Ski area & location
The Portes du Soleil ski area enjoys exceptionally good snowfall across the many valleys it covers. It encompasses some 650km of groomed piste, connected by 200 lifts allowing access to 14 valleys and numerous villages in France and Switzerland. Located between Mont Blanc in France and Lake Geneva (Lac Lemàn) on the French/Swiss boarder the region benefits from a unique microclimate where, in the winter, moisture from the lake rises over the mountains which then cools and falls as snow.
Following the investment of new lift systems in Châtel all four sectors of the local resort are now directly connected by lifts and pistes to the whole Portes du Soleil area, including Avoriaz, Morzine, Les Crosets, Champéry and Les Gets. The variety of slopes contains plenty of terrain for everyone. From snowy alpine meadows and pine forests to steep black runs and the severe orange run that is the infamous "Swiss wall" (Chavanette).
Super-Chatel is fantastic for beginners with wide gentle pistes bordered by pine trees and it is no surprise that the ESF host most of their beginner lessons here. Look out for the Milka cow while you are skiing about. She is known to hand out chocolates on the piste side on a regular basis. The main gondola also runs from the centre of the village which makes this as quick to access as possible for enthusiastic young skiers. There are plenty of challenging runs as well from Super-Chatel including a fun little black run behind and to right of the gondola. You can set off to tour the Portes du Soleil from here in either direction: over to Morgins in Switzerland or round to Linga, Pré-la-Joux and Avoriaz. Riding the Morclan lift gives fabulous views (and great photo opportunities) over the Alps to the Dents du Midi and Mont Blanc as well as opening up a huge area towards Torgon, Petit Chatel and La Chapelle d'Abondance.
The Linga and Pré-la-Joux sectors have slopes to suit all abilities and can be useful starting points if you want to head quickly over to Avoriaz or beyond. There are beginners slopes at the foot of Pré-la-Joux and some lessons start from here as well. While offering superb on and off piste skiing for all levels, and some exciting trails through the forests, the slopes are also host to a wide range of restaurants and cafés should you need to refuel your body or mind.
Scalable pdf files of the maps below can be downloaded from the bottom of the page.
Visit the Portes du Soleil Official Web Page.