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The Portes du Soleil ski area is the largest integrated skiing area in the world. It straddles the French – Swiss border and comprises 14 resorts served by more than 200 lifts. There are 288 pistes, 7 snow parks, 3 half-pipes, 243km of cross country skiing, over 1000 instructors – the list goes on and on.
The slopes are reached by the massive cable car which takes you up to Croix de Culet in around 7 minutes – the cable car is just 3 minutes walk from our apartment.
The skiing is largely intermediate, with some challenging black runs (including the infamous Swiss Wall) and gentler blue runs for novices. Here’s a great interactive map showing all the runs in the PdS and more.
There are three ski schools in Champéry offering private and group lessons for all levels in both skiing and boarding. Ski passes cost around £150 a week for access to the whole Portes du Soleil area. It’s cheaper if you are happy to stay on the Swiss side or only want to ski in the afternoons.
There is night skiing twice a week on the Swiss side, when the cable car and main lifts run until 10pm, weather permitting. There are snow cannons on the main slopes for those times when the weather fails.
It’s possible to ski back down almost to Champéry using the long and relatively benign Ripaille-Grand Paradis route. A free bus brings you back to the cable car terminus.
Insider’s tip: if you don’t fancy queuing behind the ski school kids for the cable car each morning, take the free bus 5 minutes along the road to Grand Paradis and take the express chair lift up to Planachaux. A much quieter way to start the day.
Chalet Les Marmottes is just three minutes walk* from the cable car. You’re also within easy reach of ski shops, supermarkets and the village’s nightlife and restaurants.
Our self-catering apartment occupies the whole of the ground floor of Les Marmottes and sleeps up to seven people. There are three bedrooms, two bathrooms (both with wc) and a large sitting-dining room. Two of the bedrooms have double beds, the other has three bunk beds. The kitchen has a full sized cooker, a fridge freezer and a dishwasher.
The apartment is mostly wood-panelled in the local style. Heating is provided by a traditional Swiss mazout stove and a wood-burning fire. The heat generated by these ensures the whole apartment is kept very warm indeed. We usually find that one is sufficient, even in the depths of winter.
Outside there is a private fenced and gated area for your exclusive use, where you can eat out in summer or build snowmen in winter. While we regard it as safe for our children, don’t forget that the railway line is nearby and the pedestrian crossing does not have automatic barriers.
The apartment is equipped with high-speed wifi. We will provide the access code for your party to use when you make your final payment.
We have UK FreeSat TV with standard free-to-air UK channels, as well as Swiss and European cable TV and a DVD player. A selection of DVDs (please don’t steal them!) is provided.
Electricity and heating, basic cleaning and the compulsory nightly tourist tax are included in the cost of your stay. You can see more information here.
Our Neighbours: Opposite us is the Chalet Joli Nid which is usually rented out in winter. Next door on one side is a Swiss/English family and on the other, the Palladium Sports Centre. The Palladium has indoor and outdoor swimming pools, ice skating and curling rinks, a fitness suite and a restaurant. Useful if you’re too tired to cook.
Location: Just off the road which runs through the lower part of the village. The mountain railway which connects Champéry to Monthey runs nearby. It’s not noisy though as the road is rarely busy even during the peak ski season and the train only runs once in each direction every hour.
Outside: There is a fenced, gated and secluded south-facing area where you can eat out in summer or build snowmen in winter. It is big enough to play cricket or basketball, or to have the mother of all snowball fights. The choice is yours.
* we know because we timed it. Allow slightly longer when you’re wearing ski boots. The best thing is there are no steep hills to climb at the end of the day and no waiting for the shuttle bus back to your hotel.
Here are the webcams which are closest to Champéry. Click on the images to see the weather conditions in real time.
Just 90 minutes from Geneva, Champéry is the gateway to the massive Portes du Soleil ski region. From here you can ski to Avoriaz, Champoussin, Morgins, Les Lindarets and many more resorts.
If you’re looking for an exhilarating winter sports holiday or relaxing summer break in one of Switzerland’s best-kept secrets, then Champéry is the ideal place. In summer, the ski lifts are adapted to take mountain bikes and the trails take you through Alpine pastures accompanied by the sound of cowbells.
Champéry itself is a pretty village with an old-fashioned feel on its main street. Close to the cable car are the railway station, a sports complex and of course, our very own Chalet Les Marmottes.