Champéry is a popular resort town located in the Chablais Alps, Switzerland. The site forms part of the Portes du Soleil ski area and is linked by gondola to thirteen other resorts including Champoussin, les Crosets, and la Chapelle d’Abondance on the French border.
Champéry boasts excellent snowboarding facilities and has been popular with both experienced and novice skiers for well over a century. The infamous la Chavanette (“Swiss Wall”) piste is located close to Champéry and the French resort of Avoriaz, and offers a brutal challenge for the fearless.
How to Get There
Geneva-Cointrin Airport is an international transport hub that has flights from most major European airports including London Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, and Dublin. The official Champéry website recommends that prospective skiers travel with EasyJet but both BMIbaby and British Airways offer regular flights to Geneva. Champéry is located approximately sixty miles away from Geneva by road or rail.
Bern International Airport has superb road and rail links, and is perhaps the most logical gateway to the Alps but it provides few reliable flights to the UK. Consider travelling to Zürich Airport if you don’t mind taking the scenic route.
The Lake Geneva motorway provides a convenient route to the Chablais Alps, providing that you are travelling from Geneva Airport. Motorists are advised to follow the northern bank of Lake Geneva to the towns of Montreux and Aigle on the north eastern edge of the lake. Champéry is only a short ride south of Aigle.
Car hire is available at most of the airports in Switzerland but motorists should be aware that Switzerland is one of the few countries in Europe that doesn’t use the Euro. Tourists planning to travel through Germany, Italy, or France on their way to Champéry should stock up on Swiss Francs before entering the country proper.
The town of Champéry has its own railway station located around ¾ of a mile away from the centre. The station has both direct and indirect links to Geneva Airport but the journey typically takes longer than travelling by car or bus. Many tour operators recommend the cheaper, indirect route that requires a single transfer at the town of Aigle. Please be aware that the Champéry resort proper is only accessible by road and so those without their own car will need to take a bus up to the site.
Who the Resort Caters for
Champéry is an excellent place for skiers of all levels to visit. The resort has made considerable provisions for snowboarders and Champéry currently has seven snow parks. The nearby les Crosets site (accessible via a ski pass from any of the resorts and hotels in the Portes du Soleil region) has a colossal snow park flush with half-pipes, tables, and unique lines.
The Swiss Wall is a popular attraction for expert skiers but the moguls and unpredictable ice sheets have killed or seriously injured countless thrill seekers. Experienced skiers may find that Champéry’s intermediate slopes are a little too gentle and may prefer a trip to one of the other resorts in the region. Avoriaz on the French border is very popular with experts. Beginners are catered for (there are a number of nursery slopes) but youngsters and timid skiers may find the transition from the practice slopes to the Champéry pistes a little taxing.
The Hotel Suisse offers the best Après-ski bar for English speakers but the nightlife is often quiet and confined to lodgings. The Café du Levant is a popular haunt for snowboarders and can get a little rowdy in the evenings. The vast majority of the Après-ski facilities stay open until 3am.
What Accommodation the Resort Offers
Hotels at Champéry typically offer three-star accommodation. A couple sharing a double room at the popular Hotel Suisse can expect to receive half-board service over seven nights, a six day ski pass for the Porte du Soleil ski region, and access to night time skiing facilities. Parking is free and most pets are welcome at the site. For those wanting to take a break from skiing, Hotel Suisse also offers horse riding and fishing, and has a tennis court available for hire. For booking and more information, please visit the official Champéry Information Portal.
Chalets are more abundant than hotels and are available for hire by up to fifteen people. The Lodge-Champéry chalet provides luxurious facilities and a number of services that surpass even those offered by the local hotels, including daily shopping delivery and maid service. Parties of up to eight people will be accommodated by the Lodge-Champéry. Childcare and airport transfers can also be arranged in advance.
The Portes du Soleil region consists of 650 pistes, all of which are linked by a web of ski lifts. New skiers can hone their skills with an English-speaking guide at one of three ski schools while more experienced skiers can tackle the pistes of Avoriaz, Champoussin, or Pointe de Vorlaz in France. The latter is the highest piste in the Portes du Soleil area at 2346m above sea level. The slopes at Planachaux and les Crosets are ideal for beginners.
Champéry is an excellent place for cross-country skiers and snowboarders. Its sprawling runs across the countryside come highly recommended. The off-piste slopes often run directly through the centre of villages allowing for extended sightseeing breaks or dinner at one of the many restaurants in the area.
|Cross Country Trails||10km|
The Champéry ski season begins in mid-December and runs until the following April.