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What’s New in La Tania & 3 Valleys 2018. #2 of 5 – New Pistes & Ski Area Work
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