts by hiking and biking. The closest train station to Chatel is at Monthey and the closest international airport is Geneva.
⇒ Make sure that you obtain insurance and that it covers winter activities like skiing. Compare the best holiday insurance for FREE
Activities in Chatel
There is a multitude of winter activities that you can do in Chatel and across the French Alps too. For the adventurous type, you have zip lining, Helicopter flights, or even ski paragliding. Families can enjoy ice-skating, sledding or participate in one of the activities created for children in the winter season. You can even hop on the little train and take a tour of Chatel village and around the Abondance valley.
Don’t forget you also have access to the other resort’s winter activities in Portes du Soleil, like taking a horse-drawn carriage through the villages.
Chatel Ski area
Skiing is separated into two different areas, Super-Châtel / Barbossine and Linga / Pre la Joux / Plain Dranse. These are linked together by high-tech Portes du Soleil and Gabelou chairlifts that opened in 2015. Being part of the Portes du Soleil, Châtel also has direct links to Avoriaz, Morgins and Torgon and La Chapelle d’Abondance ski areas. Skiing over to Les Gets and Morzine ski resort is possible but it is a bit of a long hike.
Chatel has 73 ski runs with a total length of 83kms that offers skiers an incredible 1000 meters (3280 feet) of vertical descent. For snowboarders, there is a snowpark known as the smoothpark located in Super-Chatel. If cross country skiing is your thing there are 49 km’s (31 miles) of ski trails. You can download the interactive winter map here for Chatel France.
Super-Châtel / Barbossine
The Super-Châtel Barbossine area is ideal for beginners with lots of green and blue slopes like the 16 Chanterelle. The best way to get up to the skiing area is via the Super-Châtel gondola located in centre of the village. For intermediate and advanced skiers you have red and black slopes like 2 L’Ecureuil or the 4 Barbossine, which you easily get to via Petit Chatel chairlift.
Linga / Pré la Joux / Plaine Dranse
The Linga / Pré la Joux / Plaine Dranse area is great for intermediate and advanced skiers with some superb terrain like the black slope 33 Les Renards. Which makes your legs burn, especially in the afternoon with the moguls. This is also a great area for off piste skiing when it snows heavily These slopes are accessible either by the Linga gondola or by the Pré la Joux and Pierre Longue chairlifts at Pre la Joux.
For beginners, you have a carpet, two ski lifts, and the Pierre Longue chairlift which services green slopes. There is a long green slope that is great for families to do together 39 La Belette. I like doing the La Belette when I am tired and skiing back only to Pré la Joux.
Winter wonderland in Pré la Joux ski area after a snowfall in Chatel France
Quick numbers of the Chatel Ski Area
- Chatel has two separate ski areas; Super-Châtel/Barbossine and Linga/Pré-La-Joux / Plaine Dranse
- 61 Ski lifts & 45 ski runs ( 9 Green / 15 Blue / 15 Red / 6 Black )
- Speed slope cordoned off secured with nets, which has a timing device and electronic speed display
- 1 Snowpark located in Super-Châtel/Barbossine
- Night skiing on the Linga slope every Thursday from 7.30 pm-9.30 pm
- 3 safe sledding runs areas for families to enjoy
- DVA Park is a dedicated area for learning how to use an avalanche transceiver located near the La Chanterelle run.
Please remember to wear your ski helmet when you are on the slopes.
Chatel Ski Pass
Chátel France has two options in regards to ski passes and what area they cover during winter skiing; the Châtel Liberté and the Portes du Soleil. The Châtel Liberté ski pass covers Châtel, La Chapelle d’Abondance in France and the Torgon and the Corbeau sector of the Morgins ski resort in Switzerland. The Portes du Soleil ski pass will cover all the 12 resorts giving you access to 600km of skiing with 209 lifts.
Chatel ski passes offer a range of prices and types, depending on where you want to ski and for how long. You can get individual or family ski passes which you can either purchase in the resort or online. However, if you buy a ski pass online you will automatically get a discount and save money.
Additional information about ski passes
- Children under the age of 5 can ski for FREE
- You can buy your pass online and pick it up from the ski office or they can send it out to you.
- You can also recharge your lift pass online
Skiing from Chatel to Avoriaz for a day
Skiing from Chatel to Avoriaz is possible but you will need to have a Portes du Soleil ski pass to use the chairlifts. In fact, one of my favourite things to do when I am in Chatel is to ski over to Avoriaz. We usually ski over for the day, have lunch and make our way back stopping at Les Lindarets or the “Goat Village” for a drink.
It is directly linked from the top of Rochassons chairlift then via either the Chaux Fleuri red slope or the Grand Plan blue slope. Then you can catch the Prolays or Les Lindarets chairlift up which will take you into the centre of Avoriaz ski resort.
On your way back, you can take the Le Chesery blue slope then change onto the La Belette green slope back to Pre Ia Joux. If you want you can also ski all the way back to the centre of Chatel ski resort. One of the best slopes back from Avoriaz is the red 34 Les Rennesles where you can take in the views.
Wear the right ski gloves for skiing, as well as the other outdoor winter activities. I wear Leki women’s ski gloves they are a little pricey but fantastic for keeping the cold out.
Skiing from Chatel to Morgins
One of the draw cards for Chatel France is that you can ski in Switzerland without any hassle. Skiing from Chatel to Morgins is easy as it is directly linked to the resort using both use blue and red slopes. To get to Morgins you go via the Chalet Neuf draglift which is reachable by taking a few lifts up in the Super-Châtel/Barbossine.
If you want to ski in Morgins but you are not confident about skiing over, then that is not a problem. As the Swiss ski resort is only 5 mins drive from Chatel and you can go via D22 pass through Vonnes. There is also a shuttle bus that goes between the resorts that run a couple of times a day from the centere of Chatel village.
If you intend to go over the border to Switzerland, please take your passport or ID. Also, the Restaurants on the Swiss side do accept Euros.
Chatel Ski School and Guide’s
Whether you are an experienced skier or beginner, getting a ski instructor or going to ski school can be well worth it. Advanced skiers can be shown the best the resort has to offer and hidden gems in Portes Du Soleil. Beginners and intermediates can learn techniques, polish up their skills and build confidence.
There is a good selection of ski schools, guides, and instructors in the resort of Chatel France during winter. ESF is the largest and then there are a few independent ones like BASE Chatel which is a British alpine ski school. Both of these ski schools also offer lessons in Les Gets and Morzine as well.
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. I skied with Paul who was an instructor and guide with the ESF, the largest ski school and guides in France. We had a great day skiing all over Chatel and even showed me some areas that I had not skied before.
If you want to build your confidence before your ski holiday to Chatel France, then I suggest going to the Snow Centre.
Fantasticable Zip line in winter
Fantasticable zip line is an adventure activity that you can do in Chatel during winter that will get your heart racing. Strapped into a harness in a laying position you fly like a bird over Paine-Dranse Portes village in the French Alps. The zip line is 1,200 m long and you can get up to speeds of 80 to 100km per hour. The best bit is that you can do it solo or in a duo with a friend.
You can get to the Fantasticable via the Pierre-Longue and Rochassons chairlifts in Pre-Ia Joux. Your skis and snowboard gear will follow you on the zip wire in a transportation carrier. So once you have finished, you just clip back into your gear and keep on skiing in Chatel. Don’t forget to turn on your GoPro for all those action shots while flying high above the French Alps. Val Thorens ski resort also has a zip line if you looking for winter activities in France.
My husband completed the Fantastical zip line during the summer season in Chatel and loved it. In summer there are two zip lines for double the adventure and the additional line is higher. If you have a Multi-pass or a Portes du Soleil MTB pass you will receive a discount.
Information for this activity during winter
- Opening hours: Daily from 12 noon – 4 pm
- face mask mandatory from 6 yrs old
- Digital Covid-certificate is mandatory for anyone aged 12 yrs and over
Aquatic centre Forme d’O
Forme d’O aquatic centre is a great place to unwind, relax or just enjoy a swim in either the outdoor or indoor heated pool. Forme d’O is located in the village of Chatel and is super easy to get to by shuttle bus. The best bit is that it has outstanding views of the snowy mountains in the distance from the pool. A lot of families go here for a half day activity after their children’s ski school.
There is an inside with waterfalls and bubbles bed seats and outside heated pool, as well as saunas and steam baths. The centre also offers a variety of treatments from facials, body treatments in individual or double cubicles. In the pool, you can do water activities from swimming classes, baby swimmer, aqua fitness, and aqua biking.
During the summer season in Chátel, Forme d’O aquatic centres indoor and outdoor pool is included in Multipass. Then there is a 50% discount on the Oceane entrance and 15 % on face care. Champéry on the Swiss side also offers an indoor and outdoor pool in summer.
Please note that a Digital Covid certificate is mandatory.
Aquatic centre winter information
- Address: l’Etringa, 188 Chem. de l’Etringa, 74390 Châtel
- Opening hours: Daily from 12 noon – 8 pm
- Children under 3 yrs old are free
- Under 16yrs olds are not allowed in the sauna and hammans due to French regulations.
Rock the Pistes Music Ski Festival
Rock the Pistes is a high altitude annual music ski music festival held in both France and Switzerland. This event is organised by the ski resorts within the Portes Du Soleil. The festival runs for a duration of a week usually in mid March, during spring skiing. Each resort hosts a series of both indoor and outdoor events, with the drawcard being 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 and are included in your ski pass. I attended Rock the Pistes for a few days and the atmosphere was electric and fun. There is no doubt in my mind that this is one of the best ski music festivals in Europe. You can read my full review and check out how you can attend this unique festival.
Rock the Pistes in Chatel
Chatel’s Rock the Pistes concert stage is located at Paine-Dranse Portes village on the French side. Access to this event area is via the Pierre Longue chairlifts at Pre la Joux. If you are not skiing around from Chatel village then can simply take the free ski bus from the centre. You can check this season’s lineup here for Chatel on the official website.
Information about the snow festival
- Check availability and prices for accommodation here for the whole of the Portes Du Soleil ski resorts.
- Lifts will stay open an extra half an hour during the week of the music festival.
- Remember to take your sun screen and sunglasses with you for protection.
- Ski racks are provided at each concert venue
- Skis and snowboards must be removed before entering the concert areas.
Winter accommodation in Chatel France
There is a great selection of accommodation if you want to go skiing during winter in Chatel France. Accommodation is spread out across the village areas with most of the main hotels and places to stay in the centre of Chatel. Other popular areas are Villapreyron which has the TC DU Linga chairlift and Petit Chatel accessed by TS DU Petit Chatel chairlift.
Don’t be discouraged about staying further out of town or up the mountain, as there are regular bus services that cover a wider area of Chatel. The shuttles are FREE and stop at some of the hotels or if not, quite near them with the main depart near the Super Chatel Gondola.
Here is a good selection of accommodation in Chatel that you can stay in while skiing.
Logis Hotel Les Triolets
Located in between the Super–Chatel gondola and Petit Chatel lift is the charming Logis Hôtel les Triolets. It is only a 10minute walk up the hill from the centre of Chatel and has some beautiful views across the village. The best bit is that it can be easily reached by the FREE ski bus that stops outside the hotel if you don’t want to walk with your ski equipment.
This family-run hotel has 20 rooms with balconies, an indoor heated pool, a restaurant, and south terraces. The owners were super nice and were able to help me with anything I needed. I had a comfy room with a small balcony that overlooked chalets on the mountain behind the hotel. My stay was based on half board and my meals were in the restaurant overlooking the village.
Please note that currently this hotel is closed, but you can email them to see when they will open back up.
Le Tremplin Hotel
Le Tremplin Hotel is located on the main road of Chatel and about 320 meters away from the L’Oy Ski Lift and only a 5 – 10 minute walk from centre of the village. You can access the ski lifts and town easily by both private and public ski bus that stops at the hotel. It is also near the ski school making it an ideal hotel to stay with family.
The hotel is cosy with traditional alpine style décor that feels warm and relaxing as soon as you step inside. Le Tremplin offers a sauna, hot tub, fitness centre, as well as a bar/lounge area, and a restaurant. A complimentary buffet breakfast is served every day and dinner if you do half board.
My room was a good size with a comfortable double bed and all your mod cons like flat screen TV. I also had a great little balcony that has some beautiful views over Chatel village and was great to relax on in the afternoon. While I stayed here during the summer season it is also open in winter.
Central Hostel Chatel
Central Hostel Chatel is a good option if you are on a budget and looking for basic accommodation in a great location. It is situated on top of a bar and only 5 mins to the TS DE Super Châtel Ski Lift and main bus station. The hostel features a sun terrace, a shared kitchen, and a TV lounge with a common area.
There is also free WIFI throughout the property, free luggage storage, and a ski equipment storage area. If you stay here during the summer season a secure bike storage facility is available. Central Hostel Chatel is rated as one of the best value for money accommodations in Portes Du Soleil.
Restaurants in Chalet
It is not a trip to the Chatel without sampling some of the local food, like Abondance cheese with a glass of wine. There are some great options in regards to where to eat with most of the restaurants serving traditional French specialties. However, some also do international cuisine as well.
Below are a few suggestions on where to eat in Chatel on and off the mountain that I have been.
Le Vieux Four
Le Vieux Four is a cosy, rustic family-run restaurant and is ranked No3 on TripAdvisor for food in Chatel. If you love traditional French food and cheese specialties like Raclette and Tartiflette then add this place to your list. The Fromage abundance of cheese melted for the main meal took me to like cheese heaven.
The restaurant is located in the centre of town and only a 2 minute walk away from the Super Chatel gondola. It is super easy to walk to and the ski bus stops near there. The food was a bit pricy and the service was pretty good too. Due to where it is in the Chatel village, it is open late for dinner.
If you are looking for a restaurant in the village that will cater to everyone, then I suggest Le Fiacre. Apart from your traditional French specialties, they also have a good selection of Vegetarian meals, steaks, pizza, and wine. The Chalet styled restaurant is quite big and has 3 areas to sit hungry guests.
Le Fiacre is located in the centre of the village near the Boulangerie-Patisserie Grillet bakery and tourist office. I have always liked having pizza here with a glass of local wine. This restaurant offers good comfort food that is great after a hard day enjoying your winter sports.
La ferme des pistes
La ferme des pistes is a great spot for lunch or for a drink when skiing in French Alps. It is located near the top of the TC du linga gondola in the Linga area directly on the mountain slopes. La ferme des pistes serve French specialties that are simple but very tasty, especially the cheese dishes.
It is really cosy and charming inside, so best to book if you want to go here for lunch. There is also an outdoor area with views down the valley. I have been here a few times for both the lunch and the après ski. I think it is a good spot to stop if you are spring skiing in Chatel Franch.
Best way to get to Chátel France in winter
Geneva international is the airport to fly into to get to Chatel France during winter and from there it’s 75 km to the ski resort. Car hire or transfer from Geneva Airport to Chatel is the best option, as there is no train station in the resort. If you want to go by public transport you have to catch a train to Aigle from the airport then change onto a bus to Chatel.
Flights to Geneva for Chatel
Direct flights from the UK to Geneva take around 1 hour and 40mins, depending on the city. Swiss Air and BA have a good selection of frequent flights during winter, so does Easyjet if you are on a budget. If you want to look at other airlines to Geneva, Travelsupermarket offers an easy and fast comparison on flights from the UK.
Chambery France also offers flights during the winter season for skiing, which you can use to get to Chatel. However, it is a smaller airport and most of the airlines that fly there are chartered.
⇒ Instantly save money on airport parking before you fly from any UK airport.
Car hire from Geneva
You can hire a car on either the French or Swiss Side at Geneva international airport. So double check when you are doing your booking, which country you book it in. As it can get a little confusing when you get out of the departure lounge in Switzerland and you book your car in France. We always use a car comparison website to check the different car hire companies and rates. Once we have decided then we look at the extra’s like the Sat Nav or ski chains if required.
Remember though to make sure you have snow tires or chains during the winter ski season in France.
Driving from Geneva to Chátel France in winter
If you decided to hire a car from Geneva airport, it will roughly take you an hour and a half to drive to the ski resort. However, during winter it can be longer as the roads can become icy especially as you go up the mountains in France to Chatel and off the highway. It is now mandatory in France that you have either snow tires or chains during the winter ski season.
Transfers from Geneva to Chatel
Private or shared transfers from Geneva airport to Chatel ski resort are your best option overall if you don’t drive. There is a large selection available, as they also serve the other resorts in the Portes du Soleil. I have taken a shared transfer from Geneva a few times and it has always been easy and convenient.
Shared transfers are all located next to each other on your left-hand side when you exit the luggage collection.
Tips and information for Chatel Ski Resort
- The Tourism office offers FREE access to the WIFI and most parts of the Chatel ski area.
- There are 4 main car parks in Chátel located at the chairlifts and gondolas.
- Use the free shuttle bus to get around Chatel village and main ski areas
- Read our guide on what to do in summer in Chátel France
- Download the free Portes du Soleil mobile phone app for either Android or iOS.
- Boulangerie-Patisserie Grillet is my go to bakery for fresh baguettes and coffee.
Read more on the other ski resorts in Les Portes du Soleil
Want to discover the other ski resorts that make up Les Portes du Soleil during winter with these great guides. You will find lots of amazing things to do in both France and Switzerland, as well as where to go skiing.
- Les Gets France – More to offer than a Ski Resort
- Champéry Switzerland – The Ultimate Skiing Guide
- Morzine France – One of my top resorts in France
Thank you for reading this article about skiing in Chatel France and what else you can do during winter. I hope I helped with any information you needed and answered any questions, you may have had. Remember if you looking for other things to do in the area head to my Portes Du Soleil page.
Have you been to Chatel France before or over to it from the other ski resorts? I would love to hear about your experiences skiing or what else you got up to while there.
If you liked this ski article, please, share!
⇒ Looking to discover other ski resorts in Europe, then feel free to head to my Adventure Page
Disclaimer: Even though I was invited by the Chatel Tourism office. All views are my own and based on my own experience.