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We went to chatel in January 2009 and had a fantastic time. We stayed in a chalet called le trois canards which was excellent, but more on that later. Chatel itself is quite a small village, we stayed in petit chatel which is off to one side of the main village. The village is quite quaint and has the usual ski wear shops, cheese shops and random souvenir shops, as well as some lovely warm tea shops for when you've had enough snow. There are a few restaurants but not lots of choice of cuisine. We ended up getting takeaway pizza on out chalet hosts night off! The skiing at chattel is split into two separate areas and neither was that easy to access on foot from our chalet or the main bit of chatel. We were lucky that there was a mini bus included in our chalet and I think you would be lost without one. This, I would say is the only downside of the resort. There are plenty of runs for people of all experience and the learning slopes are quite separate but big enough for you to get your confidence on before heading up the main mountain. We didn't experience any queues and the lift pass system was easy to use.. For the more experienced skier there is plenty to explore but you will cover and lot of the same ground quite quickly if you don't get the big area pass. Food on the mountains is OK and much the same as for most mountain restaurants, there is however a cafe right at the border of France and Switzerland which has the most amazing views out over the world! Fantastic resort overall and I cannot recommend our chalet highly enough. It was clean and modern, with absolutely fantastic catering and the most friendly hosts you could wish for, nothing was too much trouble, which , when travelling with children, is such a relief!
I have to say that I thought that the Chatel ski area was pretty good! It certainly had a lot to offer, both in terms of skiing and the apres ski. let me deal with these separately. Skiing: Chatel is part of the massive Portes du Soleil ski area that covers 650km of resorts. At the time that I was there, the resort was good for my level, as it is predominently an intermediate level resort, with just a few black runs. There are 49 snow runs in total, with a total of 85 km covered by the runs. There are a total of 41 lifts servicing the area. There is also a recent addition of a snow park and a half pipe for the more adventurous and accomplished skier and boarder! The area is so large that you really feel as if you do not quite scratch the surface of what is available. We skied over the border into Switzerland one afternoon which was pretty cool. The snow was excellent up until the last day when we took the free bus to Pre la joux, where the snow was pretty bare at the lower parts of the runs. However this was the only blip, as the snow was excellent and plentiful everywhere else. Queueing is rare, and the slopes are fairly uncluttered. The slopes are a nice mix of greens, blues, reds and blacks. The flat narrow blues are even more difficult than the reds. Only bad point (and which stops it getting 5 stars) was the long walk up the hill carrying skis to get the gondola up to the base of the mountain. Maybe it was just that my hotel was far away, but then again, maybe not! Apres-Ski: There area a total of 21 bars in Chatel, 2 night clubs and 24 restaurants, so pretty much everyone's taste will be covered, although maybe I was just a bit unlucky with some of the food I had in the restaurants. I had a lasagne that was not very nice!! The resort itself was one of the highlights, as it was extremely picturesque. Some of the brochures and websites said that as it is at a low altitude there might not be snow in the town, but it was completely covered while I was there and it also snowed. I had a great time in Chatel, both skiing and the apres ski and would definitely recommend it to the beginner and intermiediate skiier.