Bob Dylan nailed it – the times they are a changing.
But this time Bob it’s for the better.
There could be an argument to say that some of these changes may be subtracting from the original charm of the mountain but undoubtedly the changes made by Meribel, Courchevel, La Tania and all stations across the 3 Valleys ensures that each year we go into the winter with a better 3 Valleys than we did the previous year.
Here’s a selection of what delights are awaiting you this coming winter…..
Meribel – the old Col de la Loze chairlift has gone. A sleeker, faster model has now replaced that painfully slow, cold journey to the top. Ensuring a quicker route to Courchevel and La Tania plus a much faster turnaround to that little off-piste mecca around la Loze. You’re going to have to get up earlier than ever to secure a few of those fresh tracks now.
La Tania / Le Praz – The classic, vintage, charming but old bubble has gone. The last of it’s kind round these parts. Guess it had to happen but it was a remnant of when skiing was quintessentially classy! Good news is that it has now been replaced by a super duper chairlift that drops you off by the Bouc Blanc in La Tania. This means that runs like Jockeys, which are constantly underused and underrated, might just see a bit more traffic. Damn!
Courchevel – the Aiguille de Fruit chair has replaced the two that nobody ever knows the name of and has now got somewhere else. Good news about that useless intro is that this new chair lift replaces two old slow ones and gains you more skiing options than both put together. Chapeau.
Val Thorens – The Portette chair has been changed as has the Plan De L’eau chair (which was even slower than the Col de la Loze and Aiguille De Fruit put together). This means the Boismint area of Val Thorens is now incredibly improved. If you haven’t skied this area then it’s one of the longest North facing runs and when it’s pisted is a joy from top to bottom. Now it will be a joy from top to bottom and you can get back to the top again in the same day. Previously unheard of.
Les Menuires has some new lifts too but nobody knows the name of any of these lifts anyway so why go into it. This does need mentioning though – Les Menuires is an oft untapped gem for us Meribel and Courchevel dwellers. Often poo pooed as an unsightly and busy place to go it is in fact home to some fantastic skiing and you might just give yourself a shock if you go exploring there. Great skiing, new lifts and some good quality and reasonably priced restaurants – what’s not to like. Les Menuires may be the future
Meribel restaurants and bars.
The Rond Point has spent it’s summer making it’s terrace even bigger and even more solid now. The future means bigger and safer apres parties. What’s not to like about that?
The LDV in Meribel Village has changed hands and under new management so hopefully will retain it already great status but maybe bring a little more at the same time.
The Chardonneret by the mid station of Pas Du Lac above Mottaret is now under new hands – this is an amazing spot and we can’t wait to see what it is like this winter.
Chez Kiki – dear old Kiki himself has allegedly hung up his apron and fuelled his last fire. He’s retired. He has been replaced by one of the existing chefs at Chez Kiki so we can assume that greatness will continue but we will miss the man himself.
The Moon Park in Meribel has seen some works. The blue trail has now got “soft impact jumps” which sound ideal for these ageing bones. Plus a “shred zone” where you can freestyle your freestyle lines instead of being dictated where to jump and land.
The altiport has seen some great work – the Inuit trail and the Ski Cool area are now both bigger and better too. For beginners and lower level skiers Meribel just became an even wiser choice.
Then finally the biggest news for anyone in Meribel from the 18th to 22nd March is the arrival of the carnival that is World Cup skiing. Meribel is hosting the Women’s World Cup final – during this week we’ll see the world best skiers compete to see who walks away crowned Queen of the hill in 2015.
It’s sure we will see a few more developments before the season’s opening day on December 6th but for now it is fair to say that this is enough proof that the 3 Vallesy and Meribel is indeed the greatest place in the world. Ever.