Beginners have both a wide variety of learning terrain and a good choice of ski schools ready to teach you basic technique. There are small nursery slopes dotted around the village itself and a main learning area up at Super Châtel accessed by gondola. Châtel also participates in an initiative launched recently by the wider Portes du Soleil region and named 'You Can Ski!' Available in three and six day variants the package includes tuition, rentals and lift pass with the first few days spent learning in a special beginners-only area, the idea being that you have fun and progress quickly on to the main slopes.
With 650km of cross-border skiing waiting just beyond your ski tips it's hard for regular recreational skiers to go wrong in this 'intermediate's paradise.' There's something of everything from long flattering wide blue cruisers to more challenging technical reds. All this with the added thrill of being able to ski from village to village including over the border in to Switzerland. An interesting option is the 250m long 'Smoothpark' near the Bellevue blue piste in the Super-Châtel / Chalet Neuf sector. It has electronic timing and lots of safety nets so is a fun place to work out how fast you can go. Officially however the idea is to learn to ski safely at speed, and if you're in ski school you may be taken here for some top tips too. Floodlit skiing is also available each week in the Linga stadium.
Plenty to entertain advanced skiers around the village with six of the 30+ blacks in the Poste du Soleil on the local slopes, and the rest waiting there to be found. The Linga sector has a particular reputation for steeper, more challenging runs closest to the resort. There are also plenty of off-piste itineraries in the region to explore. One of the most popular is to hire a mountain guide and head in to La Leche, an easy and accessible side valley near the ski lifts which has gained a reputation for its usually great snow conditions.
Snowboard / Freestyle Skiing
Boarders and twin-tippers have special terrain parks to enjoy here as well as the endless pistes and off-piste opportunities of the Portes du Soleil. The Fun Zone near the Bellevue blue piste in the Super-Châtel / Chalet Neuf sector has rails, kickers, slide boxes, hips, boardercross and much more, with a variety of skill levels catered for from beginner to expert. There's also a sound system to help you chill as you leap, and a barbecue area to refuel at afterwards.
Cross country skiing fits well with the traditional nature of Châtel and there are 40km of marked tracks around the village linking it to Portes du Soleil neighbours Abondance and la Chapelle d’Abondance (where there are changing facilities and a warm-up building) and following the banks of the Dranse River, close to the Swiss border.
The trails vary over 600m of vertical altitude between 900m and 1,500m of altitude and there are runs for all ability levels from beginner to expert, the latter most challenged by the new ‘Le Moulaz’ black run at La Chapelle.
La Chapelle is also the main biathlon site in the Abondance valley if you fancy trying this exciting sport which combines target shooting (for which calm and a low heart rate are required) and cross country skiing (which really gets your heart rate racing with exertion). There’s also a mobile biathlon stadium that moves between the three villages.