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Located just 80km east of Geneva, on the French side of the Swiss border in the vast Portes du Soleil ski area which links Châtel with Morzine, Avoriaz, Les Gets and several smaller Swiss resorts, Châtel is a wonderfully scenic village that enjoys some of the best skiing and views in the whole area.
With its extensive wooded slopes, and pretty farming village, Châtel adds some much-needed variety to the Portes du Soleil area, which is awash with big concrete hotels and apartment blocks - a stark contrast to this Savoyard village which has little other than chalet-style hotels and accommodation.
The town of Chatel is relatively long for its size, but operates a free ski bus to ferry skiers from one end to the other, as well as out to the somewhat isolated ski-areas. This isn’t an issue, though, as the buses run often and the rides are short. What it does do, though, is keep some of the outlying ski areas, like Pre la Joux and La Combe, quiet for those willing to make the trips.
Though the town is fairly isolated by road, you can ski over to both Avoriaz and Morgins through the mountains, when taking a bus or car would take much longer. This further adds to Chatel’s appeal. Especially for those looking to get the most out of the Portes du Soleil pass. A lot of farms still operate in and around Chatel, so many of the small, family-run chalet-style hotels (which offer great value for money) use a lot of local produce. Combine that with the wonderfully quaint Chatel radio station that gives weather updates and local news, and Chatel feels a world away from the big modern resorts just over the next ridge.
Though that doesn’t mean it sacrifices any infrastructure. You’ll find a lot of fast and efficient lifts here, as well as perfectly groomed runs, plenty of learning facilities, and lots of snowparks.
Chatel highlights: Lots of dedicated beginner areas packed with long and gentle greens mean that Chatel is the ideal place to learn to ski, and a lively town that welcomes families and larger groups to its smaller hotels provides a warm and enjoyable atmosphere. North of the village the slopes above Torgon offer spectacular views over Lake Geneva. The Linga and Plaine Dranse sectors are home to some of the very best intermediate pistes on in the whole Portes du Soleil.
Chatel is best for: Families and mixed groups who are looking for a quaint skiing getaway at chalet-style hotel, but need access to a big, varied ski area.
You’ll find Chatel’s highest lift in the Pre la Joux area, under the Cornebois peak. The TS De Cornebois will take you up to 2,200m and give you access to both red and blue runs. And this is the story throughout the Chatel area. Lifts that go to around 2,000 metres and service a variety of runs suited to all abilities.
Those looking to learn to ski will love the 5 ski areas — 4 of which are piste linked if you’re willing to make the traverses — as they provide a wide array of terrain suitable to all. Starting at the La Combe area, you’ll find just a handful of runs, but fall in love with this bowl all the same. The top lift reaches just 1,630m and gives access to some easy-going blues, as well as to some long greens perfect for learning the ropes. There’s also a boardercross track here to get acquainted with freestyle. This area is reachable by bus, and isn’t lift-linked to the others.
Moving around the valley, the next area, below the Mont Linleu peak, offers up more greens and blues, another boardercross park, as well as a fun park, and lift access over to Tete du Tronchet. From here there is a little more challenge and those capable can sail down to Chatel on reds and blacks. Though this isn’t inaccessible for those with less skill, as the pistes that connect to the lifts are manageable if you stay high up.
Over the top of Chatel itself is where you’ll find a mixture of blues and reds, and even a few greens. There’s a beginners area here above the town, and plenty of dining options, as well as another snowpark. To get across to Villapeyron, you can head down and traverse across, or grab a bus just a little up the road. For those looking to get into Morgins, you’ll need to make the trip up on the TK de Chalet Neuf chair from the Morclan peak and head down behind the Pointe du Midi.
Once in Villapeyron, you’ll have access to more reds and blues that link up to the Pre la Joux area, which has the best and longest green runs, as well as a large nursery area at the bottom of the slope. Keep heading over to join up with Avoriaz.
Chatel for First-time and beginner skiers: La Combe is a great place to learn, though the beginners areas at Pre la Joux and Super-Châtel are also great. Luckily, anywhere you go in Chatel you’ll find blues suitable for beginners. So don’t worry about taking the wrong lifts.
Chatel for Intermediate skiers: Intermediates will have fun exploring the easy-going bowls, trying out some of the off-piste, and getting acquainted with freestyle in one of the many parks. Lots of blues and greens snake over the mountains, intersected with manageable reds if you’re feeling like it.
Chatel for Expert skiers: Expert skiers in need of blacks and steep off-piste will be left a little wanting as most of the terrain is fairly gentle. Saying that, down from the Morclan piste there’s a great black run. Over at the Avoriaz connection, you’ll find another. Though they’re fairly short and drop into reds most of the time, so it may take some exploring to find what you’re after.
Enjoy peace of mind by booking your ski and snowboard lessons through SkiBro with our best-price guarantee; free and easy cancellation; a huge choice of fully-certified ski schools and instructors; online booking system and fantastic customer support team. Whether you're after children's group ski lessons, teen group ski lessons, adult group ski lessons, beginner ski lessons, off-piste clinics, group snowboard lessons, private ski lessons or anything in between - SkiBro has the perfect ski instructor or group ski lesson for you in Chatel!
From a three-year-old’s the first steps on snow in the children’s snow garden to teenagers confidently crushing black runs and getting in to the snowpark you’ll find ski lessons for children of all ages and ability in Chatel (which can come in handy when you suddenly realise your kids have become better skiers than you!). We’re probably (more than) a bit biased but at SkiBro we think that properly laying the foundation for a lifetime on the slopes - free of bad habits - is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give their children. SkiBro’s partner ski schools and instructors are all fully certified and have years of experience providing kids’ ski lessons that focus not only on technical instruction but also fun and safety. Children’s ski lessons tend to book up very quickly during peak school holiday periods like half-term and christmas break, so make sure to book early during these times to avoid disappointment.
Did you know that nearly a third of all group ski lessons are beginner adult group lessons? It sounds surprising but group ski lessons are a great way to learn to ski; surrounded by other people of a similar age and ability level who are also trying something new. Group lessons are also great for progressing from a beginner skier to a more independent intermediate. With quality coaching for a few hours each day you can spend your mornings working on your technique before grabbing a bite to eat and explore everything the mountain has to offer with your friends and family in the afternoons.
Private instruction is just that – a ski instructor solely devoted to you (and any friends or family you choose to invite) for a given period of time. These lessons are offered both by formal ski and snowboard schools as well as by freelance instructors – certified independent instructors working for themselves or in loose collectives. A private ski instructor in Chatel can offer you a level of flexibility and individual attention beyond what group lessons can. For some people one short, intensive, session with a private instructor will teach them more than they’d get from a full week of group lessons. For many people, however, the inverse would be true and the repetition and additional practice in group lessons is invaluable.
Considered by those who get into it as skiing in its purest (and most fun!) form, freeride (also known as off piste or backcountry) skiing is the pursuit of skiing all over the mountain, unrestricted by the edge of the piste in a variety of snow conditions. A good day’s freeride skiing might involve long descents down wide open mountain faces, steep couloirs and adventures through the trees, far away from the crowded pistes. In addition to private ski instructors and mountain guides you can sometimes find camps and courses designed to give upper-intermediate skiers their first taste of off-piste delights in Chatel. Be careful though, the white powder can be quite addictive.
From ‘never-evers’ to semi-pros you’ll find a snowboard lesson in Chatel designed to take you riding to the next level. If you’re thinking small, think big. And if you’re thinking big- think bigger! If you’re new to a resort or even if you’re returning to an old favourite, a top snowboard instructor or group snowboard lessons will help you unlock local secrets of the area that you’ll wish you knew about years ago! Flatland tricks, jibbing, carving trenches, slaying powder – stop being a slave to your snowboard and learn to master it!