Freeriding, terrain parks and pistes
Champery is home to the notorious "Swiss Wall", a steep, un-groomed black run that can be epic after a fresh snow fall. You'll find "the wall" under the Chavanette chair. It's easy to see from a distance because 95% of the time it's an enormous mogul field, and plenty of people making their way down just to say they've done it. Be careful, it doesn't have a reputation for nothing!
Like any resort, if you don't know it very well you won't discover the best areas any time soon. Champery has a couple of guide/instructor companies that may be worth checking out if you're interested in a helping hand to show you some of the good areas. The Freeride Company, which also provides regular instruction, www.freeridecompany.com, and Montagne Expérience, or "Mountain Experience", a guide office that offers freeride tours, phone: +41 (0)79 637 70 37.
As far as natural hits go, there isn't that much to choose from around Champery. The shorter of the two Grd Paradis runs has one or two nice rollers, and you're not that far from the Lindarets area of Avoriaz, and the Stash for that matter. There is of course the SuperPark. Be advised, it's not really set up for beginners. You'll find some pro-sized kickers here, and the smallest stuff still demands a rider that knows a thing or two. The park is well groomed and can be lapped using a short, fast, 8 man chair. There's sometimes a half-pipe in the park too. Check out superpark.ch.
Champery itself has 62 miles of terrain, with something for all but nothing that is outstanding. An intermediate freerider will like this place, although the slopes can get busy.
Access to the slopes from Champery can be achieved by two means: the main cable car, which is in Champery, or the lift leaving from the Grand Paradis, which is outside of the town.
The cable car has a capacity of 125, with free shuttle busses running around the village. The Grand Paradis lift, is a fast, new, 8 man chair with a cover. At its base there is a car park, and a shuttle runs from the cable car to Grand Paradis every 15 minutes between 8:15 am and 5:15 am. Walking to Grand Paradis is possible, but you're looking at 40 minutes - 1 hour, depending on which route you take.
There are two runs down, both going to the Grand Paradis base, there is no run down to the village. They are both red. The one that runs down from Planachaux to Grand-Paradis is not too bad, some narrow parts, some wide, some steep and one or two nice rollers. It's a fairly sunny slope so can be closed at times. The other red, Ripaille - Grand-Paradis, the longest one, is not particularly challenging and is painful for snowboarders. Apart from a nice section at the top, it's not interesting either. Avoid it all costs, long, flat, and you're walking.
Champery has night boarding every Wednesday, 'till 9.30pm and Saturday, 'till 7pm. At these times the following lifts are open: The cable car Champéry-Croix de Culet, the Chairlift Planachaux, the Chairlift Crosets and the Ski lift Grand-Conche (drag). Although the park is accessed by the Crosets chair, it isn't open at night. Night only passes are available, and all but single day passes cover you for the evening.
Champery has a nice, wide, blue area under the Grand Paradis chair. It's good for beginners because there's plenty of space and no drag lift involved. Plus there's a restaurant or two half way down.READ NEXT: Village life, accommodation & nightlife
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