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As the temperature again hovered above 30ºC in La Tania yesterday… Winter may seem a long way off but the lift openings for the early weeks of the season have now been confirmed (all subject to weather, maintenance, snow cover, staff resources etc).
Courchevel Opening Week: Sat 08 – Fri 14 December 2018
La Tania Opening Week: Sat 15 – Fri 21 December 2018
S3V have also announced the lifts they expect to open on the final week of the season (La Tania is included in this with the La Tania Gondola and Bouc Blanc chair open for access across to Courchevel).
Lifts for Closing Week: Sat 13 – Mon 22 April 2019 (Easter Monday)
The Triumph Cruisers Bikers hold their annual Mountain Meet event in La Tania this weekend. Some great bikes on display and your chance to vote for Best Bike on Saturday when they’ll all be on display in the village centre from about 16:00.
There’s a ride out on Saturday morning departing the Sherpa car park at 10:00 (other makes welcome too) heading over for lunch to the Ski Resort of La Rosière straddling the Italian border.
Live Music with The Hillbillys and LiveWire’s Fernando on Saturday evening at the Ski Lodge – All Welcome!
It’s also the Notre Dame Des Neiges Fête in Courchevel Moriond 1650 on Saturday & Sunday too.
Summer Bus Timetable here
Some of the bikes in previous years below…
The last couple of Winters have often seen advance car hire bookings cheaper on the Swiss side than the French side of Geneva Airport (it used to be always the case that the Swiss side was more expensive except during major currency fluctuations with the Swiss Franc being pegged and un-pegged to the Dollar or Euro over the years).
However this Summer has seen some huge differences with France being a lot cheaper, purely due to supply and demand we guess. See below for a basic, budget car for a long weekend in August 2018:
French Side: £61.88
Swiss Side: £214.15
A quick check on a 7 day car hire (basic/budget car booked now) Sat to Sat in Winter 2019 shows:
Swiss Side Jan 12-19: £139. French Side Jan 12-19: £149
Swiss Side Mar 23-30: £172. French Side Mar 23-30: £124
Lots more info here on whether to hire a car from the French or Swiss side of Geneva Airport
French or Swiss Side – Pros & Cons
Swiss side has a mandatory requirement to have snow tyres or chains in Winter from 1st November until 15th April (usually additional to “all-in-costs” from around £40 per week, but sometimes included, it does vary with supplier) on the French side you have a choice to pay or not – but you might get them anyway!
A Shuttle Bus is provided for access on the Swiss side to the hire car parking, although it is just over a 5 minute walk from the shuttle bus stop – easy with hand luggage or wheelie bags. Note that the luggage trolleys provided in Geneva Airport take UK 2p coins – you may consider not returning the trolley to its rightful place… A very selfish act of course. French side cars are next to the terminal and it’s all under cover plus the queues for the desk are usually shorter.
A Vignette is usually always included with a Swiss hire car (the Swiss motorway tax disc / sticker required for motorway driving). Motorways can be avoided however – French side of GVA driving directions. For the first time ever in 2017 we had a Swiss plated car without a Vignette and heard of a least one other. Note that you’re only likely to be stopped without a Vignette on the Motorway border on the way in, not the way out.
Directions back to the Swiss side are well signposted and much easier. For the French side follow the signs to Ferney Voltaire and you should make it ok, once you’ve done it you’ll think it’s easy.
Nearest Swiss side fuel station is immediately before entrance to car rental parking. Although in Swiss Francs, not cheap and 24/7 automated – not all UK Cards always work. Fuel is available 100m from the entrance road to the French side of the airport which is manned during weekday hours. If you fill to the brim in Annecy you’d probably get away with returning a “full tank”.
(Expensive) McDonald’s, Starbucks, Thai, Chinese, Street Food, The Montreux Jazz Café and other options in the food court before security on the Swiss side. Only one, but arguably a better and cheaper restaurant on the French side. Your one hour GVA free WiFi doesn’t extend to the French side.
If using the French side you can pick up or drop off your hire car at different French airports such as Grenoble, Lyon or Chambéry for free or without excessive charges. Dropping off in another “country” from pickup is not usually allowed or has a very high excess charge.
We always find Carrentals.co.uk is the best comparison site for the best deals on both sides…
Of course if you can’t be bothered with any of this take a Private Transfer, relax, switch off and have a few drinks on the plane…
The replacement Plan de l’Homme chair lift in Meribel – more on the new lifts this Summer here
The new underground car park and lift station building work in Le Praz is progressing fast. We hear they’re working from 7am to 9pm!
Thanks to Joey and Ferg for the pics.
The Red Bull 400 is one of the toughest races in the world…
Although at first sight it appears straightforward, the aim of the Red Bull 400 is to run 400 metres as fast as possible… over a steep climb with a gradient of up to 36°!
The races take place individually or in teams of 4 (4×100 metres) and the Courchevel event takes place this Saturday 21st July up the Le Praz Ski Jump. Official Event Info
However not many people know that La Tania invented this sport way back in 2004. Following the Summer Ski Jumping World Cup Competiton we held a race up the slope – Sensible Si from South Africa winning (not sure where bro Ollie was that night – the race did start at 1am after security had drifted away!).
It’s also the big Fête de la Madelon in Le Praz this weekend and this year’s Summer Ski Jumping World Cup & Patrouille de France Aerial Show takes place on 10/11 August 2018.
Confirmation of the opening dates and the main news on lift passes for Winter 2019 is the inclusion of Aquamotion access.
Confirmation of the opening dates of Courchevel and La Tania (and more importantly the closing date which was subject to some discussion). La Tania opens as expected on Saturday 15 December 2018 and now closes on Easter Monday 22 April 2019. Quite a late Easter next year!
All the dates and prices at www.latania.co.uk/skiing/passes.htm
Also interesting to note is that Courchevel Village 1550 will not open until 15 December – normally it’s a week earlier for access to 1850 but the new Grangettes Gondola is not scheduled to be ready until the 15th apparently.
Aquamotion access is included in Courchevel Valley Lift Passes for Winter 2019
The Courchevel Valley Lift Pass (includes La Tania) of 2 days or over will include a trip to Aquamotion for Winter 2019. This doesn’t include Season Passes which seems a bit tight!
The €63m Aquamotion Centre opened in December 2015 and is situated between Courchevel 1550 and 1650 (with a scheduled bus stop direct from La Tania). There’s a whole host of activities available with a leisure pool area including rapids, slides, indoor/outdoor pool & a 25m training pool, a wellness centre with Spa and treatments, a climbing wall, surf wave pool and aqua fitness with underwater exercise bikes, mini trampolines, aqua boxing etc etc.
Aquamotion may be included but it does come at a cost with a bigger increase seen this year… (main season prices)
Courchevel 6-Day Adult 2018: €256
Courchevel 6-Day Adult 2019: €272 (+6.3%)
Meribel 6-Day Adult 2018: €249
Meribel 6-Day Adult 2019: €255 (+2.4%)
3 Valleys 6-Day Adult 2018: €300
3 Valleys 6-Day Adult 2019: €306 (+2%)
3 Valleys one-day extension for single valley pass of 2 days or more 2019: €37
So for the first time a Courchevel Valley 6-day pass plus one 3V day extension (272+37=€309) is more than a standard 3 Valleys 6-day pass (with no Aquamotion access €306). It used to be the case that visiting other valleys had to be done at least twice on a single valley 6-day pass to make it better value than a 3 Valleys pass.
Due, Tribu and Famille discounts are all available on these passes as well – for example in 2019 two adults with four kids who are aged 13 to 17 (buying 6 x 6 day Wellness 3 Valleys passes pay €1794 with a family pass rather than €2214 – a saving of €420.
Normal start and end of season discounts also apply.
Key Prices Winter 2019
1 Day Courchevel €54.50
6 Day Courchevel €272 = €45.33/day
1 Day 3 Valleys €62
6 Day 3 Valleys €306 = €51/day
3 Valleys Extension €37
Courchevel Season €1110 = €8.22/day
3 Valleys Season €1310 = €8.03/day
(Courchevel open 135 days, VT 163 days)
All the passes, prices, options, discounts, pedestrian passes, opening and closing dates etc here:
Lift pass prices may look a lot but it is the biggest ski area in the world and pence per km of skiing the 3 Valleys is still the cheapest in the world. Another 3 lifts going in this Summer too and another €50m or so invested in ski area infrastructure.
Click on images for full size
That’s the Biollay and Coqs chairlifts in the background where the Courchevel 9-hole par 3 course is located.
A beautiful setting and quite challenging – the first tee has you playing over the corner of the lake!
Clubs and balls are available for hire and there’s a practice / driving range too (currently open from 09:00-12:00 and 14:00-19:00 with a bucket of 30 balls costing €3).
Green fees start from €22 for 9 holes and €27 for 18 holes off-peak.
Plans for an expansion to a “real” 9 hole golf course of 2700m length in addition to the compact par 3 course have now been approved with work expected to begin in the Spring of 2019 to be completed for Summer 2021.
Special rules if you hit any of the lift infrastructure! More info at Golf Club de Courchevel
There is of course a full 18-hole championship course above the Méribel Altiport – Golf Club de Méribel (buggy recommended!)
Around 100 Ferraris will be on display in Courchevel on Wednesday & Thursday at the start of the 2018 Ferrari Cavalcade Monte Bianco.
The 2018 route first stage is on Thursday and heads for La Thuile and on to the Aosta Valley.
Traffic restrictions are in place on Thursday and the road to the Courchevel Altiport will be closed to all traffic during the hill climb time trials from La Résidence Les Balcons de Pralong to La Ferme de Pralong from 12:00 until 14:00.
Good news on some new work (at last) on Courchevel Mountain Biking Routes or VTT as they call it here. Courchevel was falling well behind Méribel after all the investment in facilities they put in for the Mountain Bike World Cup competition a couple of years ago.
Since the beginning of June, the Courchevel Mairie has recruited a team of workers to mark up, maintain and create some new mountain bike routes.
For Summer 2018 there will be 2 new bike patrols to carry out the marking and maintenance of the trails and install new signage to the approved standards of the French Cycling Federation.
Two new downhill tracks have been created for this Summer (graded red):
1. La Louza – From the top of Loze down to Courchevel 1850.
2. Le Betchet – From the top of Loze down to the top of the La Tania Gondola.
We’re still waiting for news of lifts open up to the Loze however (Chenus used to open in Summer)
Two new enduro / downhill tracks have also been created:
1. Le Retcher from the top of the Loze to the Saulire cable car.
2. La Bozé from Courchevel 1850 to Bozel.
In addition a pumptrack (up and down rollers on a circular(ish) specially constructed track) has been installed in the centre of 1850 on the snow-front and a new walking path named La Foré from the summit of the La Tania Gondola to Courchevel 1850 has been created.
In total there will be 15 enduro / downhill courses including 3 Funny Tracks, 2 Downhill Tracks, 5 Walking Trails and 1 VAE (Electric Assisted Mountain Bike) course will be marked and maintained in Courchevel.
The Courchevel / La Tania Summer Brochure online here and remember the Courchevel and La Tania lifts are free this Summer!
Pub Le Ski Lodge opens its doors for Summer on Thursday 28th June in time for the 3rd of England’s World Cup group games v Belgium.
The Ski Lodge England Flag will be flying high in the Kalninigrad Stadium – keep an eye out for it!
As usual the original Alpine Fish n Chip Special will be served every Friday throughout Summer until the end of August.
And the official opening party is on Saturday 30th June with music from Gypsy Soul
Come on England!