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Lac des Moutons, close to the Grand Col ski piste

Sunday, 23 February 2014

UP IN THE AIR? The Plan for La Plagne

The plan was clear: a new Montalbert télécabine for December 2014, followed by the arrival of a new 8-seater Colosses lift at Plagne Bellecote for December 2015.

The excellent www.perso-laplagne.fr site has just published a post which suggests the order of ceremony may be about to change.  Although work on the new Montalbert lift has started, the cloud on the horizon is last November's report from the local DREAL environmental agency.  This declared that not enough work had been done on the impact on the local flora, fauna and animal life.  A new dossier has duly been submitted by the SAP lift company, and a response is expected by 15 March.

The ensuing uncertainty has prompted gossip that the SAP is preparing a Plan B, namely to bring forward the construction of the new Colosses lift to link Bellecote with Plagne Centre.  This would indeed provide some welcome relief to the site of what are probably the worst lift queues in the whole of the Paradiski area. Perso-La Plagne finds more evidence on the www.domaines-skiables.fr site, where it notes that a 4 person chairlift has just come onto the market.

The downside to this plan is that the environmental dossier for the new Colosses lift hasn't been done either.

To be continued....

Source: www.perso-laplagne.fr



Saturday, 22 February 2014

SKI-CROSS: Disaster (and Triumph)

In the event, the ski cross was a bit of a disaster for Marielle Berger, crashing out almost instantly.  Later on, veteran Alpe d'Huez skier Ophélie David crashed out when in sight of a medal position.

But the locals will take some solace though by the performance of the men in the ski cross. The all-French podium included two Savoyards: Jean-Frédéric Chapuis, born in Bourg-St-Maurice, and a member of the Val Thorens club, took gold, folowed by Beaufort skier Arnaud Bovalenta.  TheHaut-Savoyard Jonathan Midol took bronze.

Bravo aux garcons!

Saturday, 15 February 2014

SOCHI 2014: Tous avec Marielle!

Les Arcs has its own Olympic heroine: Marielle Berger goes in the Ski Cross this coming Friday.  There will be a "parade" in her honour at Arc 1800 on Thursday.  Followed by a rendez-vous at the ESF chalet in 1800 at 0845:

Follow Marielle on Facebook and @MarielleBerger

Marielle is a true local: born in Bourg St Maurice, the daughter of a ski instructor, and graduate of the Ski Club Les Arcs.  Last season, in her second on the circuit, she finished every world cup race:




Marielle's background contrasts with the British team, who are called the "Fridge Kids". Katie Summerhayes says the other teams can't believe the Brits learned their craft on dry and indoor slopes.

Ski cross has been at the centre of an almightly row over the non-election of Emily Sarsfield, who will not be competing against Marielle: more here.

With all this excitement, it seems appropriate that it is Les Arcs which will host the French ski cross championships next month, between 4-7 March.



Friday, 7 February 2014

SOCHI 2014: Allez David!

This February sees Peisey-Vallandry getting behind David Poisson at the Sochi Olympics. He will be on show at 7am on Sunday morning.  Ladbrokes see him as rather an outside bet, and is currently placing him at 100-1:

David is a keen Peisey-Vallandry fan

Meanwhile, La Rosiere invites you to join them this Thursday at the front de neige, to support local boy Jules Bonnaire in the Slopestyle.  A giant screen, breakfast and an aperatif are promised:

Upwardly mobile: Jules was born in Moutiers

Here's a bit of a ropey video showing Jules in training at the La Rosiere snowpark:




The next two weeks will see many locals will be looking back at Albertville 1992, which included speed skiing at Les Arcs and bobsleigh at La Plagne.

And it's also a time when precisely nobody will be looking forward to Annecy 2018, given that the bid was doomed from the start and got worse as the process continued.

Pyeongchang won 63 votes, Munich got 25, with
Annecy receiving only 7: more on the sorry tale here.

The Annecy bid saw the La Plagne bobsleigh
track making a comeback 


Sunday, 2 February 2014

ANOTHER VIEW ON THE TARENTAISE: Ste-Foy

If you are in the Tarentaise, and fancy a break from the "ski factories" of Paradiski or Val d'Isere & Tignes, Ste-Foy-Tarentaise is the place to head for.

It offers something completely different: a small ski area, Premier League off-piste, amazing views.

In a way it's just as purpose-built as any of the other resorts in the valley, but it "feels" small and village-like.  Well-heeled Brits absolutely LOVE it, taking full advantage of the various comfy chalets nestling around the main lift.

For more background on the resort, including the debate on its (non) expansion here.

The top of the slopes, at 2600m

This season, there's a new fast lift out of the village - which means that two of the four lifts are now speedy (the new-ish La Marquise being the other).

Still in the La Marquise sector, there is a new mountain restaurant: Les Marquises.  It's owned by the former manager of the ski area, I'm told.  Although apparently it's Nadine and Jeff who welcome you.  On our visit things weren't (yet) running entirely smoothly, but it will certainly be on your itinerary:

Looking back towards Bourg-St-Maurice: Les Marquises

There are also two very pleasant mountain restaurants at the top of the main lift: Les Brevettes and Chez Leon.  More details on eating in Ste-Foy can be found here.  A word of caution: none of the mountain restaurants take credit cards.

In January this year, the unstable snow base and various accidents in other resorts had prompted unusually strong warnings against going off-piste.  The local ESF absolutely know what they are doing and offer various half and full day packages.  This includes the trip to Le Monal, which is something special!

Back on the main mountain, there are a number of "controlled" off-piste areas - checked for avalanche danger, but un-pisted.  It looks like they are developing an "entry-level" area by the La Marquise lift.  But this was closed at the turn of the year.