Bourg St M Town Hall, Dec 2017. Has "Architecture of XX Century" status, alongside cinema & Arc 2000 cable car station. Click on photo for more

Sunday, 28 July 2013

FRENCH SKI RESORTS: The Premiership for 2013/14

The 2012/13 season saw Wigan (Areches-Beaufort), Reading (Valmorel) and QPR (Les Gets) relegated from the Premier League - which means we need to identify the French ski resort partners of the new teams.

Looking at the three promoted clubs, it seems reasonable to say that Hull City are Areches-Beaufort: off the beaten track, quietly doing some good things, strongly patriotic locals.

And Crystal Palace are Valmorel: getting back to where they were in the 1980s, but still not entirely convincing.  Just as Palace market themselves at their south London catchment area, Valmorel targets its marketing at the south too (of France, that is).

Cardiff City is a tricky one.   I don't really see them as Les Gets.  So I've opted for Montgenevre, mainly because there seems to be some serious money going in there, but (until now) nobody really talks about them much.

Sunday, 21 July 2013


The transition from virgin site to the biggest ski resort in the world has been a progressive exercise, over more than five decades.  It's all chronicled in this video, created for La Plagne's 50th birthday.  Here's the timeline:

1961 onwards: Plagne Centre, with its galeries now receiving a long awaited makeover
1965: The Grands Rochettes lift, later destroyed by fire
1968: Aime 2000 - aka the "snow liner"

Aime 2000
1971: Champagny: 77% of the locals voted "yes" in a referendum on whether to join the La Plagne ski area.  Access was via a very long telesiege for many years
1972: Plagne Villages
1972-73: Montchauvin - an enterprise which centred on renovating old sheds/barns etc in this traditional village
1974: Plagne Bellecote and the opening up of the Roche de Mio
1977: Les Coches
1980: Montalbert - where a new telecabine is due for 2014/15
1981: Belle Plagne
1982: Plagne 1800 - ex mining site
1984: Tour de France - won by Laurent Fignon
1990: Plagne Soleil
1987: Tour de France - "it's Stephen Roche!"
1992: Albertville Winter Olympics
2002: Tour de France - Michael Boogerd

2003: The launch of Paradiski, courtesy of the Vanoise Express

For more on La Plagne before 1961, click here.

For more on La Plagne in the Tour de France, click here.

And, for links to other sites and articles about La Plagne, click here.

Friday, 12 July 2013


It may be seem unlikely as we watch the Tour huff and puff its way up the mountain in scorching temperatures, but there is skiing in them there hills.

On the south side (the route the riders are taking this year), look out for Chalet Reynard, 6km from the summit, at 1,435m.  A lift pass at its small ski area costs 12€ during the season.  It's open on Wednesdays and at weekends:

As may be expected, there is more skiing on the north side, at Mont Serein.  It's still tiny, by Alpine standards, with 12km of downhill pistes, and 7km of ski de fond: