Chatel - a Rising Star in the Alps

By: Ed Ockelton

Ask your average skier if they know about, or have visited Chatel, and they may well look blankly back at you. However, if you do a little digging within the ski world, you will suddenly start to discover lots of people who have visited Chatel or have a chalet/apartment there.

This is the contradictory nature of Chatel - it is the Alps' best kept secret that lots of people know about.

Chatel is a small farming village-turned-ski resort nestled in the heart of the Portes du Soleil - the world's largest linked ski area. Its development has been done with a sympathetic eye on its heritage. No high-rise concrete apartment blocks or hotels, just beautiful alpine chalets. Historically, Chatel has always been overshadowed somewhat by its loud and boisterous neighbour, Morzine. However, all that is about to change.

People have started to realise that Chatel has some of the best skiing in the whole ski domain. It is right at the centre of the Portes du Soleil circuit and benefits from easy links to Avoriaz - a high altitude purpose built resort. This is coupled with recent investment over the last few years. Every winter season sees one or two new express lifts, and over the next two years the two ski areas of Super Chatel and Linga will be joined by pistes/lift.

Over recent years, keen skiers have been attracted to Chatel due to a mix of its beauty, the skiing, cheap property prices and the fact that the resort is a little less predictable than some of the more talked about British ski destinations (Mozine, Val d'Isere etc). Those in the know were also aware of the resort's excellent snow record. Being in the Northern French Alps, the Portes du Soleil never seems to be without snow even when some of the higher, more popular resorts are suffering. Indeed, Avoriaz gets the highest average snowfall (over 9 m) of anywhere in the Alps!

Now that Chatel is well and truly on the map, property investors have started looking at the resort for development, and a number of beautiful, large, luxurious chalets and apartments have been built, or are being planned.

Ahead of the game, has been offering high quality, luxury self catered accommodation in Chatel for many years. Seeing the move in-resort towards luxury, in 2005 the company launched its luxury catered chalet arm - . Inside Edge has a portfolio of luxury catered chalets available, the like of which hasn't been seen before in the village!

also has a number of planned luxury, large, ski-in chalets due to be completed in 2008.

So, the wind of change is blowing through Chatel. Driven by companies such as White-Peak and Inside Edge, the village is quickly getting a reputation for quality and luxury. At the same time, holiday prices and property sales prices aren't over inflated like other popular resorts. Another important fact is that the village remains very French and doesn't lose site of its history and tradition. There is no danger of the village turning into another "Little Britain" type resort, because the floods of British property investors will always be drawn to the Meribels, Verbiers and Val d'Iseres, leaving Chatel to those who want to mix French culture with luxury property and excellent skiing.

You can find out more about Chatel by visiting the tourist office website - www.chatel.com

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