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
La Tania Snow Front Development Update: Swimming Pool stays, both new lifts for public use and a new sledge run…
As far as we can tell this is all now signed off and the go ahead has been given with building permits approved for the construction of the 2 new covered magic carpet / travelator type lifts and the removal of the Troika drag lift and the 2 small, uncovered travelator lifts.
Key points on the diagram above
- Separation of the Folyères Piste from the new beginners area providing an excellent facility for first time skiers and young children.
- Both lifts are for public use.
- The ESF will have exclusive use of the area on the skiers right of the new magic carpet lifts (red arrows).
- Public access to beginners area on the skiers left of the carpet lifts (blue arrows).
- The purple area is for a new sledging area (purple arrows).
- Snow cannons will be moved and new ones put in place to help distribute cannoned snow (dual and single cannons marked on the diagram above).
- No raising of the piste so easy access maintained around Le Farcon / Ski Lodge and to Tourist Office etc.
- Swimming Pool to stay in place.
The approval document states “the project was developed guaranteeing access to services and shops in the resort center while retaining the use of public equipment such as the swimming pool”.
Press Release from the Préfecture de la Savoie – auto translated below. Additional security & compliance checks are being made over the next 2 weeks as France struggles nationally to bring infection rates down without having a lockdown in place.
REMINDER OF THE MEASURES IN FORCE IN WINTER SPORTS RESORTS
Winter holidays began two weeks ago. Even though the attendance is lower compared to previous years, the department’s winter sports resorts welcome several thousand holidaymakers.
Since the start of the holidays, several reports of non-compliance with health measures and barrier gestures in winter sports resorts have been sent to the Prefecture.
There has been a notable increase in the use of bus shuttles. Pascal Bolot, Prefect of Savoie notes that rules in force in public transport across the country must apply: respect for minimum physical distance in particular at bus shelters and their surroundings, wearing a mask inside vehicles as well as strict compliance with the maximum passenger capacity. (NOTE: Daytime buses in Méribel have been suspended due to them being used as ski lifts and passenger safety being compromised).
Regarding the terraces of bars and restaurants: All furniture allowing users to sit or lie down is prohibited. Only furniture allowing standing consumption may be installed subject to a limit of four people per table and a physical distance of more than two meters. It is up to the manager of the establishment to ensure that these installations do not contribute to the formation of groups and gatherings of more than 6 people in public areas.
Finally, the Prefect recalls that the practice of heliskiing, allowing transportation to the top of the slopes, is strictly prohibited (NOTE: Illegal in France anyway).
Pascal BOLOT, Prefect of Savoie, wrote today to the mayors of the municipalities supporting mountain resorts to remind them of the measures in force and the rules to be observed.
From this Friday and over the next two weeks, security checks will be stepped up to ensure compliance with these measures.
As indicated by the Minister of Solidarity and Health on February 18, the country’s health situation remains fragile. It is essential that everyone maintain their efforts and a high level of vigilance in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Even on vacation, respect for wearing a mask, distance and barrier gestures is essential.
Further Information at:
A big meeting of the Courchevel Conseil Municipal tonight with the restructuring of the beginners area and bottom of the Folyères piste under discussion. Following the 4th Feb meeting and visit to La Tania, the go ahead may be given tonight.
The above illustration is 2 years old and shows the Troika drag lift removed with 2 covered “magic carpet” travelator type lifts replacing it. The main Folyères piste is diverted to the apartments building side and over the swimming pool. This leaves a dedicated beginners area without downhill traffic.
Before and after below:
Whilst plans to enhance the beginners area are very welcome, the plans also include raising the piste considerably before the (existing) swimming pool area and having a tunnel to access the beginners area to avoid crossing the Folyeres Piste (we’ve coped for 30 years mind!). We’re not sure if this is still in the current plans though – and it would appear to cut the village off from the main downhill piste. Usually there are artists impressions in the plans so a proper visualisation can be made of how things will look when finished, but we haven’t seen any.
The cost of this development was estimated at €1.2m back in 2019, not a lot compared to the hundreds of million of euros spent on a ski race in 2023 😉 !
As for maintaining ski in/out access from the apartments and the provision of an “above ground” swimming pool in the Summer we’ll have to see – it that going to be a giant paddling pool? The Swimming Pool is the main USP for La Tania in Summer so it is essential that it is retained in some form or another.
Not sure how many residents, ski companies, local businesses, accommodation providers, apartment owners or even clients themselves have been consulted but the meeting is open to the public tonight (17:00 in the new Alpinium Building, Le Praz). If anyone is going please let us know what happens….
Alpine Downhill Skiing is available from the Altiport (access via private car or taxi) down along the Bellecote Piste to La Croisette at Courchevel 1850.
Ski Touring – Ski Touring Guide routes up to Col de la Loze from Le Praz, plus tracks around Chenus, Biollay and Signal.
Free Resort Bus Service – There is a new timetable in place from 6 February to 7 March 2021. Timetable available at: m.latania.co.uk/skibus
Hiking – Winter 2021 Footpaths Maps Note that these are maintained but may close immediately after heavy snowfall. There are 87km of paths with 11 tracks dedicated to Snow Shoeing. Guided walks available.
Cross Country Skiing – Cross Country Skiing Guide 52 km of marked, maintained trails with free access from 09:00 to 16:30 every day.
Luge / Sledging Track – Free every day 09:00 to 16:30 from Courchevel 1850 to Courchevel Village 1550.
MTB / Fatbike – 09:00 to 16:30 on the Cospillot and Plan Fontaine pistes
Snow Scooter – The Combe de Praméruel circuit is open for use with Courchevel Aventure: +33 (0) 479 22 16 71 and Skivol – +33 (0) 683 97 53 26.
Horse Riding from 09:00 to 16:30 on Ferme de Pralong, Cospillot and Plan du Vah. Ski Joëring circuit at the Pralong Ferme.
Paragliding – from 09:00 to 16:30 with official take off site from Les Tovets
The Emile Allais Slalom Stadium (and extended Loze area Stade) from 09:00 – 16:30 is only authorised for access by:
* Kids licenced to an affiliated French Ski Federation for at least one year and under supervision by professionals.
* Professionals training accompanied by their coaches.
* Elite Athletes, Foreign National Teams and Member of the FIS accompanied by their coaches.
* Club des Sports staff.
PIDA: Avalanche Control Triggering Plan – During the implementation of a PIDA, access to the alpine ski area is prohibited to any public except the personnel dedicated to these operations.
The latest guide to ski touring in the Courchevel Valley has been published with the above route from the Altiport down to Courchevel 1850 via Altiport & Bellecote pistes now open – the document says access by private car or taxi to the Altiport. Download the guide here
Note that all other unofficial access to the ski area is prohibited – although there are many footpaths for hiking that are open and these routes are in addition to the official cross country routes (there’s a route from Courchevel to Méribel and an option to head up to the Bouc Blanc area above La Tania too). If only we could place a bet on those hiking up on bet 365 while watching them on the webcams…
The routes up and down Chenus and Biollay are now clarified:
There is also the route up to the top of the Signal Chair above Courchevel 1650 Moriond:
Finally the Millet ski touring routes up to Col de la Loze from Le Praz via 1850…
I’m Elyse Pannetier and I’m a local independent agent in the Courchevel Valley for Leggett Immobilier.
I have been living & working around Courchevel and La Tania for the last 10 years, which has allowed me to build up an extensive knowledge of the area.
I would be happy to assist you for all your property needs, if you are looking to buy, sell or if you would like a valuation do not hesitate to contact me.
No lifts and if you can get here… The resorts of the 3 Valleys are putting on a brave face and still welcoming visitors with as many Covid safe outdoor activities as possible in the beautiful snowy, spacious, mpeaceful, mountain fresh air…
With takeaways the only option in the bars & restaurants that remain open and a 6pm curfew in place, these are incredibly tough times for the businesses out here – the lucrative half term period now looks lost and many will be looking to next Winter for their ski fix whilst others still hope for that late season ride and maybe some Easter Powder!
In the meantime we’ll get the early booking 2022 deals, special offers and apartment availability bookings up next week. PS – It’s still snowing!
We love this from Val Thorens Tourism:
We’re not going to lie, the skilifts won’t open right now.
During these holidays you won’t hear: “Christine, let’s meet up in 10 at the top of the Plein Sud chairlift.” More likely is: “Christine, let’s meet up in 1h30 at the top of the Plein Sud lift, are you going up on snowshoes or with your tourskis ?”
You won’t hear: “Wooooow it’s freezing on the lift, there’s too much wind ” but “Well it’s rather warm when you hike up on foot”
There won’t be any coming out of Malaysia at 4am with: “Tomorrow we’re skiing, right?” There will however be a : curfew at 6pm “Some soup and off to bed, tomorrow we’re getting up early to do some electrical mountain biking .”
There won’t be any “Full out until the bottom, last one there pays a round” but more: “Not too fast, we spent 2h hiking up, let’s enjoy the descent.”
We won’t be able to say: “Let’s have a raclette on the terrace of Chalet des 2 lacs” but we’ll say: “A take-away raclette from La Belle en Cuisse ? ”
We won’t see a crowd dancing at 00:45 am on the dancefloor of the Wild & Savage, but we’ll see people at 16:30 on the ice skating rink, showing off their best twirls.
We won’t hear : “Mr. Dusse, you’re planting your sticks all wrong” more like : “Mr. Dusse, you need to take off the skins before starting the descent, otherwise it won’t work.”
You’ve understood it, our resort remains open for those who want to enjoy the mountains. And we hope you will love Val Thorens differently…
French PM: “Early Feb” Ski Resort opening possible, Bars/Restaurants closed to mid-Feb, UK border remains closed & more…
There will be no reopening of bars and restaurants before “at least mid-February” . There will be a point on January 20 to see if an “early February” reopening of theaters, cinemas, ski resorts and ski lifts is possible. The Prime Minister also announced that the border with the United Kingdom will remain closed “until further notice” and that the incredibly slow vaccination roll out will be sorted out.
From France 24 tonight – Full auto-translation below…
Curfews, vaccines, prospects for cultivation, catering or even ski resorts … Prime Minister Jean Castex has drawn up an inventory of health measures, while the Covid-19 epidemic is still circulating actively in France. Follow his press conference alongside the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran.
While more than 25,000 cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in 24 hours in France, the Prime Minister, Jean Castex, in a press conference with the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, defended the government’s vaccine strategy and attempted to “give as much visibility as possible” to the most affected sectors, including catering, culture and tourism.
Details were also provided on France’s vaccine strategy, which is the subject of criticism, as well as on the new health measures put in place to fight against the spread of the virus.
There will be no reopening of bars and restaurants until “at least mid-February”. Ten more departments could see the curfew pass to 6 p.m. The decision will be made on Friday.
There will be a point on January 20 to see if a reopening “early February” of ski resorts and ski lifts is possible.
The vaccine is our “main source of hope” to emerge from this crisis, said Jean Castex. The objective of the French campaign remains to vaccinate as a priority and as quickly as possible the 15 million elderly or chronically ill people, announced the Prime Minister, while acknowledging that it had started more slowly than elsewhere. . “We have ordered a lot more than necessary” to have “a margin of safety”, he explained, specifying nevertheless that “Not everyone can be vaccinated immediately in France”. “We will be able to immunize a million people by the end of January.”
The Prime Minister underlined the gravity of the situation in France which is “far from having returned to normal” and which even “tends to progress with an average of 15,000 daily cases”. “We are seeing very strong pressure on our hospital system,” he continued, saying that the situation in the east of the country as well as in Guyana was particularly worrying.
All laboratories are mobilized in France to track down the variant of the coronavirus discovered in the United Kingdom and which is “up to 70% more contagious”, said Olivier Véran. Health Minister Olivier Véran explained that the English variant is “more contagious” and responsible for “a significant worsening of the epidemic in England”. It is also believed to be more contagious in children. The Prime Minister announced that the border with the United Kingdom will remain closed “until further notice”.
There are new ski area access rules from 5 Jan 2021 until the ski lifts are allowed to open (no further information is available on when that might be – there could be an announcement on Thursday 7 Jan but still quite a few weeks away we expect).
The full decree from the Mairie de Courchevel can be downloaded here
In summary there are changes to the ski touring routes that were available on the Chenus, Signal and Biollay areas. Ski Touring will now only be available on the Signal and Chenus routes on Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday.
Access to the ski slopes is forbidden to all except authorised workers, guides, instructors, race training, Club des Sports, coaches and those under instruction/being guided.
The exceptions are the uphill Millets and KV Plum touring routes, cross country routes and on Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday the marked touring routes with ascents and descents around the Chenus and Signal areas. Map available here
Also allowed every day are the following authorised and organised activities on designated sites.
Fatbike / Mountain Biking
Hiking / Snowshoes on 47km of tracks
Note that PIDA alerts will close the mountain to all but authorised workers when avalanche safety work is underway.
As things begin to unravel…
From the BBC:
The deal on the future relationship between the EU and the UK was announced on 24 December. It says that all EHIC cards issued before the end of 2020 will be valid until their expiry date. After that, the UK will issue a new card. The UK government says the new card will be called the UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). Remember though that the EHIC is not a substitute for travel insurance and never has been. Travel insurance has always been recommended for trips abroad with comprehensive Winter Sports cover for those going skiing.
Note however, that the existing EHIC does not cover you in Switzerland from 01 Jan 2021. More information at the NHS EHIC Page – note references to EHIC and GHIC will be changing from 4/1/21 but this site does have updated post Brexit Deal information – there’s a lot that don’t!
From the BBC:
In another development following the deal announcement, the UK Mission to the EU said people with a (photo card) driving licence issued in the UK would not need to use an International Drivers Licence (or International Driving Permit IDP) in the EU. No specific mention of Switzerland for those hiring cars from Geneva airport although we would expect the same rules as the EU.
From the BBC:
The four main operators in the UK declined to comment on the specifics of the commercial deals they have done with other operators, but said they did not plan to reintroduce roaming charges. Three, for example, has free roaming in over 70 countries including Australia and the USA so the commercials and competition mean that roaming charges wouldn’t return anyway.
Current Travel to France – “Essential Travel Only”:
The Attestation Document for International travel to France is available here (in English too!). We noted that there is a tick box for Season Workers among the many exclusions (or maybe inclusions as it’s for those who are allowed to travel). A negative test is required and rules apply until 6 January so far but may well be extended.
Update 28 Dec 2020:
Thanks to DW. “Update from Dover this morning: they are rapid testing everyone (for free) before entering the port. They wouldn’t even look at my previous negative test result. Almost nobody here so testing took barely half an hour and no queues at border control. French border control asked for a piece of paper with my name and french address on but did not ask for the formal Attestation.”
Reciprocal professional qualifications will not be automatically recognised although it looks like previous ones will be and it’s now up to trade/professional bodies in the individual countries to sort out (it never applied to UK / France Ski Instruction qualifications anyway!).
The requirement to carry a “Green Card” (neither green or a card, just a print out of proof of EU insurance) looks like it is mandatory from 1/1/21 although it’s very unlikely it will be checked at the border. Some UK Insurance Companies are now offering the option for a simple download and print of your Green Card to meet these requirements.
The 90/180 day long stay rules or long stay visa requirements will now apply but could be changed on a country by country basis (eg Cyprus / Croatia stays don’t apply). Short term visits to member states are mentioned in the agreement and it’s clear they will remain visa free for now although a visa waiver scheme ETIAS (€7 for 3 years) is already planned for 2022.
Air travel is largely as is with current agreements continuing. A different passport queue at some airports for UK nationals but in reality queues are managed on a demand basis at most airports. You must make sure you have a least 6 months left to the expiry date on your UK passport for entry to all EU countries (except Ireland).
Pets Travelling to EU:
Pets can still travel to the EU although a different process / system has been put in place. An Animal Health Certificate (AHC) will now be required – more info at the gov.uk site here
Road Transportation of Passengers
There is a section in the agreement on the rules for road transportation of passengers (the effect on Ski Transfers / Coach Trips maybe?) but to be honest we didn’t really understand what the outcome would be. It may be that the UK CPC for transfer companies will not be valid from 1/1/21 even for existing holders – more to come on that no doubt.
Hopefully more will become clear in the next few days and weeks with probably a lot more details on other areas too – but life will go on…
Update 07 Jan 2021
The UK border to France remains closed. Castex update here
Only EU residents living in France or essential workers / hauliers etc allowed in – and all requiring a negative approved test within 72 hours prior to arrival. Airlines performing more rigorous checks than border forces or Ferries / Eurotunnel is what we’ve heard so far.
UK TV in France
With satellite footprints getting smaller and the advent of internet based TV services becoming the norm there are some new hurdles to jump come 01 Jan 2021. Services such as Sky Go, NOW TV and BBC iPlayer were authorised on UK roaming phone internet while in France. Some broadband providers would also allow UK TV to work without a VPN being required when EU made the change a couple of years ago.
The rise in VPN services available on all device such as Smart TVs and Amazon Firesticks used to be a simple way of circumnavigating any location restrictions however App based services (such as the iPlayer and NOW TV player) started to detect VPN traffic and block access – even if it was a legit work based VPN. A work around for the iPlayer is to simply use a browser at bbc.co.uk/iplayer when the App based service fails.
From 1/1/21 the location based blocking is back and a VPN is required. For App based services even tethering a UK roaming phone to a Smart TV doesn’t work – the full solution is to get a VPN installed on your router then devices with App based serves connecting to the router will continue to work.
Back in 2015 an agreement was made to exchange information on drivers across the EU so triggering a speed camera in France would mean getting a letter to your home address in the UK.
Hire car firms sometime pay up straight away and then charge your credit card (plus an admin fee) or sometimes just give your address details to the relevant authorities.
It was never that clear what would happen if you didn’t pay when a foreign police force was trying to fine you. They didn’t get your passport details apparently so you wouldn’t be stopped at the border if you had outstanding fines. Whether they all would chase the fine was uncertain but being stopped abroad and asked for your licence would be another matter however…
From 1/1/21 however the French have confirmed that cross-border exchanges of information relating to traffic offences will no longer occur. On the spot penalties can still be issued however (and yes, they do give you a police escort to a cash machine if needed – from personal experience!).
France stands to lose up to €60 million per year in unpaid tickets according to some sources.