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News, views, interesting stories and gossip from all over the Alps and from around the ski world!


Three Valley news & developments for 2011/12
Three Valley news & developments for 2011/12
14th Sep 11
New Saulire Express Lift for Meribel:

Méribel's Saulire gondola is being replaced with a faster gondola lift, a process which will take until December 2012 to complete. The top section of the new Saulire Express will be ready for December 2011 and the lower section will be installed the following summer. When completed, this fast 8-man gondola will cut travel time from the resort to the Saulire from over 20 minutes to 12 minutes. Lift company Méribel Alpina's video shows what the journey will look like.

The new lift will arrive at the same point as the Courchevel Saulire cable car, improving access on foot between the two resorts. The slightly higher arrival point will also give Méribel skiers access to the Grand Couloir black run and the off-piste Saulire couloirs. For this winter, skiers from Méribel will take the old Saulire 1 lift to the midstation, then descend a couple of hundred metres to the new Saulire Express 2 midstation to continue their journey to the summit.

Other improvements in Méribel include a new green run starting at the Saulire Express midstation, prolonging the existing green Blanchot run, and there will be extra jumps in the MoonPark.

Improved piste in Méribel-Mottaret:

The busy red Lac de la chambre piste piste (leading back towards Mottaret from Val Thorens) will see further improvements: the narrowest sections will be widened and the steepest pitches will be made gentler.

First Aid stations at Mont Vallon and Côte Brune. Both these posts will be upgraded to better provide information and assistance to skiers.

Updated lift in Courchevel

The 4-seater Plantrey chairlift at Courchevel1850 will be replaced by a 6-seater chairlift. (Plantrey was the first fast 4-seater chairlift in the world in 1983.) Carrying capacity will increase from 2400 to 3000 skiers per hour and the loading area will be improved.

13 snow cannons will be installed on Murettes piste, giving a second snow-guaranteed piste down to Courchevel 1300. Over 2000 snow cannons are already installed in the 3 Valleys, covering almost half the pistes.

The red Roc Merlet piste will be reshaped. Smoothing of the steeper parts should make this run easier and more enjoyable. New "fun zones" will be installed in Courchevel 1650 and 1550 and

Better chairlift safety:

The Magnestick Bar security system is being added to a number of chairlifts in Méribel and Courchevel. This device locks the chairlift safety bar in place so it may not be inadvertently raised mid-journey. It will also prevent the bar from being lifted too early at the arrival area. 14 chairlifts will be equipped with the new Magnestick Bar for the 2011/2012 season in the Courchevel Valley and 6 in Mottaret. In addition, more lifts will be equipped with Magnestick Kid , the system which securely attaches children to chairlifts by means of a back protector fitted with a magnet. (These may be bought or rented in the resorts.) There will be six Magnestick Kid-equipped lifts in the Courchevel Valley and two in Mottaret.

New Funitel and 2 new runs in Val Thorens:

Val Thorens has built a fourth funitel lift. The Funitel de Thorens will comprise 2 series of 2 cabins with a capacity of 33 persons each. This lift will serve 2 new runs: a red one (les Asters) and a blue one (le Chocard). The journey time will be only 2 minutes and the carrying capacity will be 1500 persons per hour.

Looking ahead to the 2013 season, Mottaret will see a new Plattières gondola (the main lift from Mottaret towards Les Menuires and Val Thorens). This one lift will replace the existing Plattières I and II lifts. The new lift will have a capacity of 2700 passengers per hour, giving access to the top of Plattières II in just 9 minutes compared with the current 25 minutes. Comfort will increase as well as speed: 8-seat cabins will replace the current small, back-to-back, 6-seat cabins.

For the resort of Val Thorens itself the creation of a new 4 star hotel, the Hotel Altapura is a notable addition. This stylish hotel is set-back from the hussle & bussle of the centre and is a true ski-in and ski-out location. There will be a new restaurant, Le Deux.Mille.Trois, and a luxurious spa within the hotel.

Once again the 3 Valleys has proved its willingness to invest heavily in infrastructure to keep its lift area to world-class levels.
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