10th November 2022
It’s the largest linked ski area in the world with 600kms of ski runs. It never rests on its laurels and has a host of new developments for the winter of 2022/23. We look at all the improvements. NEW
The Les 3 Vallées ski area will be open from December 10th 2022 to April 28th 2023.
Except Courchevel which closes on April 23rd and Val Thorens that opens earlier, November 19th and then closes later, May 8th.
Courchevel: 03/12/2022 – 23/04/2022
Méribel Valley: 10/12/2022 – 28/04/2023
Brides-les-Bains: 10/12/2022 – 21/04/2023
Les Menuires: 10/12/2022 – 28/04/2023
Saint-Martin-de-Belleville: 10/12/2022 – 21/04/2023
Val Thorens: 19/11/2022 – 08/05/2023
Orelle: 26/11/2022 – 08/05/2023
All the dates are subject to snow conditions and final confirmation.
We have a separate feature on PlanetSKI on all that is new in Val Thorens:
See what’s new for the coming season across Les3Vallees.
We look at the new initiatives by bullet point:
NEW SKI RESORT INVESTMENT
TWO NEW GONDOLA LIFTS CONNECTING ORELLE & VAL THORENS ARE IN SERVICE
• Orelle to Plan Bouchet and Plan Bouchet to Cime Caron at 3,200m – open winter & summer.
• 2,500 people per hour – the Orelle-Cime Caron capacity has doubled . 4,997m long / a 1,462m height gain /7 m per sec.
• 45 minutes from Orelle to Val Thorens.
• 20 minutes from Orelle village to Cime Caron.
• 360 panorama of the Alps from Cime Caron.
NEW PEDESTRIAN TUNNEL
• At the top of Cime Caron there’s a new all glass pedestrian tunnel.
• Allows customers to take the train or park for free in Orelle and access Val Thorens via the new lifts – with their luggage too.
• The tunnel means a direct link from the new Orelle-Caron lift at 3,200m with lifts on the Val Thorens side.
• So it’s a 5-lift trip from Orelle to the centre of Val Thorens is possible for pedestrians with bags:
3. TF Caron [téléphérique]
4. TC Caron [télécabine]
NEW MAGIC CARPET LIFT
• Located in the Plan Bouchet area at 2,350m, a new 80m long carpet lift has been installed in the beginner’s area.
• It allows instructors to teach 4 year olds and above – in a fun and relaxed way.
• It’s located right next to the newly built gondola station.
NEW FUN FAMILY SKI ZONE IN VAL THORENS
• Dedicated family/kids ski zone opens in the 2 Lacs area, along with a picnic area. It replaces the old family fun park.
• Continues the trend to open ‘dedicated’ ski areas on mountain – ski touring last season.
• A new zone has a space design – links with other lunar themed activities in resort such as the Cosmojet toboggan run.
• The kids zone is branded with Val Thorens’ mascot, Valthy – the astronaut marmot.
LA POINTE DE LA MASSE LIFT
• 89 state-of-the-art, 10-seater gondolas – 3,318 m in length, with a 1,050 m height gain /7 m per sec / 2,800 people per hour.
• One of the fastest lifts in France: get to the top in less than 8 minutes.
• Opens up La Masse summit at 2,804m to more skiers.
• Upgrades the area – open in the winter for skiers and the summer for pedestrians.
• 780 m2 terrace with panoramic views.
OLYMPE GONDOLA REFRESHED
• Brides-les-Bains to the centre of Méribel.
• Bigger cabins holding 6, easier access for skiers and pedestrians.
• A 25 minute trip experience – from the valley into the mountains.
BOUQUETIN CHAIRLIFT IS OPEN
• Replaces the Plattières 3 gondola. High-speed 6-seater – 2.5 minutes to the summit.
• Access from Meribel to the Saint-Martin-de-Belleville or Les Menuires slopes.
• Accessible by non-skiers in both directions.
There’s also a new freeride area under the lift.
NEW REDUCING TRAFFIC IN RESORT
• To help cut out unnecessary car journeys and better connect the villages in the area, Courchevel will operate two ski lifts from 7.45am to 11.30pm – they’ll in effect act as free urban transport if you have a ski pass.
• Otherwise for pedestrians it’s €12 per day or €38 for six days.
1. Le Praz lift – connects Courchevel Le Praz with Courchevel
2. Les Grangettes lift–connects Courchevel Village with Courchevel.
NEW TRAVEL SKI EXPRESS EXPANDS IN 2022/2023
• 2nd season for the exclusive train charter with Eurostar.
• 17 departure weeks starting 17th December 2022. Packages include the train, transfers, accommodation and lift pass.
• London St Pancras direct to Moutiers and Bourg Saint Maurice
Enhancements for the 22/23 season:
• Outbound day train now departing on Saturday morning with return arriving back (a week later) on Sunday morning into London.
• 10 featured resorts, up from 7 last season
• New resorts for 2022/23 include: Val Thorens and Courchevel
Sales are open now for travel from 17th December 2022 to 15th April 2023.
Book at www.uk.Travelski.com
See here for earlier PlanetSKI articles on Travelski Express:
THE ECLIPSE PISTE IN COURCHEVEL
• It is where the world’s best skiers will compete in the 2023 World Ski Championships.
• Eclipse opened to the public last season. It’s a black run, 3.2 km long, 970m drop which starts at 2,234m near the top of the Col de la Loze.
• Average gradient is 30%. It’s technically harder that the Streif in Kitzbühel.
THE ROC DE FER TUNNEL
• Last season, the tunnel was improved & expanded (50m long, 8.50m wide and 5m high).
• Skiers can go under the Roc de Fer run and watch the athletes racing.
NEW AUTOMATIC TICKET MACHINES INSTALLED
• To make it quick & easy to hit the slopes without waiting, two self-serve automatic machines to buy lift passes have been installed.
• Courchevel Village – by the Grangettes cable car.
• Courchevel Moriond – next to the sales counter in Maison de Moriond.
NEW INDOOR PICNIC AREA REFRESHED
• The Verdons indoor picnic area has been completely renovated and enlarged – it’s at the top of the Verdons lift near the family area.
PlanetSKI in Les3Vallees:
In December 2021, as Covid-19 was still very much around, our reporting team of Tashie Cove and Jack Johnson explores the whole area while based in Les Menuires.
NEW AND RENOVATED ACCOMMODATION
RENOVATED LA RÉSIDENCE BELLEDONE
• The 4-star apartment hotel in Courchevel 1850 has been completely remodeled.
• Offers 2 studios which sleep two guests and 4 apartments sleeping from 5 to 7 people.
• Apartments range in size from 850 to 1174 sq ft. Studios are both 516 sq ft.
• It’s 200 m away from the Tovet piste.
NEW NEW HOTEL OPENING IN COURCHEVEL 2023/2024
1. Le Maya Hotel. Slated to open next season winter 2023/2024. Being developed by the JV Pastor Group who own Refuge de la Traye and Maya Altitude Restaurant, both in Meribel.
NEW 3 NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN MÉRIBEL
• 63 ski in/out luxury apartments with 7 chalets, separate kids & teen play areas, ski shop and an innovative spa clinic.
• The spa-clinic offers non-invasive medical procedures to delay ageing and delivers sport related cyro therapy programmes.
• It partially opened last winter but will be completed by December 2022. Located at 1707 m.
Le Yana [Belvedere area]
• 12 luxury apartments with 4 to 7 rooms, from 88 to 206 m2, split over 4 floors.
• Some apartments can be connected to take larger groups.
• By the Rhodos piste.
RENOVATED HOTEL TARENTAISE
• An investment and renovation programme is underway to update Hotel Tarentaise from a 3 star to a 4 star property.
THE KAÏLA HOTEL TEAMS UP WITH LEGO
• The kids’ play-room will now come with the latest LEGO and Duplo sets and decoration.
• LEGO photo booth in hotel lobby.
• Kids get exclusive LEGO set created for the hotel.
NEW HOTEL IN LES MENUIRES
• 4-star, 103 rooms and 5 suites. Caters for 403 guests over 10 floors.
• A kids’ room, swimming pool, spa including hamman, sauna and salt grotto.
• Treatments using Sothys’ products.
• Brasserie le Télémark restaurant and deli.
• An Intersport Ski Shop and ESF desk are on-site.
2 NEW PROPERTIES IN ST-MARTIN-DE-BELLEVILE
M Lodge Hotel
• Located at 1,450m in the new Caseblanche Hamlet very close to the St Martin 1 lift, M Lodge is a new 5 star hotel in the village.
• Open all year round.
• 25 bedrooms and suites, a luxury spa with 16m swimming pool and a restaurant called Table du M Lodge.
• The complex also includes 2 high end private chalets for hire.
• Ski in/out access.
• Spacious and beautiful, it has 6 bedrooms, an impressive indoor pool and spa as well as a cinema room.
NEW APARTMENT OPENS ABOVE NEW TOURIST BOARD OFFICE BUILDING
• A 4 star apartment to rent for up to 12 people will open this season – it’s not yet named.
• 1st floor above the new Orelle Tourist Board office – just completed this year. Next to new Orelle lift.
• Reservations via the Orelle Booking Centre.
NEW UNUSUAL ACCOMMODATION
• For people looking for something different, Orelle’s campsite already has a gypsy caravan.
• This season, an igloo pod for 2 people opens – it’s perfect for a romantic getaway stay.
NEW €40 MILLION SPORTS CENTRE OPENS
• Le Board sports centre is opening in Val Thorens this December.
• It will boast a rooftop event space for 3,000 people, a multi purpose interior space for concerts & sporting events, exhibitions, conferences and much more.
• It has an auditorium seating 448 people, along with 12 breakout rooms, a lounge, chillout zones as well as an aqua wellness centre and gym.
• It’s located in the heart of Val Thorens connected to the Caron commercial centre.
• Home to a new bus station, baggage storage and welcome centre – on Place des Arolles.
NEW SNOW SHOE TRAILS
• 5 new snowshoe trails have been marked out in the village to encourage people to discover the 10 hamlets that make up Orelle.
• Easy and more difficult routes available.
• Maps from the Orelle Tourist Office.
• For example, one walk is 2.5 km and takes 1h30. Another is 5 km – do it in around 2h30.
NEW MOONBIKES LAND IN RESORT
• Moonbikes are a new type of 100% electric snow scooter which you can hire, try out on either a circuit or dedicated trails, guided by certified instructors.
• Think of a scooter with a Ski-Doo type rubber drive belt.
• €40 for 20 mins on track. €120 per hour on a trail.
NEW PISTE MACHINE TOURS WITH DINNER
• Courchevel Adventure is offering a snow groomer tour followed by a private dinner on the slopes. It’s raclette of course.
NEW FOOD & DRINK
TWO RESTAURANTS OPENED IN 2021/2022
• Le Piaf, a Parisian restaurant well known for live music, opened a branch in Courchevel.
• It’s a restaurant, cocktail bar and nightclub combined.
• Piaf is c19th Parisian slang for a small bird – the link with eating, singing and having fun.
• Formerly know as Le Katz, the bar/restaurant at Le Chabichou Hotel has been rebranded as La Ferme Saint Amour. It’s also a bar restaurant which doubles as a nightclub.
NEW SYLVESTRE WAHID’S RESTAURANT AWARDED ITS FIRST MICHELEN STAR
• Last season, he took up residence at the 5 star Hotel Les Grandes Alpes.
• 1st Michelin star awarded in March 2022 – just 3 months after opening.
• Just 4 tables – see Sylvestre and his team at work in the open plan kitchen.
NEW LE TELEMARK
• Located at the new 4 star Higalik Hotel, Le Telemark is a new Savoyard brasserie which will open this summer.
• The restaurant seats 130 inside, with an outdoor terrasse offering panoramic views of the mountains offering space for a further 140 people.
NEW LA TABLE DU M LODGE
• The new 5 star M Lodge Hotel – which opens this year – has a new restaurant and wine bar called La Table du M Lodge. Open to guests and non-residents.
• The bar menu is mixed – cheeseboards, charcuterie, along with sushi, ceviche and grilled meat like Picanha, rump steak.
THE FIS ALPINE WORLD SKI CHAMPIONSHIPS
• Courchevel and Méribel are joint hosts of the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships (6-19 February 2023).
• After the Olympic Games, the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships are the most important racing series in the world of skiing.
• They take place every 2 years and have only been held in France on three occasions in the past.
• Local boy, Alexis Pinturault, who grew up in Courchevel and whose parents own the Annapurna Hotel, will be racing.
CELEBRATING VAL THORENS CELEBRATES ITS 50TH ANNIVERSARY THIS YEAR
• First lift opened in Val Thornes on Dec 18, 1971.
• 50th celebration activities still being worked on – will link to the opening of the new Le Board sports centre.
• Some resort partners will launch 50th anniversary limited edition collections – money from sales to be invested in local projects or causes.
• Specific details to be announced later in the year.
SAVE THE DATE:
19-20 Nov 2022, Val Thorens – La Grande Première. Kicks off the season in style at Europe’s highest ski resort.
Jan 2023, Les Menuires – Winemaker’s Week 6 – 19 February 2023 – Courchevel Meribel. FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.
March 2023, Courchevel – Food Festival. The resort is a true gastronomic centre with 9 Michelin starred restaurants. To showcase cuisine in all its forms, the first edition of the Courchevel Food Festival will take place this season.
March 2023, Courchevel – International Fireworks Festival. This is the 20th anniversary. Winning teams from the previous 4 years will be back to demonstrate their ‘explosive’ art to the delight of guests.
April 2023, Les Menuires – Yogiski.
May 2023, Val Thorens – La Grande Dernière. race day, ski test & music to end the season in Les 3 Vallées.
PlanetSKI was in Val Thorens for La Grande Dernier last season.
See here for a flavour of what it all about: