Gondola lift and ski area and valley at Chatel.


Les Portes du Soleil

Châtel lies at a confluence of a group of valleys close to the Swiss border and in the heart of the vast Franco-Swiss Portes du Soleil ski area.

Its proximity to the international airport at Geneva and TGV rail stations at Thonon or Aigle (Switzerland) – each with high-speed services from Paris, London and Switzerland – has made this once-remote border village into one of the most desirable destinations for skiers searching for a traditional Alpine experience coupled with challenging skiing.

The Ski Area

  • Châtel is part of the vast Portes du Soleil ski area.
  • Families and beginners love Châtel's own pistes on sunny slopes above the town.

With access to 600 km of slopes, spread across 12 villages in France and Switzerland, the vast Portes du Soleil area offers near-limitless skiing. Châtel’s own pistes lie on the sunny slopes above the village and most are favoured by families and debutants. There’s a lot to be said for skiing here, the Petit Châtel area in particular giving rapid access to the Swiss sector. You’ll also enjoy spectacular scenery, pristine pistes and an infectious, relaxed vibe. The Espace Liberté skipass gives access to the two connected areas of Châtel - Super-Châtel/Barbossine and Linga/Pré-la-Joux, the Corbeau sector of the Swiss resort of Morgins, Torgon (also Swiss) and the nearby French resort of La Chapelle d’Abondance. That’s a total of 130km of pistes and 61 ski-lifts – pretty good value, we’d say.

To access the full Portes du Soleil circuit you can now take the Gabelou 6-seater chairlift for a blue-graded run down to the Linga chair or take the shuttle-bus to Pré la Joux (limited car parking). There’s some satisfying wooded terrain in both areas – great for less confident skiers or for times when visibility higher up is compromised. It’s also just a short hop over to Plaine Dranse and (just a little further on) Les Lindarets – meeting-points for several lifts, so often crowded with skiers moving between Châtel, Avoriaz and across the Swiss border to Les Crosets.

Plaine Dranse and Les Lindarets are also popular lunchtime spots, as they have a choice of lively restaurants and bars. From there it’s an easy lift haul into Avoriaz and onward to Morzine and Les Gets. Alternatively, explore the Swiss side, which offers challenging runs into Champéry or some great intermediate cruising over to Les Crosets, Champoussin and Morgins. You can cover extraordinary distances like this. If that doesn’t appeal, explore the wide choice of runs above Châtel, which often have some of the best snow conditions, thanks to their aspect and tree cover. Finally, a shuttle-bus will drop you at nearby La Chapelle d’Abondance, which has further intermediate skiing, a snowpark and a charm all of its own.

Resort Information

Altitude : 1100m - 2200m
Pistes Total:
83 km
Chatel pistes
9 Green
16 Blue
15 Red
6 Black
Ski Resort Lifts : 42
3 Magic Carpets
24 Draglifts
13 Chairlifts
2 Gondolas
Portes du Soleil
Pistes Total:
600 km
Portes du Soleil pistes
34 Green
119 Blue
101 Red
32 Black
Ski Domain Lifts: 197
4 Magic Carpets
102 Draglifts
78 Chairlifts
9 Gondolas
4 Cable Cars

Green Credentials...

  • Awarded the Flocon Vert label for the actions taken to maintain a viable, local agricultural economy and sustainable tourism.
  • Annual rubbish collection on the mountain involving locals and tourists.
  • Park + Ride scheme for large events such as the Rock the Pistes Festival to reduce car journeys to the village.
  • Environmental education for local schoolchildren promoting awareness and practical actions everyone can undertake.
  • The village farmers work together with tourist businesses and other local stakeholders to preserve the mountain pastures and their biodiversity. The AOP Abondance, and the products produced under the label, is enormously important for the village and a major part of its natural heritage.
  • Free shuttle bus service and a lift-link between Super Châtel and Linga/Prés la Joux removes a significant number of short car journeys around the village.


Overview of Chatel village and valley from ski lift

The Ski Village

  • A year-round, working Alpine village with a traditional centre.
  • The weekly market attracts locals and visitors alike.

Despite steady expansion, in many ways Châtel remains a classic Alpine village. It lies at the head of a valley, is dominated by a sturdy stone église and has picture-postcard shops and restaurants lining narrow streets. Traditional-style chalets cling to south-facing slopes surrounding the village centre, while more recent developments which have begun to spread over the lower valley slopes have brought quality apartment-style accommodation to an area formerly served mainly by small hotels and individual chalets. Savoyard developer MGM Constructeur is about to complete the final phase of Les Chalets d’Angèle, with a new development planned at Petit Châtel.

As accommodation develops the shuttle bus service is becoming ever more important, and regular and frequent circuits between the village and ski lifts make Châtel an easy place from which to ski, while you leave your car safely tucked away in underground parking. The bus also serves nearby traditional, valley-floor villages of Abondance and La Chapelle d’Abondance, each with its own small ski area and offering various other winter activities including dog-sledding and cross-country skiing.

Staying There

Value for Money Accommodation Dining Out Nightlife Village Charm


Group of skiers gathered beside pistes with mountains and forests in background at Chatel.

Why go skiing in Châtel ?

As a Famille Plus Montagne resort, Châtel provides activities and services for all ages and for skiers with a disability. Mixed-ability groups will find variety on the local slopes, while mile-hungry intermediate skiers can really cover some distance exploring the Portes du Soleil area, both in France and across the nearby border with Switzerland.

Châtel will also suit those who value a traditional Alpine village feel, and independent travellers now have a wealth of quality accommodation options including hotels, apartments and chalets.


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Alpinresorts.com Ski rental

Skiing There

Beginners / Families Intermediates Advanced / Expert Mountain Scenery


Freestyle fun suitable for all levels throughout the vast Portes du Soleil.
10 Snowparks
4 Snowboarder Cross
2 Half-Pipe

Cross-Country Skiing

Val d'Abondance Nordic ski area by the River Dranse
40km Cross-Country and Nordic Ski Trails


  • Comprehensive guide for skiers with reduced mobility (French only) incl. parking, lift access, WC and tarif info.
  • Discount 20% + companion goes free with Châtel or Portes du Soleil ski pass (conditions apply).
  • Central reservation service for help with organising your accommodation.
  • Specialist instruction and loan of equipment by ESF www.esf-chatel.com

icon-smileyYes please...

  • Good snow record, despite the relatively low altitude.
  • Snowmaking on more exposed runs, and generally well-prepared pistes.
  • Huge ski area, combined with friendly village atmosphere.
  • There's more fine terrain just across the nearby Swiss border.
  • Environment friendly resort.
  • Short transfer from Geneva airport.

icon-frowneyYes but...

  • Portes du Soleil not the highest-altitude ski area - but in a good season it's one of the best.

icon-winkingOur Tips

  • Aim to ski any South-facing slopes early, while snow quality holds.
  • Download the free Portes du Soleil mobile phone app - available for iOS or Android.
  • Visit Châtel in summer too. See our Summer Resort Review.


Practical Information

Tried and testedRésidence CGH Les Chalets d'Angèle

1003 Route de la Bechigne
74390 Châtel

Chalets d'Angele, Chatel, Portes du Soleil, French Alps

These 4* apartments offer a superb level of comfort and style in spacious accommodation. We stayed in a two-bedroom apartment with balcony offering splendid views over the valley. The double bedroom had an en-suite shower and hand-basin but there's also a family bathroom with bath and overhead shower and a separate WC. Although small, there's a well-equipped fitted kitchen/dining area, plus lounge area with a comfortable sofa which can convert into extra sleeping accommodation. The interiors are decorated with soft furnishings in warm hues, neutral and brown tiling twinned with natural wood, and as we have come to expect, super quality bed linen.

Chalet d'Angele apartment interior, Chatel, Portes du Soleil

Free WiFi is available in apartments, there's underground parking (payable), and a comfortable lounge in the reception area. The large indoor heated swimming pool has Jacuzzi etc. and an adjacent fitness room.
You can also experience a full range of spa and beauty treatments in the Ô des Cimes – Spas d’Altitude.

The free shuttle bus runs every 30 minutes during the day and stops at the entrance to the residence, so you can easily access the village and Super Châtel lift or the Linga and Plain Dranse areas for high-speed access to the Portes du Soleil ski area.

More information and booking:
Peak Retreats
023 9283 9310