Chatel is a relatively little-known ski resort in the Portes du Soleil region of France. But those who know it will be quick to speak of the friendly community spirit that is so prominent throughout the town. And the importance of the skiing is so pointed that there are always new developments, like state-of-the-art snow cannons and the impressive Portes du Soleil and Gabelou chairlifts, improving the experience for visitors and locals alike. And there is easy access to popular neighbouring resorts like Morgins, La Chapelle d'Abondance and Champoussin if you want to diversify your experience a little.
Living in Chatel and things to do
From Chatel, you get access to the huge Portes du Soleil ski area, where the serious skier can enjoy plenty of variety. Though the resort is slightly lower down, access to the upper slopes is easy and there is always guaranteed snow in the winter months. There are 61 ski lifts in total throughout the region, offering skiers 83km of piste and an amazing 1,000 metres (3280 feet) of vertical descent. And Chatel's unique valley position affords it a microclimate all of its own, which ensures it usually gets snow in the early and late season, even when other resorts struggle. Snow season generally lasts from mid-December to mid-April, and at higher elevations you will consistently find deep powder to explore. For a more in-depth snow report, take a look at our resort guide here.
What really brings Chatel into its own as a skiing resort is the aesthetic value of the town and the surrounding area. The ski lifts offer stunning views of the sublime Lake Geneva as you are carried to the higher slopes. With gorgeous wooded inclines and statuesque mountains, it's an unparalleled region to take to the pistes. And throughout the winter, any snow report Chatel releases shows great powder is abundant through the entire season. With such ideal winter weather and the great diversity of terrain and runs, skiers of all skill levels will find they never get bored.
Culture in Chatel
While many resorts in the Alps can feel rather crowded and commercialised, Chatel retains more of an unspoilt feel, with a traditional French ambience that can be very appealing. The town has a life beyond a tourist hotspot, with a richness of flourishing farmland and a thriving community spirit. And with a population of less than 1,300 people, the region never feels crowded even during the peak ski season.
Local architecture is beautiful to behold and in keeping with local traditions, and a number of new developments have come into being. As the resort expands, it stays in touch with its signature style, so it never feels like it's selling out. People will fall in love with the reason for its iconic French traditional aesthetic, and properties that fit the bill are likely to deliver the best return on investment.
The town is situated at the top of the Dranse valley: a picturesque wooded region that feels delightfully secluded and hidden away. So, in addition to the charms of the man-made elements of Chatel, the town has an enviable position in nature with superb access to the slopes. And getting there is easy enough, with Geneva airport a short train ride away and its own nearby train station called Aigle.
Investment potential in Chatel
Living in Chatel is a wonderful experience, and not just during the ski season. There is no experience quite like summertime in the Alps, where temperatures can rise as high as you'd find around the Mediterranean. Chatel's ski lifts open doors for great mountain biking pursuits when the snow has melted. There are also opportunities for white water sports like rafting and canoeing, and there is rich terrain for hiking and pursuits like fishing. The village location is a pleasure for residents and visitors alike, and there is never a shortage of things to do and see in and around the beautiful Alpine region of Chatel.
The town itself has expanded outwards in line with the growth of the resort, but there is a convenient free bus service that makes it easy to get around. This is especially useful for those essential apres-ski outings that really round off a great day on the slopes. Infrastructure is something that is often overlooked by investors, but for a ski resort it is a key consideration. A resort that is developing with new hotels and restaurants or improved snow cannons and ski lifts could be a strong performer for an investment, and Chatel ticks all these boxes.
Upcoming developments in Chatel
Chatel is a top location for Alpine resort and town development. It's a popular resort that is regarded very highly by amateurs and aficionados alike. But it retains a sense of being somewhat 'off the beaten track', ensuring visitors and residents can also enjoy a little privacy and soak up the local charm. With each snow-filled weather report Chatel looks like an increasingly attractive Snow Only investment.
One of the major recent developments was the Lion d'Or new build, right next to the Super-Châtel lift station. Investment in local developments are clearly focused on the town's potential to be a thriving resort, and the feel is that of an exciting up-and-comer. Chatel is seeing real growth in maturity whilst retaining its unique charm and character.
Transport to Chatel
The resort of Chatel benefits from being only a short one-and-a-half-hour journey from Geneva airport, with many airports transfers available to take you to the resort that are based in Chatel itself. It also has good connections to the Swiss motorway system, making journeys via car short and simple.
With great transport links and facilities, Chatel is seeing real growth in maturity whilst retaining its unique charm and character, making investments in this up-and-coming resort well placed.