Champery is the perfect access point to the world’s largest international ski area Les Portes du Soleil wthat includes 12 charming ski resorts in France and Switzerland.
Located in the huge skiing area of “Les Portes du Soleil”, the resort of Champéry in the Val d’Illiez in the Lower Valais has still managed to preserve much its traditional charm. The village is situated at 3100 ft in the Chablais region at the foot of the Dents-du-Midi and the Dents Blanches and is one of Switzerland’s oldest tourist destinations. Along the village street are numerous traditional chalets with their carved balconies and typical roofs, while visitors are delighted by the charming little shops, bars and restaurants. In the village is one of Switzerland’s few bell-foundries still remaining in production.
Cable-cars and chair-lifts lead from Champéry into the skiing area of “Portes du Soleil”, one of the world’s largest continuous skiing areas. Within it, there are 14 different areas for skiers and snowboarders – 6 in Switzerland and 8 in France – with 209 lifts and 400 miles of prepared slopes available to them.
Champery’s slopes are mainly high above the village, reached by a cable car that starts at the railway station, down a steepish hill, away from the main street. The village spreads over quite an area, but there is a free shuttle bus. There is also a snow park to meet the needs of freestylers. Not only that, but the adventurous can also try their hand at ice-climbing, snow-shoe walking or paragliding, or prove themselves on skiing tours or sledging runs. The village also has an indoor ice rink and a curling hall which are open all year round.
The ski slope at Pas de Chavanette – often simply called “Le Mur Suisse” (the Swiss Wall) – is one of the steepest in the world. Although it is only an half a mile long, the descent covers a difference in altitude of nearly 400 yard, with gradients of up to 50 degrees.