Lift count : 2 x Gondolas 13 x Chairlifts 29 x Drag-lifts
Chatel, part of the Portes du Soleil area, has the heart of a traditional village and is surrounded by new flats and chalets, all of which have the compulsory wood cladding to give it that alpine feel. While other resorts suffer from lack of snow, Chatel can get more than its fair share, due to its proximity to Lac Leman (the French name for Lake Geneva). The water of the lake evaporates and, if the wind is favourable, falls on the nearest mountain as snow.
You get some great views over the lake when you're up on the slopes of Super Chatel, the main pisted area. It’s accessed by an over-crowded gondola, which then gives way to a series of lifts allowing you easy access to Morgins. Morgins town and access to Champoussin, is then within a short walk, but be sure to remember your passport, as both are in Switzerland. It's been known for customs officers on skis to stop people and search their backpacks.
A drive up the valley from Chatel leads you to Linga and Pré la Joux. Both areas contribute to Chatel's slopes and, considering the terrain on offer, as well as the access to Avoriaz, shouldn't be dismissed when considering Chatel as a resort. Don't be put off by the separation, however, as the free bus ride is short and the buses run every 10 or 15 minutes.
Chatel may not be the best placed resort within the Portes du Soleil to explore the 680km of piste, but you almost feel like you're in a traditional French alpine village... almost.
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Written by Gavin Hope