The Perfect Ski Season ? February 22nd, 2013
So we are past the half way mark now and well into the February school holidays, and it’s all good here in the snowy and cold ski resort of Chatel.
This season has produced great conditions pretty much every week, and for a period at the start of February I’d say conditions were as good as they ever get.
We started on high at the beginning of December with deep powder covering the mountain and resort, our first lucky clients staying the week before Christmas had a great time on very quiet and very snowy pistes.
A little bit of rain just before Christmas did flatten down the waist deep powder a little but the festival spirit was definitely not dampened down. It was a very busy Christmas and New Year in the resort with the holidays falling mid week again after a couple of slightly quieter year when they fell on the weekend, but with the great snow cover and massive expanse of the Portes du Soleil to discover lift queues are never too bad here.
We were treated to a fair few sunny days at the start of January which was nice see, mixed in with more snow. The January quiet lull arrived and we could enjoy the mountain with great snow conditions but relatively few holiday makers, often my favourite time of the season to ski because of the empty pistes and good chance of fresh snow fall.
The end of January brought a massive storm sweeping across Europe, initially very high winds and driving rain pretty high up the mountain. But after that first day which was pretty much a write-off for skiing it just snowed and snowed and snowed for a week solid. The off piste was amazing with powder on top of powder on top of more powder, I would say conditions were definitely as good as they ever get out here. When the sun finally came out temperatures remained cold and the mountain was an awesome playground, the perfect time get the biggest skis you could find and head out for big fun.
The cold conditions have stuck around which has meant the pistes have stayed in great shape during the busy school holiday weeks, moguls have been s few and far between on the pistes.
All in all its been great season, looking forward to a great March too. Even without any more snow there is plenty of great skiing to come, but I’m sure we’ll be treated to a few more powder days.
We still have some availability in April and with the great snow coverage there will be plenty left by then. Get in touch with Absolute Alps Holidays to organise your late ski break.
Ski Helmets – Should I Wear One? November 30th, 2012
I would definitely say that more and more people are wearing them each year on the slopes, a recent survey said that up to 77 percent of British skiers now claim to wear a ski helmet and that’s up from 62 percent just a couple of years ago in 2010. 77 percent is pretty impressive figure and I would be very interested to know how that figure breaks down by age group. Parents usually insist on children wearing them and it’s an essential cool piece of kit for most snowboarders too.
This year a major ski insurer, Essential Travel, has become the first in the UK company is insist that all ski insurance policy holders must wear a helmet on the slopes. This created quite a fuss in newspapers and on-line, but was it just a publicity stunt ? or just sound advise ?
So what are the arguments for and against ?
Choosing The Right Ski Hire November 19th, 2012
Many people are now saving money on their ski hire by booking in advance on-line. But that means having to make the choice about which skis you’ll be wanting whilst sitting at home in front of your PC.
Traditionally that decision would be made in the ski shop with a little help from the staff who worked there and who would hopefully be able to offer you advise on the best skis for your ability and preferred terrain. Of course not all ski staff are helpful and everyone should have a some basic knowledge of different ski types and how to choose a ski suited to their individual style.
Most stores will offer 3 or 4 different categories of ski, so which should you choose ?
Certificate of Excellence 2012 October 16th, 2012
We received a surprise parcel in the post the other day, inside was a small plaque from TripAdvisor to display in our chalet commemorating our achievement of winning a Certificate of Excellence for 2012.
I’m sure they’ve already sent me a certificate, although I’m not sure where I put it !
But it’s good to see the gifts are getting bigger, first a paper certificate, second a small plaque, I wonder what could be next ? Maybe a giant banner to hang outside the chalet ?
Anyway thanks again to all our guests from last ski season who took the time to write all the fantastic comments we received.
Looking forward to another great season and to welcoming more guests to Chalet Les Trois Canards.
We had a little snow falling in Chatel a couple of days ago and the mountains are currently all white, winter is definitely just round the corner now.
I’m busy working my way through my to-do list of everything that needs doing before the winter.
Get in touch if you’re thinking about your next ski trip, we’ve still got several weeks available and would love to show you why we won our Certificate of Excellence.
New Ski Lifts in Portes du Soleil for 2013 October 8th, 2012
This year we have 3 new ski lifts currently being installed throughout the Portes du Soleil, for the coming 2012/2013 ski season.
Morzine is replacing the old and slow Troncs chairlift with a new high-speed six seater chair. This lift starts at a collection of restaurants and runs up to the Nyon area which has a snowpark and several great runs, including the fantastic red from the top of Pointe de Nyon. I regularly stop for lunch at the nearest restaurant to the bottom of this chair, so I’m looking forward to speeding off up hill straight after lunch next season.
The Morgins lift company is installing a new high speed lift to replace Les Bochasses, which was a very old T-bar drag lift. This lift is in the area between Morgins and Champoussin, it too has several great pistes that always used to be very under used and quiet because of the cranky old lift. But with a new lift in this area I reckon there will definitely be more skiers on the pistes next season.
Avoriaz is busy replacing the big old cable car that runs from the bottom of Prodains up to the resort, the old cable car only had a capacity of 400 people an hour. But the new 3S cable car system will have a capacity between 2000 and 2400 people an hour.
The 3S system is the latest ski lift technology, which combines the benefits of large cable car with the constantly moving chair lift system. Avoriaz will have 12 cars with 35 seats in each, the cars rest on 2 cables with provides a more stable ride.
The lift station at the top is also being completely rebuilt to provide improved entry and exit. Although we are going to have to wait until mid-February 2013 to try out this new lift, but I’m sure it will be worth the wait. Whenever I went to use the old lift it invariably departed just as I got there and so the whole trip would take well over half an hour.
Top 5 Mountain Side Restaurants in Portes du Soleil October 1st, 2012
I’ve been skiing the Portes du Soleil for over 10 years now and thought I should share a few of my favourite mountain side restaurants. What is better than a little local knowledge when looking for somewhere to stop for lunch.
Fantaski – Chatel / Pre-la-Joux
Location – First restaurant at the top of the first lift (Pierre Longue)
This restaurant is often a favourite with guests staying at our ski chalet, it’s easy to find and a great rendezvous place for a big group, loads of seating outside for sunny days and a wood burning stove inside for chilly days. Great value food with cheese burger and chips (Surfer et frites) for under €10. It can be a little slow to serve food during busy weeks of the season so a good idea to avoid the 12:30 – 13:30 rush hour.
Top 5 Expensive Ski Gadgets for 2013 September 15th, 2012
Thought I’d better get this list in early as these are amazing gadgets but they’re not cheap. So you’ll need a little time to save up and convince yourself you can’t possibly hit the slopes next winter without these must have items.
Recon Instruments’ MOD Live ~ £320
Embedded with a GPS, Accelerometer & Gyro – you see stats such as speed, vertical descent, jump airtime, navigation, temperature as you cruise down the mountain.
Bluetooth connectivity to pair with your smartphone allows you to see text messages as they arrive, or caller ID as anyone phones you, also control your music playlist.
All controlled without having to take your gloves off or your phone out of your pocket.
You’d definitely feel like the Terminator on skis with this bit of kit.
The price doesn’t include the special Recon-Ready goggles you need to purchase too, which are going to cost another £120
IXS Downhill Cup in Chatel September 10th, 2012
24 year old Brit Brendan Fairclough won the event on a fairly wet and slippery course, check out this awesome video of the route he made the day before the event. Love the way he calmly chats his way down the mountain as if he’s taking a walk in the park.
Best of luck Brendan with the final stage which will be on held on 22nd / 23rd September in Todtnau, Germany.
Great to see another British mountain biker leading the pack after last year when Danny Hart won the UCI MTB DHI World Championship held just over the border from Chatel in Champery. Check out the video of his awesome winning run in some of the wettest and muddiest conditions I’ve ever seen anyone ride a bike.
2012 – A Great Summer in Chatel August 28th, 2012
The summer rush is just starting to calm down in Chatel now, and it’s been a very busy one this year. After a pretty slow start weather wise in spring time, it really pulled one out of the bag from the start of June onwards. We’ve been spoilt with blue skies and high temperatures all summer, with just a few thunderstorms thrown in to clear the air every now and then.
Bradley Wiggins continued his winning ways through the summer with an amazing Tour du France win, and then less than 2 weeks later collecting an Olympic gold medal.
The first big summer event on the mountain is always the Red Bull Chatel Mountain Style, which run on 6/7/8 July this year, with Canadian mountain biker Brandon Semenuk winning this year event.
Chatel’s annual village festival, Fete La Saint Laurent was another great success this year, possibly made even more fun because it somehow managed to defy the weather forecasts and we were treated to hot sunny weather in between morning and evening thunder storms.
A couple of weeks ago the temperatures were touching over 40°C everyday, which was possibly a little too hot.
The French schools start back next week, so most of the chalets and apartments will be closed up for the autumn soon. With everyone attention soon turning to planning their winter 2012/13 ski holiday.
Get in touch with us here at Absolute Alps Holidays to see what we have to offer, Early Booking Discounts currently available.
Stunning mountain car journeys in the European Alps July 9th, 2012
Anyone renting a car in France and travelling over the Alps will agree with that wise old saying, ‘it’s the journey not the destination that counts’. True enough, you’re lucky to see some of the most beautiful natural spectacles in Europe when you’re travelling en-route to your ski resort. The following are a few of our favourites…