What's New in La Tania and The Three Valleys 2014
New Lifts, New Pistes, New Lift Pass Options, New Businesses etc etc
The 14th edition of our definitive What's New Guide to La Tania and The Three Valleys - some of this has already been posted but this gets everything together in one place. A few more updates to come as we approach Winter. Enjoy...
The new Bouc Blanc Chairlift above La Tania
General News for Winter 2014
New flight routes: Darwin from Cambridge to Geneva, Transavia from Paris to Chambéry, Swiss from Gatwick to Geneva, easyJet from Manchester to Lyon, Flybe from Birmingham to Lyon & Southampton to Grenoble, Blue Island additional flights from Jersey/Guernsey to Geneva & Chambéry and BA have the return of the London City to Chambéry service.
All the flights, All the routes on the La Tania Flight Guide page.
New Lift Pass Option: New for 2014 is the DUO pass discount (2 adult passes, min 6 days, same type and duration, bought together). This for example gets a Courchevel 6 day pass for €224 instead of €234. The Tribu discount (for 3 passes bought together) continues too. Lift Passes 2014 and the Piste Maps 2014 are updated.
Driving: Still no "sharing" of speeding points between the UK & France and no timing checks between toll booths on the Autoroutes - There are a lot, lot more mobile speed traps with on the spot fines however (and yes, they do escort you to the cash point if you can't pay or haven't go the right change). The law to carry a breathalyser pack in your vehicle which was delayed and delayed, finally came in to place but with a direction not to be enforced. La Tania Speed Camera Page
First Snow: Arrived on 17 September but disappeared fairly quickly, more due down to low level around 10 October but far too early for a base or predictions of a good Winter (as no doubt plenty of sites will say!) and duly just about all melted below around 3000m. First Snow Pics
Events 2014: The X-Games in Tignes has been cancelled by ESPN (along with other events outside the USA). The Winter Olympic takes place in Sochi, Russia from 7-23 Feb 2014 and the Ladies World Cup Slalom event returns to Courchevel on 17 Dec 2013. The World Cup Ski Cross is in Val Thorens from 12-15 December and of course 2015 sees Méribel host the Alpine Skiing World Championships from 15-22 Feb 2015. 3 Valleys Charity Day is Wed 9 Apr 2014 in Méribel Village. What's On Diary 2014
London Ski & Snowboard Show: The 3 Valleys Tourist Offices return to the show this year (30 Oct to 03 Nov) and are involved in the "free" lift pass giveaway with tickets.You get the chance to buy an Adult 6 Day 3 Valley Pass for the price of 4 Days paying €217 instead of €277 a saving of €60 and valid any week of the season 2013/2014. Note it's only for weekday tickets, bought on-line in advance, for full adult tickets and collected in person. More information and Win Tickets here
Les 3 Vallées are putting on another big Après party on Thursday 31 October at Fulham Broadway with the Folie Douce and Ibiza Rocks crew. It's at The Broadway House Bar & Grill (the club bit upstairs at what was The Slug & Lettuce next to the old Tube station entrance - aka "The Slug").
Freeze Festival: A new home for Freeze now on Clapham Common from 27 Nov to 01 Dec. Madeon, DJ Fresh and The Cuban Brothers are on the line-up so far. Ibiza Rocks The Snow are there too - see more of this in the Méribel Mottaret section as the "Rocks" music and parties come to The 3 Valleys...
The big news this Winter is La Tania has a brand new high speed 6 seater chairlift replacing the long Bouc Blanc drag lift (which has now been shortened and renamed Stade as it gives access to the La Tania Stade, the slalom event piste). In addition the Praz Juget drag plus the Cretes and Col de la Loze old slow chairlifts have been removed too.
The removal of the drag lifts means no lift to the top ridge in really bad weather but then you'd probably want to stay lower down anyway (although the line of the new chair is more sheltered than Dou des Lanches which can close in very high winds). The alternative routes to the slow chairs that have been removed are much quicker for any reasonable skier or snowboarder.
The new 6 seater detachable chair will have a capacity of 2,700 skiers per hour at 5.5 m/s with a total length of 1853m and vertical rise of 553m. There are 17 new pylons and 92 chairs. Cost €7m.
In addition, work has started on the the new Forêt chair up from Le Praz which will now terminate near the top of the La Tania gondola - this lift is scheduled to open in December 2014. The construction in pictures with the plans here plus a September update and the official video.
The 2014 Piste Map with the new Bouc Blanc chair - Line of the new Forêt chair indicated
The return of Bring Your Sisters after Stevie & Della's year long honeymoon will see Westy filling in for Gareth (still AWOL in Canada), but the usual madness & nakedness should prevail. Looking like Tuesday Après Ski at Pub Le Ski Lodge and Sunday nights from 10pm back at La Taiga plus Tuesday Après at Lodge du Village (to complete the list - it's Jack's Bar in Méribel on a Wednesday Après and La Boulotte in 1650 on a Friday Après).
We also hear The Dominos will be the Tuesday night slot from 10pm at The Ski Lodge and even a brief visit by Shibboleth is planned - hopefully early January will see Graham (Curious Bullets), George (Bjorn Again), Colin (The Strides & The Mooncutters) plus both Bodo & Steve on the drums return for a couple of gigs.
Meanwhile Les Trois Tetes are heading for India but Freddie Fingers will be playing out here in a new band - more of that soon. Another Feeling gig / festival in Méribel could be on the cards now they've finally released their new highly acclaimed album Boy Cried Wolf. The Elements is the latest band with ex Ram Raid bass player Abe who will be out here this Winter and another new band out to the Alps for a tour this Winter and with a growing reputation are The Banquet. Finally, The Cheerleaders have a new project, Sunset Sons - expect to hear more of this soon.
It's the 20th Anniversary of Pub Le Ski Lodge this December so expect a big party to celebrate - we're hoping for 1993 prices that night! Anyone got any Francs left over? Also, La Taiga is having a bit of a refresh, paint job etc ready for those crazy Sunday nights! Returning staff details soon.
Meanwhile the Ibiza Rocks The Snow line up for their first December week has been announced with MistaJam, Clean Bandit, DOORLY, Nicola Bear, Ste-V-Something, Patrick Nazemi, K1r3y plus official Club partners Propaganda, We Are Your Friends, Troupe Records & Spacestation.
Snow Bugs Child Care has been taken over by Tayla-Elise Rogers one of the existing employees who lives in La Tania with her partner Tom. A close handover from Nadine who has moved to Cornwall is planned to maintain their high standards and reputation plus La Tania veteran Della will be working there too this season. More here...
Joey, (aka Joadie Roadie) is all set to start up his new Sausage Business this year - so stand by for some quality and different types of sausages on some menus around The Three Valleys this Winter. All his licences and regulations sorted, premises obtained and about to be refurbed, so looking good!
Cyclops Camera Hire will be offering a "follow me" service this Winter to video you and your friends going hard around the mountains and then providing edited footage for you to keep.
Retro Rentals from Mikey & Matt are coming to La Tania this Winter with their 80s luminous ski wear - standby for 80s party nights and lots more one-piece ski suits out on the piste!
Cab9 Snowboarding, the British Independent Snowboard Instructors based in Méribel are expanding to La Tania this Winter. They offer a wide range of courses from beginner group lessons, to freestyle sessions in the park and back country guiding.
Chef Cath is La Tania resident Cath Haskins' new brand and website for her private chef service providing catering in your chalet for all your dining needs.
La Cave Des Creux is a new mountain restaurant situated next to the Cave des Creux piste near the top of the Gravelles lift on the way back from Courchevel 1650 to 1850. Pic here
The POMA video of the Bouc Blanc chair lift construction
New Brochure / Piste Maps for 2014 / Lift Pass Options
The new La Tania brochure for 2014 is now available, this year sees it with Russian translations for the first time. On-line version here.
New 2014 Piste Maps - showing the new lifts and pistes here
New for Winter 2014 is the DUO pass discount (2 adult passes, min 6 days, same type and duration, bought together). This gets a Courchevel 6 day pass for €224 instead of €234 for example. The Tribu (for 3 passes bought together) continues. More here...
Once again there will be a €10 discount when buying a 1-day 3 Valley pass for a Saturday, so it is actually cheaper to ski 3 Valleys than one! NOTE THAT THIS IS ONLY FOR PURCHASES ON-LINE AND THE DISCOUNT IS NOT AVAILABLE AT TICKET OFFICES.
Our Charity Day (now 3 Valleys Charity Day) will take place in Méribel Village once again - the event raised around €20,000 last year for Charities in the UK and France. Next seasons event will take place on Wednesday 9th April 2014. More here...
La Tania - Other Stuff
La Tania - 4th place in "The most recommended Ski Resort in the World"
The Ski Club of Great Britain Industry Report and Survey saw France maintain its number one skiing destination spot and also first place in retaining visitors. There was a nice surprise in the category of "Most Recommended Resort" by other skiers and snowboarders section - La Tania coming 4th in the World (and 2nd in Europe) after Whistler, Obergurgl and Banff. Well no surprise to us really, except why it wasn't first...
Also Weather to Ski voted us 4th in Weather-Proof Ski Resorts. We may be relatively low but those shadowy North facing slopes and all that forest makes a massive difference to keeping snow and allowing decent bad weather skiing conditions.
Snow Retreat's Chalet Leman has a new driveway so no climbing all those steps anymore!
Alpine Escape will be displaying prints from UK Artist Jessica Zoob in their chalets this season.
No further news on the Moretta Village development in La Tania and when the definite timescales for this are - there's a presentation of the development here and the new Moretta chairlift is in the S3V plans below.
Reports of an improved Wifi service around La Tania (chargeable - provided by The Tourist Office). There should be more available in bars / restaurants too this Winter but becoming less important with the reduction (and the eventual removal) of data roaming charges and competitive data bolt-on packages.
The road to Méribel Village from La Tania up towards the Plantin is being repaired again - it's always falling dow the side of the mountain and can be rather tricky in snowy conditions - ask the locals!
Nov 02 - La Tania Ski Show Re-Union, Main Bar, Earls Court 2, London
Nov 29 - Pub Le Ski Lodge Opening Night For Winter Season 2013/2014
Dec 14 - La Tania, 1550, 1650, Le Praz and 3 Valleys links open for Winter 2014
Dec 16 - www.latania.co.uk locals 2014 photo shoot in the Ski Lodge
Dec ?? - Pub Le Ski Lodge 20th Anniversary Party TBC
Dec 21 to 28 - Kids Week in La Tania
Jan 04 to 12 - The Old School Week, 50th Birthdays and the return of Shibboleth...
Jan 30 - Toss the Boss, T. Wall's 51st Birthday Bash at Pub Le Ski Lodge
Feb 22 to 01 Mar - Environment Week in La Tania
Feb 26 - The 2014 Forest Challenge, La Tania. Family orienteering / environment / safari competition
Mar 26 - The 3rd annual Mountain Adventure Camps King of the Hill Saisonnaire Comp & BBQ, La Tania
Apr ?? - The La Tania 2014 End of Season Charity Ball at La Taiga TBC
Apr ?? - The 15th Annual La Tania Saisonnaires Awards 2014 at Pub Le Ski Lodge TBC
Apr 09 - 3 Valleys Charity Day 2014 for Charities in the UK & France. Now in Méribel Village
Apr 25 - La Tania, Courchevel and Méribel lifts scheduled to close
More New Lifts
As well as the new La Forêt chair going up to the Bouc Blanc area above (opening Dec 2014) the plans have been released for the next series of lift upgrades. Some €140m to be invested up to 2022.
The replacement of the 3-man Aiguille du Fruit with a 6-seater hi-speed detachable chair (shorter in length, so not giving access to the Suisses black piste) and the removal of the fixed 4-man Gravelles chair is expected to be completed for December 2014.
The new Aiguille du Fruit lift opening December 2014
Future Lifts By 2019
This shows all the future developments due by 2019 (& the Bouc Blanc which is now completed)
CLICK ON THE IMAGE FOR LARGER PIC
The proposed lift up from Bozel via St Bon to the new Aqua centre at 1550 seems to have been put on hold once again with a row over some land it would cross / need pylons on down near the Bozel end.
2013 and 2014 Piste Maps
A new piste names Tétras from the Chapelets chair over in 1650 has been created (above) and there's a new Altipôle piste linking across to Mur and around Cave des Creux (below). Mur has been re-graded from red to black.
2013 and 2014 Piste Maps
Other changes include:
The Rama piste is no longer marked - now part of the bottom of the Park City piste.
Turcs pistes is no longer marked as Park City is extended at the top and the piste is now all red. Turcs was regularly groomed and although quite steep it was wide & smooth, often making it one of the easiest black runs, great for giving confidence to those with that "black run fear factor" blocker.
The Crêtes piste has been removed as the Arolles blue piste down to La Tania is extended and there's a short new section of the Lanches piste at the top of the new Bouc Blanc chair.
Chabichou, Téléphone and Bellecote piste are now named on the 2014 map.
Creux re-graded from red to blue (can be seen on the bottom 2 pics).
Creux Lac is re-graded from red to blue and the main Creux piste running "over the back" of Saulire is also re-graded from red to blue (see below).
The new Plan du Vah piste from Fruit Junction the appeared last season has been removed from the new map - this only took you down to the road for the ski bus - maybe it will re-appear when the piste continues down to 1550 when the new Aqua Park development is completed.
2013 and 2014 Piste Maps
(note the "NEW" tag is on both maps - 2013 & 2014 displayed in top right)
Saulire Cable Car - Refurb and New look
Some more pics on the new lift construction above La Tania and Courchevel Le Praz
Panorama showing the location of the new Bouc Blanc and Forêt Chair top stations
The Forêt Chair top station construction (La Tania Gondola Building is to the left of centre)
CLICK ON THE IMAGE FOR LARGER PIC
The trees (except one!) cut out down to Le Praz for the new Forêt Chair
New Forêt Chair Stats:
6 seater hi-speed detachable (with covers so more susceptible to wind but a more sheltered route).
Capacity of 2,700 skiers per hour at 5.5 m/s. Total Length 1750m.
Vertical Rise 643m. Starting Altitude 1259m. Ending Altitude 1902m. Number of Pylons 15.
Courchevel - Other Stuff
Plenty of building work going on around 1850 and the Aqua Centre below 1550 continues apace with even more cranes involved (that is set to open next Winter).
Pic from the Aqua Centre Web Site showing the construction work in September 2013
La Cave Des Creux is a new mountain restaurant at the top of the Gravelles lift with views of Mont Blanc and the Courchevel Valley. This former alpine cheese ripening cellar has been converted into a restaurant, where skiers can enjoy a warm and friendly mountain atmosphere.
La Cave des Creux - New Mountain Restaurant for Courchevel
The Le Praz old Gondola are being sold off - reportedly for an amazing $4,000 each - a lot more expensive than previous sales.
Le Praz Bubbles For Sale
The "Fun House" building at The Forum has had a face lift and there's been plenty or work on improving the layout of the roads and footpaths continues - this from the www.facebook.com/courchevel
New footpath and road layout around 1850
Yet another top 5-star hotel is opening in 1850, this one at the top of Jardin Alpin.
L'Apogée Courchevel opens on 11/12/13 we quote "Located on the pristine slopes of the French Alps, L’Apogée Courchevel is the latest masterpiece in the Oetker Collection, recreating the finest European hospitality for which it is renowned, from Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc to Le Bristol, Paris.in 1850".
Meanwhile the Hotel Saint-Roch in 1850 is to be sold at auction in Albertville in October - if you're interested bidding starts at €34m...
Pleisure Holidays have a new chalet in Le Praz this Winter - Chalet Josephine A & B, superb location, close to lifts, spacious, very comfortable, their best chalet ever?
Looks like Friday Après Ski for Bring Your Sisters at La Boulotte in 1650 - to be confirmed.
New Hybrid Piste Bashers
S3V are one of the first ski area companies to use the new Hybrid machines. The PistenBully 600 E+ from Kässbohrer is the first ever diesel-electric piste-grooming vehicle, the five compact 140 kW electric motors help to give a 20% reduction on emissions. Reported to cost around €350k this adds to the seventy piste bashers across the 3 Valleys that generally range from €100k to €250k (although there's a 2nd hand one on eBay here for €10k
The Ladies FIS World Cup Slalom will once again take place in Courchevel - 17 Dec 2013.
Verdons by Night - night skiing start on New Years Day and continues every Wednesday.
BMW Polo Masters with horses on the snow at the Altiport takes place from 30 Jan - 02 Feb 2014.
The Courchevel Film Festival - 20 to 22 Mar 2014.
The 3 Valleys Enduro race for all disciplines open to all across the 3V is scheduled for 6 Apr 2014.
Méribel gets a branding makeover - Méribel Vallée is prominent around the new heart logo now. The heart word was at the centre of just about everything in their successful bid for the 2015 Alpine Skiing World Championships. The logo will appear across all the villages in the Méribel Valley.
We see that major tour operator Crystal has got a new logo too - With a cool green colour being their corporate image this season.
Piste Map Changes
The Louveteux area is a new kids piste in Méribel with an “Inuit Theme”. Could be like the Indiens piste above 1650... Moon Wild is another kids animal themed piste.
Also the Couloir Tournier above Méribel is now marked on the map after opening last season - The Vertical Xperience area is complete with cameras and a facebook login machine at the top of the piste (honest!) to capture your style on a seriously steep bit of terrain - only Grand Couloir on the other side of Saulire is a steeper marked piste in The 3 Valleys.
Improvements to the Moon Park and the access down to the Chaudanne area were taking place this summer along with work on the downhill piste for the 2015 World Championships. There's a video showing the modified Roc de Fer piste:
We hear The Ronnie and Dicks are under new (French) ownership - no confirmation if that's likely to lead to any changes though. Jack's has announced Bring Your Sisters on Wednesday Après for next season.
The Future Lift & Piste Plans up to 2022
S3V plans for new lifts by 2022. CLICK ON THE IMAGE FOR LARGER PIC
Ibiza Rocks The Snow
The Rocks brand comes to Méribel with 3 special weeks of live music, DJs and Parties in association with Ski France. Ibiza Rocks The Snow weeks are 14-21 Dec, 8-15 Feb and 29 Mar-5 Apr with loads of events, pool parties, ice disco, street food fest, extreme sports showcase in the board park and top live performances too.
The forst week line up consists of MistaJam, Clean Bandit, DOORLY, Nicola Bear, Ste-V-Something, Patrick Nazemi, K1r3y plus official Club partners Propaganda, We Are Your Friends, Troupe Records & Spacestation plus more to be announced.
Hotel Le Mottaret now has the new and exciting Café del Mott - a lively 400m2 terrace with great views and plans to host afternoon BBQs with Rocks DJs and even has a steaming hot tub if you're in the mood!
As well as the Café del Mott, there is another great Après Ski venue in Mottaret on a Tuesday night as we hear that Le Rastro will revive their crazy dancing on the tables Woodstock Night. Legendary 70s & 80s DJ and pink one-piece ski suit wearer Rob Smart back on the decks we think.
New Un-Groomed Freeride Areas
New freeride areas have been designated above St Martin and near to the summit of La Masse
The top of Sunny Express sees an amateur Speed skiing piste created to capture your top speed in a safe environment. and the new toboggan on rails will be open this Winter too in Les Menuires- a 1200m run in complete safety.
Les Menuires will host the first Roc’n Bike Festival on 18th and 19th January 2014 - where Mountain Biking events on the snow will take place!
Two new luxury chalets in Saint Martin de Belleville at the bottom of the pistes are now available to rent from Ski Talini. Further upgrades to several accommodations are taking place and a new snowflake grading system is being introduces in the Belleville Valley.
Guided tours of the St Martin village and the museum are now available every Wednesday afternoon from the Saint Martin de Belleville Tourist Office.
New Lifts and a New Zip Wire (at €50 a go!)
The 3 Valleys 1 chair has been replaced with the new Pionniers Chair - this also has pedestrian access cabins - allowing up and downloading to the Folie Douce no doubt! A much faster ride on the new detachable hi-speed than the slow old chair.
Video of the Pionniers chairlift construction in Val Thorens
Also being replaced (or rather refurbished and using the same pylons) is the 2 Lacs chair to make it easier for beginners with different access and exit points.
The 2 Lacs kit is then being used to upgrade the old 3 Valleys 2 (now to be known as the 3 Vallées Chair) so there will be 2 high speed detachable chairs to get you out of the Valley and a good alternative to the 3 Vallées Funitel and/or Plein Sud route.
Work on the 3 Valleys 2 Chair (now 3 Vallees Chair) - The existing pylons are being retained
The Vallées Funitel central pylon is at the top left
Work on the new Club Med next to the Hotel Altineige continues and the Hotel Altapura continues to win awards - At least one couple from La Tania skied over and spent the night there (the concierge demanding to take the small backpack they had to the luggage porters as they checked in wearing full ski kit).
Val Thorens once again hosts the World Cup Ski Cross this season from 12-15 December 2013 and the Ski Force and Rock On Snowboard Tours in early season. What's On Diary
New Lift and The Highest Zip Wire in Europe
The new Peyron lift in the 4th Valley above Orelle give much faster uplift (4 minutes instead of 15 minutes) and access to the Bouchet chair.
The Bouchet chairlift will give access to a new zip wire - this looks quite mad and very high as it crosses right across the off piste area of the Lory Valley. Can't wait to give it a go though - although €50 a trip seems a bit steep!
The zip wire will link the top of Orelle (top of the chairlift “Bouchet” at 3,230m) and Val Thorens (top of the “Funitel de Thorens” at 3,000m), with a 1,300m long zip line. Riders on the new thrill ride will descend up to 250 metres above the resort’s glacier.
Think that's about it for now, have a great Winter 2014, and remember who the best skier on the mountain is - the one having the most fun...