The traditional skiing village of Champéry is one of Switzerland’s oldest holiday resorts. As early as 1857, the village’s first hotel opened its doors to the public, laying the foundations for what was to become a popular winter destination. There are two sides to Champéry’s story. On the one hand, the resort has moved with the times, developing into a modern ski centre. But on the other, its 150 years of history have left their mark, affording the village a unique charm. Its location, on a valley floor at an altitude of 1050m, nestled between the two peaks “Dents du Midi” and “Dents Blanches”, makes for a view worthy of any postcard.
The centre of the resort is also akin to something out of a picture book. Well-preserved traditional chalets, some of which date all the way back to the very beginnings of the village, complete with locally carved balconies and typical regional roof shapes, give the village a truly authentic appearance. A great advantage of the resort’s location is the easy access to the “Portes du Soleil” ski area, which straddles the border between Switzerland and France, and is one of the largest ski areas in Europe.
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With the help of the “Champéry-Planachaux” cable car, or the modern 6-seater “Grand-Paradis” chairlift, it takes just 5 minutes to ascend to an altitude of 2000m, and arrive in the “Portes du Soleil” ski area. From there a selection of almost 300 runs, connected by almost 200 lifts, provide limitless enjoyment on both French and Swiss soil.
Alongside highlights such as the legendary “Chavanette” run (more commonly known as the “Swiss Wall”), Portes du Soleil also has a total of 10 snow parks and almost 250km of cross-country runs to offer.
Champéry is also the perfect location those holidaymakers looking for an unforgettable experience, not only on the ski runs, but away from them as well. Aside from the welcoming centre of the ski resort, Champéry also has a wide range of other activities on offer for its guests. The centrally located “Palladium” (the national ice centre) provides clay tennis courts, an indoor and an outdoor swimming pool, an ice rink, a curling hall, an indoor climbing wall and a fitness centre.
The selection of outdoor activities is equally extensive. Visitors have, amongst other things, snowshoe walking, a visit to a local cheese dairy, a trip to the medieval castles of Aigle and Cillon, or a visit to one of Switzerland’s last traditional bell foundries to choose from. Holidaymakers also have the “wellness” facilities in the thermal spa at Val d’Illiez within easy reach, just 5 minutes away by road.
Last but not least, Champéry’s culinary delights are certainly not to be sniffed at. Thanks to a team of talented up-and-coming chefs, the resort’s restaurants have made somewhat of a name for themselves when it comes to gourmet cuisine, and invite their guests to indulge in various regional specialities, as well as some more unusual dishes. Visitors can bring their day to a close by soaking up some après-ski atmosphere at any of the various pubs and clubs.