The building work that again went on through the Summer (but meant that the gondola was free) is hopefully going to be completed by opening time on 10 December 2011. The new chalet building continues, looks like a lot to do before opening time though.
New Chalets and new Public Building from above. Helicopter delivers wood during the Summer.
The new Public Building with season workers accommodation above with host the New Creche facility, a local Police Office, a Medical Centre (with ambulance access to the rear) plus a changing rooms / shower area plus left luggage room. The Cub des Sport will also have some space for the kids race training.
Meanwhile in La Tania discussions continue regarding the refurbishment of the La Tania gondola and the possibilities of a chairlift being installed to replace the drag lift - nothing confirmed yet although there was a breakdown last season with the gondola not working and insufficient snow for the drag lift to operate so maybe this will get more attention (extra buses were put on to Le Praz).
Improvements for the beginners pistes down back to La Tania are also on the agenda but the future proposed development “Village Moretta” on the car park near the Gondola (new hotel and apartments plus commercial units etc) is still on hold.
The Gondola Station which is visible from the main road on the approach in to La Tania has been covered in stone cladding and wood to make it blend in to the village more.
Finally, plenty of returning staff this Winter, there'll be an Avalanche Awareness presentation in December in The Ski Lodge, there's cheaper Internet access via the Tourist Office (and WiFi in a large area of La Tania) and the La Tania locals photo shoot for the website will be around 12 Dec 2011. Opening nights will all be posted as we get them.
A few other minor things include the expansion of the beginners area at the top of the gondola, the chalet road being resurfaced, the lift pass office being painted and a new fence around Tim's place as The Ski Lodge gets new pub dogs! Oh - and there's a new gate to the playground in Bozel - think that's enough now....
The beginners area at the top of the gondola has been enlarged. The chalet road resurfacing.
Extreme Cuisine, famous for their delivery curries and chalet catering are now know as Extreme Ski Services as they do all kinds of property management, key holding, cleaning etc too. Plus they are The Three Valleys Chimney Sweeps too!
On the transfer front 3 Valleys Transfers are now offering easy to book shared transfers from €65 one-way from Geneva. The on-line booking system and easy quotation service means you can check when a shared service may be available - there'll be discounted seats available every weekday throughout the season too.
Google Street View Hits La Tania
So far only the roads around La Tania have been captured but they include the tracks up to the Chalets and even the road up behind the Ski Lodge and Kalinka. The Google Snowmobile was spotted on the pistes last Winter so we can expect "Google Piste View" coming soon. La Tania Street View Links and Images here.
La Tania Winter Brochure and Lift Pass Prices for 2011/2012
The brochure is available as a pdf download here and there's a pocket guide this year too.
All the latest lift pass prices are now on our La Tania Lift Pass Prices page including all options, discounts, early passes and Three Valleys prices. Note the Saturday discounts on Three Valley Passes continues in 2012 and Family Passes mean that for example two adults and four 17 year olds could ski the Three Valleys for 14 days for €2571 instead of €3282 - a saving of €711! (kids are under 18 on a family pass, but under 13 on a normal pass). A standard 6 day 2012 Courchevel Valley pass is €199.
New Speed Camera near Albertville turn off from Moûtiers on N90
The new speed camera near the Albertville Centre and Annecy turn off
There's a new Speed Camera on the main N90 dual carriageway from Moûtiers to Albertville. It's situated just near the Annecy / McDonalds turn off where the speed limit reduces from 110km/h down to 90km/h. More cameras around La Tania and to local Airports on the La Tania Speed Camera Page
New Plantrey Lift
The new Hi-Speed 6 seater Plantrey Chairlift from just below Courchevel 1850
The Plantrey Chairlift (a favourite chair to get back to La Tania at last lift time) out of 1850 has been replaced with a hi-speed detachable 6 seater. We thought this a bit strange as there’s not usually big queues here and upgrading Biollay would probably be a better option but it turns out this lift was 27 years old - apparently one of the first detachable quads in the world.
Start of the base station building work and the double pylon carrying the Praz gondola as well
The loading and unloading areas have been improved and this lift will be fitted with the Magnestick kids safety device which uses electro-magnets and a backpack to "stick" kids to chairs until they reach their arrival point. This is going on more and more chairs across the Three Valleys now with the highest concentration in the Courchevel Valley.
New Snow Cannons
Work on the cannons down to Le Praz at the beginning and end of the Summer
At the beginning of Summer Enlarge | Nearly completed in September 2011 Enlarge
New snow cannons are going in down to Le Praz via the Murettes piste as we spotted last summer. Pics show the work required in laying the piping, looks like all will be complete in time for Winter. Means a run from the top of the La Tania Gondola down to Le Praz will be completely covered by snow canons for the first time.
Work on Creux - reshaping for when piste low on snow - it does directly face the sun for a lot of the day.
Maybe snow cannons in future? View from the top Enlarge | View Up Enlarge
Modification to the big Creux piste from the top of Saulire have taken place this Summer. Looks like re-shaping work in the main so a piste can be maintained when there is little snow. Creux does suffer from direct sun for a lot of the day and this maybe a target for further snow cannons in the future.
Other Piste News
There has been re-shaping work going between 1650 & 1850 and work on the Roc Merlet piste at the top of 1650 to make it less steep. Work on where the 2 drag lifts Sources and Rocher de L'Ombre has been going on too - possibly just parallel drags, shortening the top one (this is often used from La Tania to cut out Biollay when accessing Saulire summit).
We note from the new piste map there is now a Woops and Bio Park area marked - we look forward to seeing what these are. Looks like night skiing on Wednesday around the Verdons Gondola will continue every week next season and be expanded with live music and competitions.
There's also been the usual improvement to signage, drainage and anti-erosion work across the ski area. The Three Valleys now boasts over 2,000 snow cannons across the ski area.
Rumours of a future upgrade to Biollay to make it a 6-man continue as do rumours of the replacement of the Le Praz Gondolas - these range from one single fast lift in to 1850 Croissette to an upgrade to Foret to reach the top of Cretes - can't imagine they wouldn't have 2 lifts though. Probably rubbish anyway, I see the rumoured lift from Bozel seems to have gone quiet now...
The Aqua Park 1550
A huge new “Aqua Centre” is to be built at the site of the tennis courts and go-kart track in Courchevel 1550. Work on the foundations has now begun and they are working to an opening date in 2014. A video on the development below… There are massive new plans for La Croissette too (the complex where the 3 gondolas leave from) but these are just at the planning / design stage so far.
New Ski Jump Modifications
The Ski Jump at Le Praz has seen some upgrade work on it this Summer. It's Jump Certification was due to expire this year so the runs and start gates have been replaced this year and the plastic "astroturf like" landing area will be replaced next year. There's also a new building going up which will include a sports centre, viewing area, officials offices and accommodation for jumpers.
The Méribel Valley showing the areas of the new and future lifts
A new 8 seater gondola is being constructed to replace the old two stage Saulire Bubble from the Chaudanne in Méribel (the one that used to be called Burgin Saulire) up to the Saulire Summit. When completed this will give access to The Grand Couloir in 12 minutes from Méribel and first tracks down to Courchevel long before anyone else coming up from that side (and beat the Mottaret lift which is currently the quickest way up - although La Tania first lift crew often get to Biollay first and up Suisse pretty quick).
Video showing detail of the new Saulire Express
The second stage is due to open in December 2011 with the bottom stage next year. It follows a slightly different line starting a little below the current mid-station and comes out near the top of the Courchevel Saulire Cable Car - near the access point for Grand Couloir.
Top Station under construction and the advertising poster
New Plattieres Lift for 2013
In addition to this lift in the Méribel Valley, S3V who cover the Courchevel Valley (including La Tania) and Méribel Mottaret areas are to begin construction of a new 8 seater Plattieres gondola to replacing the old small bubble type first and second sections with a single lift.
This will give fast access up to the Côte Brune lift and over to Val Thorens, the ride only taking 9 minutes.
The Lac de la Chambre piste from VT to Mottaret is being improved and the First Aid points at Mt Vallon and Côte Brune have been improved.
The Le Loft Nightclub in Méribel at the Patinoire has a new name and is under new management. Now to known as Les Saint-Peres, not known if it's gonna be hard core dance place or cheesy Europop yet... A Meribel version of Val Thorens La Folie Douce is expected too!
Lots of improvements and money going in to the resort over the next few years as Méribel gears up for the Alpine Skiing World Cup in 2015. Expect lots of marketing and publicity from the Tourist Office too.
New Funitel Lift and 2 New Pistes
A new Funitel (like a jumbo gondola) system imaginatively named Thorens has been built at the top of the Portette chair to the ridge above the 4th Valley at 3100m. Will be interesting to see what off piste access is there down towards Orelle.
The new lift has a series of 2 cabins with a capacity of 33 in each with a 2 minute ride to the top and like all Funitels can stand up to higher winds than conventional lifts.
There are 2 new pistes created Asters (red) and Le Chocard (blue) - visible on the new piste maps below.
This concrete post/base was spotted at the beginning of the 2011 season before there were any signs up about the new lift.
New Triton Piste
A new Triton piste linking up with Pluviometre has been noticed on
the new 2012 piste map. Thanks to Connor M for spotting that one.
New Hotels in Val Thorens
The new 4 star Altapura Hotel and 5 star Residence Montana are due to open (the latter being the building that looked like it was covered in solar panels last Winter when viewed from the Plein Sud Chair).
The Altapura has full on ski in/out access, indoor and outdoor pools, fitness centre, spa plus seminar rooms for those corporate trips. Set away from the main centre, a shuttle bus runs frequently.
The Montana complex has luxury apartments, swimming pool, large sunny terraces and balconies - top end stuff.
Talking of hotels there are some changes to the French Hotel Classification – a new “Palace” grade has been added for top, luxury hotels. There are so far 8 in France with 4 in Paris (although not the Ritz or George V), one in Biarritz, one in Cap Ferrat and 2 in Courchevel 1850! – The Cheval Blanc and The Airelles make it to “Palace” grade.
La Tania Charity Day
Sebastian's Action Trust House Opened
One final piece of new. Sebastian's Action Trust Holiday house for families with terminally ill kids opened in May. This is one of the charities that the La Tania Charity Day has supported over the years. More pics and information here
Think that's it for now, will tidy up some of the links and bigger photos in the next few weeks, as always send us anything else you find out that's new...