Portes du Soleil (CH)

Ski Chalets & Apartments for sale, Switzerland

Expert's Opinion

“Often over-looked by major tour operators, the Swiss side of the Portes du Soleil has the rustic charm you would expect from resorts this side of the border in villages such as Champery and Morgins and is also very weekend-able with an easy transfer from Geneva. Add in unspoiled Alpine scenery and quick links into the snow-sure areas around Avoriaz and Les Crosets, this area is perfect for those seeking a substantial ski area and a family-oriented atmosphere.” – Simon Malster

The Village

Sitting beneath the dramatic ridge of the Dents du Midi, Champery has a friendly, relaxed atmosphere and is characterised by classic old wooden chalets. In spite of the quick links to Avoriaz and the Lindarets valley and Chatel, this resort feels very Swiss in style and with its own railway station is much more accessible than its local neighbours with day trips to Montreux, Lake Geneva and Martigny all very easy. A sizeable resort in its own right, there are plenty of restaurants, some good bars and a few nightclubs too.
 
A hamlet sitting above the pretty resort of Champery, Les Crosets is one of the smaller ski villages in the Portes du Soleil but has direct access to some of the best slopes as it shares an immediate ski area with Avoriaz. Les Crosets is a micro-resort really without too many gourmet restaurants or a lively après ski but snow-sure at 1660m and with sunny, wide open pistes, it is a very convenient option for those with skiing and scenery as the top priorities. Champoussin is similar in terms of the direct access from the pistes (unlike Champery) and is great option for families.
 
Morgins is slightly further round and just over the border from Chatel. Scattered but aesthetic, this resort has some well-reviewed Alpine restaurants, a gentle nursey right in the centre and offers great access to ski areas in both France and Switzerland. Further down in the Val d’Illiez there is also the Thermes Parc thermal spa.

The Skiing

Champery, Les Crosets & Champoussin share their immediate ski area with Avoriaz, boasting a range of wide open slopes which are perfect for beginners and intermediates; the region is famously good for snowboarders.

While the area itself is primarily intermediate, there are a number of more advanced slopes. In particular you can try the infamous Swiss Wall which will challenge even the most experienced skiers. Once you have conquered this you can then hire a ski guide to take you out to explore some of the great off piste spots and powder caches.

All these resorts have access to 650km of terrain spread across two countries and over a dozen resorts. While most of the slopes are on the French side, the Swiss resorts are actually very well positioned within the system and so it isn’t unrealistic to assume you will be able to make full use of this substantial ski region from a Swiss base. The local ski schools are held in particularly high regard and run lessons on how to ski back country and remote locations for more adventurous types.

Summer

The Portes du Soleil remains almost entirely open throughout the summer. Mountain biking and hiking are the main activities and there is a huge amount of terrain, 800km in all, to tackle. Many of the lifts are open throughout the summer making it easier for hikers and bikers alike to reach the trails.

For a real expedition you can head out for three to four days and enjoy the 40km Dents-du-Midi circuit. Sleep in small huts that line the trail and enjoy spectacular views with everything from meadows, lakes, glaciers and waterfalls along the way. You might even want to stop off at one of the lakes and have a relaxing (though slightly cold) swim. 

There are also a number of events and festivals to enjoy over the summer months. The favourite is no doubt the Foire du Betail where you can enjoy music as well as local artisans and produce. If you still don't feel you have enough, then you could also enjoy the famous jazz festival in Montreux on the shores of Lake Geneva - just 45 minutes away.
 

Properties

Due to law changes, new construction is very limited in Switzerland so most properties in this area are resales or renovations. There are a few small newbuild projects but they are very scarce. Prices are broadly comparable to the properties on the French side (pricier if anything) but obviously properties on the Swiss side are an investment in Swiss francs and that has its own appeal.

Les Crosets is a small village almost entirely built in a traditional style, thus is mostly unspoilt by large and modern apartment developments. We are currently marketing an impressive ski in, ski out hotel in Les Crosets which has a pool, spa and wellness. Thanks to Les Crosets' high altitude and ideal position within the Portes du Soleil to access the best slopes; this would be a great business to take over. As the Portes du Soleil is also considered one of the best dual season destinations in the Alps, guests will be arriving throughout the summer and winter months.