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Buying a property in Chatel

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@snoozeboy - thanks for the responses it's much appreciated. Bumping this in the hope it will be seen by other chatel locals / regulars.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I think that DJL is currently on his annual boys' trip to Chatel, which is why he may be a little quiet on this at the moment. I'd recommend that you send him a direct message as I'm sure he'll have many of the answers you're looking for.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Ozboy, Sorry, hadn’t spotted this. I am still in UK but out to Chatel this weekend.


You asked “We are also looking at another property in walking distance to the lift at Petit Chatel - is this a viable and reliable location for accessing the slopes and how much time does it add to the transit time to Pre La Joux?”

The lifts at Petit Chatel lead over to Super Chatel via two non-detachable chairs and then two (or three if you go via Chalet Neuf) draglifts. If you don’t have queues and ski briskly I would say a bit under an hour to get to Super Chatel and then from there to PLJ you have another four lifts (three chairs and a gondola) and three ski runs. I would say two hours to the bottom of PLJ. By bus it would take you 20 minutes or so (with a change in the main square). There is a bus stop right at the Petit Chatel lift and also stops further up and down the main road. Where is the Petit Chatel property?

The Barbossine area at Petit Chatel faces South and has no snow cannon so it can suffer if snow is a bit thin or it is early/late in the season. The lower lift is officially download only with no piste route back but you can go down the road and cut down a track under the lift or head across the meadows if there is enough snow (look out for barbed wire fences!). I would say it is likely to be accessible on skis for about half the season, maybe more, on average.

Very early or late in the season the Petit Chatel lifts tend to be closed. One bonus of Petit Chatel is that it has (in my opinion) the best views in the village. Our West facing balcony looks straight down the valley uninterrupted. South balconies look onto Mont de Grange and Linga.

From Flambeau (if it is where I think it is) you could get pretty close to ski in/out most of the time and you would need the Super Chatel gondola and then the four lifts mentioned above to get to PLJ base. I would say about 1.25 hours.
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...or from Flambeau if you wanted to get to PLJ quickly you'd walk 5mins to the Place D'Eglise and get a bus there directly without having to change - 15 mins I guess.

Another bonus of Petit Chatel that DJL didn't mention is that it probably gets the most sun in Chatel as it's the part least shaded by Mont de Grange. Makes little difference in summer but a lot more in winter. Not great for piste conditions and ski in/out, but I'd prefer to have accommodation in the sun and then ski where the snow is good.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@snoozeboy, The sun point is a good one but doesn't help us too much as we are West facing. In winter it has set below Mont de Grange/Mont Chauffee before it hits the balcony but in summer is great. Would be very valid for a Southerly aspect.

Are you skiing next week?
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I have quite a lot of work on at the moment and my place is rented out solid until early April. That said, if the conditions look good, I could be tempted to put in a day trip. Monday/Thursday the best days for me.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@DJL - thanks for the info, in particular appreciate the transit times as it's hard to figure out when looking at the distorted chatel piste map on the screen - I think this, and your comments regarding sunshine, re-enforces the benefit of being close to SC and and up the hill. We would like to be car free when ever possible. I see there is a small bus that goes to Boude that we can use as a backup.

Flambeaux location: https://goo.gl/maps/bwLYKe89VAu
Petin Chatel location (estimate): https://goo.gl/maps/2TqcP3Lan552

You will see from the satellite view that Flambeaux has the 'off piste' slope above it with ski tracks which seems good on paper - do you know how well this slope holds the snow given southern exposure?

@snoozeboy - you mentioned earlier that we can also walk to the village via this slope as a shortcut - is it easy to get across?
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Ozboy wrote:

@snoozeboy - you mentioned earlier that we can also walk to the village via this slope as a shortcut - is it easy to get across?


Not sure as I've never done it. I think it might be possible in summer, maybe less so when there's snow on it (buy some snowshoes and take them to the pub with you?). It's quite steep.

I think before committing, you need to get out here and walk the walk. Excuse that awful expression, but I mean it literally. As you'll have seen on other threads, rental value is very sensitive to accessibility to lifts and the village. Longer than 5 mins means a huge effect on your rentability and it could also make a big difference to how you enjoy the place yourselves. When I bought my place, it was sold as being 1.1km from the village, by road, which is a long way. However, when I got here I found a pedestrian path from the garage to the main square which is about 150m, which makes it about a 3 minute walk and no need to have a car here.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@Ozboy, That Petit Chatel location will be accessible most of the time from the road above (marked as Route du Petit Chatel on the map). It is a steep hillside but if you come down the road from the Barbossine mid station you can duck under/climb the fence and get across the field pretty well to the point marked.

For Flambeau you will be able to ski from Super Chatel over the off piste to the marked point when the snow is good. Again quite a steep slope. They work hard on keeping the ski run open but late season you will have a thin trail of farmed/packed snow to the lift base station and nothing on the field so it will not be quite door to door.

@snoozeboy, not looking like a classic week. Monday will be the first day we have our group together (two arrive Sunday night - don't ask!) so Thursday would be a better bet. Failing that we are back again 5-12 March.
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@snoozeboy @DJL - thanks for all the info. It's been very helpful and we are likely to commit to Super Chatel area given the location.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@Ozboy, Let us know when you make progress or are in Chatel.

Meeting up for a bit of skiing or a gentle bar crawl is not unknown!
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@DJL @snoozeboy, Just got back from a chaotic week skiing Serfaus Austria which re-enforced our decision of getting our own place in the Alps where we are in control of what / when to eat etc, within reasonable driving distance from London to choose our own arrival / departure, and cost control. The property will not be ready until the end of summer 2017 which probably gives us one more 1/2 team in Serfaus (for its great children ski program). Winter 2017/2018 cannot come quick enough! I am hoping to get out to Chatel in March for a solo recce of the slopes and will get in touch if it eventuates.

There seems to be a lot of mixed opinions about french ski schools in general and at Chatel (we are used to Swiss and Austrian resorts where there is usually only one, usually expensive, ski school option). ESF seems to get a lot of criticism on this forum. How is the ESF facility up at Super Chatel for children? - it makes complete sense for us to have our children learn at that location instead of having to trek to PLJ by road every morning.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@Ozboy, congratulations on the purchase. Depending on who you've bought with, see if you can get them to provide you with a few weeks accommodation in Chatel whilst you wait for your property to be built... it helps the wait go by and is fun to watch the development of your property progress. We purchased with MGM and were able to get use of a ready-built apartment for a weeks use in both peak winter and summer periods.

The bus system is pretty painless in Chatel. Not that troublesome to get to Linga or PLJ, at least I wouldn't let that hold me back in terms of using a preferred ski school.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.

@DJL, @MorganW, @snoozeboy, We travelled to Chatel on the weekend to see progress on our apartment. The project was initially delayed by planning bureaucracy which has pushed back delivery to Christmas 2017, but we are happy to see real progrees. The vast concrete shell is now built with the roof almost complete and now waiting for winter work ban to be lifted so work can re-commnece.

The highlight was the view from our balcony (attached) which will look even better if everyting is either white or bright green.

Our choice of Chatel was also reinforced as we were able to ski two full days without fuss and without taking any time off work - 9PM flight home on Sunday. The drive from the airport took 90 mins cruising the Swiss route. We managed to figure out the walk to the car rental car park form the terminal (it is quicker than the bus) and also found a proper petrol station about 15kms form the airport to refill the hire car on the way back. The skiing was not bad given the difficult season and we experimented driving to PLJ for quicker access to the higher lifts
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@Ozboy, Keep it quiet but the best skiing in the PDS is consistently the area above Plaine Dranse, especially in difficult snow years. Let everyone else claim it's always best in Avoriaz "because it's higher". Glad to see you're making progress.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Dear Ozboy,
I would be very interested to hear where that fuel station is please. Must be better than the unmanned one at Geneva airport
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Nickbrad - here is the link. It's about 1/2 mile off the motorway. Suggest you check how the petrol gauge behaves on the way out of the airport to ensure it still points to FULL at about 15km. If so then it's safe to use this service station - fill up to the brim and drive economically for the last 11 or so kms.

I am glad we did it as we noticed the airport petrol station was Out Of Order at about 7pm on Sunday!

Chavannes-de-Bogis, douane
1279 Chavannes-de-Bogis, Switzerland
https://goo.gl/maps/KAogHMDUWkJ2@Nickbrad, @Nickbrad,
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Thanks very much, I will use that in future.
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There are several petrol stations near the Airport.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Ozboy, going back to your question about esf, my daughter has used it in chatel and it's been fine.

I have to say, I'm not that fussy about ski schools for kids though, compared to some of the connoisseurs on here. As long as their skiing gets better and don't come back crying, i go for price and convenience.
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@Snoozeboy. I do not have the same perspective as DJL as am full time resident nearby (23km from Chatel, 18 KM from Morzine, 25KM from Evian). We have lived here over 12 years now, but before we moved we owned an apartment in Avoriaz for 4 years.
Despite living nearer Morzine, we normally ski the Chatel side of Pds (habitually PLJ, but La Chapelle d'Abondance when its busy).
So in terms of skiing I think you have a good choice. Also if you drive out, coming down through Luxembourg (cheap petrol), Germany (no tolls), and Switzerland (good roads) then Chatel is better than Morzine too.
I think the Apres is better in Morzine, but the I prefer the Fer Rouge in La Chapelle over the Bec Jaune in Morzine when it comes to micro breweries.
Despite losing the patriarch, Les Cornettes is still great too.
I will be in PLJ and Avoriaz on Sat and Sun, and let you know how the snow compares.
Good luck with your property.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
The route via Luxembourg is one we have used in the past for the reasons mentioned (no tolls, cheap fuel) but we usually go via Nancy and then through the Vosges to Mulhouse which is more scenic but a bit slower. These days we only use this route if we are going to/from my mother in law in the Netherlands or visiting friends in Mulhouse as the time it adds makes it a really long slog from Chatel to Colchester - about 15 hours door to door rather than 12 hours.

I still think the best route is Calais-Reims-Troyes-Langres-Dole-Besancon (all toll motorway) then through the Jura via Pontarlier, cross the border at Vallorbe and then Lausanne-Monthey-Pas de Morgins and Chatel. Real world driving time 7.5 hours (plus stops).
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@DJL, Does the Pas de Morgins ever close? I tried to drive it from Chatel last year, and turned back do to heavy snow on the road.
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@Chamcham, Rarely, though in heavy snow it may.

With winter tyres I have never had a problem and if it was so bad as to completely close the PdM (top height 1450m) the road up through Abondance and La Chapelle would also be pretty hairy I guess.

If only equipped with summer tyres it would be much more likely that the pass would be difficult to cross or would need chains whilst the valley road might be OK(-ish)
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@DJL, From my reletively short time on showheads I have concluded that every thread eventually turns into a a winter / summer tyre discussion Very Happy
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@Ozboy, Smile
@DJL, Thanks for that info. I think it was just a particularly snowy day. It was about 9am, and there was a good layer of snow on the road at Super-Chatel, although the main road in the valley was clear. I suppose the snowplough hadn't really got going.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Ozboy wrote:
@DJL, From my reletively short time on showheads I have concluded that every thread eventually turns into a a winter / summer tyre discussion Very Happy


Brilliant, but it's fair to say you have caught on pretty quick... NehNeh

Congrats on your recent purchase & I hope it exceeds all of your expectations Smile Very Happy
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@MorganW, we too made a leaseback purchase of an apartment in Les Chalets d'Angèle, a little over 4 years ago. We've been very happy with our choice of resort and apartment, and enjoy both the ski season and the summers.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Chamcham wrote:
@DJL, Does the Pas de Morgins ever close? I tried to drive it from Chatel last year, and turned back do to heavy snow on the road.


I must have driven it 100 times (no exaggeration) and I've never seen it closed and never had to turn back. When there's snow on the road, the steepest part of the road to the pass is further down the valley, on the narrow bit just below Morgins. This is where the Dutch and Belgians choose to chain up in the middle of the road and cause a roadblack, having driven past several laybys only a few hundred metres earlier. The pass is slightly more likely to have snow as it's a hundred metres higher, but it's really not steep and at 1369m not even that high.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@snoozeboy, so true! The number of heavily laden Volvo estates with yellow NL plates I've seen in that exact spot.
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