Rock the Pistes - Chatel - Competition Winners Share Their Experience
This fabulous trip to Chatel was a first for us in many ways. The first time ever winning such a fabulous prize holiday, the first trip with my gorgeous boyfriend to the snow, the first time to Chatel having been a loyal Three Valleys girl since spending fours year living and working in Meribel as a seasonaire, the first time travelling to the Alps by train and subsequently the first time I have ever fallen down the gap between a train and the platform (an hour and a half into the journey) which made the holiday a tad more interesting.
The journey to the Alps was always going to be a long one for us as we live in Cornwall, so after a 5 hour drive up to London on the Friday night we set off early on Saturday morning for St Pancras and the Eurostar. It was a smooth and easy check in with security and despite having plenty of luggage, we settled in for the first leg to Lille. We had three trains to catch and two changeovers in between.
Nothing could have prepared us for the moment that I didn't quite gauge the size of the gap between the Eurostar and the platform at Lille and as I stepped off the train with two suitcases in each hand i fell straight down the side of the train!
In the initial shock and brief survey through my own body I thought I had broken my ankle-the guy behind the bar in the 'Pub' in Lille station gave me a big cloth full of ice and the next 10 hours of the journey meant i could rest my foot.
When we finally reached Thonon les Bains, we were so pleased to be met by the Ski Lifts transfer. An executive style minibus with comfortable leather seats, a helping hand to load the luggage and water and chocolates to refresh us for the 45 minutes to Chatel.
We arrived at Le Chalet d'Angele Residences, which as soon as we opened the door felt so welcoming, comfortable and reassuring that this would be a beautiful place to spend the next week.
After a last minute food dash to Le Castellan Hotel, we were in our element, a beer in hand, fine display of food in front of us and we were finally here. I was just trying to ignore the throbbing pain in my foot and so hoping that a good night’s sleep would make it go away.
We agreed to take it easy on the Sunday in view of enjoying our holiday and not stressing about the possibility of me not being able to get onto the snow. We got the bus, which stops just outside the apartment, straight up to the town centre, just 5 minutes, picked up our hire kit from Intersport, stocked up on supplies and after some lunch we got kitted up and headed off for the snow.
We were incredibly nervous. Jamie hadn't been on the snow for over 10 years and I still didn't quite know whether my foot was going to hold up. We jumped on the shuttle bus up into Chatel and got the Super Chatel lift to a series of really nice reds and blues which were the perfect warm up.
After a couple of hours on the soft afternoon spring snow, we called it a day and headed back to the apartment knowing that we had an indulgent spa to explore. What a perfect end to everyday on the snow, a spacious, clean and beautiful spa at CGH Le Chalet d'Angele with a large pool, kids pool, loungers with a beautiful view over the mountain.
We headed over to the Rock the Pistes Chineseman gig on the Tuesday - a beautiful sunny day and met up with a friend who lives in Chamonix. It had a good vibe and really makes the mountain feel alive with these kind of events on.
The snow all week was great fun, I love March skiing with always good snow at the tops and some fun slush to ride over at the bottoms. We in particular loved the long green down to the bottom of Pre la Joux.
We both ate out and cooked at the apartment during the week.Our go to spot on the mountain was Le Bois Pin in Plaine Dranse - the variety of food on the menu was better than any restaurant in the town centre and ranged from 6 euro for a croque monsieur with salad to 23 euro for a veal steak on the specials menu.
Our favourite spot in Chatel town centre was 'The Reserve' -Jamie's best steak ever and delicious three course menu du jour with local savoie ham to start, a beautiful homemade tartiflette and fromage frais with blueberries for dessert.We also headed to Le Fiacre and indulged in a spectacular raclette - a must in the Alps.
The journey back was easier on a direct train from Thonon les Bains to Paris, a short taxi ride from Gare de Lyon to Gare du Nord and then the Eurostar from Paris to London. This journey worked out 2-3 hours shorter than the previous Saturday .
So… always enter all competitions you see on Facebook, as you just never know you may win! Also always 'mind the gap' getting off a train!
We still can't quite believe how fortunate we have been with this opportunity and the lovely memories we have to take from it.
What a week! Thank you so much to Erna Low for creating such a fabulous winning holiday prize!
Judy and Jamie x