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The Mairie has now finally made a public announcement about the closure of the Saboia Apartment “B” block we reported on 10 days ago. They’ve also announced the takeover of the La Tania Tourist Office by Courchevel – or merger if you like… Auto-translations below.
Closing of the “SABOIA B” in La Tania
OCTOBER 19, 2017
Due to major disturbances affecting the foundation and structure of the residence “Le Saboïa B” in La Tania, access to this building will be formally prohibited by October 30, 2017.
Accordingly, no person shall enter and remain in the immovable in accordance with the Municipal By – law of Imminent Determination of October 11, 2017 .
This prohibition will apply until the building designed to solve the disorders observed is rested. For any further information, please contact the syndic de co-ownership:
56 rue Basse de la Gare
Tel 0479 24 27 15
La Tania and Courchevel
OCTOBER 13, 2017
At the Municipal Council on October 12th, the elected representatives of Courchevel voted in favor of the transfer of the tourism office of La Tania to the EPIC Courchevel Tourism on October 31, 2017.
Following the merger between Saint-Bon (Courchevel station) and La Perrière (La Tania station) and the creation of the new commune of Courchevel, the elected representatives wished to rationalize the exercise of the competence “Promotion of tourism” in combining resources within a single structure.
“This is an additional step in the merger to optimize our resources,” said Philippe Mugnier, Mayor of Courchevel.
As part of this merger, the Municipal Council will shortly be appointing 4 new members to the EPIC Courchevel Tourisme to ensure the representativeness of La Tania.
In the short term, this merger will result in the pooling of human and financial resources.
The offices of La Tania will of course remain open to continue the functions of reception of the public in the station.
Following on from…
This post gives a summary of all the new stuff plus some other new bits of information and the future plans and developments (including new lifts) for La Tania & The 3 Valleys.
What’s New 2018 – The Summary
In case you missed it…
new ariondaz 8 seater gondola courchevel 1650, new roc de tougne 6 seater chair mottaret, new beginners covered magic carpet rond point meribel, new moraine 10 seater heated gondola val thorens, new western park courchevel 1650 beginners facilities, new 3km luge 1650, 115 new snow cannons in courchevel & la tania valleys, 2 selfie machines relocated, lac de la chambre piste from val thorens to meribel regraded blue, meribel altiport snow cannon reservoir massively extended, turn & run, elements & yeti parks in meribel all upgraded, couloir tournier renamed gopro couloir with automated video recording, 2 new picnic cabins & rest points with new furniture in meribel, new corniche piste in val thorens, new croix d’Antide piste on orelle side, new les menuire premium pass, new 3 valleys 4 hour pass, new roc 1 & snow park les men picnic areas, more new snow cannons in meribel and les menuires, new lac de lou refuge, new val thorens ski touring area la camille, new lift pass facial recognition software, new steamboat lodge piste side chalet construction in la tania, new lift pass office in la tania, road at the back of kalinka in la tania up to saboia tarmaced at last, alpine action 25th birthday, alpine escape new self catered chalet in 1650, snow chateaux new chalet in la tania, ski-dazzle refrued chalet juliette, freeride republic new ski in/out chalet in 1550, aman le melezin hotel in courchevel 1850 reopens 15 dec for £3k a night, new aerials slope for display at la croisette 1850, new residence l’ecrin blanc under construction opposite aquamotion, l’havana apartment complex in central meribel now under construction, hameau des cimes chalets going up in meribel village, new montana lodge in val thorens, new igloo pod on the pashmina hotel in val thorens, new designer hostel in les menuires, new italian restaurant at Oxalys vt, free wifi across brides les bains, 3v gormet skiing trip with ski cool, les menuires holding a geek fest, new moutain refuge near st martin, new 80s cars on the ise circuit val thorens, new 3 valleys cafe in moutiers, new supernova store in val thorens, parallel slalom coming to world cup in courchevel, courchevel and meribel bidding for world cup 2023 and meribel bidding for 2018 tour de france, new easyjet southampton geneva flights, new jet2 stansted grenoble & geneva, plus glasgow geneva flights, new ba heathrow grenoble & manchester chambery flights, lots of new scheduled shared transfers including mid-week ones, new clean air windscreen stickers required for city centre driving in paris, lyon & grenoble, new speed bumps in la perierre, only one sunday eurostar operating, no booze allowed on any overnight eurostar ski trains, monarch cease trading, saboia ‘b’ block out of action for winter 2018, car park in la croisette to get 4 electric parking points, new le praz gondola station, ticket office and underground car park announced, new grangettes gondola and aquamotion gondola plans revealed, refurb of reception and bar area at hotel montana la tania, new floor and deck alterations and new beers at pub le ski lodge, new tarmac near hotel montana, public lift and bridge in la tania, new cash machine in la tania, new piste shaping from aiguille du fruit to chanrossa/marmotte area, anyone still reading?anyone still reading?
Other Stuff We Missed Out
La Boulotte (aka Katies) in 1650 is still up & running and looking forward to welcoming you all with a big smile and special hospitality this Winter – fantastic community spirit and friends rallying around at the end of last season – good work everybody.
Parallel Lines Snow Sports School will have more instructors in La Tania this Winter – they’re becoming more & more popular and focusing a lot of their marketing on La Tania. They’ve taken on more British and International instructors again for this winter which will keep their team really strong in teaching and technical ability. And what a classic album to name themselves after by the way…
We’ve noticed a lot of ground work around the top of Aiguille du Fruit towards Chanrossa (Rama piste) – probably re-shaping to avoid such direct sun contact which does make this run suffer in late season.
Magic or Magic Ski Academy or Magic in Motion etc who got together with a joint marketing approach last Winter with Oxygène Ski & Snowboard School have now merged in to Oxygène completely. The Oxygène brand has been running for 25 years and have over 20 staff and 200 ski instructors spread across 8 resorts in the Tarentaise. Look out for them in La Tania this Winter with their distinctive blue uniforms (but now with a splash of Orange as an ode to Magic).
There’s a new cash machine in La Tania…
Note that it will try and persuade you to take the “guaranteed exchange rate” which is nearly always a rip off – select the amount in Euros which will convert at International Bank Rates not the rate of the cash machine manufacturers / installers / agents / town hall etc. It’s going to be particularly hard to work out which option to take after an Après session at Pub Le Ski Lodge opposite.
ESF Courchevel 1650 are offering new Off Piste Packages for Winter 2018. Starting with the 2 Day Discovery Pack as an introduction to off piste skiing with local classics such as “Little Canada”, “Les Arolles”, “The Petit Canyon,” “Pyramids”, “The Canyon des Avals” included. The ESF 1650 will provide Safety equipment including shovel, probe, avalanche transceiver and bag. Prices start from €199 per person for groups of 4.
We must mention Sam Burrows of Snowlimits Ski School (and of Pat n Sam who play at La Taiga) who’s just opened a new Wood Fired Pizza Restaurant in Wilmslow, Chesire. Wood.Fire.Smoke opened on 2nd October but we’re sure we’ll see Sam in the Alps during Winter…
La Tania Swimming Pool & Beginners Area
No definitive news on the upgrade to the beginners area (a single long, covered magic carpet lift was rumoured with an easier winding beginner piste). Currently this is managed by the ESF and there are rumours the the Swimming Pool may go – whether this is due to the new beginners area or for cost savings (and to encourage use of the €63m Aquamotion Centre) is not known. Certainly it would kill La Tania in Summer without that pool – it’s our one USP in Summer. With no Tourist Office Director and Courchevel running things it will be interesting to see how all this pans out…
Future Developments in La Tania and The 3 Valleys
Apart from the issues above around the beginners area, the main future development in La Tania is the Moretta Village that has been talked about for years. Plans are getting more detailed every year and even the new chair lift has already been designed with a commitment from S3V the lift company to go ahead with a 6 seater high speed detachable chair to link with the Bouc Blanc chair once the proposed “village” building goes ahead. It may be the route as far as possible from the gondola station though – encouraging a split of the village as many fear.
The latest plans we’ve seen have the construction consisting of:
– 990 Tourist Beds
– 60 Seasonnaire Beds
– 175 Private Parking Places
– 100 Public Parking Places
– 2 Restaurants (one with 450 covers)
– Bar / lounge with 250 seats
– Ski Shop
– 650 m² Fitness Centre
Remember North is at the top (unlike a piste map)
Lift Stats: Length 921m, Vertical 346m, Top station 1703m, Pylons 10, Chairs 45, Speed 5.5 m/s, 2400 skiers/hour
Currently we have not heard of any final commitment to a start date on this project. There have been impact reports and planning discussions – but none have dealt with where the parking will be during the construction phase, that is already an issue on peak weeks. No mention of pedestrian access to the chalet quarter or general update of the resort centre infrastructure including the pavement and lighting either – just the grand plans – is this what the merger to Courchevel has brought us (plus buses in the Summer!).
A meeting is planned on 25 Oct 2017 to discuss the future of the La Tania Tourist Office – held in inter-season when no one is about of course…
New Gondolas in Courchevel 1550 and AquaMotion
The Grangettes gondola from 1550 to 1850 is due for replacement with work scheduled to start next Summer in order to open for December 2018.
Pistes from 1650 and 1850 down to Aquamotion are also planned and a large new apartment complex down there is now under construction
New main lift building and car park in Le Praz
The new building will have:
– 500 parking spaces on 2 levels
– A new gondola station
– S3V Lift Pass Office
– Tourist Office
– A children’s playground;
– Public toilets and ski storage;
– Multipurpose room of 245 m2 amd a terrace
– A medical centre with piste and ambulance access
– There will also be sports facilities on the roof and a reception area
– Landscaping around the building and lake.
The total cost of the project is estimated at €27m and is scheduled for completion by December 2019. Not sure if the new Praz gondola right up to 1850 Croisette (longer than the current one) is included in this timescale.
Other Rumours and Expected Developments
In Val Thorens a new blue piste from Cime de Caron is to be built – this will be needed in future to carry bulldozers etc for the construction of the new gondola from Orelle to Cime de Caron.
Mont Vallon is to get new gondola cabins – lets hope they have seats eh?
A new La Masse snow cannon reservoir at altitude is expected to be constructed next Summer.
No news on the possible Val Thorens (Plan de l’Eau base area) to La Masse lift we reported on last year or anything else towards Monte du Borgne either.
A Bozel lift has been discussed in various planning meetings once again this year – the preferred option was via St Bon to Aquamotion but this still seems a long way away with numerous planning, political and technical difficulties to overcome.
Rumours of a new 6 seater chair in the Meribel Valley – whether this will replace Roc de Fer, Cherferie, Olympic, Cote Brune or something else is not confirmed yet.
Photo Credits: Mairie de Courchevel, Ralph Corner, Charlie Gorman, ESF 1650, La Tania & Courchevel Tourist Offices
Following on from…
This post looks at the new Travel & Transfer options available this coming Winter.
New Flight Options
easyJet are still leading the way with up to 60 flights PER DAY from the UK to Geneva this Winter
easyJet Flight Release Dates:
23 Mar 2017 for flights until 04/02/2018
27 Apr 2017 for flights until 24/03/2018
20 Sep 2017 for flights until 24/06/2018
27 Sep 2017 for flights until 02/09/2018
Geneva from Aberdeen (Sat), Belfast (Sat/Sun/Mon), Bournemouth (Thu/Fri/Sat/Sun), Birmingham (DAILY), Bristol (DAILY), Edinburgh (DAILY), Glasgow (Sat/Sun), Leeds/Bradford (Fri/Sat/Sun/Mon), Liverpool (DAILY), Manchester (DAILY), Newcastle (Thu/Fri/Sat/Sun/Mon), Gatwick (DAILY), Luton (DAILY), Stansted (DAILY) and Southend (Thu/Fri/Sat/Sun/Mon). Also from all over Europe to Geneva plus flights to Lyon and Grenoble too.
New for Winter 2018 is Geneva from Southampton (Tue/Thu/Sun) from £31.99
British Airways have announced that they will be launching a new ski flight route to Grenoble this winter. Flights from Heathrow Sat/Sun from 2nd December 2017 with fares costing as little as £31 each way.
Free ski transport on BA flight as long as they’re under 190cm and 23kg.
Also new for Winter 2018 are:
Additional Gatwick – Geneva services.
Manchester – Chambery every Saturday dep 7am arr Chambery at 10am, return flight dep 10.55am, arriving Manchester noon from £58 each-way.
The Friday night London City to Chambery service has been dropped for Winter 2018.
Flybe have dropped Norwich to Chambéry for Winter 2018.
Jet2.com fly from Leeds Bradford, Manchester, East Midlands, Newcastle, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Belfast International and London Stansted.
They fly to Geneva, Lyon and Grenoble (they’ve now dropped Chambéry)
New for Winter 2018
London Stansted to Lyon, Grenoble and Geneva.
Glasgow to Geneva dropped but Edinburgh added.
Monarch Ceased Trading at 4am on 2nd October 2017
Monarch were due to fly these routes for Winter 2018:
Geneva from Gatwick a& Manchester
Lyon from Gatwick
Grenoble from Gatwick , Manchester & Birmingham
No schedule or charter flights are now operating from Cambridge Airport.
All the flights, all the routes, all the operators…
The scheduled coach service from Altibus for Geneva to La Tania (includes a change at Moutiers too) costs an amazing €152 return for Winter 2018.
Checkout the many shared and scheduled services via minibus direct to your property from €60 each way on the La Tania Transfer Page
3 Vallees Transfers will have at least five shared transfers to and from Geneva each Saturday, four on a Sunday and a minimum of two guaranteed every single weekday of the main winter season.
The Snowbound Shuttle is a shared DOOR to DOOR transfer service to/from Geneva that will operate on weekdays only to/from the MERIBEL & COURCHEVEL Valleys with stops in Moutiers – convenient for other resorts such as Val Thorens or Espace Killy.
As well as shared transfers the following all provide private transfers from 1-8 people. Private Transfers are now heavily regulated with regular spot checks by the authorities, all companies have to have special operators licences, register their vehicles and pay to get authorized parking access at airports etc etc. In addition their drivers need to be experienced, fully registered & insured, take a medical etc – which all adds up to a far more professional, safer and more comfortable journey.
Airport Car Hire
First look at Winter 2018 car hire from Geneva have showed cheaper prices on the Swiss side – always worth checking (and Winter Tyres/Chains usually included along with the Swiss Vignette – but not always – on the Swiss side)
More at: http://www.latania.co.uk/resort/transfers.htm#car
Driving all the way…
The French Government has introduced a system of “clean air” windscreen stickers to help identify a vehicles environmental credentials and they are now a legal requirement. The stickers called “Crit’Air Vignettes” are a 6 sticker system that applies to all motor vehicles including motorbikes and coaches. The stickers are all different colours and range from green (Crit’Air 1) for the cleanest electric cars through to black (Crit’Air6) for older, dirtiest diesel vehicles. Available on-line for £4.80 inc postage.
They have been introduced initially in Paris, Lyon and Grenoble, with 22 other cities and towns having announced plans to implement the system within the next 3 years.
One other thing – no new fixed cameras between resort and the airports (plenty of mobiles though) but the road in La Perierre has been improved and new speed bumps installed – watch out, they’re not massively highlighted.
With electric and hybrid vehicles becoming more and more common – plenty of electric assisted mountain bikes available for hire this Summer too – there have been 4 electric charging points installed in to the main Croisette Car Park in Courchevel 1850. Transfer companies are starting to experiment with electric & hybrid vehicles too this Winter.
All the latest driving to La Tania news including route options the new Autoroute Tolls prices, fuel rates in France etc on the La Tania Driving Page
Eurostar Ski Train 2017/18 tickets went on sale at 8am on Wed 19 July 2017
Prices from £75 each-way. Half Term went on sale at £160 each-way.
Eurostar Direct London to Moûtiers Timetable for Winter 2018
From 22 December 2017 until 7 April 2018
Friday EVENING departure from London:
Departs London St. Pancras 19:42 (Ashford 20:28) – Arrives Moûtiers 05:34 Saturday
Duration 8 hours 48 minutes
Saturday EVENING departure from Moûtiers:
Departs Moûtiers 22:54 – Arrives London St. Pancras 07:16 Sunday (Ashford 06:33)
Duration 9 hours 22 minutes
Saturday DAY trains:
Departs London St. Pancras 09:45 (Ashford 10:28) – Arrives Moûtiers 18:27
Duration 7 hours 42 minutes
Departs Moûtiers 10:14 – Arrives London St. Pancras 16:13 (Ashford 15:37)
Duration 6 hours 59 minutes
Adults from £150 return. Child tickets from £106 return. Free carriage of skis, boots and boards.
ONE additional half term service on Saturday night and Sunday Day over half term
A train on 10 Feb 2018 departing London at 19:42 arriving Moûtiers 05:34.
Sunday Day service on 18 Feb 2018 departing Moûtiers at 10:14 arriving London 16:13.
This service is great for Sunday to Sunday holidays but probably sold out now.
The London to Lyon Eurostar service has been dropped for Winter 2018.
Remember no alcohol sold on overnight trains (and you’re not allowed to bring any through security either).
Photo Credits: Snow White Transfers, easyJet Press Office, Eurostar PR
Following on from…
This post looks at the new building work, chalets and developments going on away from the slopes.
Towards the end of Summer work began on a new chalet development in front of the Grand Bois next to the bottom of the Folyeres / Troika area.
Steamboat Lodge will be a four bedroom “traditional but with a contemporary twist” Chalet. Yours for €2,050,000
The shell of the chalet is supposed to be up in time for Winter so this area shouldn’t look like a building site by the time the lifts open on 16 December 2017.
Work is still to start on Yellowstone Lodge next to the bottom of the Gros Murger drag lift. More on that in What’s New Part #5 of 5 – Future Developments and Rumours including the latest on Moretta Village and the next new ski lifts construction.
The road at the back of the Kalinka Apartments / Ski Lodge up the hill to the Saboia Apartments and the chalets up there is finally being surfaced. Traffic will probably be restricted (or one-way) to the chalets on the slope here, with the preferred route maintained via the main road.
There’s a few more of the modern underground poubelles and some new signage but no news yeat of the proposed new beginners area and magic carpets – which would also mean the end to the Swimming Pool apparently. Additional buses (and in the Summer for the first time) have been laid on to encourage the use of Aquamotion in Courchevel 1550/1650 (it did cost €63m remember) but it’s the one unique reason for staying in La Tania in Summer really as opposed to other parts of Courchevel. More to follow in What’s New Part #5 of 5 – Future Developments and Rumours
More Chalet News
Alpine Action are celebrating their 25 Year Anniversary this year – they’ve been selling fully catered chalet holidays in Meribel and La Tania since 1993.
Alpine Escape have a new self catered chalet – Chalet Mollard – in Courchevel 1650 Moriond adding to the two self-catered properties and their 7 catered chalets in La Tania.
Snow Chateaux have added Chalet Aurelia in La Tania to their programme for Winter 2018.
Ski-Dazzle have refurbished their Chalet Juliette.
The Freeride Republic have added Chalet Barragiste in Courchevel Village 1550 to their portfolio for Winter 2018. A true ski in/ski out chalet situated on the edge of the luge track adjoining the Provères Piste.
Lots of building work in Courchevel 1850 as usual this Summer.
The work going on alongside the Bellecote Piste this Summer is for the refurbishment of the Aman Le Melezin Hotel. It’s been closed since 3rd April and is set to re-open on 15 December 2017. February Half Term 2018 rooms still available for £3,000 (per night!).
The clearance of trees directly across from La Croisette (where all the gondolas come from) is to allow a slope for freestyle / jumping competitions and displays. During half term week there’s always some kind of ski display along with a music, fireworks and light show that takes place here.
A new apartment complex is now under construction across the road from Aquamotion in 1550/1650. It looks like two pistes and a gondola lift will be going in here during Summer 2019 (probably).
The new Residence L’Ecrin Blanc will consist of 50 apartments (luxury 5* of course) and it will have it’s own private direct link (underground we reckon) across the road to Aquamotion.
Two new major projects in the centre of Meribel next to the Olympic Centre.
L’Hevana is another 5* luxury apartment complex complete with pool, spa, cocktail bar & restaurant on the right as you drive in to Meribel just before the Olympic Centre. No price details yet – must be expensive! It’s another addition to Le Groupe Pierre & Vacances – Center Parc properties.
As well as the totally refurbished Lac de Lou Refuge covered in the What’s New #2 of 5 – New Pistes & Ski Area Work Val Thorens has a new Montana Lodge in the Montana Village – It’s a 5* luxury place…
The 17 South facing hotel-serviced apartments offer a contemporary chalet atmosphere with views over the slopes – prices start from €1,635 per week.
The 5 star Pashmina Hotel which opened in December 2014 has added another “Igloo Pod” on it’s roof for a night under the stars. Hot tubs have been added this year and the Pashmina’s Explorateurs Restaurant has been awarded a Michelin Star this year too.
Prices for a night in a Pod in January 2018 start from around €450 per night half board.
A new “Design Hostel” from the ho36 chain has been built inside La Croisette in Les Menuires and opens in December 2017. The ho36 hostels are great budget places to stay with modern facilities, a relaxed atmosphere and bar with free WiFi and toiletries included. Great for skiers on a budget with the flexibility of bookings by the night – good to see a non 5* new place!
No prices available yet but the ho36 hostel in Lyon starts at €59 for a private room or from €22 for a bed.
The Val Thorens Altapura 5-star hotel Kid’s Corner
While parents enjoy a swim in the pool as the snowflakes fall around them, children can meet up to play table football in their very own Kids’ Corner! Kids can swap stories about their day, take a nap on the giant floor cushions or play games led by the Kids’ Concierge
New Italian Restaurant in Val Thorens – Il Gusto
Part of the Oxalys Residence with a terrace out on to the snow and a new restaurant entirely dedicated to Italian Cuisine. Access to the terrace on skis is via the Plein Sud chair or Cairn gondola or coming over from Mottaret via the Pluviomètre piste. Great views of the Cime Caron from the terrace too.
Ski Cool instructors have come up with a three-day circuit to simultaneously delight the taste buds and keep your skis happy! The first day takes place on the Courchevel ski area with a stop off for lunch at Le Farçon, chef Julien Machet’s Michelin-starred restaurant in La Tania, the second day takes you through Méribel’s pine forests for lunch on Allodis’ panoramic terrace. The third day is in the Belleville Valley, where you’ll pass through
the Vallon du Lou off-piste area, stop for a sweet treat at the Lou mountain refuge, then enjoy a locally sourced lunch at L’Arbé alpine chalet.
That evening, there’s the option of rounding off the three days in style with a wine tasting and introduction to winemaking at Le Pashmina, Val
Thorens’ 5-star mountain refuge hotel.
Rate: 1,491€ for 3 days for 2 people including lunch!
Les Menuires is holding a Geek Fest in December
The biggest event of the season in Les Menuires, a weekend of indoor and outdoor activities all focussed on technology and gaming. The first time an event like this has been held in a mountain environment. 9-10 Dec 2017.
New Mountain Refuge – Le Trait d’Union
With two double bedrooms and one 4-person bedroom and stripped back décor plus a Nordic bath (a kind of wooden barrel heated by a wood-fired stove) this new refuge is open for Winter 2018. You can get there on skis on the resort run from the Saint-Martin 1 gondola or on snowshoes from the village (allow 45 minutes). Authentic Savoyard cuisine available for lunched too.
New 80s cars on the Ice Circuit in Val Thorens
We tried this for the first time last Winter, great fun.
This Winter they’ve got some classic 80s vehicles including BMW 3 Series, VW Golfs, Ford Escorts and Subaru Scoobies. Prices start at €120 for these but there’s a karting track with cheaper options too.
New Safety System in Val Thorens
THE GENDLOC SYSTEM enables Pisteurs to pinpoint the position of skiers who call for help without knowing wherethey are. Skiers are located using a signal emitted by their smartphone or by sending them a photograph of the surrounding landscape. Help is therefore able to arrive much more quickly thanks to real-time location-matching.
Saint Martin de Belleville Farm Guesthouse
Saint-Martin-de- Belleville sheep farmers Susan and Serge Jay have added 2 guest bedrooms to their farm, ‘La Trantsa’. For many years now, through their passion for their work and the mountains, they have welcomed visitors to tastings of ‘trantsa’, a local speciality cheese made using ‘sérac’ skimmed milk, and rye bread. Set in the hamlet of Le Châtelard, they welcome guests who love good simple food.
Supernova is a new concept store serving healthy, 100% gluten free food, vegan meals and snacks, as well as selling a range of unique streetwear brands. The shop is locared in the Peclet shopping centre Val Thorens and features a sun terrace overlooking the Peclet Square.
Ladies World Cup Back in Courchevel
On 19-20 December 2017 and for the first time a World Cup Parallel Slalom
Alpine World Cup 2023 and Le Tour de France
The Courchevel-Méribel bid for the 2023 prestigious event has been lodged and Meribel & Brides les Bains are bidding to be a host stage of the Tour de France 2018 – it’s been a while since we’ve had Le Tour over here so fingers crossed. The announcement is to be made on 17 Oct 2017.
Photo Credits: Charlie Gorman, Ralph Corner, Mairie de Courchevel plus Courchevel, Meribel, Les Menuires and Val Thorens Tourist Offices
Following on from What’s New #1 of 5 – The New Lifts which detailed the 3 new lifts (or 4 if you include Magic Carpets!) for 2018, here we look at the new pistes and all the ski area developments that have gone on this Summer.
1. Courchevel Valley inc La Tania
The new 3km luge run from the top of the new Ariondaz Gondola at the Bel Air is a major new development in Courchevel 160 Moriond.
The run includes tunnels, hairpin bends, some alternative “snake” runs and should be really good fun for all. Sleds can be hired in 1650 and the track will be open every afternoon plus Tuesday and Thursday evenings (it’s floodlit too!) with extended Gondola opening until 7:30pm. Sledges will be available for hire and it looks like it may be a “scooter run” in the Summer too.
Stats: Length 2960m, Vertical 450m, Max Gradient 15%, Average Gradient 25%, Average Width 8m, Tunnels 8
Further improvements to pistes in the area include redesigning the bottleneck around the Bel Air restaurant reducing the gradient and also the Marquis piste will be levelled off providing easier skiing for beginners. As can be seen from the 2018 piste map above and the 2017 map below the Stade, Sainte-Agathe and Marquis drag lifts have been removed this Summer removing some 27 pylons from the ski area.
The Stade will be now at the “Snow Front” area of the resort making it a lot easier for people to watch competitions. In addition the old Stade area is now a Piste named Liberty Ride – presumably a run that won’t get pisted after a decent snowfall, one to remember!
The Western Park themed beginners area has further expanded for next Winter providing entertainment for kids and magic carpet lifts for beginners. Le Saloon is a new picnic room with water, microwave, mobile phone chargers andf ree WiFi as well as a mezzanine area with children’s games.
New Snow Cannons
The purple piste markings show the new snow cannons going in this Summer. The amber markings show current snowmaking infrastructure and the green shows where improvements are being made (more efficient pipelines and new high pressure cannons). Full Size Image Here
Last season saw the importance of snow making across The 3 Valleys in early season with more runs open here than anywhere else. S3V are accelerating the investment in 8 different sectors of the ski area with 115 new snow cannons going in this Summer – yes one hundred and fifteen – with the 3 year installation plan being compressed into this Summer.
Snow cannon work on Lac Bleu this Summmer
Areas with new cannons are:
* The bottom of the La Tania green resort run Plan Fontaine
* The back of the La Tania Gondola (for access to the Bouc Blanc Restaurant no doubt)
* Lac Bleu from Chenus which always suffers with the Sun
* The link from Jantzen (under the Chenus Gondola) across towards Biolly.
* The link from the top of Pralong / Biolllay to Suisse
* The track linking Vizelle to Saulire
* The Bel Air / Granges piste in 1650.
The Courchevel Valley (including La Tania) will boast 714 snow cannons covering over 50% of the ski area next Winter.
The 3 Valleys Guarantee – We have more runs open than anyone else all season – Why risk skiing anywhere else?
Further Ski Area Improvements
Plenty of work going on all Summer improving signage, fencing and general lift maintenance. Lots of earth moving work going on too (apart from the new snow cannon work) improving drainage, preventing corrosion & landslip, grass cutting and re-seeding on many pistes.
In Le Praz a lot of earth moved from the site of the new hotel near Aquamotion has been used to improve the quality (gradient & width) of the Brigues red piste down to resort.
Signal Selfie Machine relocated
The Selfie Machine from the top of the Signal lift over in 1650 has been relocated to the area at the top of the Biollay and Pralong lifts above 1850.
2. Meribel Valley
Another New Luge
While the Roc de Tougne is the main new lift in Meribel (plus a new begginers Magic Carpet and enhanced novice area at The Rond Point) there is also another new Luge run from the top of the Tougnette Chair down to La Chaudanne.
Lac de la Chambre Re-graded
The Lac de la Chambre red piste on the way back from Val Thorens (think of near the Cote Brune chair) has been re-shaped and re-graded to a blue run. The top section in particular could often be a bottle neck and mogul up in late afternoon discouraging weaker skiers from heading over to the Meribel Valley from Val Thorens and vice-versa.
Many thanks to Ski Fan for the photo – see more pics on the SkiFan Flickr Page
Snow Cannon Reservoir Extended
The snow cannon reservoir under the Altiport 8 Seater Chair has been massively expanded this Summer and led to the free drag lift being reduced to about half it’s length.
The new reservoir has more than doubled it’s capacity allowing 65% of all of Meribel pistes to be covered by Snow Cannons.
As can be seen from the new 2018 piste map above the Intuit Village Kids Area is still there and has been entirely redesigned as a result of the expansion of the Altiport reservoir.
Access to the Loze Express from the drag lift will no longer be possible however (see the 2017 piste map above) – why is that significant?
A little know dodge of getting back from the Meribel side of the mountain as cheaply as possible was to get the free skibus service to Meribel Village and buy a one-way trip up the Golf Chair. At the Altiport lift ticket station up there you could buy a one-way trip up the Loze Express (and use the old Altiport free drag lift to get high enough for access). From the top of the Loze Express you can ski down to La Tania or Courchevel.
It used to be 2 x €6 tickets up. Cheaper than a taxi or a 3 Valleys day extension! Also possible of course via the Saulire Express mid-station (high enough to access the Loze Express) from La Chaudanne as you can load 2 single rides up on your lift pass now.
Fun Parks Updated
The Turn&Run is the play zone of the DC AREA 43 designed for skiers who want a gentle introduction to freestyle. New additions this year include a “snail” and snow bridge, mini-kickers and short, wide boxes etc. Beginners, intermediates or pros will all find something to amuse them in the Turn&Run!
The Elements Park, marketed as a family fun park is made up of 4 parts: an M-level boardercross (blue), a line of rollers, a “Funcross” (a fun boardercross) and a line of green and blue level boxes.
Meribel’s Yeti Park is growing yet again, with a new experience on offer, exploring the tunnels, banks and caves plus more characters on the 3km Black Forest Mission sledge run.
Selfie Machine Relocated
The Mottaret Selfie Machine has been relocated from the bottom of Plan des Mains to the top – makes the Selfie Machines in a Day trip a little quicker!
Couloir Tournier has been renamed to the GoPro Couloir and is part of the video zone where you can register & login to share your descent on social media using the automatic remote video cams footage that is shot there. Requires decent snow cover here as it gets a lot of Sun (especially late in the season) and it’s a very rocky base (you need to be a decent skier too!).
New rest areas in little cabins on the mountains with free WiFi and mobile phone recharging points plus some new Meribel Heart shaped picnic area seats have been introduced this Winter.
The cabins are situated on the blue Pic Bleu piste coming down from Col de la Loze at the top of La Tania, at the mid-station on the Saulire Express Gondola and at the Yeti Park in Mottaret.
3. Belleville Valley inc Orelle
New Piste Immediately Above Val Thorens
The new Moraine Gondola is the major new lift development in Val Thorens but we’ve also 2 new pistes to report on.
The new Corniche Piste from the Folie Douce / Top of the Plan Sud area runs down and right across the top of the resort giving a great view of Val Thorens and links on to the Stade piste for an alternative (and probably easier after a Folie Douce Apres Session) route back down to resort level.
New Piste over in 4th Valley
Meanwhile over towards Orelle in the “4th Valley” a new blue piste off the Peyron chair has been spotted.
This new blue piste named Croix d’Antide hooks under the Peyron chair and down to join the bottom of the long Lory piste running down from over the back of the Thorens Funitel. The Lory piste was itself new a couple of years back.
New Les Menuires Pass – Premium 3 Vallées Ski pass
The €350 6 day 3 Valleys pass includes:
* A sledging pass for Les Menuires Speed Mountain – sledging on rails.
* One descent on the 4km Les Menuires Roc’n Bob sledging run
* One descent on the 8km Val Thorens Toboggan slope
* Four entries in to the sport centre or aqua spa in Les Menuires or Val Thorens sport centre.
Les Menuires – La Croisette Improvements and Lighting
The older central buildings of Les Menuires (including La Croisette – which originally looked more like a multi-story car park in Slough) are the focus of an eight year project to improve the aesthetics of this part of the village and this season has new lighting.
More New Snow Cannons
Additional Snow Cannons costing €2.5m have been installed across the Les Menuires area and the BK park has also had a facelift. Now 300m long with 3 different run lines including rollers and jumps with 3 levels of course (S, M and L).
New Lac de Lou Mountain Refuge
A favourite off piste run from over the back of the top of La Masse brings you to the Lac de Lou – a frozen lake where you can go ice diving.
Belleville Valley council has invested €1.2m in this large scale project in order to provide hikers and skiers with a new restful haven above Lac du Lou.
This typical mountain chalet can sleep 31 and boasts a large dining room as well as a permanent on site manager to welcome hikers in summer/winter. You will be able to enjoy a nice meal here or even stay for a night under the stars.
New Ski Touring Area – “LA CAMILLE” RUN
Starting out from the resort, this new route pays homage to Camille Rey, a high-mountain guide and a major name in Val Thorens history. The route is dotted with archive photographs of the resort construction from 1971 to the present day.
The route is free of charge and open at the same time as the rest of the ski area. It is located in the Plein Sud area and is 1.5km with 280m of vertical.
As usual lots of Drainage Work, Erosion Control, Signage Improvements, Grass Cutting, Re-seeding and Lift Maintenance going on all Summer across The 3 Valleys.
New 4 hour pass option
To offer you a more flexible way to ski the 3 Vallées, a new 4 hour pass will be introduced which will replace the previous morning and afternoon
Lift Pass Fraud Protection
A reminder that lift passes are strictly non transferable and while spot checks on season passes (which include photographs stored electronically) have been made ever since the wireless passes came in to force, from next season there will be photos taken at lift stations of all passes being used to help identify lift pass fraud.
The use of facial recognition technology as well as manual checks takes place and unusual lift pass usage is also monitored. You’ve been warned!
Photo Credits: Ski Fan, MH2Ski, Charlie Gorman, Mairie de Courchevel plus Courchevel, Meribel, Les Menuires and Val Thorens Tourist Offices
Three new ski lifts across the 3 Valleys for Winter 2018 plus some new beginners “magic carpet” type travelators as continued investment keeps the biggest ski area in the world at the forefront of modern lift infrastructure.
1. Ariondaz Gondola – Courchevel 1650 Moriond
The new gondola follows the tracks of the old one which dates back to 1974. The replacement is a new 8 seater doubling the current capacity and gets straight up to the Bel Air in 7 minutes instead of 10½ minutes – a 25% speed increase and not a 2 stage gondola which was originally rumoured. It still looks like a walk up from the snow front and we’re not sure if access from inside via the escalator from the main is possible.
Gondolas have 4 individual seats on one side and a bench type seat on the other which is quite strange. The new pylons are the smarter looking tubular type rather than the old “electricity pylon” type and there’s only 16 now – one less than before!
So a welcome improvement over in Courchevel 1650 with a more comfortable and quicker ride up to the Bel Air area. No alternative in bad weather now, with the Marquis drag lift going, although the new gondola will be able to operate in higher gusts than the old one.
There is of course the free skibus up to the centre of 1850 around every 10 minutes during the day which is often used anyway to loop back over towards La Tania or Meribel in a hurry or when conditions for a glide across from the Bel Air to Gravelles aren’t good (and you don’t want to take another lift such as the Signal Chair or Petite Bosse drag). It will be interesting to see what the finalised plans for a link to Aquamotion are towards 1550 which would hopefully make for a quicker alternative route when the new lift goes in down there with eventually.
The gondola does give a lot easier access for pedestrians than a chair and with the new 3km Luge run from the top to resort plus the Western Park beginners/kids area it makes a lot of sense to have a gondola here rather than a chair. More on the Luge and new runs in What’s New #2 of 5 – New Pistes and Ski Area Developments coming soon.
2. Roc de Tougne – Meribel
Replacing the 2 parallel drag lifts of the same name this high speed 6 seater detachable chairlift will link nicely from Combes 2 chair (new in 2015) out of Mottaret adding another faster, easier way out of the valley and over to Les Menuires and Saint Martin de Belleville while also giving access to the black Bartavelle and red Lagopède pistes.
Stats – Cost €6.3m, Length 1083m, Vertical 400m, Pylons 10, 2400 skiers/hour.
From the 2018 3 Valleys Map showing where the link over to the Beleville Valley is (note the error showing Plattieres 3 as a detachable chair rather than the old bubble type gondola it really is).
The new chair will be nearer to the black run Bartavelle, already a designated “Peuf Experience” piste that is not groomed immediately following new snowfall – presumably a bit more sheltered to prevailing winds, an issue drag lifts of course don’t have!
Good to see an upgrade in this part of the ski area and good alternative faster routes now available. This was one of the 3 Valleys Escapade lifts – but the markers have disappeared off the piste maps for 2018, so the future of that is still not known.
Of course some of the Old School are have a little moan as this is bound to open up the area to a lot more skiers and the North-facing off piste around there for those not prepared to suffer the long and often cold drag lifts. Now a quick 3 minutes and 50 seconds to the top!
3. Moraine Gondola – Val Thorens
Near to the Chalet 360 Restaurant Complex (home of Wok Ski one of out favourites) and replacing the long and cold 4 seater chairlift (which is now up for sale if you fancy it) is a new 10 seater Gondola (reportedly heated too!).
Following roughly the same line as the chair it is not being extended to take in the Col chair too as was previously rumoured but will be perfect for blue run skiers to access the Moraine and Genepi pistes and advance skiers for faster access to the off piste to the skiers left off the Col chair.
Stats – Cost €14m, Length 2454, Vertical 466m, Pylons 17, 2800 skiers/hour.
4. New Magic Carpets / Travelator Lifts
A new Magic Carper at Méribel’s Rond Point area has been installed where a new Easy Rider beginners zone has been created.
Further improvements at the Western Ski Park beginners area near the Bel Air in 1650 have been promised and there is now a decent length magic carpet there.
There maybe a new magic carpet lift in La Tania going in when the restructure of the Troika area is completed but rumours of the swimming pool going to make way for this will not be welcomed by some. With the Tourist Office Director leaving this Summer (good luck in Marseille, Arnaud!) and by the look of things not being replaced, it’s hard to get any kind of official news of what is happening.
We just see more chalets going up without updating the village infrastructure like the coach arrival point, village centre paving and Chalet Quarter access. Meanwhile the Moretta Village development & new chair lift to the Bouc Blanc lift, which will change La Tania to a certain degree, still has no firm start date. So much for becoming part of the Courchevel Commune eh?
Will be all tidied up and the shell of the new chalets in place for Winter by the way, more on these developments and future plans in What’s New #3 of 5 – New Building Work, Chalets and Developments coming soon…
Coming next is What’s New #2 of 5 – New Pistes and Ski Area Developments
Photo Credits: Ski Fan, Courchevel, Meribel and Val Thorens Tourist Offices
Thanks to PJK for spotting that the Escapade symbols are no longer on the 2018 on-line Piste Maps that we’ve seen so far.
They’re still on the lift company websites so maybe it’s just been overlooked and they’re not getting rid of it – a couple of years ago they missed them off the Courchevel map for example.
The Toughest Day Skiing Ever?
The 3 Valleys Escapade is the lift companies promotion of visiting several points right across the Three Valleys and gaining a certificate & badge over your weeks holiday. You can get your free certificate and buy a badge from the main lift pass offices (at La Croisette in Courchevel 1850).
We set the challenge of doing it in a day back in 2006 – those that complete it are in The Escapade in a Day Hall of Fame
The original Escapade was 30 lifts, 13000m vertical and 70km. 2016 peaked with 34 lifts, 17000m vertical and 100km (twice the height of Everest). It was a little less for 2017 but still a big, big day out.
For an easier 3 Valleys Day Challenge try the Selfies in a Day – That needs updating for 2018 too.
PDF list of lifts and pistes for downloading on to your phone.
The 2017 Escapade Points and latitude/longitude coordinates
Courchevel – La Tania
Departure Signal : 45.400101, 6.653867
Departure Aiguille du Fruit : 45.391939, 6.642291
Departure Le Praz : 45.431810, 6.620003
Departure Saulire : 45.396202, 6.619401
Departure Bouc Blanc : 45.422211, 6.603918
Méribel – Brides Les Bains
Departure TS Golf – Méribel Village : 45.415662, 6.565833
Departure Dent de Burgin : 45.398814, 6.588648
Departure TS Olympic : 45.390689, 6.552573
Departure Roc De Tougne : 45.363707, 6.568229
Departure Mont Vallon : 45.341361, 6.590043
Les Menuires – Saint Martin de Belleville
Top of Point de la Masse : 45.2968806, 6.508656
Departure TC Saint Martin 1 – Village St Martin : 45.3769694, 6.504275
Departure TK Montaulever : 45.3123556, 6.5519056
Top of Becca : 45.3312667, 6.5713583
Val Thorens – Orelle
Top of TSF Bouchet : 45.255613, 6.599917
Top of TSF Col : 45.268247, 6.615755
Departure TSD Plan de l’Eau : 45.302969, 6.544495
Top of Funitel Péclet : 45.291596, 6.614396
Thanks to Antonio P who spotted a new piste on the new 2018 Piste Maps under the Peyron chair in the “4th Valley” above Orelle.
This new blue piste named Croix d’Antide hooks under the Peyron chair and down to join the bottom of the long Lory piste running down from over the back of the Thorens Funitel. The Lory piste was itself new a couple of years back.
The orinal post of New 3 Valleys, Courchevel & Méribel 2018 Piste Maps released plus the “GoPro Couloir”? covered the 3 new lifts, the new Corniche piste, 2 new luge runs, the re-grading of Lac de la Chambre and the renaming of Couloir Tournier to the GoPro Couloir.
Further details, pics and lot of further information will be in the La Tania & The 3 Valleys What’s New 2018 – The Definitive Guide in the next week or so.
Downloads available here: La Tania and 3 Valleys Piste Maps 2018
A slightly updated new look for the 2018 Piste Maps with a clearer, fresher display – the lifts aren’t straight black lines anymore for example.
The 3 Valleys map has a lot of detail on it however and looks really cluttered on first look – originally the 3 Valleys area map didn’t include piste names and you referred to the local area for further info. Both have their pluses and minuses of course.
The new lifts and pistes showing the main changes are listed below. We’ve noticed the new luge in Meribel and a change of location of a couple of the 5 selfie machines too. The Plan des Mains unit is now at the bottom of Plattieres 3 and the Signal one is now at the top of Biollay. The Escapade symbols have been removed too – still on the 3V Apps at the moment though – or are they getting rid of it?
New €6.3m Roc de Tougne Chair in Meribel
Replacing the steep, long dog-leg parallel drags – the old school are not too happy as it will lead to more skiers bagging the off piste up there! Plus no matter how “wind resistant” new chairlifts are they’ll never match a drag lift for being able to run in bad weather.
New €13m Moraine Gondola in Val Thorens
Replacing the chair for a much warmer ride up (it’s heated too). Rumours were that it would carry on and replace the Col chair too but that’s still there for access right up to the Glacier. It does mean that it accesses blue runs instead of red so it’s good to have a Gondola to access terrain suitable for less competent skiers and boarders.
New Luge in Meribel
Another Luge run, this one in Meribel down from the Tougnette Gondola (that’s 5 in The 3 Valleys with Val Thorens, Les Menuires, Courchevel 1850/1550 and also new for this year Courchevel Moriond/1650).
Update 27/9/17: Another new piste discovered – Croix d’Antide
Thanks to Antonio P who spotted a new piste under the Peyron chair in the “4th Valley” above Orelle. This new blue piste named Croix d’Antide hooks under the chair and down to join the bottom of the long Lory piste running down from over the back of the Thorens Funitel which was itself new a couple of years back.
Further details, pics and lot of further information will be in the La Tania & The 3 Valleys What’s New 2018 – The Definitive Guide around the end of September.
Downloads available here: La Tania and 3 Valleys Piste Maps 2018
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