Châtel is your very best alternative to purpose-built resorts. Situated in between Lake Geneva and Mont Blanc, this traditional French alpine village climbs up the hillside and offers an experience which is still unspoilt by tourism. Châtel is most frequented by French clientele, and aside from school holidays you won’t find big tour operators bringing busloads of British tourists around. Life here goes on as normal in the off-season, and the village isn’t transformed into a ski resort until the snow begins to cover the mountain. Naturally, the village has undergone some expansion and modernisation with the development of ski. However, it certainly still retains its charm, and the narrow streets lined with shops and restaurants are as picture-postcard as ever. The surrounding area is also full of beautiful natural sites, so if you’re keen to spend an afternoon off the slopes, hiking or snowshoeing are great options. These excursions also make Châtel the perfect site for an alpine holiday in summer.
On the sunlit slopes right above the village, you’ll find Châtel’s own pistes. They are very scenic to ski, and one of the lifts to the top even provides fantastic views over Lake Geneva. The resort is separated into two areas, Barbossine-Super Châtel and Linga-Pre la Joux, which are linked by a free bus service. The highest slope peaks at 2200 metres and there are 46 runs in total. Another one of Châtel’s biggest highlights is heliskiing, which is off-trail skiing in natural areas that are hard to reach and therefore accessed by helicopter (this is actually forbidden in France and done on the Swiss side of the resort). But if you prefer to stay on-piste, Châtel has many long tree-lined runs that are suitable for any proficiency level and that stay open until late April.
Châtel is also part of the world famous Portes du Soleil circuit, made up of twelve resorts spread across the French-Swiss border. You can ski Châtel and some of its surrounding areas (including Torgon and Morgins in Switzerland) with a Châtel Liberté Lift Pass, or you can get access to the whole of the Portes du Soleil with a wider area pass and explore its 600 kilometres of slopes. Beginners might be happy staying closer to Châtel while intermediate and expert skiers cover the more challenging parts of the circuit. If you choose the latter, you could find yourself starting out a run in France and ending it in Switzerland. Thanks to the variety of the different areas, you can even enjoy an international ski safari in the gorgeous surroundings.
Keep in mind that Châtel is limited in terms of après-ski. It is not a party resort, but one that caters brilliantly well for families. Special events and activities are held for children year-round, and there is a daycare for those too little to spend all day on the slopes. Instead of spending your evening at the bars, Châtel is the place to discover local French cuisine, take the kids sledging or bowling, or even skiing under the stars as part of the resort is floodlit between 7:30 and 9:30 PM.
Best for: Kids & families
Popular villages: Châtel, Morzine & Morgins
Airport: Geneva Airport (1hr 30min transfer)
Find the ski resorts
We have an ever-expanding portfolio of gorgeous ski chalets in some of the world’s choicest resorts. Most include airport/train station transfer (or it can be arranged at an extra charge where not applicable). Have a browse and see which tickles your fancy. If there’s anything we can do to help in the meantime, get in touch with our concierge team.