East of Geneva, the Chatel Ski Area has 44 lifts providing access to 49 trails totaling 83km with a maximum vertical of 1,000m. The Chatel ski area has three sections: Super Chatel, Linga and Pre-La-Joux (south of town). The Pre-La-Joux lifts provide access to the rest of Portes Du Soliel. Most of the pistes are intermediate and only 10% are difficult, but keep in mind that 29 of the lifts are drag lifts.
The town of Chatel is a traditional Swiss village with an alpine feeling.
If you are seeking a challenging terrain park, check out the 800m long Happy Park on Cornebois which is intermediate to advanced with dropoffs, boxes and ramps. The beginner park, The Smooth Park, is in Super Chatel.
For a challenging groomed run in the Pre-La-Joux area, try Les Renards especially after a big dump. While in that area, head to the top of Rochasson for a view over Lake Geneva.
For ungroomed freeriding, try the route from the top of Col-des-Portes down the Morgins Valley to Morgins, or try the Pointe de Chesery that heads down to Les Lindarets with alittle walking. Another good option in the Pre-La-Joux area starts from the top of the Chaux des Rosees lift and heads down the blue run and traverses right after passing the black run turnoff -- there is a wide chute to drop into.
The Portes du Soleil ski domain is one of the largest in the world linking 14 villages on both sides of the Swiss-French border. The Portes du Soleil ski domain is one of the largest in the world linking 14 villages on both sides of the Swiss-French border southeast Geneva. The very family-friendly Portes du Soleil encompasses 206 lifts serving 283 pistes totalling 650km over 400 hectares of terrain. The pistes are classified as 41 green, 104 blue, 110 red and 28 black. From a snowboarders perspective, the classifications at Portes du Soleil can be translated as
green means walking, blue means occasional walking, red means intermediate and black means difficult. In addition to the groomed pistes, there is plenty of off-piste terrain to explore under craggy peaks and down steep couloirs. Keep in mind that there are plenty of t-bars and Poma platter lifts spread throughout the region, along with flat or rolling traverses between ski areas. Overall, you are not going to find many snowboarders here, maybe 15%, except up at Avoriaz. By the way, Avoriaz makes for a great central and high elevation base to explore the entire Portes du Soleil region and it has exceptional terrain in every direction. Since the region tends to be lower in elevation, snow depth can be a problem throughout. If the quoted minimum depth is less than 60cm (24 inches), the off-piste routes are pretty sketchy to explore and you will be stuck on the icy groomed pistes. There can be some inconsistencies in published snow reports, such as centimeters reported as inches, so make sure to check several snow report sources before coming.
Overall, Chatel is the 13th most popular snowboard & freeride destination of all 47 snowboarding resorts in France. Several of the better snowboarding resorts are nearby Chatel including Morzine, Champery, Avoriaz, La Chapelle d Abondance, Abondance and Montriond.
Local Contacts: Association Internationale des Portes du Soleil +33 (0)4 50 73 32 54.
Best Season: Jan. - Feb.
Average Difficulty: Moderate
Base Camp: The Rider Social Lodge, Chatel
GPS: 46.267218, 6.841789
Date Published: 12/28/2015
Date Updated: 8/21/2016
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