What's New in La Tania and The 3 Valleys 2017 - The Definitive Guide
New Lifts, Selfie Machines, More Free WiFi, Piste Upgrades, Après Ski etc...
The 16th Annual What's New Guide to the Biggest Ski Area In The World - October 2016
Work on the Lac Bleu & Anémones Piste this Summer - one of the links from La Tania over to Courchevel
CLICK ON THE IMAGES FOR LARGER PICS
Val Thorens kick things off with their opening weekend re-branded as La Grande Première on 26 November 2016 with The 3 Valleys links opening on 10 December 2016. However, due to great early snow cover they opened a week early on Saturday 19 November 2016.
There was confusion at the beginning of Summer around the April 2017 closing dates as various on-line sources had incorrect data - While Courchevel 1850 and Méribel will close on Sunday 23 April 2017, La Tania plus Le Praz, 1550 & 1650 will close on Easter Monday 17 April 2017.
Sat 10 Dec 2016 to Sun 23 Apr 2017
La Tania, Le Praz, Courchevel 1550 & 1650
Sat 10 Dec 2016 to Mon 17 Apr 2017
Mottaret & Méribel
Sat 10 Dec 2016 to Sun 23 Apr 2017
Fri 16 Dec 2016 to Fri 14 Apr 2017
Saint Martin de Belleville
Sat 10 Dec 2016 to Fri 21 Apr 2017
Sat 10 Dec 2016 to Fri 21 Apr 2017
Sat 26 Nov 2016 to Mon 01 May 2017
Sat 26 Nov 2016 to Mon 01 May 2017
All subject to change, snow cover, weather conditions, safety, maintenance, staff availability and utilisation with limited areas & lifts open at the beginning and end of the season.
New Lifts, Pistes and Ski Area Improvements
Courchevel announced on 7 Nov that they would hold a free preview day on 11 Nov 2016 due to the early snow (and more expected). Free snacks, ESF ski tips and free parking too with Saulire and Verdons lifts open from 09:30 - 15:00 (lifts and slopes opening will be dependent on further snowfalls).
Highlights include two new chairs in Val Thorens (€20m investment) replacing older lifts and changes to the top of the classic Jerusalem piste. Changes to the 3 Valleys Escapade too.
Val Thorens opening weekend is being re-branding as La Grande Première on 26 & 27 Nov and they are really pushing the "Digital" future with more free WiFi , innovative slope traffic measurement systems to highlight busy slopes and a new system for measuring the exact depth of the snowpack to save water on cannoned snow.
The 3 Valleys are adding further upgrades to their web sites, employing the new Fat Map technology, geo-tagging photo uploads and then there's the new Selfie machines too - see further down.
New Stades Chairlift & Croissant Piste in Val Thorens
This new Stades Doppelmayr high speed detachable 6 seater lift replaces the old Stade and Roc drag lifts. Also goes quite a bit higher to 2763m hooking up with the split in the Les Vires piste. To skiers right this is now developed in to a new piste named Croissant continuing down to the right of the Stade Yannick Richard area.
The old drags have been removed - there was some discussion on their removal as they were useful in a Stade situation to be able to drop off if starting gates are lower or for marshals use, was also a useful short cut to parts of the resort too.
Due to this a new 350m (78m vertical) Le Club drag lift has been put in place for competitors use only to access the competition area.
Stades Chairlift Stats:
No of Chairs 107
Capacity 3000 skiers per hour
New Boismint Chairlift in Val Thorens
This replacement lift upgrades the Boismint lift from 4 to 6 seats with a high speed detachable chair from Bartholet Seilbahnen BMF Group.
It follows a slightly different route and will mean an alternative faster route up towards the Cime Caron cable car.
Click on the image for a larger view.
Boismint Chairlift Stats:
No of Chairs 97
Capacity 3000 skiers per hour
The Ski Flux (not to be confused with snowboard bindings of the same name) system is entirely new to France and measures the flow of skiers via sensors on the runs. Data is converted into a message displayed in real-time on screens located above the places where runs intersect, allowing users to choose the route best for them.
Ski Flux is being trialled in the Grand Fond areas where three giant screens (measuring 3m x 2m and seven times brighter than a standard screen) will provide specific up-to-the minute information such as different snow levels on the runs, a geo-localised weather report and itinerary tips so you have all the information you need to make every day the best day of the season.
The Snowstat system is the new geo-localised measurement of the snowpack and is used to make snow cannons use a lot more accurate and save water.
Further Val Thorens highlights for Winter 2017 are:
* A total makeover of the Snowpark - The EasyPark is now the Family Park (like Courchevel) and over 20 new jumps/rails/boxes have been installed.
* Ski Cross Wednesdays - from 11am, turn up and race
* Mono Skiing is back from École Ski Cool.
* A new marked 1500m ski touring circuit has been created and is open during ski area opening hours as well as those getting up there for sunrise and first tracks down (Courchevel ESF will offer similar experiences and Méribel will continue to run a first tracks breakfast from the Saulire Summit every Wednesday for early risers too). Looks like Ski Touring with lots of special events planned is going to be big this Winter.
* Further works are going on replacing foundations around the summit lifts on Col de Rosaël - due to issues with permafrost apparently.
* A new 360° Webcam has been installed at the Cime Caron top station.
Jerusalem Piste Improvements
The St Martin / Les Menuires map shows the new blue entrance to the Jerusalem piste.
As we hoped when we spotted the work in July it is an alternative blue entrance to the piste that has been added.
The piste levels off after the initial steeper section so the run can be categorised as blue (with the red option at the top). Good work and sighs of relief all round…
We also noticed that at the bottom of Jerusalem it looks like a piste will be maintained straight down toward St Martin and hook up with the Biollay piste down to the village. An obvious short cut but in recent years this area has been fenced off and you had to loop around to skiers left following the track where the old 3 seater chair arrived to come out near to the gondola top station.
Further new low pressure snow cannons have been installed down to resort level further improving the runs down there.
Les Menuires boasts a new beginner’s route, friendly and welcoming Après-Ski at the Belleville Yurts, they host the Instructors’ Challenge in April 2017, have new snow games for kids and will be launching "Fat Bikes on Snow" on the Roc’n Bike run. The Fat Bike programme includes two 4km descents with a qualified guide - meet at the Twinner store at the Résidence Brelin from 8.30am Monday to Friday.
Courchevel Valley Ski Area Improvements
Work on pistes around Lac Blue and Anémones on the link over from La Tania to Courchevel and down to Verdons to make the run wider and easier took place this Summer.
Further improvements to drainage and anti-corrosion work have been made plus new snow cannons on the Roc Mugnier piste back from 1650, the top of the Signal chair area and the Ariondaz gulley have been installed.
Saulire Cable Car
The Saulire Cable Cars have had a new paint job once again this Summer.
Celebrating 70 years of the Courchevel Ski Area the new design shows the Courchevel logos with the dates from 1946 to 2016 displayed.
Courchevel released a 2017 version of their piste map with these areas improved marked on it.
The Epicéa piste next the Stade area is marked as a new permanent Slalom is being put in place for everyone to have a go for free.
The top of Vizelle is also highlighted - this refers to the new free WiFi now available.
Click on the image for the full size pic.
There will also be a special section of slopes dedicated to handicapped skiers with the the creation of a dedicated ‘Handiski’ area. The 1550, 1650 and 1850 French Ski Schools have all joined forces to provide a shared starting point for the new area in the resort’s Pralong quarter.
The site is served by two specially adapted ski tows, as well as a 6-seater detachable chair lift and 12 specially trained instructors, led by advisor Pierre–Emmanuel Bernoud, have committed to the project by providing instruction at the new area. Two dedicated parking spaces have also been created nearby to make access easier for those with reduced mobility. Whilst facilities for handicapped skiers on the slopes continue to improve at resorts around the world, with some also offering discounted lift passes, an area specifically dedicated to handicapped skiers is a first.
Night Skiing will once again take place around Verdons and The Family Park on Wednesday nights from 28 Dec until 22 Feb plus 2 Mar from 6pm to 8pm.
The local Courchevel and Méribel area maps do not have the Escapade lifts marked on them (they are on the 3 Valleys, Val Thorens and Les Menuires maps however). In addition the Selfie Machine on the Col de la Loze is not marked on the Courchevel map but it is on the Méribel map!
S3V the lift company for Courchevel, La Tania and Méribel Mottaret have actually doubled their total snow making capacity this summer with extensive work on the underground pipe network and snow cannon reservoir infrastructure. This means that they can pump out twice as much snow in the same time as previously, not double the area covered.
When temperatures drop for only for a limited time to allow snow making this is a huge improvement on what was already one of the largest and most advanced snow making systems in the world.
Méribel Valley Ski Area Improvements
Big improvements to both the DC Area 43 Park in Mottaret and the Moon Park in Méribel is now the Elements Park.
The DC Park gets a chalet with free WiFi, deckchairs & giant beanbags with parties every Thursday plus a new boardercross "Turn and Run" has been create.
The Elements Park too has more jumps, more rails and a new Fun Cross track for novices.
Elsewhere there is a new "Piknic 'n' Relax" room under the Pas du Lac Gondola base station - this takes picnic areas to a new level with a fully equipped kitchen, sofas and of course free WiFi and re-charging points.
More family based areas and beginner improvements including the Dragon run, The Inuit Village and the Yeti Park which now has a zip wire. Additional family entertainment will be provided over school holidays including the obligatory archery (with statues of animals as targets!) and magician shows.
Improvements and new easier pistes at the Altiport area have been created and night skiing and sledging continues on the floodlit pistes in Mottaret as part of the "Himalaya by Night" experience.
The Chalets access gondola lift in Mottaret has been completely refurbished.
Further Ski Area News Across The 3 Valleys
More free WiFi at plenty more sports now all marked on the piste map, more signage improvements across the area including the new Easy Rider signs showing beginners areas and Selfie Machines...
Easy Rider 3 Valleys
2 Levels to help new skiers and boarders build confidence.
Level 1: Start in the enclosed areas: Closed off to other skiers, you’ll feel safe when you make your first turns on the snow.
Level 2: Venture further afield! Now you are feeling more confident, take one of the easy lifts then follow the signs which will guide you to the easiest pistes.
Look out for the pink signs!
Fat Map comes to the The 3 Valleys
Mobile 3D Maps are coming to The 3 Valleys this Winter courtesy of Fat Map technology.
Apps are available free with a standard resolution or in-app purchases for high resolution maps (and further ski area info) for £9.99 for 2 weeks of £25.99 for the season.
3 Valleys Selfie Machines
This has got to be better than the loathsome Selfie Sticks anyway...
New 3 Vallées Selfie Spots are being introduced with 6 Systems across The 3 Valleys. Simply access the system on your Smart Phone and the system takes your photo then sends it your phone. There's a close up and a panoramic shot from a camera around 200m up from where you are!
The 6 Three Vallées Selfie locations are:
* Col de la Loze at the top of Dou des Lanches / Loze Express above La Tania
* Top of the Signal Chair above 1650
* Bottom of Mont Vallon / Plan des Mains, top of Méribel Valley
* Top of Sunny Express above Les Menuires
* Top of Deux Lacs chair in Val Thorens
* Pointe de la Masse at top of Masse 2 - turn right out of the top lift
Impressive stuff - The new 3V Selfie Machines in 6 locations next season
Additional free WiFi areas to share all these photos too with WiFi now being available at the top of Vizelle, Signal, Plan des Mains, Plattieres, The DC Area 43 Park, Mont Vallon, the Piknic n Relax area in Mottaret and numerous places in the Val Thorens Valley.
Future Ski Area Developments
The latest information on future ski area developments (and rumours) that we know of are listed below:
The replacement of the 1650 Gondola with a new 2 stage one plus the re-development of the whole "snow front" area will be a major piece of work but the dates of when this will start have still not been confirmed.
There are plans in Val Thorens to replace the Moraine and Col lifts with a single lift and also rumours of a lift from Caron to Grand Fond to aid traffic there - it could be a 2018 start for these.
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.
In Les Menuires we hear the Mariée, The Tourist Office and SEVABEL lift company have announced consultation / studies on the following projects:
- Replacement of the Bruyères 1 & 2 Gondolas
- Replacement of the Masse 1 & 2 Gondolas
- A new lift named Dame Blanche (the name from 20 years ago) from Plan de l'Eau bottom station area
- Removal of the old Tortollet fixed chairlift as the Bettex detachable chair is a good alternative.
No more rumours of Bozel lifts via the Aquamotion centre in 1550 or pistes down to there from 1650 either.
The La Tania Moretta Village Development over the Gondola Car Park appears to be getting closer but awaits final financing- this would see a new chairlift go in up to the Bouc Blanc chair and possibly a new green track through the forest to skiers left coming down Folyères. Latest we hear is that an agreement on the Moretta Village development is imminent (perhaps first week of November 2016).
The merger of Courchevel and La Tania (St Bonn and La Perrière communes) may enable the Moretta Village development to start sooner but we've heard limited information on what has been achieved so far - a ski bus at the start and end of the season would be a good start...
Après Ski News Round Up
Pub Le Ski Lodge and La Taiga in La Tania
All the usual fun and games will be back along with excellent live music from the likes of Bring Your Sisters and The Dominos. Expect to see The Leggomen this season and hopefully the return of Kolo and Firekind.
A bit of new furniture and upgrades to the heated 3 level terrace that was new last season at the Ski Lodge plus new lighting, the usual lick of paint and smarten up in preparation for opening was the original plan...
New a new beer installation and coolers with new pumps going in plus a couple of spare pumps for guest beers lots of re-wiring work, ventilation and sound proofing too - they better get a move on this pic 3 weeks before opening!
Returning staff aiding Tim & Crispy are rumoured to include Rob, Heidi, Jake, Laura & Fred, Tino from a few years back, Steve, Stranny, Duncan (from way back), Slovak, Adam, Jan, Teri & Josh.
There's another rumour concerning a Kiwi named Bill returning for January too...
Pub Le Ski Lodge will open with limited hours for the first week or so from Thursday 1st December at 17:00.
La Taiga expected to open around a week later. All the dates will be updated in the La Tania What's On Diary.
Latest dates we have for the Official Winter Season Opening Parties probably hosted by Bring Your Sisters are Ski Lodge Friday 9 December and La Taiga Sunday 11 December.
Le Farçon Restaurant in La Tania
This Winter you can enjoy a unique dinner prepared by a chef from the Michelin starred Le Farçon restaurant in the comfort of your own apartment or chalet and served by a head waiter.
If eating out, they'll also be running an evening shuttle bus service that will pick you up from your accommodation and drop you back home again after your dinner. A 4 course evening meal is available from €62.
Hotel Courcheneige, Bellecote Piste, Courchevel
As many of you will know, The Hotel Courcheneige has been a refuge in the massively overpriced on piste restaurants in the Courchevel Valley since 2009 when Australian owners took it over. However they have sold up and moved to La Pomme de Pins (just above the Chabichou) - great plans for there too.
The new owners have completed a comprehensive refurbishment of Hotel Courcheneige this Summer with an upgraded terrace, new entrance, new bar & restaurant plus a new roof top terrace with hot tubs up near the trees.
The new owners of The Courcheneige are local restauranteurs, Christian Sturm and his head chef Franco Roméo. They promise “to keep the best possible 3 Star service in Courchevel 1850 with excellent food and dining selection, friendly service and the traditional low Courcheneige prices”.
Whether €50 bottles of Veuve will be available or not there’s some serious investment gone in to the hotel with all the rooms being modernised, a new roof top terrace with hot tubs up towards the trees, a whole new entrance and atrium with a new bar and lounge layout inside with cocktails a speciality, sheepskin rugs and throws over sofas plus a new bar on the terrace with new fireplaces and seating areas.
The new restaurant is now Italian and named Le Rendez-Vous and there’ll also be a Pizzeria serving pizzas on the terrace. The great value snack bar underneath will continue. Note this pic is an artist impression.
La Folie Douce Getting Ready...
La Folie Douce in Méribel (or Courchevel-Méribel as they like to call it) is getting ready for the new season with a fleet of lorries driving up there with stock for the Winter.
There's a 10,000m2 store room underneath to keep all that beer and champagne in...
A completely new show and choreography with some new dancers is promised and practising in Cannes, Dubrovnik, Brussels and Lyon before Winter!
Brides Les Bains - New Spa
Brides are also upping their game with a €14m investment in a complete rebuild and renovation of their Thermal Spa infrastructure. Work starts on 2nd November 2016.
There is also a "British Week" being hosted from 11-18 February 2017 with beer tasting, a British comedian and a UK tribute band!
Other Après News around The 3 Valleys
The count of Michelin Stars across The 3 Valleys stands at 18. La Bouitte near St Martin is one of only 2 mountain restaurants with 3 stars in Europe and has a new extended reception, lounge and restaurant areas with a mountain facing terrace.
Val Thorens is really pushing the boat out with all manner of non-skiing activities including ice driving, mountain biking & Segways on snow, yoga, snowshoeing, driving simulators, more dog sledding and cookery courses too.
A new Wine Bar and Le Crewzer Lounge (which could be the new too cool for school spot) are both new places situated in the old Mercure hotel - now Hotel Fahrenheit Seven, the perfect snowflake temperature apparently.
Courchevel 1850 ESF will be creating the largest ski kindergarten in France with decorated ski runs, cabins and fun zones - some 50,000m2 in size.
La Tania has a shiny new cash machine with a much brighter, colour, touch screen- still situated next to The Tourist Office just opposite the Ski Lodge, very handy! Remember just about everywhere takes plastic in any case.
Rumours of a new curry house and some restaurant expansion in the Three Valleys too. More when we hear and/or allowed to say!
Norman Jay will return once again to The Rond Point and The Ronnie Love Music Festival which takes place from 20 - 24 March 2017. Norman DJs on Wed 22nd and BBC 6 Music DJ Craig Charles (ok, and Corrie and Red Dwarf) closes out the festival on Friday 24th.
The Piste Bash Festival held around Méribel is also expected to return in 2017 with dates still to be confirmed - this could see the return of The Cuban Brothers and The Dub Pistols among others.
3 Valleys Charity Day in Méribel Village takes place on Wednesday 12 April 2017 with new headliners this year and the return of Jo Whiley to present and DJ at the event.
3 Valleys Ski Pass News & Snow Guarantee
Introducing the Alpine Legends Superpass
Last year it was called the Alpine Legends Pass and covers 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 €348, €398 & €448 - 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 days at Shiga Kogen in Japan and Mt Buller in Australia plus 2 days in Paradiski or Espace Killy.
New this Winter is 3 sets of 2 day passes for the Vail Resorts in the USA which include Vail, Breckenridge, Park City, Canyons, Heavenly, Kirkwood (a personal favourite) and Northstar amongst others.
More Skiing than anywhere else, GUARANTEED
"The 3 Valleys guarantee you the largest number of open connected runs in Europe for the whole season"
The guarantee issued last season continues once again...
Of course there's some Ts & Cs but it's a very impressive claim - Why would you go and ski anywhere else?
3 Valleys Escapade (in a day) Changes
We've noticed a few changes to the 3 Valleys Escapade and are pleased to report that La Tania is included again – (we thought we’d got ourselves banned) !
This year the Bouc Blanc Chairlift is one of the 18 checkpoints across the 3 Valleys that make up the Escapade and the new green globe like logo can be seen on the La Tania area of the 3V map (plus another selfie machine – we’ve got one at the top of Lanches chair).
The Escapade idea is you ski these points across your week holiday and really experience the whole of the 3 Valleys and get a certificate to prove it (back when this started in 2006 you had a hole punch card but now it’s recorded electronically with your hands free lift pass).
After a late night, alcohol fuelled conversation we had the idea of doing this in a day – it’s now around 100km distance with 34 lifts and 17000m of vertical (that’s twice Everest).
The toughest day skiing ever for most people, no coffee stops, no lunch, no chatting – maybe a sandwich on one of the longer lifts…
2017 Escapade – Suggested Route with checkpoint lifts in bold (2016 route above)
La Tania Gondola
Rocher De L’Ombre drag
Dent de Burgin
Mini rope tow
Plan de l’homme
St Martin 1
St Martin Express
Roc de Tougne drag
Plan De L’Eau
3 Vallees Funitel
Becca (not currently on the 3V Smart Phone App)
Pas Du Lac 1
Pas Du Lac 2
Aiguille du Fruit
Differences for 2017 are the Chapelets chair at the far side of 1650 is being replaced by the short (but useful) link lift Petite Boss drag and La Tania’s Bouc Blanc chair replacing Tovets in 1550.
Note that the local 2017 Courchevel & Méribel maps (PDFs anyway) do not have the Escapade logos so refer to the 3 Valleys map
Lift Pass Prices for 2017 Summary (2016 prices in brackets)
1 Day Courchevel €51 (50)
1 Day Three Valleys €60 (59)
6 Day Courchevel €250 (245)
6 Day Three Valleys €294 (289)
3 Valleys Extension €33.50 (33)
Courchevel Valley Season Pass €1070 (1045)
Three Valleys Season Pass €1260 (1240)
Other lift pass news include automated machines in Les Menuires (they've had them in Val Thorens for a while) and another "World" pass called the Epic Pass with Vail Resorts adding Les 3 Vallees, Paradiski and Tignes-Val D’Isere in France, Skirama Dolomiti Adamello Brenta in Italy, 4 Vallees in Switzerland, and Arlberg in Austria to the 2016-2017 line-up. You get 5 days at Whistler too but there are some restrictions around holiday times etc.
The British Ski School SnowLimits that operates from La Tania and The Three Valleys has a brand new look, logo and website www.snowlimitsskischool.com
Oxygène Ski and Snowboard School and Magic in Motion Ski and Snowboard School (Magic) are combining their sales and marketing with one entity representing them across Paradiski, Espace Killy and The 3 Valleys based from their marketing hub in Moûtiers. The names and brandings of both companies will remain however.
A new "Sensations" lift pass will be available for Winter 2017 to include access to the Aquamotion Centre in Courchevel 1550. An adult 6 Day Sensations Pass (for Aquamotion and 3 Valleys) is available for €414 (3V only €294).
For the 1st time, a new transferable package (used by different people, but not simultaneously), The 3 Valleys Transferable Season Pass is available for €5,600 from 1st December.
Alpine Generation - New to La Tania
Welcome Alpine Generation to La Tania. They have several chalets in Morzine and now one in La Tania - Chalet Les Oursons.
Ex-Ski Beat staff Shazza along with new La Tania Saisonnaire Katy are hosting this one. A great holiday awaits for the guests here...
Alpine Escape - New Chalet in Le Praz
Long established La Tania Chalet Company Alpine Escape have a new 5-Star top end chalet just down the road in Le Praz.
Chalet Dulcis Casu is a beautiful, no-expenses-spared property sleeping 12 guests with gadgetry galore, designer furnishings, an indoor swimming pool with a water current against which you can swim, a mosaic-tiled hammam and a dedicated massage room.
Ski Amis News - New Hypnos Beds
Ski Amis have some major upgrades in place including new furniture, curtains, beautiful silky bedding with comfy runners and cushions, a choice of high quality soft or firm pillows on every bed and quality duvets plus the centre piece of each and every upgraded bedroom is a sumptuous Hypnos bed, the ultimate sleep indulgence.
Hypnos has a reputation for making the most comfortable beds in the world with a reputation for the very best of British quality and a Royal Warrant from The Queen.
Ski-Dazzle - New Promotional Video
Great new promo video for Ski-Dazzle with more superb aerial shots of La Tania
New Yellowstone Lodge in La Tania to be built
Situated next to the Gros Murger drag lift opposite the Gondola Station this new development of 4 high-end chalets with 4 en-suite bedrooms looks set to go ahead with building work starting next Summer.
Complete with underground parking, cellar, ski lockers and balconies overlooking the gondola / ticket office area.
Prices start from €1,375,000...
Evasion Travel - New Chalet in La Tania
Evasion Travel have a new duplex chalet on their books this season - Chalet Doran.
It can be combined together to sleep up to 20 or separated for 2 groups of 10 with and adjoining door in the lounge area. The kitchen layout can be altered so everyone can eat together when chalets are combined too.
New Roof on Chalet Murette
Chalet Murette one of the Snow Retreat chalets has had a new roof installed.
The also gives additional space on the top floor and extra windows have been installed. In addition one of the bedrooms has had a small extension.
The interior designer is now (Nov 2016) putting the finishing touches in place.
New Apartments near Le Plantin
Some new apartments near Le Plantin on the La Tania to Méribel Village have sprung up this Summer.
It may be a cheaper option than staying in resort (especially for season rentals) even though it's only a 5 minute drive each way to get to a ski lift.
There were rumours of a lift going in here many moons ago but you can ski back to here from the top of Col de la Loze - just ask Essex Billy...
Further Building Work in LaTania
There's been a large crane up in the centre of resort for many months now - no huge development or anything though, just a new roof being put on the Folyères apartment block.
The sun, snow, heat and cold do get to the wooden roofs eventually no matter how many times they are varnished. Interesting that a helicopter wasn't used to deliver material to the top like when the Grand Bois had similar work done.
Finally we've a new mobile phone mast going up in La Tania so hopefully a 4G internet service will arrive. Situated somewhere near the tennis court towards the top of Troika - it's supposed to be installed for the start of the season.
Update: It is installed and the service provider is Free Mobile (free.fr) which is one of the roaming partners for UK provider Three Mobile. More on Mobiles and 4G in La Tania here
A word on the Three deal (when use abroad comes out of your UK plan so in effect free to use in loads of countries including France, Switzerland, Greece and the USA) - When you roam in France on Three you will never get 4G and the 3G is throttled back too, still a great deal of course but maybe a bit too good to be true! However, on the plus side, no one we know has ever had their service stopped because they've used it in France all season long when Ts & Cs state you won't be allowed to do this.
Travel - New for Winter 2017
Flying - New Routes for Winter 2017
easyJet are still leading the way with up to 59 flights per day from the UK to Geneva this Winter plus routes to Lyon and Grenoble too.
Jet2 have dropped Chambéry completely but added Saturday flights from Newcastle, East Midlands, Leeds/Bradford and Glasgow.
BA have added Chambéry from London Stansted (Sat/Sun).
Flybe have added flights to Chambéry from Norwich, Doncaster and Manchester plus a Manchester to Lyon service. Code shares available with Air France are usually much cheaper on the Flybe site.
All the flights, all the operators, all the routes in the La Tania Flight Guide
2017 Winter Eurostar Tickets went on sale at 9am on Wed 20 July 2016. London to Moûtiers from £149 return (Half Term £499).
This Winter additional half term services on Saturday nights 11 & 18 Feb and Sunday day services 19 & 26 Feb suitable for Sunday to Sunday holidays went on sale on 14 Sep 2016 from £309 return.
The Eurostar Lyon Service is only running on peak dates during school holidays and there are a lot less overnight SNCF services from Paris now with sleeper services being removed. The night train to Bourg Saint Maurice had been running for 103 years.
Demise of the Direct Ski Coach Services
Ski Méribel who have operated for over 20 years offering return sleeper coach services from London Victoria to Méribel and La Tania are only operating at peak times for Winter 2017 and for group charters.
Similarly Ski Weekends no longer have coach options available and will be packaging flight options with all their trips to The Three Valleys for Winter 2017.
Airport Improvements - Chambéry
Chambéry Airport despite being the nearest airport for many French Alps Ski Resorts has had some bad press over the last few years featuring on some "most delayed" flight statistics. Interesting that Jet2 have completely dropped them for Winter 2017.
On a weekday it can be brilliant however busy Saturdays can be a nightmare and low cloud or poor weather can often mean delays and diversions - Crystal pay Lyon €2k a week retainer just to be on standby.
That said, Crystal take more than 30,000 British skiers to the French Alps via the airport every Winter with up to 20 flights a week from 15 airports including Gatwick, Manchester, Glasgow, Bristol and Dublin.
More than 50 flights carrying over 13,000 travellers land at the busiest periods due to the airport’s position as the gateway to ski resorts in the French Alps. A total of €10 million is to be spent over 16 years to improve the airport’s infrastructure (The 3 Valleys spend that on one new lift mind!).
British Airways now has flights from London City and London Stansted (including a daily flight from London City from 16 December 2016 to 9 January 2017) and Flybe has flights from Birmingham, Cardiff, Doncaster, Exeter, Manchester, Norwich and Southampton.
Improvements are on the way for this Winter with a total renovation of the terminal, 14 new baggage loading ramps, new carousels, new security area with more stations, an expanded boarding lounge area, new shops, the duty free shop has moved too, renovated toilets and new signage throughout.
All welcome changes, but they can't do anything about the weather. Yet.
New Direct Bus Service from Chambéry
In co-operation with Les 3 Vallees a new direct service is running from Chambéry to Courchevel, Méribel and Val Thorens.
The company is called Skimania and they have been running day trips and weekends for 25 years from their base in Lyon. Prices will start at €47 for day trips but bookings on their website and App are not yet available (1/11/16).
Geneva - A new McDonalds
This is the new McDonalds replacing the Burger King in Geneva Airport food court (before security).
Remember this is Geneva though and even at last seasons exchange rates a Big Mac Meal is over £10 - double that of the UK.
There seems to be endless other work going on in Geneva airport and changes to car parking and drop off seem to occur every year so keep a look out. Thankfully the rows over Swiss hire cars not being allowed to be driven in to France seem to have fizzled out - probably still worth checking though, some Swiss companies brought EU cars round to the Swiss side apparently to get around this. Full hire car info and direction here.
Snowbound Transfers and Three Vallee Transfers continue to offer some prestige vehicles for their VIP clients - a top of the range Mercedes Viano, an Audi Q7, a fully kitted out Land Rover Defender (with cameras) and a 4x4 Skoda Octavia Scout are among other vehicles added to their fleets of mini buses we've spotted lately.
Both companies offer shared transfers so check out their websites to co-ordinate your flight timings and save money on your transfers.
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
Winter 2017 Major Events
Courchevel holds the World Cup Women's Slalom for the 7th consecutive year on 20 December 2016.
The La Tania Charity Family Fête will be held on Wednesday 5 April 2017.
3 Valleys Charity Day in Méribel Village takes place on Wednesday 12 April 2017 with new Headliners this year and the return of Jo Whiley to present and DJ at the event.
The 3 Valleys Enduro event with 8 skiing disciplines across The 3 Valleys and open to all (and all levels) is on 2 April 2017.
The Ronnie Love Music Festival takes place from 20 - 24 March 2017 with Norman Jay and Craig Charles confirmed so far.
Val Thorens Early Season Events
26-27 Nov - La Grande Première Opening Weekend.
26-27 Nov - Ski Force & Rock On Snowboard Tour. Test out all the latest ski equipment, clothing & kit.
02-04 Dec - Trophee Andros, Car and Motorcycle Racing. On ice.
05-10 Dec - Ski Cross World Cup.
15-16 Dec - Snowboard Cross European Tour.
Courchevel-Méribel have put a joint bid in to host the 2023 Alpine Skiing World Championships and have been selected to be the French bid, the organising committee make the decision in 2018.
Courchevel-Méribel beat Chamonix and Val d'Isere for the French selection.
All the dates will be updated in The 3 Valleys What's On Guide
A couple of other things....
Le Praz Roundabout - It is no longer a roundabout
New STOP signs on the La Tania road past the Ski Jump at Le Praz.
Previously a mini roundabout, it may take a while (or longer) for people to get used to this - take care!
We don't need to mention the whole Priorité à Droite thing again do we? An explanation here
Thanks to Ralph at The Freeride Republic for this one!
New Poubelles around La Tania
Plenty of new Poubelles all around La Tania...
This more modern type of runnish bin are sunk underground - basically a massive bin bag that gets hauled out by a specially adapted bin lorry.
More efficient to empty and larger capacity than previous bins in sheds but they do take up valuable car parking spaces of course.