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.

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.
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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

A heads-up display inside your ski goggles – just like a jet fighter pilot!  Awesome

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
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IXS Downhill Cup in Chatel   September 10th, 2012

This last weekend saw the final big summer event in Chatel for 2012, the 6th stage of the IXS European Mountain Bike Downhill Cup was held in the Chatel BikePark on the 8th / 9th September.

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.

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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.

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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… 

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Bradley Wiggins Wins   June 10th, 2012

Team Sky Procycling Chatel

Bradley Wiggins claimed his third major road cycling title of the year with a yellow jersey winning finish in Chatel today.

A great day for Bradley and fellow team mate and Brit Christopher Froome who finished fourth, plus the Sky Procycling team who won the team category.

The weather even played along with the rain holding off until after the event was finished and the clean-up was almost complete.

Most of the competitors will now be keeping their heads down for the rest of the month to ensure they are in peak condition for the start of the Tour de France next month.

Despite Bradley claiming in the post race interview he would not be THE favourite to win Le Tour he is certainly one of the favourites, and will have lots of a  Brits looking forward to the big race next month.

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Alta Badia, Gem of The Alps   June 9th, 2012

Calling the Alta Badia valley beautiful is an euphemism. And to describe its beauty here is a difficult task. You should really visit it yourself to discover the infinite forms of this dolomitic land. The tradition accounts this as one of the first places where winter sports started. It is easy to imagine how  developed and specialized the touristic offer of hotels is here.

Trentino is the ideal place for trekking or biking, or to try soft activities such as Nordic walking, yoga and outdoors exercises.
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The Criterium du Dauphine will be arriving in Chatel next weekend for the 8th and final stage.

This is one of Europe’s big annual road cycling races, and many of the Tour de France teams use it as a warm-up for the big event. Being in a mountainous area the race is usually won by a climbing specialist, and often features several of the most famous climbing stage from Le Tour.

This year the Dauphine is made up of a 1 short prologue stage around the town of Grenoble followed by 7 full stages, and covers a total distance of 1,052 kilometres. Starting Sunday 3rd June in Grenoble and finishing on Sunday 10th June in Chatel.

There are 22 teams and 175 riders running this year, with some big names including Brady Wiggins, Cadel Evans & Andy Schleck to name a few. Obviously I’ll be cheering on team Sky and Brady Wiggins (one of only 3 riders from GB), hopefully he should be in the running for winning the race.

Hopefully the weather will be fine, last year in April Chatel hosted a stage from the Tour de Romandie and after 3 weeks of glorious weather it rained all day when the tour arrived. This year Brady Wiggins won the 2012 66th Tour de Romandie, hope that is a good sign for next weekend!

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Walking in the French Alps   May 27th, 2012

While the European Alps are best known for winter sports, there is tremendous scope for summer fun too. Alpine towns like Chamonix and Interlaken are almost as busy during the warmer months. Visitors come to enjoy stunning views (the high peaks are icebound all year), to walk mountain trails that become difficult or impassable in winter, and to experience the wildlife, food, and culture of the Alpine region.

For adventure lovers there is plenty to get excited about, rock climbing on the valley crags, Alpine climbing above, white water rafting and kayaking on snowmelt-filled rivers, and some of the best mountain biking and road cycling in the world.
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