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6 Pistes, 5 Lifts, 4 Decks, 3 Michelin Stars, 2 Hotels and a Skiing Guarantee…
The 15th Annual What’s New Guide – October 2015
The new €63m Aquamotion complex between Courchevel 1550 and 1650 – Opening 15 December 2015
Pistes | Lifts | Ski Area Improvements | Apres Ski | Lift Passes | Accommodation | Travel | Other News
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Rumours were confirmed in August that La Tania would open a week earlier than normal (and close a week earlier too). The decision was based on many previous years snow conditions, tour operators requests and the fact that lift company resources are in place making it easier to open earlier.
Also, with a very early Easter in 2016 and the fact that almost everything was closed in La Tania and Courchevel by the last week of the season last year it does seem to make sense – there’s at least plenty of staff training or people looking for work in that first week!
Courchevel 1850 – Sat 5 Dec 2015 to Sun 24 Apr 2016
La Tania, Le Praz, Courchevel 1550 – Sat 5 Dec 2015 to Sun 17 Apr 2016
Courchevel 1650 Moriond – Sat 12 Dec 2015 to Sun 17 Apr 2016
Mottaret & Méribel – Sat 5 Dec 2015 to Sun 24 Apr 2016
Brides-Les-Bains – Fri 18 Dec 2015 to Fri 15 Apr 2016
Saint Martin de Belleville – Sat 12 Dec 2015 to Fri 22 Apr 2016
Les Menuires – Sat 5 Dec 2015 to Fri 22 Apr 2016
Orelle – Sat 28 Nov 2015 to Sun 8 May 2016
Val Thorens – Sat 21 Nov 2015 to Sun 8 May 2016 – Now opening 28 Nov, more here
Ski Area – 6 New Pistes
This looks like a record for Summer work on the ski area with 6 new pistes now marked on to the newly updated 3 Valleys 2016 Piste Maps. You could even make it 7 really… The Mottaret development and new pistes are noted at the bottom of the new lifts section.
Top of the list must be Lory coming down from the Thorens Funitel to Orelle in an often skied off piste area.
This piste goes underneath the zip wire and is a new official route down to the Orelle area to what is often referred to as the 4th Valley.
After lengthy discussions between the lift companies finally a link from Val Thorens below Pluviomètre near to the Les Menuires area to the Boulevard Cumin and the (new last year) Plan de l’Eau chair lift has been created.
Ski in/out access from the piste to Restaurant Chez Pépé Nicolas will now be possible – the old off piste run from the Les Menuires direction is detailed in this video:
Bouqetin and Choucas Pistes
Over in Les Menuires there’s work at the top of La Masse so blue run skiers can enjoy the summit on the Bouquetin and modified Choucas pistes.
In the centre of Les Menuires there are improvements for beginners with the new green piste specifically marked out now – The Montagnettes Piste.
Plan du Vah
The return of the Plan du Vah piste from “Fruit Junction” (between 1650 and 1850 at the bottom of the Roc Mugnier & Aiguille du Fruit lifts) down to the road at the hairpin on the way up to 1850 from 1650.
Currently this run will just go down to a bus stop as it did when marked on the 2012/13 piste map – it was a blue run then, now it’s a red. Plans for a future lift and/or continuation to the new Aqua Centre at 1550 (opening in December) are also rumoured.
Ski Area – 5 New Lifts
Well pushing this a bit counting second stages and a new beginners drag…
The 2015 v 2016 Piste Map differences animated for Courchevel and The 3 Valleys
St Martin Express
The new St Martin Express 6 seater chair – hopefully removing one of the last bottlenecks in The 3 Valleys and meaning an extra drink down in St Martin de Belleville.
Much of the old 4 seater lift is being used in the new Bettex lift – see below
The new Bettex lift (ex St Martin 2) is now longer and goes up to La Violette piste giving direct access in to Les Menuires.
Worth a ride down to the bottom of this lift now!
Combes & Arolles
The new 2 stage Combes 1 & 2 chair lift with mid-station for beginners, the new green floodlit pistes Little Himalayas and the Yeti Park plus the Arolles beginners drag lift.
The old Combes, Arolles and Table Vert chair lifts have now been removed – with direct access to Les Menuires from the top of the new Combes chair via Roc de Tougne drag lifts or Tougnete2 chair.
Méribel Mottaret Development – Great News for Beginners
A lot of work this summer on developing new easy routes down to resort level, a new Combes chair with 2 stages, a new beginners drag lift, new green piste, night skiing and a new sledge run.
Summer Lift Construction, Piste Work and other Ski Area News
Bettex and St Martin Express under construction plus the widening of La Tania’s Plan Fontaine green piste
As well as the usual maintenance work including drainage improvements, erosion control, re-seeding, grass cutting etc other work across the ski area include:
Courchevel / La Tania
Improvements to the green La Tania resort run continue with Plan Fontaine widened in places to reduce the steepness around the bends and some of the hairpins have been smoothed out a bit more to make it easier for beginners.
The trees near the bottom of the Troika free drag lift have come down and grass re-seeding work on the Bouc Blanc and Lanches piste has been completed. Some much needed work on the river / drainage near the gondola station has taken place but whether this will stop end of season flooding on to the road below remains to be seen.
There are some new snow cannons over near the Signal area of 1650 – The Three Valleys boasting nearly half of its area now covered with snow making kit.
One of the Saulire Cable Cars is having another paint job – after the retro “wagon train” look from a couple of years ago we now have an Urban Graffiti look… Certainly a bit brighter mind!
As well as night skiing and fishing on a Wednesday on Verdons and the Family Park there will be the opportunity to ski late in to the evening with the Ski Patrol this Winter in Courchevel and learn about their work. It will be marketed as Last Tracks. I have a lot of childhood memories of going fishing with my dad at a local pond, we always took the best walleye rod and the right lures.
A parallel slalom run for all skiers is being created – building on the BMW times/video run last season. The Olympic medallist himself will be attending the Alexis Pinturault Cup at the end of the season so you can take him on. The technology is not quite there yet to automatically detect a missed gate yet though is it? But you can check on the video of course.
Keeping up their green credentials and following the use of hybrid piste bashers, the S3V lift company has taken delivery of new BMW I3 all electric, carbon fibre body shell cars for this Winter – handy for local use as they only have a 100 mile range on a full charge.
The large new building near the Biollay and Coqs chairlifts has been under construction this Summer but what it is has not been formally announced – it looks like a new restaurant complex similar to the base of Mt Vallon (also under S3V control)
New on the piste maps for 2016 is a new marking on certain runs with a PEUF logo. According to the key “These runs (when open) are powder guaranteed after snowfalls”. Which looks like it means they won’t be groomed following a decent snowfall.
Pistes in the Courchevel Valley include Jockeys, Jean Blanc, M, Combe des Pylons plus the runs down from Chanrossa and the Creux Noirs lifts (always last to open following heavy snow on any case).
The development of Courchevel 1650 including the area where the pistes come in to resort along with new gondolas is expected to start next Summer.
Méribel / Mottaret
As well as the new Yeti Park and Himalaya piste experiences detailed above, there will be 2 magic carpet type lifts accessing green pistes in resort.
Night sledging from the top of the new Combes chair is promised along with a dedicated evening sledge area in the centre of resort near the bars and restaurants.
The automated timed/video parallel slalom run in Méribel has moved from the Moon Park to the Altiport area. Another photo opportunity to share automatically on social media has been placed at the top of the Olympic chairlift.
The Altai Dragon trail in Méribel is another fun piste from the Loze Express chair with “full-size dragons”in the forest! How big is a dragon anyway?
From Les Menuires Tourist Office: The resort is going to develop the beginners’ areas in the ski area, adding new pistes and new spaces just for them. Les Montagnettes slope in the Croisette area will be the first. The Forêt piste in the Masse-Bettex area will follow, and a new magic carpet will be installed for beginners at Le Pelvoux piste in the Croisette area. The project will be spread over several years.
A new Aquafun and Wellness Centre opened in Les Bruyères centre with pool, slides, games, waves, jets etc plus adults only jacuzzi, hammam and sauna with the full Spa treatment works too.
There’s a push on family friendly (but fun) runs being made, starting with the Funslope which will be almost 1km long with jumps, tunnels, banked turns and even sound effects!
At the other end of the scale is Fight Ski Club – A World Cup class Ski Cross track with video cameras and automated timing technology (rather like the BMW automated timed runs at the Stade in Courchevel).
Dedicated areas are to be made available for the growing sport of Ski Touring. A different piste will be allocated am & pm for Ski Touring and will be open outside the normal hours.
Digitalized Snow Groomers are new this season – Looks like it’s a GPS tracking system for the piste bashers that should lead to better snow and water management for the snow cannons.
New augmented reality binoculars will be freely available at the Cime Caron and Col de le Chambre summits – makes those orientation tables look a bit old hat as the surrounding mountains will be named as you look at them – can’t wait!
No more news has been received on the proposed development of “Le Borgne” area above La Folie Douce between the 3 Vallées link and the Peclet Funitel. The plan was to use the old Portette lift here but permission was initially refused – the lift has been placed in storage and is apparently up for sale. The Stade drag lift which is also near to this area had been rumoured to be replaced but this is not happening this Summer at least.
The Thorens & 3 Vallées Funitels have been refurbed in the shape of plane wings – “innovative architecture” apparently.
Other new activities this season see language lessons with your ski lessons (French or English lessons available), snowshoeing with a bit of yoga thrown in and new ice driving facilities at the Alain Prost Ice Driving Track.
Continuing the social media posting of videos theme – Val Thorens now has this at their Slalom Stade with a giant new screen you can watch yourself on straight away too when doing an end of week ski test for example.
Apres Ski News – La Tania Round-up and Restaurant / Bar News etc.
It’s La Tania’s 25th Birthday this season and there’ll be various events and promotions around April time to celebrate a quarter of a century of La Tania.
Aquamotion – New Aqua Centre in Courchevel
Aquamotion near Courchevel Village 1550 (that’s Moriond or 1650 up on the hill above) opens on 15 December 2015 after being under construction for 2 years.
A very impressive place with indoor & outdoor pools, 25m training pool, aqua-bike fitness, sauna, hammam, spa, diving boards, wild river rapids, climbing wall and indoor surfing wave! Several packages with spa, beauty treatments, hairdressing & massages are available but basic adult charge for pool access will start from €22.
Bouc Blanc Restaurant, La Tania
The Bouc Blanc above La Tania has had an extension at the front (where the snack kiosk was) for a much larger bar / snack area.
New toilets are promised too – those shared urinals with the ladies will be no more!
Expect the deck to be extended to cover the front of the new extension too.
This view from inside the existing bar area looking out to the new extension.
With more traffic coming via the new Foret lift from Le Praz this place promises to become busier than ever on a sunny day.
Pub Le Ski Lodge, La Tania
A new heated deck on the terrace area is being constructed – work just started pictured here – part of the new French regulations to conform to limited accessibility regulations. New loos promised too.
Opening Night is set for Friday 27 November and we hear an updated slightly smaller menu but with fresher and more local produce is to be announced. Regular bands expected include Bring Your Sisters, The Dominos, Dutch Courage, The Elements and Coco & The Butterfields.
The Drop Inn, Le Praz
Another new deck, this time at The Drop Inn in Le Praz.
Looking after La Tania inter-season residents with their Pool & Table Tennis tables, BBQs, Rosé selection, the Rugby World Cup on TV and of course Tapas Tuesdays…
La Taiga, La Tania
La Taiga will have some fresh new friendly bar staff this Winter with Fusil upstairs managing the restaurant.
Expect a Champagne expert on board too…
Opening Night is set for Friday 4 December and Bring Your Sisters Funday Sundays are forecast!
More Restaurant / Hotel / Bar News
La Bouitte at Saint Marcel neat St Martin de Belleville has been awarded a 3rd Michelin Star – The first restaurant in the Savoie region to gain a 3rd star (bare in mind there are only around 120 in the world, only 4 in the UK). Open for lunch with transport for skiers from Wed to Sat.
Other Michelin Star news is that L’Epicurien in Val Thorens and the L’Ekrin restaurant at the Kaïla Hotel in Méribel are the latest 3 Valleys restaurants to be given a one star award.
La Casa is a new Italian Restaurant and wine bar in Courchevel 1550.
The restaurant in Orelle (aka The 4th Valley) now has a snack bar / takeaway facility for quicker refuelling when time is short (it’s a long way back!).
Le Farçon in La Tania has a few interesting changes to their menu this season with desserts to takeaway and eat on the lifts! Michelin-starred chef Julien is also preparing food for The 3 Valleys promotional parties in Brussels, London & Lyon.
New 5 Star Pashmina Hotel in Val Thorens – Take your pick from 42 rooms & suites ranging from 19 to 70 m², 8 “Cosy Homes” from 60 to 155 m², and two 130 m² chalet apartments, or the luxury of sleeping a little closer to the stars in the rooftop Igloo Pod.
Another couple of new decks with TUI Hotel St Louis in Courchevel 1850 replacing their deck and entrance steps plus the Chrome Bar in La Tania looks to be updating theirs too.
The Mark Warner Hotel Dahu in Courchevel has been sold – another end of an era…
White 1921 is a new (expected to be) Four Star hotel opening on 19 December 2015 situated on the Croisette in Courchevel 1850. Looks old from the outside but new & boutiquey from the inside with just 25 rooms, White 1921 is yet another hotel in Courchevel with a sister hotel in Saint Tropez.
Maison Lorraine – Savoie in Courchevel 1550 has been extended with 9 extra rooms giving a total of 137 beds.
3 Valleys Ski Pass News & Snow Guarantee
Introducing the Alpine Legends Superpass
New for Winter 2016 is a lift pass covering the huge ski areas of The Three Valleys, Paradiski (Les Arcs / La Plagne) and Espace Killy (Tignes / Val d’Isère).
With 5 glaciers, 1300km of pistes, 391 lifts for 6, 7 or 8 days it costs €340, €390 & €440 – no other discounts. The 6 day 3V pass concession at Paradiski, Killy etc is no more.
A 3 Valleys Season Pass gets you a 3 day consecutive day pass at Shiga Kogen in Japan and Mt Buller in Australia.
More Skiing than anywhere else, GUARANTEED
“The 3 Valleys guarantee you the largest number of open connected runs in Europe for the whole season”
Of course there’s some Ts & Cs but it’s a very impressive claim – Why would you go and ski anywhere else?
Accommodation / La Tania Holiday News
Free Ride Republic New Chalet
The Free Ride Republic has added a new chalet in La Tania to their portfolio.
The 16 bed Chalet Topaz with 8 en-suite rooms and outdoor hot tub is just above the La Tania Gondola Station.
Ski Someday – New Chalet Company
Welcome to La Tania for Ski Someday who are offering Catered Chalet holidays in Chalet Natasha 1 and 2.
2 self-contained units each sleeping 10 people but which can be combined for large groups.
Ski Total now in La Tania
Ski Total operate in 20 resorts across the Alps offering catered chalet package holidays.
For Winter 2016 they have Chalet James and Chalet Beau Vallon both located close to the slopes.
easyJet will operate an amazing 75 flights on peak Saturdays just from the UK to the airports of Geneva, Lyon & Grenoble for the 3 Valleys in Winter 2016. easyJet flights for Summer 2016 go on sale on 22 October.
Inghams will operate charter flights from Cambridge airport to Chambéry on Saturdays in Winter 2016.
All the flights in the La Tania Flight Guide
Eurostar launched a new year round service this Summer from London to Lyon from £89 return.
On the way back to the UK, customers need to leave the train at Lille for check-in and security checks.
It should be possible to get a direct train to Moûtiers from Lyon during Winter too – a connecting service meeting the Eurostar would be nice!
Coach Services – Ski Méribel, London to La Tania Direct
Ski Méribel have a new luxury sleeper coach leaving every Friday afternoon from Bedford, London Victoria & Dover to Méribel and La Tania.
Prices from £139 return, 8 days skiing and no expensive baggage charges on top.
Coach Services – London to Lyon
Due to de-regulation of scheduled coach services in France (they used to not be allowed to compete with the state owned SNCF railway believe it or not) there will be more option this Winter.
Megabus have already launched a London to Lyon service via Paris and National Express are likely to follow suite too.
Transfer News – Scheduled Shuttles from Geneva
Snowbound Transfers and Three Vallee Transfers new Le Van Rouge will be operating shared scheduled transfer shuttles every day for Winter 2016.
Check out their websites to co-ordinate your flight timings with their shared offerings.
Both are quicker and cheaper than the “official” airport bus, offer a door to door service and there is no change at Moûtiers either.
All the La Tania Transfer Operators here
Val Thorens has led the way with this, but now there are free WiFi zones in the Méribel Valley (Chaudanne, Altiport, Saulire, Mt Vallon base, Tougnete & Moon Park) and one in the Courchevel Valley has been added too for Winter 2016, located at Vizelle – top of Vizelle, Suisses and Marmottes lifts.
The Courchevel Pyramid
It is no more… What was that all about?
New Webcams for La Tania
Top right is the new mountain hut,weather station and avalanche control lookout at Col de la Loze next to Dou des Lanches chairlift above La Tania.
A new webcam was installed here this Summer and will scan across the valley over La Tania, the Gondola Station and up to Chenus (where there is also a new camera) and the top of the Lanches chair.