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Plan a great short-break ski holiday in Chatel

There's a fine art to making the most of a short-break holiday, but resorts like Chatel in France are perfectly set up to make it a success

Conventional wisdom dictates that a skiing holiday should last roughly a week. This is encouraged by flight schedules and Saturday to Saturday or Sunday to Sunday chalet and apartments rents. Increasingly, however, as skiers look to save money and a growing number of tour operators and holiday companies offer quick and convenient transfers, people are considering the short-break option for their ski holiday (see our previous article on short-break ski holidays). 

Sure, it's easy to be cynical about whether the reality of a short-break will ever live up to the dream: will I Just be joining locals in weekend crowds? Can I really get door-to-door in the short amount of time I see advertised? If I leave the UK on Friday morning, by the evening will I actually be feasting traditional French cuisine following several hours on the piste? 

Here at Summit, we think that short ski breaks really can live up to the promise, and you can find a great range of short-break ski accommodation on ChaletFinder. But ensuring the success of your short-break takes a little planning, and the old adage 'fail to prepare and you prepare to fail' really applies in this case.

First on the list of considerations is transfer time. Given that you've only got a few days of holiday, maximising the time you're able to spend on the slopes is of prime importance. Luckily, there are a great range of ski resorts in Europe that can be arrived at very quickly from the UK. Chatel is one great option, as it's located just one hour from Geneva airport, and whether you've decided to book a transfer or rent your own vehicle, you're at the resort in no time. Alternative options that give a great skiing experience without a long travel time include Le Grand Bornard and La Clusaz in the Aravis ski region, and Les Carroz in Le Grand Massif ski area (all of these resorts are within an hour's journey from Geneva). 

Similarly, maximising time spent skiing while you're on the mountain is key. Choosing a quiet time of the season (avoiding New Year and Febraury and Easter holidays, for instance) is vital, and the flexibility of the short break should make this easier to achieve. The quality of the resort's lift system is worth considering, and Chatel (and the greater Portes du Soleil) scores highly in this department as fast lift options can take you to wherever you want to ski. It's also important to choose a snow-sure option, as unless you're booking last minute - which you can do, but you're likely to have to pay more - uncertain snow conditions can mar your experience. Chatel's incredible snow record, despite only sitting at an altittude of 1200m, make it a great option.

You also need to consider whether you'll want to travel further afield. Chatel's fantastic location as part of the Portes du Soleil (which includes 13 French and Swiss resorts and has 650km of piste served by 200 lifts) makes further travel an attractive option. But if you think you'll want to ski other parts of this enormous area, then you need to think about renting a car, as travel to Morzine or Les Gets can take a while when you're relying on free public transport.

Other tips for a great short-break:

  • Trying to avoid busy airports (e.g. Heathrow and Gatwick) can work miracles, as your time spent at the airport can be dramatically reduced
  • Look online for ski rental options in the resort you're heading to: you might get a cheap deal as well as speeding up the process when you get to the resort
  • Consider whether you need the all-singing, all-dancing lift pass: you're only there for 3 days or so, so do you really need 100s of kilometres of piste? 

To book accommodation for your short-break in Chatel, choose from a range of Chatel luxury chalets in the traditional alpine style at Alpine Quests (www.alpinequests.com). 

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