Ski Champéry by Train

603 km of piste between 1050-2250m

Set below the iconic Dents du Midi, the cross-border les Portes du Soleil is a huge, rambling ski area that crosses over into France and features the famous, and very steep, Swiss Wall. Champéry, with a railway terminus in the village, is probably the most convenient of the resorts for accessing most of the circuit, and one of the more attractive, but purpose-built Les Croset, Champoussin and Morgins have the advantage of having runs back down to the resorts which Champéry doesn't have (although according to Walter Pause in 1963's "Salute the Skier" it once did and there is still a run down to the valley further up the valley at Grand Paradis). On the French side, the resort of Avoriaz gives access to the best slopes (particularly for boarders), ski-in, ski-out accommodation and the liveliest nightlife in the area. Champoussin is arguably the best of the resorts for beginners. Despite the size of the terrain available within les Portes du Soleil, there is not the range and variety of the other large resorts in the Alps, and the highest runs are generally quite low by the standards of leading Swiss resorts. However, on a nice day with good snow the seemingly endless series of runs and off-piste sections are enough to keep even the most demanding skier or snowboarder happy - especially with new lifts in 2019/20 better linking France to Switzerland.

Ski Champéry by train

There are passes available for just the Swiss side of the circuit as well as for the entirety. This should be sufficient for intermediate skiers, especially bearing in mind that even with the new lifts, getting back from the French side can take longeer than you think. Getting to Châtel is a doddle, getting back is not. French taxi drivers traditionally do well on ferrying people back cross the border who have missed the last lift.

Sky and Rail

The nearest airport to Champéry is Geneva. There is a railway station in the airport, with one change for trains to the resort.

Best of the Slopes at Champéry

Le Pas de Chavanette - aka "Le Mur Suisse" (The Swiss Wall) is tough, often with huge moguls and 55 degree inclines. Stick to the sides if you want to avoid the steepest parts, but the beginning of the run is unavoidably scary. In less than a kilometre you drop over 400m. There is also a 7k run down to Grand-Paradis with a chair back up or a shuttle bus back to the village (it is otherwise a 2km walk). There's a very good park nearby in Les Crosets. I've seen other commentators claim it is the best park in Europe, but you have plenty of choice with 11 parks in total in the circuit.

Where to Eat and Party in Champéry

For lunch you could do a lot worse than the Cookie Café (+41 244 791219), a wonderful gastropub at the top of the Mossettes chairlift above Les Crosets with burgers, pizzas and great views. Champéry is a friendly community but not a great destination for hard core après ski. That's not to say there aren't convivial bars - in Champéry village, I liked Le Bar des Guides and Ziggy's Bar - but I heard the latter had closed down, hopefully temporarily. I've noticed establishments change hands quite often in the village, so I would check the usually helpful locals for advice on going out, or stroll down Rue du Village and check out what takes your fancy. For fine dining le 42 (+41 79 929 28 93) at Route de Chavalet 3, close to the Champéry Village station, gets an impressive 16 GaultMillau points and a Michelin star.

Getting to Champéry by Train

The best destination to access the downhill slopes by public transport in this ski area is Champéry. The station is adjacent to the cable car.

Piste Map for Champéry

Ski and Snowboard on the pistes at Champéry