Chatel is an attractive and friendly, more traditional resort village, with an authentic Savoyard ambiance and bags of charm; it’s best suited to families and couples, and has a good range of facilities and amenities to match the needs and expectations of almost everyone. The heart of the village is focused around a buttressed stone-built church and a bustling central commercial area that stretches along the through-road. There’s a good range of shops, street-side cafes, bars and restaurants; other attractions include two cinemas and a tenpin bowling alley, ice-skating and curling rinks, plus a number of small spas and beauty salons. Apres ski is generally low-key, however there are a couple of bars in the village centre that get pretty lively just after the lifts close; the bar in the Dutch-run Hotel Lion d’Or near the church comes the closest to having a real apres-ski party atmosphere.
Later on in the evenings most visitors are content to linger over dinner in one of the many good restaurants in the village, perhaps followed by a couple of drinks in one of the handful of animated bars that occasionally feature live music and/or DJs; the Tunnel Bar and Le Avalanche are the two long-established favourites; there’s also Sloopys, the resort’s one small nightclub that during high season sometimes doesn’t close until 6am! If you need more action then Morzine would be a better choice.
Chatel is one of 12 linked ski resorts that together form the immense Portes du Soleil ski area that straddles the border between France and Switzerland, in the French Alps close to Lake Geneva, just a snowball’s throw from the Swiss border and close to the linked Swiss resort village of Morgins. The proximity of such a large expanse of relatively warmer water, combined with the cooler cloud-forming high- altitude slopes of the adjacent Alps, blesses this region with a fairly good snowfall record, despite the fact that many of the resorts are based at relatively modest altitudes.
The local Chatel ski area is split into two separate sectors: Super-Chatel/Barbossine and Linga/Pre-la-Joux, the former accessed by gondola directly from the centre of the village. The local area lift pass covers both these sectors plus the linked slopes of the Swiss resorts of Torgon and Morgins (Corbeau sector only) and the Braitaz sector at La Chapelle d’Abondance, together totalling a respectable 130 km of pistes. These and all other sectors/resorts in the Portes du Soleil are also covered by the full area lift pass, boosting the total extent of pistes to 650 km.
Super-Chatel is focused around a mid-altitude area which offers wide beginners’ slopes, above which lie a good range of attractively wooded slopes perfect for progressing novices, together with a snow park and boarder-cross course. The slopes on the Barbossine side of the area are much tougher, as are those just over the border at the nearby linked Swiss sector at Torgon. There’s only one permanent home-run piste to Chatel, a red run from Super-Chatel down to the gondola terminal, but with various escape-sections cut into the slope, most competent novices can manage it in normal conditions.
Adventurous intermediates can strike out from Super-Chatel towards the other Swiss resorts in the Portes du Soleil via easy links to Morgins, but the most straightforward way of linking into the main area is to take the bus to Pre-la-Joux, where chairlifts link via Plaine Dranse and Les Lindarets into the ski area at Avoriaz. The Linga/Pre-la-Joux sector itself is great for intermediates and advanced skiers/riders, offering some terrific long reds and testing mogul fields on north-facing slopes sheltered by forest, but none of the runs in this sector extend to Chatel village.
Accommodation choices are wide and varied from self-catered chalets and apartments, to catered chalets and hotels. Some good value options can be found close to the centre, ski school and lifts as well as some luxury choices and we are more than happy to find your ideal accommodation, some of which carry a good discount on your Portes du Soleil ski pass.