- By admin
- 0 Comments
Chatel is a charming Savoyard village and world-class ski resort. It is largely undiscovered by many British skiers, primarily because there are no major tour operators based here. However it is unquestionably a hidden treasure sitting in the heart of one of the largest ski areas in the world.
Here we list five reasons why Chatel is such a great ski resort.
1) Only 90 minute transfer from Geneva
Holiday time is precious and so there is no time wasting it sitting on a bus for three hours in traffic trying to get to your resort. Chatel is perfectly located only 90 minutes from Geneva airport making it one of the shortest transfers in the Alps.
2) Fantastic snow record
Chatel and the Portes du Soleil consistently boast one of the best snow records in the Alps, far better than many of the higher and more famous ski resorts. There are several reasons for this:
• Chatel has its own micro-climate because it sits between Lake Geneva and the Mont Blanc massive. Basically the air picks up water as it travels across the lake, its then forced higher over the mountains, cools, and snows over Chatel and the Portes du Soleil.
• Many of the slopes are north facing meaning they are less sun affected and retain their snow better.
• Chatel has invested heavily in snow cannons so when the Alps is having a poor year there is always great skiing in Chatel.
• The mountains around Chatel are very grassy (which is why the cows like it in the summer) however its great for skiing as well because it requires much less snow cover than rocky resorts such as Meribel or Flaine.
3) Great skiing for all abilities
Chatel sits in the heart of the Portes du Soleil – one of the worlds largest ski areas with over 650km of pistes and 200 lifts.
Resort Ski Area km No. of lifts
Portes du Soleil 650km 200
Trois Valleys 600km 200
Verbier 400km 100
Espace Killy 300km 90
Chamonix 140km 65
Not only is the ski area enormous but there is also great skiing for all abilities. Super Chatel, for example is a fantastic area for beginners with plenty of greens and easy blues, which zigzag between France and Switzerland and give beginners a great chance to move away from bunny slopes at the bottom and start to explore the mountain. The intermediate skiing is endless with twelve different resorts to explore. The circuit is a classic route, which starts and finishes in Chatel and travels through 6 different resorts and takes in some brilliant blues and cruisey reds. For advanced skiers there is an abundance of powder bowls, couloirs, jump parks and mogul fields. For example the Torgon Freeride is a controlled off piste zone ideal for people looking for something a little bit extreme.
4) Value for money
We all know that ski holidays are not cheap; however choosing the right resort can have a huge impact on your wallet. Generally speaking the more well known the resort the more expensive it is, so for example Val d’Isere, Courcheval, Chamonix and Meribel are pretty steep when booking accommodation but also in resort such as ski hire, lunch up the mountain and beers in town. It’s also worth thinking about the exchange rate as the Swiss Franc is very strong at the moment making resorts such as Verbier and Zermatt super expensive.
Chatel is probably about 30% cheaper than its more famous counterparts – without compromising the skiing or holiday experience.
5) Traditional mountain village
Historically Chatel is a farming town producing local cheeses such as Abondance which now has its own AOC rating. However in 1946 the first drag-lift was built from the village up to Lac du Vonne. Since then agriculture and tourism have developed alongside each other to create a charming and unique ski resort. With a picturesque village center with plenty of bars, restaurants and shops, perfectly preserved mountain architecture, independent farms selling local produce, combined with beautiful mountains and world class skiing, Chatel has an atmosphere unlike anywhere else in the Alps.
And what do other people think?…
“We found Chatel to be exactly as recommended to us – a lesser known resort with a nice ‘village’ feel and great snow conditions.”
Grant Knight (skiclub.co.uk)
“What a great little known gem. We have skied for 18 years in many different resorts, but first time in Portes du Soleil and very impressed . Chatel is a small friendly typically French town with fantastic links to the higher, but less pretty Avoriaz and to the uncrowded slopes on the Swiss side.” Janet Gooding (skiclub.co.uk)
I really like Châtel, a small town five minutes from the Swiss border. Although the resort isn’t too big it is connected to the Portes du Soleil ski area, a group of linked resorts spanning the French–Swiss border. I like it because you can stay in a small town with a relaxed atmosphere but still have access to enough runs that you could ski/ride all day and never do the same run twice. There’s everything from nursery slopes to snow parks to half-pipes to death-defying mogul runs and plenty of awesome tree runs in between.
Zoë Gillings, British professional snowboarder (theguardian.com)
“The village has been carefully developed in order to keep all the old charm and character but at the same time offering all the modern amenities of a new ski resort. The soul of vibrant Chatel along with the quality the skiing and its personal charm continue to shape its identity and ever growing reputation.” (onthesnow.co.uk)
NINE & TENNE offers a premium collection of luxury ski chalets in Chatel, so please take a look to find your perfect ski accommodation.