Blessed with traditional Swiss charm, Champéry village is one of the oldest tourist destinations in the Swiss Alps, and wears several ski tourism hats. It's part of the Swiss Valais region, part of the vast cross-border Portes du Soleil domain, and part of the local Région Dents du Midi which covers the four Swiss resorts of Champéry, Les Crosets, Champoussin and Morgins. The spectacular Dents du Midi themselves are the seven peaks of the mountain range that forms the backdrop to a skiing holiday here.
If you’ve been to the Portes du Soleil, you’ve very likely skied Champéry ski resort, maybe without appreciating its distinct character as part of the Swiss sector within the wider cross-border PdS ski domain with its 600km of pistes and dozen or so Portes du Soleil resorts. Whisper it… but the Swiss side is often quieter, more relaxed and more fun to ski!
At the area’s outside edge, Champéry combines charm and authenticity with its chalets lining a picturesque village street bustling with shops and places to eat. It also has swift, modern access to the PdS slopes - Champéry’s distinctive red and white cable car climbs to an altitude of 2,000m in under 5 minutes. If neighbouring Les Crosets is very much the nerve centre of the Swiss side, with great all-round connections, Champéry provides the character.
Champéry - Ski Map & Pistes:
The Swiss side of Les Portes du Soleil comes with its own local Dents du Midi Swiss lift pass. This covers the 100km of runs in the four Swiss resorts of Champéry, Les Crosets, Champoussin, and Morgins. For beginners, families and early intermediates this may be all you need. There's enough variety of slopes, from nursery greens to wide-open groomed pistes to one of the steepest and most intimidating slopes in the world – with 37 ski lifts to pull it all together. That steep slope is the infamous Swiss Wall, off the Pas de Chavanette, with up to 76% gradient! It extends over 1 km and its moguls - especially near the top - are famously as big as VW Beetles! The view from the top is spectacular, and if you don't fancy the descent, the chairlift running alongside is two-way, so you can watch others on the run.
For 'normal' skiing, an unmissable run on the Champéry side is Grand Paradis – the big run that runs to down the village, a real treat with with fresh snow on it! If the park is your thing, hit the Superpark, located in the heart of the Swiss sector, accessible in a few minutes by the cable car from Champéry or the Crosets chairlift from Les Crosets. You can also take on a circuit of the Swiss resorts: the Swiss Bliss tour takes roughly four hours to complete.
For most visitors, from intermediates up to advanced skiers, a local lift pass will not be enough - with 600km of slopes to explore, a full Portes du Soleil ski pass will be an essential part of your ski holiday budget, allowing you to expand your horizons across the Franco-Swiss border into the French resorts of Avoriaz, Morzine, Chatel and even distant Les Gets.
Champéry - Off-Piste, Backcountry & Ski Touring:
Off-piste skiers will enjoy the alpine terrain above the Ripaille/Grand Paradis run before it drops down into the forest. There are plenty of opportunities for edge-of-piste skiing both here and in the wider PdS domain. Ski tourers will likely gravitate to the Rando-Parc in nearby Morgins. The touring tracks are aimed at all abilities, with one black, two blue and three red trails. These take between 90 minutes and 3 hours, with an average altitude difference of 600m.
Champéry - Restaurants, Bars & The Town:
Champéry is also home to the Palladium - a multi-activity sports centre with facilities catering to elite athletes, sports lovers and families alike. You can try your hand at curling or skate circles around your friends on the ice rink.
There are around 30 bars and cafes in the Dents du Midi region, and Champéry is home to one of the best - Le Bar des Guides, which is more like a small pub. Popular with locals and visitors alike, when it’s busy, it can be elbow to elbow, really crowded, but that gives it a great atmosphere. For that post-piste party, try the R.E.D. - a friendly, trendy local hotspot, where the huge terrace transforms into an après-ski dance club, complete with cocktails and well-known DJs. For families, the place to head to is At'Home on Champéry's main street - it has a kids’ corner so parents can actually relax.
For that all-important mountain pit-stop, try Buvette de Chavanette, at the foot of the Swiss Wall. Really, it's little more than a snack hut, but it's famous in its own right! But the most significant of the dozens of mountain restaurants is Chez Coquoz above the village. The first high-altitude restaurant in the area, it was founded in 1952 - and is still run by the same family more than 6 decades later. It has over 200 wines to try (ask for a tasting tray).
Champéry - Ski Hire:
There are four choices for ski rental in Champéry (and 12 outlets in the wider Dents du Midi). Berra Sports has been a Champéry stalwart since 1938. Just a snowball's throw from the cable car you'll find Borgeat Sport Rentals, and the quartet is completed by Gonnet Sports, also since 1938, and Holiday Sport.
Champéry - Ski School:
For those all-important lessons, your best bet is the Champéry branch of the Swiss Ski and Snowboard School. Founded in 1932, the ESS has been an institution in Champéry for 80 years. As an alternative, the Snow Attitude School offers private ski, snowboard, telemark lessons for all ages and abilities.