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Champery

One of our favourite spots on the Swiss side of the Portes du Soleil, Champéry is one long series of contradictions. A blissfully quiet village on the edge of one of the world’s largest ski areas, family-friendly fun beneath the terrifying “Swiss Wall”, a life’s worth of ski slopes but train rides and activities to tempt you off them… If you don’t fall for it, you’re one in a million.

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

At a glance: • Quiet village • Enormous ski area • Ski 2 countries

Great for: • Experts • Off-piste • Intermediates

One of our favourite spots on the Swiss side of the Portes du Soleil, Champéry is one long series of contradictions. A blissfully quiet village on the edge of one of the world’s largest ski areas, family-friendly fun beneath the terrifying “Swiss Wall”, a life’s worth of ski slopes but train rides and activities to tempt you off them… If you don’t fall for it, you’re one in a million.

Champery Resort

Lounging with coffees in cosy cafés, you get the feeling there’s nowhere Champéry’s locals would rather be. It’s hard to imagine that one of the world’s biggest ski areas sits just over the way. Hop on the 125-person cable car, zoom up and over the town and you’re in the Portes du Soleil, with 650km of runs and 200+ lifts splayed across the Swiss-French border. With big-timers like Avoriaz, Morzine and Les Gets to tempt you into France – don’t forget to bring euros as well as francs.

There’s no doubt you’re in Switzerland here. A 100-year-old, wooden-seated railway rolls through town, past balconied chalets and on an achingly picturesque journey through the Rhone Valley. Somehow, while only taking minutes to cross, this little wooden town crams in a clock tower, open-air museum, thermal baths and even a nightclub or two… It’s not hard to see why those locals are so laid-back. Super friendly too ? they make a habit of “bonjouring” you like long-time neighbours. Ask them which of the jagged mountains above are the “Dents du Midi” and which the “Dents Blanches”, if you don’t already recognise them from a few rather famous paintings.

You could hole up here for eternity, but the rickety railway beckons, leaving every 30 minutes for the fairy tale chateau at Aigle and the markets and plays at Monthey. The only problem with Champéry’s that you can’t do everything at once...

Stats & FAQ

Location: Valais region, Switzerland

Established: 1857

Open: December - April

Downhill: 100km (Champery) 650km Portes Du Soleil

View our detailed Champery snow forecast or snow report and see all live webcams, piste maps, road and travel maps and lift pass prices. For a picture of historic snow conditions see the snow depths month by month with our Champery snow history.

Nearest Airport & Transfer Time:
Geneva International Airport (GVA)127km, 100 minutes
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
Top Altitude:2466m / 8090ft
Bottom Altitude:1055m / 3461ft
Resort Altitude:1055m / 3461ft
Longest run:11km
Slope Orientation:S N E
Vertical Drop:1237m / 4058ft
Skiable Vertical:
Night Skiing:Yes
Glacier:No

Snow Report

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Web Cam

Champery web cams
Downhill Runs:100km (Champery) 650km Portes Du Soleil
Beginner slopes:
Intermediate:
Advanced slopes:
Lift Pass Price: 49 CHF Domaine Suisse (adult single day pass) 57 CHF Portes du Soleil (adult single day pass)
Nearby resorts: Portes du Soleil, Avoriaz, Les Gets, Morzine, Chatel

Skiing/BoardingSkiing in Champery

Champéry is not ski-in/ski-out - you need to take the 5-minute telepherique to reach the Portes du Soleil - but no one’s complaining. That’s what keeps the village so wonderfully authentic, and soon enough the 650km of one of the biggest ski areas on planet earth sits before you. If 209 lifts sound like more than you can handle, opt for a cheaper lift pass to just the neighbouring Swiss villages of Les Crosets, Champoussin and Morgins – between which you’ll find 35 lifts and a network of blue, red and black pistes.

There are better resorts in this massive ski area for first time skiers (like Les Gets) and from the top of the Champéry cable car, a steep narrow path to the pistes might put a newbie off. But wobbly second-weekers will cope, and this area is packed with benign blues to push you to reach your potential. Earn serious bragging rights schussing between all 12 of the resorts in the Portes du Soleil from a quiet Swiss base.

There are 100km of blues and reds on the Swiss side of the ski area alone and you could write a book about the possible intermediate circuits in the wider area. See what all the fuss is about at Pre La Joux in the Chatel area or the They Valley to Morgins, and be sure to spend an afternoon lunching at Avoriaz before trying the Loop – just take the chairlift over the Swiss Wall to make it back in one piece. Night skiing twice a week provides further thrills letting you enjoy these spectacular hills after dark.

Any discussion of the expert skiing at Champéry starts and ends with the Swiss Wall. Orange rated as it’s too dangerous to be a black, this drops 400m in just a 1000m stretch and racks up moguls of up to 2m, putting it on many a ski-before-you-die list. Between the reds, the blacks, the off-piste and the heli-skiing – banned on the French side but not here in Switzerland, one week is definitely not enough time to do it all.

Thanks to the Superpark at Les Crosets (possibly one of Switzerland’s best), boardercross at La Foilleuse and all the parks at Avoriaz, boarders and freestyle skiers are well taken care of.

Champery Apres Ski

Tiny Swiss towns with little red trains aren’t the places for flaming Sambuca and mountain madness, for that you’re better off in Morzine. Champéry, however, has perfected the art of little wooden bistros and low key cafes, full of hearty mountain fare that’ll put you to sleep before you can think about a night out. Let your taste buds enjoy the fact you’re at the border of France and Switzerland in mountain restaurants like Le Toupin, the closest thing to heaven for a cheese fan, and don’t miss popular little Le Nord.

The après hotspot is undoubtedly Mitchell’s, the sleekest sports bar we’ve laid eyes on to date. For all who make it through the food comas, La Crevasse nightclub puts on a good show.

Off the slopes, Champéry's biggest attraction is the Palladium sports hall, where you’ll find a gym, ice rink, curling rinks and swimming complex under one rather attractive roof. Don’t miss an afternoon floating about in calcium and magnesium enriched waters at the Therms Parcs. This should prep you for adventures out in the great outdoors, like cross country skiing, paragliding and snowshoe walks (on a massive 400km of marked paths in the PdS). Astronomy fans, take the planetary trail at nearby Morgins on a night hike. Sledging is also popular with a 4km (2.5 mile) run in neighbouring Champoussin and you can up the ante with snow kiting or ice climbing late at night in Grand-Paradis. When all the options in town start to overwhelm, hop on the rickety train and take a day out to Montreux on Lake Geneva, the turreted medieval castle at Aigle or the Roman remains at Martigny.

Best time to go

Best time to ski Champery

When is the best time to ski Champery?

Stretching between Mont Blanc and Geneva, a special microclimate brings a bounty of snowfall to the Portes du Soleil. The current figure for average snowfall at Avoriaz is a massive 800cm (giving Val Thorens a run for its money). When that needs a helping hand, 694 snow guns keep all lower pistes covered. One of the perks of a ski area this colossal is that you can hunt about for the best conditions and if the Swiss side is suffering, the French will often be good.

If quirky events take your fancy, head here in March when the Rock the Pistes Festival fills the hills with the sound of pop-rock and stomping ski boots. Concerts are held at strategic spots around the ski area and you ski down to them with your normal lift pass. Also in March, the Chavanette Session hits the hills above Champéry, when competitors go head-to-head hurtling down the dreaded Swiss Wall. A local ex-ski racer wins it every year. Stop by to cheer him on, or challenge him for the title…

Peak Dates

We can think of worse places to spend the 25th than with friendly locals in a blissfully Swiss mountain village. Christmas in Champery promises a beautiful blend of evenings by the fire and serious skiing on the PdS.

The last day of the year sees all the locals gather in the middle of the village for DJs, bars and fireworks at New Year in Champery, while families fill the Palladium for the annual ice disco. This is the liveliest Champery gets all year, with the end of year blow-outs at La Crevasse usually being the biggest parties.

Skiing a massive area from a quiet village base with an arsenal of activities is a dream come true for Half term in Champery. If you’re a step or two above the nursery slopes, this Swiss spot couldn’t be better.

The ski slopes are usually in good condition for Easter in Champery, and if things should get slushy in the afternoons, you have the perfect excuse to hop on the train and explore Switzerland.

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Families in Champery

Champéry's intimate village and kiddie-friendly facilities make it a top choice for families and, to up the fun, the resort has special weekly itineraries with things like introductions to curling and walks around the village solving the puzzle of the "enchanted piste".

The Swiss Ski School operates a mini club for children aged between 3 and 7 years, with weekly slalom races that are lots of fun. Instructors with the Red Carpet Ski School teach tots aged 3 - 6 through a clever combination of fun and games. They also offer special family ski packages with an instructor who’ll make sure everyone has a blast together, no matter how varied the abilities.

GroupsGroup Holidays Champery

Easy access to the Portes du Soleil and an authentic Swiss village to ski it from are a fantastic combination for a group ski trip. And if this 650km ski area doesn’t have something for each member of the party, we don’t know where does. Though very first timers may prefer a resort on the French side of the ski area, Champéry’s a charming base for all who’ve graduated bunny slopes.

For a sleepy town, it sure has a lot of quirky activities to keep you busy and a not half bad nightclub, La Crevasse. Between group paintball battles, frozen waterfall climbs and horse rides through the trees, you’ll work up quite the appetite for raclette parties at the Blue Yurt or igloo evenings at Grand-Paradis.

More Champery Holiday Resources


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