New Chairlift for Avoriaz 2015   September 14th, 2015

Avoriaz are busy again this year investing in updating their lifts, this year the old 3-man Brochaux chairlift is getting the full makeover treatment.

Brochaux Avoriaz

This creaky old lift that runs from the bottom of the Mossettes lift up towards Avoriaz was a prime candidate renovation due to it’s age and being surrounded by newer lifts with better pistes.
But as we’ve seen with other makeovers in recent years the combination of a new fast lift and some remodelling of the connecting pistes can give a whole new lease of life to an area.

The chair itself is upgrading from an ancient 3-man to a high speed 6-man, with the top station being moved over 250 metres east along the ridge to allow for a new piste.
There was previously an off-piste itinerary route that came down underneath the lift, but this was fairly tricky and technical route especially without fresh snow when it became a chopped up mogul field. But the diggers and bulldozers have been busy this summer in crafting a whole new blue piste under the lift which has just been named “Blue Velvet” in a competition run by Avoriaz tourist office.

It will be interesting to see what effect the upgrade has on the area, it was definitely underused before but I’d expect it to pull in punters now it’s all shiny and new. Plus a new groomed piste to enjoy.

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I love the Portes du Soleil ski area and I think it’s one of the best in France if not the World! So I’ve put together a few statistics to show how the largest ski domains in France compare.

Total Kilometres of Ski Pistes

Largest ski domains in France, Kilometres of ski pistes
The Portes du Soleil clearly comes out on top with the 650 kms of pistes throughout the whole domain.

There has been some controversy recently over how the resorts come up with these figures, with German ski author and cartographer Christoph Schrahe claiming pretty much every area exaggerates their numbers.

It is funny how every resort seems to add up to a pretty round number !

The Portes du Soleil should get busy revising their figures to include the brand new piste built for the new Super-Chatel to Linga link.

6 Day Ski Pass Price

Price of ski lift pass in French ski areas
A large chunk of the cost a ski holiday is the cost of your lift pass for the week.

This graph shows the cost of a 6 day adult lift pass covering the whole area.

Portes du Soleil comes in second best in this category.

Remember to book your ski holiday with Absolute Alps and receive an extra 10% discount on the cost of the your ski passes.


 Ski Pass Costs per Kilometre

Cost per kilometre of ski passes in France. Best value lift pass in France
But what you really want to know is that you are getting value for money with your ski pass.

So yet again we have the Portes du Soleil coming in first place with its fantastic value for money ski pass which costs €0.37 per kilometre of piste.

Which is significantly cheaper than everyone else, with the next closest 27% more expensive and then soaring up to 167% more for the most expensive area located at Alpe D’Huez.


Total Number of Individual Pistes

Biggest ski area in France, total number of pistes
Variety is supposedly the spice of life and we want lots of different pistes to choose from when we go skiing.

Storming to the top spot with the only area to break the 300 mark is Les Trois Vallees. 330 is a lot, if you skied 6 hours a day for 6 days you would need to average over 9 runs an hour to tick them all off! I think you would need more than 1 holiday to tick them all off.

But a very respectable second place goes to the Portes du Soleil, and as mentioned earlier we should be adding an extra one for the new lifts and piste currently being finished in Chatel.


Highest Ski Lift in Area

Highest ski domain in France

Any list of skiing statistics wouldn’t be complete without a mention of height of the ski area.

A good win for Espace Killy here, which towers in at 3550 metres.

But we all know that size isn’t everything, don’t we ?

Go too high and it’ll be too cold in the winter, too white on cloudy days with no trees to help navigate.

So although Portes du Soleil looks a little low on the graph with average snowfall of 8 metres and plenty of tree lined runs for the white out days I think it’s a perfect height!


Conclusion – Portes du Soleil is the BEST !

Well I think my carefully selected statistics, were Portes du Soleil comes top twice & second twice, clearly show that my home ski domain is the best in France. But really I think you should come and see for yourself, and while skiing in one of the best ski domains why not stay in one of the best chalets in France – Chalet Les Trois Canards.

Hope to see you soon

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There’s been plenty of new development and replacement work to the ski lifts in the Portes du Soleil again this summer, here’s a run down of the shiny new ski-lift facilities you’ll be able to find for winter 2015.

Firstly here’s a link to the newly issued Portes du Soleil piste map for 2015, which has been updated to show the new lifts and pistes for the coming season. Check out the pink “NEW” stars showing the recent upgrades!

Chatel & Pre-la-Joux Area

Starting with the local ski area.New Chatel Ski Piste

New Ski-Lifts & Pistes between Linga and Super-Chatel

As mentioned in my earlier post the long talked about and anticipated link between the Chatel’s two ski areas is finally being built.

The latest updates to this are:

  • Both lifts will be the high speed detachable type, the initial plan was for one of the lifts to be a refurbished older style slow lift but there will now be a brand new 6 person detachable up to Super-Chatel called “Portes du Soleil” and a refurbished 4 person detachable going to Linga called “Gabelou”.
  • The blue piste from Linga to Gabelou has been totally reshaped from the old windy track into a broad and fairly straight piste, making it easy for beginners to return to Chatel.
  • The project is reportedly currently running a little behind schedule and is reported looking at a January opening. There has been an official announcement saying it will definitely be open this winter but the opening date has not been confirmed yet.

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New Aquatic Centre for Chatel   September 2nd, 2014

forme-do-night-outsideThis summer saw the opening of new aquatic centre in Chatel, which has been a big investment and an upgrade of the old existing outdoor summer-only pool.

The new centre called Forme d’O is a combination of pools / gym and spa areas, all finished to a very high standard.

During Summer and Winter seasons the centre will be open 7 days a week.

Inside it’s divided into 3 separate areas; the indoor & outdoor “Aquatic” swimming pools / “Oceane” adults only pool and spa area / “Fitness” gym area.

Aquatic Area

Features an indoor pool which goes from 40cm to 120cm complete with bubbles, perfect for children to play and enjoy. Plus an area marked out with 25 metre swimming lanes for those wishing to practise some serious swimming.

The outdoor 200m² swimming area is accessed by a connecting water tunnel, here you will have magnificent views across the valley even in the winter because the pool is heated year round. There are hydro-massage jets and bubble beds around the pool, with hot tub areas to relax in too, plus a swim against the current area.

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It’s been talked about for almost 20 years but work is finally under way to link up the Super-Chatel and Linga pistes. There will be two new chairlifts located at the top of the village just passed Lac Vonnes, one heading up to Super-Chatel and the other heading over to link up with the Linga pistes.

Super-Chatel to Lac Vonnes

Vonne Linga ski linkAs you can see from this image there will be a new 1500 meter blue piste coming from Super-Chatel down to Lac Vonnes which will be fitting with snow cannons.
The chairlift will be the 4-person high speed detachable type, and some of you may even have ridden this exact same chair before because it is coming from the Proclou in Avoriaz which is being upgraded to a 6-person lift this summer.

Lac Vonnes to Linga

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New Pointe de L’Au 4-person Chairlift

New Pointe de L'Au Lift
I’m most excited about the new Pointe de L’Au chairlift because the ancient, slow and very long 2-person chair it’s replacing was by far the worst lift in the whole of the PDS. It was a bottleneck between Champoussin and Les Crosets, which regularly managed to create massive snake like queues even when there wasn’t that many people around.
But the new high speed 4-person will make a massive difference for everyone exploring the great pistes on the Swiss side of the PDS, which are always a lot quieter than the main area between Avoriaz and Pres-la-Joux. The Swiss side has now had 4 new lifts in the last 4 years; 2 in Les Crosets, 1 in Morgins last year and now this one.
Along with the piste enhancements which happen along with the lifts the skiing on the Swiss side has really improved in the last few years, its’ infrastructure was poor in comparison to the French side but now it’s right up there and people should definitely spend some time exploring the area.

New Morzine Pleney Telecabin

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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.
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Ski Helmets – Should I Wear One?   November 30th, 2012

Ski helmets and the debate about whether to wear one or not, is a topic that is constantly coming up in news.

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 ?
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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 ?
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Certificate of Excellence 2012   October 16th, 2012

TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 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.

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