The La Tania Ski Blog

Latest news, snow, pics, gossip and information from the locals in La Tania – latania.co.uk

 
All the latest news from around the Three Valleys from the La Tania locals. A real blog since 2006, not just endless re-posts for search engine optimisaton! Photos, gossip, snow reports, what's on and all the latest on the Apres Ski scene... Now fully optimised for iPhone, Touch and Android Mobiles - just go to latania.co.uk/blog and view on your phone. Our other past blogs & favourites here

 


 

The Installation of the new admin/timing hut on the La Tania Stade

As we reported yesterday on the moving of the La Tania stade to the right hand side of the bottom section of the Bouc Blanc piste (as you look up) we’ve some pics of the installation of the La Tania Cub des Sports timing and admin hut. Thanks to Extreme Ski Services for the pics.

The support of locals is essential in keeping our Club des Sports going which often punches well above its weight (the Courchevel Stade has just benefited from a €17m gift from Britain’s richest man – not many Mums and Dads helping with construction over there!).

Location of the new timing hut
Inside the hut – Three Valley Transfers may recognise some of the furniture!

Ice Hockey & Gamble

Those who are into their winter sports will no doubt follow ice hockey, a sport that is one of the most popular both in the US and in Canada, with the internationally recognised National Hockey League (NHL).

Like all professional sports these days, betting has become a staple part of the sponsorship and promotion of sports and their fixtures. Ice hockey betting is seriously starting to grow in popularity outside of the US, as more and more bookmakers acknowledge its growing profile among sports fans and gamblers.

A brief history
The true origins of hockey as a sport are still largely unknown to this day, with references to 16th century England, the Gaelic sport of hurling and influences from Dutch and Scandinavian early versions of the game. However, the development of hockey being played on ice, is solely attributed to the city of Montreal, in Canada. In 1875, the first organised game of ice hockey was played in Victoria Skating Rink between two teams each consisting of nine players. The very first ice hockey club ever created was the McGill University Hockey Club in 1877, quickly followed by the Quebec Hockey Club in 1878 and Montreal Victorias in 1881.

The National Hockey Association (NHA) was founded in 1909 and was succeeded by the National Hockey League (NHL) which is has been known by ever since.

The big teams The Montreal Canadiens are the most successful team in NHL history with

24 Stanley Cup victories to their name. They are also one of the oldest teams still in existence in elite level ice hockey, along with the Toronto Maple Leafs, who are the second most successful team with 13 Stanley Cups. Neither of those teams have won the famous cup in the 21st century however, and it’s opened up the NHL to newer teams to become fan favourites.

The Chicago Blackhawks won three Stanley Cups between 2010 and 2015 and as such they’ve gained a lot of new fans, especially those who are new to NHL and are looking for a team to support. The Boston Bruins’ infamous success in the 70s has always ensured they kept a cult following both in North America and beyond, to the point that wearing a Bruins jersey was a fashion statement or some time!

The league is becoming more and more competitive and that’s evidenced by the fact that the Stanley Cup has been won by seven different teams in the last 10 years. This is the reason the NHL is considered the pinnacle of professional ice hockey worldwide.

Betting on ice hockey
Due to ice hockey’s popularity around the world, bookmakers are offering odds on every NHL fixture in the regular season. You can even bet on who you think will win the Stanley Cup before the season even begins. The amount of markets on offer has also increased over the years, with bookmakers now offering markets such as match handicaps, double chance, correct score and more, giving punters even more opportunities to win big on the sport they love.

With the massive popularity of ice hockey in North America and all over the world, it’s definitely a sport that will continue to grow and attract new audiences in the coming years. If you know your Boston Bruins from your Montreal Canadiens, maybe you should look to get involved in some ice hockey betting and make your hobby a profitable one.

La Tania Comp Stade now next to Bouc Blanc Chair, the main piste re-routed across and down the old stade plus pics of the new beginners area.

Bouc Blanc Chairlift & Piste with new timing hut for the slalom comps & training

We’ve got some clarification on the location of the La Tania Stade competition piste thanks to The Freeride Republic and Snowbound Transfers – cheers for the pics guys!

The Stade is now relocated to the right of the Bouc Blanc piste (looking up) next to chairlift with the main Bouc Blanc piste now to the left. So skiing down from the top La Tania gondola station you will loop around to skiers right (as the green Plan Fontaine piste does) and join the top of the old stade piste and then head down toward the Bouc Blanc chair.

The 2021 Piste Map actually has this marked on it with the red piste below the La Tania gondola station crossing under the gondola and then back again – we missed that change!

Stade and new route of the Bouc Blanc piste shown on the 2021 map

The new piste signs are now in place routing skiers across to the top of the old stade instead of the straight down hoon to the Bouc Blanc chair.

The new tunnel construction just above the La Tania gondola station is now complete to allow recreational skiers access under the L’Eclipse World Cup race piste from Les Arolles piste or the Forêt chair.

The new tunnel – looks like it could support a 6 lane motorway!

The new World Cup piste and tunnel has meant the small beginners area and magic carpet lift has had to be relocated and is now situated immediately to your right as you exit the gondola station.

La Tania top gondola station to the left
Magic Carpet Lift

The new Ski Tranquille Beginners Area has a small travelator type lift and this fenced off sector is on a plateau situated just above the Bouc Blanc restaurant.

The new signage for this beginners area has just gone up

Still plenty of heavy equipment around on the ski area as they clear up and complete scheduled work before the snow arrives in earnest (this truck has it’s snow chains on ready!).

Snow chains fitted!

New Outside Bar at Pub Le Ski Lodge in La Tania

Further investment to help with Covid secure service this Winter sees a new outside bar on the terrace at Pub Le Ski Lodge.

There’ll be snacks such as Paninis, Chilli Wedges, Soup, Pies and Loaded Nachos available too.

Meanwhile the Chrome Bar has a new extension – we understand that will be the bar area with the old bar now as the restaurant area.

And up the hill near Saboia the new garages are cracking on – they’re even working over lunch!

Thanks to Ralph at The Freeride Republic for the pic

Aldi Ski Range available from 8 Nov 2020. Pre-order now

The excellent value for money Aldi ski gear is back. Available from 8th November 2020 (pre-order now) and some in-store kit too.

We’ve Seasonaire tested the jackets in previous years and they stood up remarkably well – the waterproofing / breathability performance was very good for the price however these details are missing for the adult 2021 jackets we notice and it looks like a different manufacturer too.

The specs are impressive though with zip detachable hood, internal pockets & media player slot, goggle pocket, snow skirt, lift pass & cleaning cloth pockets, velcro cuffs and inner cuffs with thumb holes.

The kids jacket looks similar to previous seasons and for £14.99 is unbelievable value…

Children’s Black Ski Jacket £14.99

Products are available to pre-order here at Aldi.co.uk

Outdoormaster Polar Bear Boot Bag reviewed – another value for money product

Another quality, yet affordable product from Outdoormaster. The Polar Bear Boot Bag is more than just for carrying boots you can get a whole load of gear in it.

With a boot pocket on either sides with venting and drainage holes for wet boots there’s a separate compartment in the middle for helmet, gloves, goggles etc. The substantial base is a strong plastic with grippy feet fitted adding to the robustness of the product.

There are also additional pockets on the outside of the boot compartments plus a handy pocket on the top for travel documents, cash etc and even a tie for strapping on any additional clothing you may want to carry.

Inside there’s a further waterproof pocket for valuables and a third key ring loop.

As well as large top and front handles there are backpack straps too. These can be folded away in yet another zipped pocket on the padded and ventilated back of the bag.

All in all a very well thought out, well made product and it comes at a really good price – at the moment they start at only £37 including postage with a range of colours too. Get another 10% off with the code LATANIA10

Now get 15% off with code LATANIA15

Click here to order

Cable Transport for Winter 2021 & Confirmation of an increased frequency of the La Tania Free Ski Shuttle Bus

Grangettes & Praz Gondolas at Courchevel 1850

At a meeting yesterday the Mairie confirmed that the Praz and Grangettes gondolas will be open from 07:45 until 23:30 from 12 December 2020 until 11 April 2021. In an effort to reduce car traffic the number of free ski buses will be increased on the Saint Bon, Le Praz and La Tania routes. A very welcome move after the ridiculous reduction in services last season.

Location of the Praz Gondola from Le Praz and Grangettes from Courchevel Village 1550

Outside of these dates Praz will open at 08:45. The Jardin Alpin gondola will run from 08:35 to 19:10 throughout the season although if this scheme proves successful then Jardin Alpin may have increases running hours too.

The costs of the scheme is estimated at €1.5m but the environmental and tourism benefits are thought worthwhile.

Prices

The proposed pedestrian prices are still to be validated – they will give access only to these “Urban Lifts” but over their entire operating time.

Season Pass€135
1 Day€12
2 Day€18
3 Day€23
4 Day€28
5 Day€33
6 Day€38
7 Day€42
Additional Day€4

Extension Prices

Extensions prices for all types of ski and pedestrian passes for Courchevel & The 3 Valleys:

  • €70 per season for Courchevel & 3 Valley Passes
  • €30 per season for Pedestrian Passes

Season Passes for seasonal employees and professionals (including registered Ski Instructors) will include access to these Urban Lifts on their extended hours for €30.

The prices of worker passes and residents passes are still awaited. There are rumours of an under age 30 season worker pass being made available – certainly changes seem to be in the offing. Watch this space.

Product Review – Outdoormaster Goggles

It’s the time of year to be thinking of new gear for the coming Winter and we’ve been looking at some ski goggles from Outdoormaster.

A decent set of goggles is often overlooked but makes a massive difference as soon as the perfect weather changes and sunnies aren’t an option. When snow, rain, fog, wind, hail or flat light come in the use of quality goggles is essential (and anyway the sunnies and a helmet isn’t really a good look is it?).

Outdoormaster believe in highly affordable yet functional outdoor products – these reasonably priced goggles has seen them sell over 200,000 pairs in the USA.

First up are their OTG Goggle (Over The Glasses) allowing glasses to be worn with the goggles. There’s a triple layer of soft foam, a practically unbreakable, flexible lens and large strap to fit over any helmet. 100% UV400 protection obviously and an anti-fog lens coating layer too.

Outdoormaster OTG Goggles

Secondly we have their Meander Snow Goggles. Magnets and a buckle lock system provide a secure and easy to use lens system – change lens in less than a minute! There’s a dual layer lens with revo and anti-fog layer to help prevent misting and they provide excellent optical clarity with a wide field of view in a great looking frameless design.

Outdoormaster Meander Snow Goggles

Finally the Pro Model with instantly interchangeable lenses using a clever magnetic catch only – see the video below showing the lens being removed and fitted again in under 10 seconds!

Outdoormaster Pro Model
  • 100% UV400 Protection
  • Large spherical frameless lens for a very wide angle , unobstructed view
  • Over 20 different lenses available and instantly changeable
  • OTG Design for use with glasses if needed
  • Anti-Fog coated lenses
  • Universal helmet compatibility with large strap
  • Protective case & carrying pouch supplied

We can’t wait to use these in anger on a powder day in La Tania this Winter – we’ll feed back our further opinions of course too.

Get a further 10% off these pro model goggles with code LATANIA10 – they can’t really be less than 30 quid shipped can they? But like the £20 Aldi ski jackets with a similar spec to £400 Spyder ones this is not impossible!

The Outdoormaster Story
Outdoormaster are a group of outdoor enthusiasts from New York, Paris, and Hong Kong. In January of 2010, they met each other while skiing in Les Deux Alpes, France… Read More

Outdoormaster gear is available on-line here and get a further 10% off using code LATANIA10

We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at their pricing…

Cheap enough to carry around for the Seasonaires “goggles with beanie” look that’s popular at The Folie Douce and Ronnie at Après too!

The New 2021 3 Valleys Piste Maps Analysed…

Always an exciting time when the new piste maps become available – we’re still trying to get hold of the Les Menuires / St Martin individual valley map for 2021 but the rest are now available for download on out piste maps page at: latania.co.uk/skiing/pistemaps.htm

La Tania / Courchevel

The most obvious work this Summer has been the continued development of the new World Cup 2023 piste – now named L’Eclipse and running from near the top of the Bouc Blanc chairlift down to Le Praz. The old Jockeys piste has been hugely reshaped and widened plus a new snow cannon reservoir to feed it has been constructed too. Meanwhile in 1850 the work on the new Stade and Racing HQ (thanks to the UK’s richest man, Jim Ratcliffe of the INEOS Chemical / Fracking Corporation) has seen huge works continue this Summer too.

The idea behind the hundreds of millions of euros spent on this project is to create a famous, iconic downhill piste like the Hahnenkamm in Kitzbühel and try to make Courchevel more about skiing rather than the designer shops, ridiculously expensive 5 star luxury hotels, Russian Oligarchs and Michelin Star restaurants.

The new tunnel for Arolles piste / Foret lift traffic under the World Cup piste

Critics say the money could be better spent and as the World Cup takes place right in the middle of the Winter Half Term between 9th and 23rd of February 2023 it won’t bring much additional revenue to resort anyway. The stature of the resort will of course improve with the huge publicity but the next generation of skiers are more interested in Freeride Competitions and Boarder/Skier Cross these days it would seem.

The new World Cup piste “L’Eclipse” finishes on the roof of the Alpinium complex

The new Le Praz beginners magic carpet lift has now been installed and makes a return to the 2021 map with Envolée now marked.

We noticed the beginners magic carpet lift that was removed due to the World Cup piste looks to be relocated next to the La Tania top gondola station up from the Bouc Blanc restaurant with a new plateau created. Below shows the work going on here –

The beginners magic carpet lift in front of the La Tania gondola top station

Also new on the piste map for La Tania and Courchevel are the protected areas for The Black Grouse. These are well marked and fenced off for a reason – please respect these areas.

Protected areas are under the Aiguile du Fruit chairlift returning from 1650 to 1850, near Rochers piste in 1650, the area below Dou des Lanches / Gasex above La Tania and near to Jean Blanc piste & below Arolles. This last one may be new and interfere with the (very) bottom of the “La Tania Trees” run that brought you out on to Jockeys – needs further investigation.

Méribel / Mottaret

There are two “New” entries on the piste map for 2021. One of course is the new Bouquetin chairlift above Mottaret – a high speed detachable 6-seater replacing the old Plattières bubble with a bottom to top time of only 2½ minutes giving access to Les Menuires / St Martin.

The other “New” is on the Piste des Animaux which was part of the Disney Frozen II promotion last year.

We walked around this during the summer – great fun identifying the animals from the signs with footprints, colours and sounds as clues, it does get quite competitive!

The World Cup 2023 piste in Méribel is now marked. The Roc de Fer will host the Women’s races in 2023. A new tunnel to allow access across the ski area while competitions are taking place has been constructed for Winter 2021.

We note that the fonts (with arrows added) have been changed to make things a bit clearer when crossing valleys. Les Cretes Restaurant about 400m along from the Tougnette / St Martin 2 summit near the Cherferie crossover on the way to Jerusalem has been knocked down and is no longer on the map – it is however being rebuilt but we suspect it won’t be ready for this Winter.

Val Thorens / Orelle

The only significant changes we could spot was the naming of the new 1800m double zip line on the map. La BEE will be open every day from 10:00 until 16:15 for €35 a go (the Tyrolienne wire at a height of 3000m between Orelle & Val Thorens costs €55).

Les Menuire / St Martin

We’re still waiting for the 2021 piste map but have had confirmation the the new La Masse bottom to top gondola is on track for December 2021 opening. We also understand that the La Masse 1 gondola will stay in place with Masse 2 being removed along with the old Lac Noir chairlift.

There are rumours of the removal or replacement of the old Tortollet & Rocher Noir chairs but both will be operating this Winter.

Les 3 Valleys

The full size animation of the 2020 v 2021 Piste Maps

Advanced Ski Instruction – Why?

Blake from SkivoAcademy trains people to become ski instructors to the highest levels. He runs his ski instructor training programme in Courchevel and most of the instructors in this area that come through the system have done at least some of their training with Skivo Academy. We caught up with Blake and got his thoughts on why you should consider getting instruction as an advanced skier.

Why get Ski Instruction as an Advanced Skier?
Honestly you can probably continue doing what you’re doing, probably not what you were expecting me to say, you can make your way around the mountain already, you can ski where you want to ski, you may even have aspirations to become a ski instructor, why bother getting any more lessons? Seems stupid…but it’s not… I can think of lots of reasons, but here are the first three that come into my head.

More Adventures
It is likely that despite being able to “ski anywhere you want” you have not even scratched the surface. Ever fancied going where no lifts can take you to? Ski off-piste and not see anyone for miles. It doesn’t have to be the couloirs at the top of Saulire, it could be adventures in Les Avals or Itinerary routes in Orelle or if you want to get more serious you can put skins on your skis and walk off into the mountains.

You can do all of these and it’s perfectly feasible but before you can do this you will need to be able to ski off-piste. But what does that actually mean? Most people think off-piste is just powder but actually it’s anywhere not on the piste, sounds obvious! But what this means is that it’s not just lovely light powder that you are going to be skiing, it’s likely going to be a variety of snow conditions.

So do you want to go on some adventures a little further afield? We don’t necessarily mean hiking for miles, we could mean popping into hidden valleys and using the whole mountain as our playground rather than just the piste. If you want to, you’ll need to be comfortable skiing all conditions because it can’t always be the hero powder that you see the magazine photos of, you may need to learn to also ski some crud, breakable crust, ice, frozen slush, spring snow etc. Perhaps you need to use a retraction turn, feather the turn, pick the ski up in the snowpack… All of these different conditions require adjustments in your technique but how on earth would you know how to ski them effectively and enjoy them unless someone is there to give you a few nudges in the right direction.

Pistes probably cover about 20% of the mountain (that’s a complete guess, I don’t know the actually % for Courchevel) but the point is that there is much more of the mountain to explore. This isn’t something to be done on your own as this can be dangerous if you don’t know where are going or if snow conditions are unstable. Get yourself some advanced lessons, explore the mountains, take some adventures.

Higher Speeds
It can be tempting when you are gaining confidence to ski faster and faster and this is natural and completely fine, but there is only so fast that the basic parallel skiing technique can safely go and it’s not that fast!

If you want to ski at higher speeds it is essential that you learn to carve. Skis turn in a similar way to a bike. At lower speeds you will turn the handlebars of a bike the direction that you want to go, at higher speeds you will tilt the whole bike over to turn. There are similarities with skiing, at the lower speeds we turn our skis the direction we want to go but at higher speeds we need to tilt our skis over.

Simplistically that is it, however doing it and staying in balance at speed requires a little more thought and practise. Skiing to many people is counter intuitive, if you want to carve well you will need someone to tell you how to do it effectively and I guarantee you that carving better equals more fun.

Learn to be able to improve yourself
As you become better and better you start to be able to listen to what the skis are telling you. Sounds spiritual! Perhaps they feel like they aren’t gripping so well, or they keep diving down in the snowpack. These feelings should start to trigger responses, but it will only happen if you can really understand what the skis are doing and you know how to manipulate the ski.

These are things that can be explained by experienced ski instructors and they can give you the toolkit to solve any problems that you may have. The more advanced you get the less it is about pure technique and the more we need to think adjustments, tactics or the psychology of our performance.

There we go, 3 little snippets, but I think that the better you become at skiing the more you enjoy it! There are plenty of expert ski instructors that will be able to help you with advanced ski lessons, the instructors love to do this sort of work!

If you have any questions please feel free to email me at  blake@skivoacademy.com

Please be patient with a response as most of the day I’ll be out coaching but equally if you never hear back feel free to give me another nudge.

All the best, Blake

www.skivoacademy.com

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