Snow, snow and more snow   December 29th, 2011

After receiving 2 weeks of almost constant snow before Christmas we were treated to a few blue and sunshine days over the last week, for Christmas Day there wasn’t a cloud in sight all day.

But the cloud is back today with a dusting of snow this morning and the forecasts showing lots more snow to come over the next week, with only a few sunny spells if we are lucky.

The snow conditions on the mountain are excellent at the moment and can only get better from more of the white stuff.

Our first couple of weeks of guests have been and gone now, everything is running smoothly in the chalet with our chef producing superb meals every night.

The chalet is filling up fast but we still have a few weeks of availability in late February and March, contact us for some special late ski deals.

Get in touch to help organise our 2012 ski holiday.

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Check out our top ten list of Chatel facts:
  1. We’ve had more combined snow fall this year so far then the whole of last winter season !! I’m not sure this is actually true but its the word around the resort at the moment. At the moment there is over 160 cms of snow on the top slopes, and conditions are superb.
  2. Chatel and the Portes du Soleil are the largest linked ski domain in the WORLD, offering over 650 kms of pistes and 198 lifts. The 3 Valleys has 600 kms and 180 lifts.
  3. The new 6 man Rochassons ski lift at Pre-la-Joux has the latest safety technology with an automatic raising safety bar that pops up just before you disembark.
  4. The Pre-la-Joux area has just finished a 4 year and 14 million Euro improvement program to install snow cannon along all the pistes in the area, which required the creation of a massive new reservoir to hold water for the upper slopes.
  5. Next year work is due to start on the much debated and long awaited link between the Pre-la-Joux and Super-Chatel ski areas. There will be  new lifts are pistes installed connecting both areas at the top of Chatel near Lake Vonnes, which will give an alternative to getting the ski bus to/from Pre-la-Joux.
  6. A new sports and well-being centre is to be built next year on the site of the open air pool. This will give a year round sports centre for Chatel, current budget is 13 million Euro so I expect it to be good.
  7. Airboarding has arrived in Chatel !! Ever fancied sliding down the slopes on a modified lilo ?
  8. Lake Vonnes at the top of Chatel village has the highest altitude fountain in all of France at 1300m, and throughout the winter people can explode under the surface with ice diving.
  9. St Laurent is the patron saint of Chatel and the whole village turns out to celebrate on the first Sunday of August with a village fete.
  10. Chatel is at the head of the Abondance valley which is populated by Abondance cows, who in turn produce Abondance cheese. The local hard cheese which has been granted  an Appellation d’origine contrôlée or AOC.
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Cheap Easyjet Ski Flights   December 16th, 2011

Easyjet are currently offering £10 off for any flights booked to Geneva, Grenoble or Salzberg for travel between 1st January and 31st March 2012. Just enter the discount code “SKI1210” when booked, offer ends 19th December 2011.

We still have rooms free in Chalet Les Trois Canard, contact us now for cheap ski holidays in France and we can organise your perfect ski holiday.

Massive storm currently over the French Alps, very heavy snowfall and strong winds up high. Looks like we could have almost 1 metre of  fresh new snow falling at the top the mountain over the next 24 hours. Followed by some very cold temperatures in the next few days, down to -20°C at the top.

I think we have probably already had nearly the same amount to snow fall this year as we received all of last year, looking good !!

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Chatel Skiing Opens   December 12th, 2011

Chatel opened their lifts on Saturday for the first time this season, we were treated to great conditions above mid-station. The weather was good for the weekend with a fair amount of sunshine around, the pistes were in good condition and even the off-piste was very skiable and 90 cms covering of snow at the top.

Today we woke to a bit of rain in the village with snow higher up but very quickly the rain turned to tea-bag sized snowflakes which continued to fall until late afternoon. That should have dropped another 20-30 cms at the top of the mountain.

First guests will be arriving tomorrow and looks like they be in for lots more snow throughout the week.

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How to fit snow chains   December 8th, 2011

Snow chains are an essential item to carry in the car if you are driving to the Alps for a ski holiday, and the last fe winters in the UK have even made them a wise choice to carry at times there too.

Snow chains are fairly simple to fit if you know what you’re doing, but if the first time you open the box is in the middle of a snow storm in the dark then it could easily turn into an epic struggle.

Here is quick guide to fitting snow chains to your car, the first 3 steps should be completed BEFORE you even set off on your journey.

  1. Check the chains are the correct size for your tyres. Incorrect sized chains cause big problems, too small will be impossible to fit or too large will not tightened up
  2. TRY FITTING THEM AT HOME. If you spend a short while understanding how they work in the warmth / daylight / comfort outside your home I guarantee it will all be a lot easier when you try on the roadside up a mountain in the cold / dark / snowstorm
  3. Carrying a pair of gloves / torch / small shovel can make the whole experience a lot more pleasant too. In France it is a legal requirement to carry a warning triangle and hi-vis vest, both should be used if you are working at the side of the road
Now for actually fitting them at the roadside
  1. PUT THEM ON BEFORE YOU GET STUCK. Choosing a good place to stop, out of the traffic, maybe sheltered from the elements and with some lighting is a good starting point. Whereas sliding off the road into a snow bank or ditch is a really bad start, you’ll struggle to get access to the wheel before you even try and put the chains on
  2. For front wheel drive cars the chains go in the front, for rear wheel drive they go on the rear
  3. Take the chains out of the box, lay them out on the floor and CAREFULLY check there are no twists in the chains, if the chains have been looped over the main ring they will have a kink and be more difficult to fit
  4. Slide the chains around behind the wheel and connect the two ends of the ring together at the TOP
  5. Pull the loose chains around the edges of the wheel and use the connecting ring to fasten the chains together at the top of the wheel
  6. Now pass the long tensioning chain through the tensioning link at the bottom and pull tight, then past the chain through the clip and fasten the end of the chain to the appropriate link on the wheel. Keeping the chain as tight as possible
  7. Once both chains are fitting it is important to drive for 100 metres and then stop. Get out the car and tension the chain again. The short drive will have spread the chains evenly and will allow extra slack to be pulled through
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First Snow of the Ski Season   December 5th, 2011

Snow is currently falling throughout the French Alps and most resorts including Chatel will be opening their ski lifts this coming weekend the 10th December. The last clear blue skies we saw were last Friday, since then its been snowing on and off in the mountains, last night the snow line dropped into Chatel village at 1200m and is due to continue to drop down the valley for the next few days.

By the end of this week there should be a significant depth of snow on all the upper and lower slopes, I expect all the snow cannons will be working overtime during this cold spell.  Chatel have added another 32 snow cannons to their slopes during the summer, bringing the total to an impressive 175 in the Chatel domain, with the whole Portes du Soleil boasting 835 snow cannons this year.

Chatel ski lifts are due to open this weekend the 10th December 2011.

I spent this morning changing the tires on the car to snow tires, snow shovels have come out of the garage and have seen their first action of the season clearing the stairs outside.

We still have 3 bedrooms available between 20th and 27th December, get in touch to organise your last minute Christmas ski holiday with a 30% discount.

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Snow in the French Alps   December 1st, 2011

Looks like the French Alps along with the rest of Europe are about to get there first snowfall of the winter, the high pressure system which has been stubbornly sat over most of Europe for a the past month is giving way to more unsettled weather.

We have definitely enjoyed the clear blue skies and warm sunshine we’ve had recently but time for a change now, especially as our first guests will be arriving in less than 2 weeks time. I’m pretty sure they would be more than a little disappointed if they arrived to green mountains with no snow!!

But all the weather forecasts for the European Alps are showing unsettled weather heading this way probably arriving tomorrow evening, and even better they are showing days of snow continuing throughout next week.

Chatel has announced they will be opening their ski lifts from Saturday 10th December, with full access to the rest of the Portes du Soleil ski domain from Saturday 17th December.

We still have a few rooms free over Christmas, with 7 nights from Tuesday 20th December available with a huge 30% last minute discount.

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