Nestling below the spectacular Dents du Midi mountain peak, Champéry is one of Switzerland's oldest and prettiest ski resorts, attracting mountain adventurers for over 150 years. This typically Swiss mountain village has retained its charm and character as a result of its understated location. Its rustic wooden chalets house locals as well as holidaymakers, and the pace of village life is very laid-back.
You repeatedly get the feeling that there is nowhere Champéry’s inhabitants would rather be, as they linger over coffee and pastries in the cosy cafés. Whilst the town does not house any ski-in ski-out accommodation options, you will not feel at any compromise when you return to your idyllic mountain spot after a long and rewarding day spent skiing the Portes du Soleil.
Resort Altitude: 930m
Resort Skiing: 2,460m
Blue Runs: 320km
Red Runs: 210km
Black Runs: 70km
Cross Country: 10km
This small town is an entry point to one of the world’s largest ski areas, which is accessed via by the legendary 125 passenger Planachaux cable car. This iconic lift whisks you up over 1,000 vertical metres in just five minutes into the Portes du Soleil where you have access to over 600km of pistes serviced by 206 lifts. Though Champéry does not possess any ski-in ski-out locations, the cable car provides you with the ultimate mode of transport to return to tranquillity after a day of action-packed adventure.
Skiing the Portes du Soleil means access to one of the world’s largest ski areas, spanning 12 ski resorts across both France and Switzerland. This vast expanse of skiing provides a fantastic range of terrain for all abilities, from plenty of beginner areas to some challenging reds and then the famous Swiss Wall; a heavily mogulled itinerary run which will thrill those looking for a daring descent. Skiers may also venture into Avoriaz for the best snow and a great range of black runs.
Keen snowboarders will enjoy the rollers of the two famous Grand Paradis runs, as well as the Superpark which provides a challenging selection of jumps and a half-pipe. Champéry also offers night boarding ever Wednesday and Saturday, with access to a range of lifts and drag lifts for those who don’t want the day on the mountain to come to an end.
A variety of ski schools are available in Champéry, offering both private and group lessons for skiers, boarders, freeriders, telemark skiers and even those looking to brush up on their snowpark technique. Bespoke ski classes can be booked with companies such as Red Carpet, offering video analysis of your ski technique, free overnight ski storage on the mountain, discounted equipment hire and off-piste guiding.
Behind the Palladium Sports Centre is the ESS Kids Club, which offers a fantastic range of features such as beginner courses to help with technique, a magic carpet and a heated room filled with toys and colouring books to enjoy in-between lessons. The convenient location of the Kids Club makes it the ideal solution for families with young children who are looking for a seamless day on the mountain which everyone can enjoy.
Champéry’s relatively quiet après-ski scene is made up for by the town’s fantastic selection of dining options. The picturesque town’s main street features everything from Michelin starred fayre to classic family-friendly pizza to traditional local cuisine served in the cosiest of Alpine settings. Up the mountain, you will also be spoilt for choice, with the Portes du Soleil housing over 90 slope-side restaurants.
Non-skiers will enjoy trying out the leisure facilities in Champéry town such as the Palladium Sports Centre which offers a range of activities such as ice skating, rock climbing, swimming and curling. For something a little different, head to the Thermes Parc Val d’Illiez located just outside of Champéry for a dip in the thermal baths which are rich in calcium and magnesium; providing a welcome respite for skiers and non-skiers alike.