What’s New in La Tania & The 3 Valleys 2020 – The Definitive Guide (Part 2 of 2)

 

PART 2 – New Building Work, Developments, Facilities, Accommodation, Bars & Restaurants,  Non skiing activities etc.

The 19th Annual What’s New Guide to the Biggest Ski Area In The World
PART 1 – New Lifts, Pistes, Snow Cannons, Ski Area Improvements

October 201
9


Courchevel Valley

Following on from Part 1 reporting on the new lifts at Le Praz and Aquamotion there’s also been a lot of building work over there.

The Alpinium As we’ve been reporting on since last season, the new €27m Alpinium complex in Le Praz is an 18,000m² multi-purpose building with lift pass counter, tourist office, toilets, ski lockers, a multimedia library with games room & art workshop, ESF ski school office, kids area, tourist reception area and lift company offices with a multi-storey car park below for 500 cars and a sports ground on the roof.

Artists impression of the Alpinium and Le Praz Lake in foreground

The Lake was completely drained and re-lined plus a walk way is to be added too. Sadly this means no more wake boarding as the focus is on strolling around the lake and fishing – even though it’s right next to a sports ground and the finish of the 2023 World Cup Men’s Downhill.

Le Praz sports field with running track on the roof of the Alpinium & new Praz Gondola

We do hear there are plans for electric go karts in the car park in Summer – that should be fun! Car parking can be booked at €400 for the season (or €690 for a dedicated reserved space).

The Écrin Blanc Hotel The new 4 star accommodation residence connected via underground tunnel to the Aquamotion complex between Courchevel 1550 & 1650 which is set to open on 20 December 2019.

There are 127 rooms and suites sleeping up to 500 guests with 3 restaurants, a 200m² terrace at the bottom of the slopes, ski shop, 7 meeting rooms, 800m² reception area and kids club – but the cheapest price we could find for a room was €297 in mid-April so not sure how full that terrace will be at Aprés Ski… You do get free basic access to Aquamotion however.

The Écrin Blanc Hotel with views of 1650 pistes in the background

The new 4 seater fixed grip chair Grandes Combes and new piste of the same name originate from near the new building. It could be an alternative free car parking area to use from this December.

Meanwhile the other big development work in Courchevel has been on the Stade area, huge land works and re-profiling the slope has taken place and a new 3,000 square metre club house is to be built financed by Multi-national Chemicals Company INEOS boss Jim Ratcliffe (Britain’s richest man) who’s daughter is in the Courchevel Club des Sports. 

The Stade construction work above Courchevel 1850

Jockeys – Currently the “destruction” of the Jockeys piste is continuing with it being made much, much wider, straighter (a new piste cuts the corner off at the bottom where it joins Murettes) and a more consistent gradient, all for the 2023 World Cup Men’s Downhill but also to be used as a competition / training slope going forward. The work at the top near the Bouc Blanc can be seen below – at least there’ll be less polling across there on a powder day but it feel like rain forest deforestation when you look down there… More on the new race piste in Part 1

Top of Jockeys black piste with La Tania gondola and Forêt chair top stations
Top of Jockeys with Murettes red piste to left – the grassed area is the original Jockeys piste

Meanwhile the top of the Bouc Blanc piste near the Dou des Lanches chair has been re-profiled too – possibly to aid access to the green Plan Fontaine piste.

Work on the redevelopment of La Croisette building is due to start in the Summer of 2020 which will see a complete refurb of the main gondola building in Courchevel 1850.

Courchevel 1850 ESF will have new uniforms this Winter that the instructors helped design and test. They are manufactured by CEPOVETT, a leading French corporate clothing brand for uniforms and protective gear.

The Chabichou Hotel & Restaurant plus La Chabotté restaurant under the piste are seeing some big changes for this Winter. Maryse and Michel Rochedy, the owners since 1963 have sold up and refurb work on the hotel has started plus La Chabotté is nor more – it was a decent value set menu lunch place for the quality on offer plus the takeaway baguettes were excellent value too for 1850 – And it opened in Summer!

The new “Katz” – was La Chabotté Restaurant

Now all modern deco and to be called “Katz” with DJs from 23:00 – and judging by the comments we’ve heard will be just another overpriced place in 1850 catering for one type of clientele – let’s hope they prove us wrong…

Canyon Lodge – Three exceptional chalets at the foot of the slopes in Courchevel 1650 Moriond’s Belvédere area are opening this winter, complete with balcony Jacuzzi, private spa and ski room.

Manali Lodge formerly the Manali Hotel is transforming into 18 apartments and also has spa, swimming pool, sports hall, ski room, and two restaurants.

Le Phoenix In Courchevel 1550, the former Maeva Club Hotel is now Le Phoenix with 27 apartments ranging from 51m² to 245m²

New Apartments in Courchevel 1650 more or less above Le Funky Fox.

Fahrenheit Seven In 1650 the 24 apartments in the former Les Cimes Blanches residence have been updated and turned into the F7 Apartments.

Hotel de La Loze in Courchevel 1850 across from La Croisette has been refurbed and re-classified as a 4 start hotel.

Aquamotion Restaurant – The restaurant accessible from the Aquamotion swimming pools is changing its name to Le Cellier Bis with new decor and an updated menu. Also at Aquamoton the Ludiboo Club (for 3 to 6 year olds) allows parents a well-deserved break at the aquawellness area or on the slopes whilst their little ones enjoy fun child-friendly supervised activities.

The ESF Children’s Village in 1850 has been revamped for this Winter. The land of Knights and Princesses welcome children in the mornings and has ski lessons for a maximum of 6 kids.

Frozen 2 There’s a big tie up between The 3 Valleys and the new Disney movie Frozen 2 (released in the UK on 22 November). Areas marked on the Piste Map “La Reine des Neiges 2” including Jardin Alpin in Courchevel plus the Altiport area & Olympic chair in Méribel and will from part of a treasure hunt adventure with kids mini slalom runs and prizes to be won.

Le Cortona in 1550 – a popular pizza place that has seen some major birthday drinks in its time is now under new ownership. Only set menus at lunch in the Summer with Pizza in the evening but Pizza at lunch in Winter too.

Fitness and Well Being – Every morning, guests at the Aman Le Mélézin can enjoy 30 minute yoga sessions and guests at Le Cheval Blanc can climb Saulire with a supervised group before the lifts open and enjoy a detox breakfast following their first tracks decent. There’ll also be an Escape Room in Courchevel this winter with Courchevel Adventures bringing this current fad to a yurt from December.

The Courchevel Altiport has a brand new comfortable departure lounge in the heart of the control tower opening for this Winter.

La Boulotte in Courchevel 1650 is definitely still open this Winter no matter what rumours Katie seems to generate…


La Tania News

La Tania Moretta Village looks like it has been given the go ahead for the complex of 600 beds plus commercial outlets including ski shop, bar & restaurant. The development is on the gondola car park and no new chairlift is now planned, but an upgrade of the current gondola to give a higher uplift capacity is promised – this is in line with the current thinking of less lifts / pylons across the ski area but more modern, comfortable, higher capacity infrastructure.

The La Tania gondola car park – site of the new development

An underground car park will be built but during constructions it looks likely that this area below will be used. This is the right hand bend as you approach La Tania – it used to be a straight drop off down the valley but has now incredibly been filled in with the earth from the Le Praz underground car park being moved here in several thousands of lorry loads.

Approaching La Tania – huge earth works here for potential new car parking

Another new Chalet in La Tania approaching completion near to the gondola, quite a biggie this…

New La Tania Chalet for this Winter

Chalet / Accommodation News
Alpine Escape are offering 2 days free instructor / guiding days on some of their self-catering properties this Winter.
Snow Retreat have added the 8-11 bed Chalet Sebastien to their portfolio for Winter 2020.
Ski Mania have taken over the contract for the Grand Bois self-catered apartments that were so popular (and very competitively priced) in the packages with flights & transfers that Crystal put together. This French company seems to concentrate on long weekends and coach trips from Lyon as far as we can tell. Click here for more self-catered apartments
Mountain Heaven are no longer operating in La Tania.
Ski Amis with 7 chalets in La Tania are now part of Time of Your Life Travel Ltd and continue to be fully bonded with ABTOT.
Check out the Special Offers page for the latest deals including Christmas with The Freeride Republic, First Tracks week with Ski Magic and package deals with flights from Alpine Action.

Saboia B Apartments to reopen
The latest info we have is that the La Tania Saboia B apartment block is scheduled to re-open between 11 & 15 December once some further cleaning, painting and electricity checks have taken place.

Saboia B Apartment Block in La Tania this Summer

The block was closed following landslip / erosion issues but extensive work and safety checks have now been completed and the re-opening has been approved by the local council.

New La Tania Green Run and Snow Front / Beginners Area
This has been put on hold, probably due to all the work going on in Le Praz but we do expect work to start next Summer. More on this here

The plans for the new green beginners piste down to La Tania

La Taiga restaurant has a new terrace being constructed which will host a closed-in giant heated parasol to provide shelter in poor weather.

Pub Le Ski Lodge is getting a brand new giant parasol roof over the terrace this Winter too and returning staff include the return of Steve (aka Dada Chef) along with a recognisable ex-Méribel character and a new manager from Poland to the international team. No Beth or Heidi next Winter – they will be missed – but hopefully Strannie & Slovak come back if they’ve recovered from the after effects of the England match in Prague a couple of weeks ago…

Hotel Telemark is finally re-opening as we reported a few weeks ago but sadly it’s just for staff accommodation for the local Mairee and lift company.

Three Vallee Transfers celebrates it’s 20th birthday this Winter (as does latania.co.uk) and has a shiny new mobile friendly website with on-line bookings and immediate confirmation for both shared and private transfers. Further Transfer information here

New Roundabouts… The La Tania roundabout is being re-modelled (seriously!) with maybe a new lit up sculpture and it looks like a new one is going in below the Drop Inn in Le Praz as part of a traffic calming measures.


Meribel Valley

L’Hévana Apartments on the approach to the Méribel Chaudanne area are approaching completion – another 5 star Pierre and Vacances development complete with pool, spa, bar and restaurant.

L’Hévana Apartments on the approach to the Méribel Chaudanne

Le Coucou – Across the piste from the Rond Point, the new Coucou 5-star hotel is also approaching completion. This ski in/out complex has 55 rooms with 39 suites and two large independent chalets connected to the main building with two swimming pools, a spa, fitness area and sauna. A large sunny terrace promises “The Beefbar” at lunch including Black Angus from Argentina and the USA, Australian Wagyu and Japanese Kobe.

Le Coucou is near the Côtes magic carpet lift and the start of the Col de la Loze cycle track

Jack’s Bar returns to Méribel after a year off taking over the site of the Meribar, a great location next the the Chaudanne.

Jack’s Bar is back in Méribel and was open this Summer

We hear that owners European Pubs (who also run Copiña in Méribel and Courchevel 1650) plan to make this area on the left (below) as you walk in the restaurant and the right hand side will host the stage for Après Ski bands. All will be revealed in December…

Inside Jack’s Bar before the refurb work for this Winter

Lodge du Village over in Méribel Village is also having a refurb this Autumn. The upstairs area has been gutted but it looks like the bar will be in the same place – we await the results this Winter…

Lodge du Village and La Terasse La Brasserie du Village in Méribel Village

Refuge de la Traye about 3.5km above Les Allues is a refuge that was built in 1982 but has now been completely re-invented as the first top-end “refuge” in the French Alps and set to open in December 2019. Part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World collection it will be a very special place to visit by ski touring, snow shoe, snow-mobile or dog sledding.

Refuge de la Traye above Les Allues in the Méribel Valley


Les Menuires / St Martin

Caseblanche is a brand new collection of 34 luxurious chalets at the foot of the slopes in Saint Martin de Belleville.

Caseblanche © Athena Advisers

René and Maxime Meilleur famous for the 3 Star Michelin Restaurant La Bouitte near St Martin have a new establishment in this complex called Simple & Meilleur with a Tapas style area on the lower floor of the chalet and a warm bar & lounge with a very fine selection of wines.

A further two new chalets with hotel services, Chalets Pure Black & Pure White Crystal complete with indoor swimming pool are also new this Winter.

Chalet Pure Black Crystal

New LYS SPA Space
A new relaxation area of 50m² will be installed outdoors in the heart of the village of Saint-Martin with 3 whirlpools to drink herbal tea in to enjoy an invigorating break after skiing.

New Ski Lockers in the centre of St Martin with storage for up to 300 pairs of skis complete with changing rooms and toilets have been installed. Reservations can be made online when purchasing your ski pass.

Chalet 2000 in Reberty will open at the end of January. There are 31 beds across 5 apartments all with balconies just a few steps away from the shops and restaurants.

Aqua Cross Training is a new high intensity cross fit training programme combining aquafitness, aqua gym and aquaboxing available at Les Menuires Sports Centre this Winter.

Drone Workshops will be held in Les Menuires this Winter in order to learn the basic of drone flight and aerial photography in a safe environment.

Other Snow News (not included in Part 1) includes further widening of the Jerusalem piste, the improvement of snow cover on La Chasse piste between Les Menuires and Val Thorens and the refurb of the Rocher Noir chairlift. The new top to bottom La Masse Express gondola is now expected to be in place for Winter 2021. Finally Les Combes piste from the top of the Becca chairlift down to the top of Sunny Express chairlift is now called Boulevard du Sunny!

Boulevard du Sunny and Chasse piste marked on the 2020 Three Valleys piste map


Val Thorens

Crêpes – A new Breakfast Crêperie Restaurant in the Galerie Péclet shopping centre opens this Winter for pancakes and brunch or a snack after a good days skiing.

The new Breakfast Crêperie Restaurant in Val Thorens

A New Igloo Village in Val Thorens it to be built with Ice Bar and Restaurant in a “magical frozen world”. There’s even some frozen hotel rooms so you can spend the night there too!
It will also be used for hosting events and seminars and can be accessed on skis, by foot, snow-mobile or snowshoes.

The Igloo Village and Ice Bar in Val Thorens

The Val Thorens Sports Centre has been refurbed and the new Club Val Thorens now has a chillout zone with DJs playing.

Technology
Val Thorens seems to be leading the way on embracing new technology with new GPS equipped piste bashers using GPS (rather than radar) to measure snow depths across the ski area and further use of the first autonomous (driverless), electric shuttle buses. Impressive to get batteries to last at 2300m during Winter!

The 15 seater electric, driverless bus in Val Thorens – a world first for a ski resort

Val Thorens are also experimenting with electric buggies this season to help people with disabilities get around the resort and using AI to show how busy particular slopes are in real time.

Deux Lacs restraining wall
A huge amount of work at the top of the Deux Lacs chairlift where the restraining wall has been elongated and strengthened. Or is it a new reservoir in the future?

Photo Courtesy of Ski Fan


Travel

New flights / routes to look out for this Winter include:

  • East Midlands to Grenoble from Jet2 on Saturdays from 15 Feb 2020.
  • Luton to Grenoble from Wizzair on Saturdays starting at £8.99.
  • Bristol to Grenoble from Ryanair on Saturdays from 11 Jan 2020.

All the route, all the operators in the La Tania Flight Guide

New scanners a Geneva Airport mean you do not have to take toiletries out of your hand luggage anymore.

The free Ski Bus service to all the Courchevel Villages and La Tania now has live tracking on the TV screens at the bus stops and can also be accessed on your mobile phone. Further information at latania.co.uk/resort/skibus.htm the Winter 2020 timetables will be posted as soon as we get them.

With the Thomas Cook debacle and Crystal (part of TUI) having a lot less options in La Tania this Winter it could be that flight prices will increase so get booked up as soon as possible.

In the ever changing travel industry carve up, Hotel Plan is now the owner of Flexiski (which used to be part of TUI when they had Hotel St Louis – which is the Ski Lodge in Courchevel 1850). Hotel Plan is the parent company of Inghams, Ski Total, Esprit and the Explore! adventure travel brand.


Events – Key Dates

All will be updated during the season in the La Tania & 3 Valleys What’s On?

Val Thorens Opening – Scheduled for 23 November 2019.

Courchevel 1850 Opening – Scheduled for 7 December 2019.

La Tania opening is Saturday 14 December 2019 with music at the Tourist Office during the afternoon.

Ladies Alpine Ski World Cup – Giant Slalom on the Courchevel 1850 Émile-Allais Stade on 17 December 2019.

New Year’s Eve in La Tania will have fireworks and entertainment this year after last year’s crazy decision to cart everyone up to 1850 at midnight in the middle of Winter…

The Roc Merlet Derby has been changed and is now invite only. It used to be a mass race open to everyone with a Le Mans type start all the way from the top of 1650 down to the resort. Looks like Health and Safety caught up with it and it’s now Le Roc Merlet Individual Time Trial taking place on 24/25 January 2020.

The 3 Valleys Enduro right across the whole ski area and open to everyone takes place on 5 April 2020.

3 Valleys Charity Day in Méribel Village is confirmed as Wed 8 April 2020.

Le Winter Legacy by Alexis Pinturault
This new event combines skiing, music and a party atmosphere! A 4 person or individual start for a brand-new ski race comprising a series of several disciplines over the Combe de la Saulire (moguls, giant slalom, skicross, and water slide), plus entertainment and live music on 11 April 2020.

And of course…
Le Tour de France comes to La Tania with a stage finish at the top of Col de la Loze on Wed 15 July 2020.



Many thanks for all the contributions. Photo Credits to Ski FanCourchevel Tourist OfficeMeribel Tourist OfficeVal Thorens Tourist OfficeThe Freeride Republic and Charlie Gorman.

PART 1 – New Lifts, Pistes, Snow Cannons & Ski Area Improvements