today, companies of lifts not only carry the skiers to the top of the slopes. They also watch to the pleasure of the descent” , underlines Alexander Maulin, president of ski Areas of France (DSF), ex-national Union of cable cars, which has existed for eighty years. DSF publishes on this occasion The Epic of ski resorts (Glénat), a retrospective very instructive on the path to the top place.
And the book to recall these words of the passionate skier was Jean d’ormesson: “The skiing, it is unnecessary, tell-t-on. Yes, it is as useless as life. And exhilarating as it is.” It is precisely in order to intensify this enthusiasm that the services of the tracks spend the summer to prepare the ground. Selected pieces of their great work.
• Val Thorens: in full view
“Crown”, it is the name of the new track, and the third, which leads down from the cime de Caron, the top show – 3200 m altitude, 360 degree panorama – of the snows of the savoy region of the Three Valleys. On the plan 2018-2019, the coil on the red “Crown” appears in the upper right, stamped “new”. Information taken, it is 3.2 km long and 570 m of difference in altitude.
A priori, nothing bad question slope. At this detail, invisible on the map: most of the trail is on a ridge, with the emptiness of other and bird’s-eye view on the Maurienne valley on one side and on the Belleville valley, Val Thorens, on the other. And some of the passages are not more than 8 or 10 m wide. Even if one slips between the threads, it is better to have the faint of heart.
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“Cime” has been carved into the rock with a bulldozer to 88 tonnes and a shovel of 70 tons. A feat Jérôme Grellet, the director-general of the Setam, the society of ski lifts, told us about behind-the-scenes: “It is not easy to direct such gear at 3000 m altitude! Our drivers have good to have a sacred experience, they drooled to attack the rock. All the more as in June it had to be plowed before you begin… ”
in The winter, the same as the earthworks are driving the snowcats. “As they traced the track, they know the ground perfectly, and this facilitates their work, specifies Jérôme Grellet. They know exactly where to lay their tracks.” The birth of the “Crown” lasted five months and cost € 1.2 million.
From 24 November to 5 may, lift pass 6 days Val Thorens 204, 80 euros at 256 euros. From 8 December to 22 April, 6 day pass Three Valleys 244,80 euros to 306 euros. www.valthorens.com
• Val-d’isere: Solaise by night
The tallest hotel in France will open only partially. Due to the snow, which has delayed the work dragged on at the Head of Solaise until June… The Refuge of Solaise, the name of this new address, is located up there, at 2 551 m altitude, on the slopes, the arrival of the cable car that goes up to Val-d’isère.
This winter, the offer duvet is therefore limited to two extremes: the dormitory of 14 places and 8 rooms to the luxurious penthouse of 380 m2 (price on request). The next year, rooms and suites, two apartments as well as a spa, a swimming pool and a seminar room will complete the tour of the owner. As for the restaurant, it is already ready to welcome guests to dinner and all the skiers at lunch, inside or on the terrace.
in addition, Val-d’isere ski lifts, the lift company, is celebrating its 80 years this season with a photo exhibition at the Lounge, the large panoramic lounge of the arrival station of the cable car, which succeeded, two years ago, the historic cable-car in Solaise.
chapter vintage, finally, on this same forest, the return-to-service ski lift of the 3000, which has been closed since 2011. The renovation of this veteran of the 1960s was accompanied by the reopening of the two black tracks to which he allowed access: “3000” on Solaise and “Tunnel” through a tunnel, therefore, on the slope’iseran-Fornet. Despite this setup brand new (poles washers), it will always hang on for the ride up the slope, up to 76 %, like the good old days.
the 24th Of November to the 1st of may, lift pass 6 days Val-d’isere-Tignes, 265 € to 294€. www.valdisere.com
• Tignes: top new look
The cable car of la Grande Motte has a new skin. Since 10 October, the first skiers of the season boarded the cabs black and red with large bay-windows. The old, blue and white, offered a view less clear. But the ability and the time of ascension has not changed: 100 people maximum per cabin and a five-minute journey full verticality. Stretched between 3034 m and 3456 m above sea level, this line of 1 996 m long, serving the highest point of the pistes of Tignes-Val d’isère, the glacier of the Grande Motte.
As of the month of may, the cable car brand new will also become the highest in the world with a terrace. Its cabins are equipped with a “roof top” panoramic 20 places, closed in the winter due to the cold. This installation art is part of an overall project investment of 17 million euros, funded by the STGM (Société des cable cars of la Grande Motte).
Christened Altitude Experiments, and developed in partnership with the national Park of la Vanoise, this is a fun tour and education ecosystem montane with, among other things, information kiosks, and a bridge over the void. Late developments in the next two years.
the 24th Of November to the 1st of may, 6 day pass Tignes-Val d’isère 265 euros until December 21, and then 294 euros. www.tignes.net
• Val-d’isere: skiing at the top
The domain skiable franco-Italian Espace San Bernardo is enlarged. Side savoyard, La Rosiere has invested 15 million euros in the creation of five red slopes and two chairlifts detachable 6 seater. Under the mont Valaisan (2 891 m) whose name it bears, this new branch is located at 1935 m and 2800 m altitude. The French resort to recover from the hit the highest point of the field of gliding across the international border. Until now, this privilege belonged to The Thuile, in the Aosta valley, with mont Belvedere (2641 m) to the high place, just on the other side of the col du Petit-Saint-Bernard.
the development of The Mount Valaisan, we talked about it for thirty years. On Saturday 15 December, it will be inaugurated with fanfare. The programme of this “opening” of the season: breakfast in the music offered at the foot of the new tracks for the first skiers to 9 hours, descent with the torches open to all at 16.30, followed by a great feast with a concert at the rink.
From 15 December to 26 April, 6 day pass Espace San Bernardo 222 euros. www.larosiere.net
• Val-Cenis: cabins connected to The ski area of Val Cenis runs through the heart of the Haute Maurienne. Alban Pernet
At 35 years old, the gondola of Vieux Moulin, one of the main access to the area of Haute Maurienne, has just retired, replaced by a young girl connected, faster, quieter, more comfortable and has more capacity.
it connects the foot of the slopes (1500 m) in the heart of the area (2100 m) in six minutes on the clock and can carry up to 2200 skiers per hour to the edge of her cabins of ten seats equipped with heated seats.
On arrival, a viewing platform with picnic area on the premises has been arranged as well as a new room off the bag under the terrace of the restaurant. At the bottom, on the snow front of the Plane of the Fields, between the villages of Lanslevillard and Lanslebourg, a lift brand new, with an area for beginners, allows a direct access to the train station (revamped) from the gondola lift.
As for the old cabins in the white six-seater, there is, update the game until the 10th of December on the account Facebook of the station. An “egg” to decorate the garden, there is nothing more likely to impress the neighbours…
From 16 December to 22 April, 6 day pass € 190. www.haute-maurienne-vanoise.com
• Avoriaz: a touch of madness
The decibel level on the terraces, après-ski, concerts décoiffants feet in the snow, Avoriaz knows. Trendy freestyle, skis with the feet and a pedestrian, this avant-garde of Haute-Savoie is, in itself, a dance-floor giant. It is not surprising that The Sweet Madness, goldsmith clubbing alpine, has chosen to plant his sign on a cottage brand new, built on the snow front, at the centre of the resort, and accessible to ski and walk.
the menu, the recipe that made its success: a show, a concert, a DJ from 14h to 18h30 on the terraces of the two restaurants, The Small Kitchen style with chic snack and The Fruit bistronomique. And here, this good table will also be open in the evening. www.lafoliedouce.com
14 December to 22 April, 2-day ski pass to Avoriaz from 60 euros. From 22 December to 29 march, 6 day pass Portes du Soleil from 265€. www.avoriaz.com
• Megève: back to the Alpette
In Megève, the iconic chalet with red shutters will reopen this winter, rebuilt identically, with its double terrace, high and low, as it was since its expansion in 1986. The summer of 2015, a fire had ravaged the historic appointment of the alpine meadows, built in 1936, facing Mont-Blanc, at 1895 m above sea level, on the massif of Rochebrune, the birthplace of skiing mégevan.
Jean-François Gobertier, the new operator of the Alpette, has appealed to the family company, local Grosset-Janin for reconstruction and Astrid Maillet-Contoz, mégevane also, for the decoration, a bit different from the old one. But the regulars will find the same concept of the restaurant: cheese specialities on the first floor and bistronomie to the ground floor. The new card is signed Édouard Loubet and, phew, the michelin-starred chef in the Luberon has preserved the famous dessert buffet.
22 December to 14 April, 6 day pass Evasion Mont-Blanc 240,50€. www.megeve.com
Draw arc-Rise-to-skin seal to the Arcs. M Daviet
For 50 years, the savoie region station invites the addicted to strap on skis to hiking the 8 December, a week before the opening of the slopes. In other words, to make the trace, as in the past, well before the birth of the Arches, when the lifts and the groomers did not exist.
This Saturday, the appointment is set at 9am at the Pre-Holy Spirit, at 1900 m of altitude, for a coffee before tackling one of these two climbs: 2,34 km and 295 m of positive height gain or, more muscular, with 4.4 km and 646 m elevation. Descent in the powder by the route chosen, up to the point of departure, followed by a buffet offered in the restaurant Belliou The Smoke.
Christened “Belle Adventure”, this event is a first. Her outfit is obviously subject to the snow conditions. For those who will come from far away, accommodation, equipment hire and a car (to access the Pre-Holy Spirit) to Bourg-Saint-Maurice, in the vallée.www.lesarcs.com
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