One of the best snow records in Europe
Châtel boasts one of the best snow records in Europe - which some people might find surprising given that the resort is at 1250m (and the interlinking pistes rise to around 2500m in neighboring Avoriaz). What are the reasons behing the area’s excellent snow record?
Châtel is situated between Lake Geneva and Mont Blanc, which creates a unique micro-climate. Cold winds pick up moisture as they travel over the relatively warm lake, which are then forced upwards as they hit the mountains and into the higher colder atmosphere. This can cause intense and specific regional snow fall directly over Châtel and the Portes du Soleil.
2. North facing slopes
The village of Châtel sits on the south facing side of the Morclan mountain enjoying all day sun. However the main ski areas at Linga (which is right next to Chalet Isobel) and Pre la Joux have the majority of their slopes facing north and west, meaning they are well protected from the sun and hold their snow until the end of the season.
3. Grassy pastures
Châtel is a farming village with over 60 active farms in the valley making local cheese such as Abondance and Tomme. In the summer months the mountains are full of cows grazing on the grassy slopes all the way up to 2000 meters. These grassy pastures are great for skiing: a snow base of just 10-20cm will suffice (compared to other resorts that have rocky slopes and require a compacted base of a metre or more to cover all the rocks).
4. Snow Cannons
Châtel has invested heavily in snow making facilities over the past decade - 237 snow cannons have been installed over 21 pistes. This guarantees skiing from mid December until the end of April, even in the times when Mother Nature doesn’t provide.