News from the snow
La Tania France
La Tania is one of the world's newest ski resorts having been originally purpose built to house journalists and olympic athletes during the 1992 Albertville Winter Olympics, along with competing ice hockey teams. It couldn't have asked for a more prestigious location - in one of the famous Three Valleys, the world's largest ski area, neighbouring glamorous Courchevel with Meribel on the other side. The resort is in fact a part of the La Perrière community, a group of ten small, traditional Savoy hamlets, famous for its baroque church and the "Becqua" rocks. So it's no surprise that the architectural style of the new resort has been designed in keeping with the natural surroundings. La Tania has proved especially popular with British package-tour operators, perhaps in part due to its slopeside convenience and its reputation for offering the best value in one of Europe's most expensive ski areas. New arrivals in the resort each weekend are invited to come and try a free "Green Chaud" drink every Sunday at 5 pm and discover what's happening in resort during their stay.
Purpose built to house journalists at the 1992 Albertville Winter Olympics, this attractive new centre is particular popular with British package-tour operators. Fully lift-linked in to the Trois Vallees. Architectural style designed in keeping with the natural surroundings.
Courchevel's valley provides 150km (nearly 100 miles) of marked trails for all standards as well as excellent off-piste opportunities with one of the many professional guides. The ski area is especially pleasant having one of the highest tree-lines in the Alps, up at 2300 metres (just over 7500 feet).
Beginners will find long wide greens and blues just above the resort, served by a free drag lift.
Intermediates will find probably the world's best selection of blue and red trails in the Courchevel Valley and the easily accessed additional terrain of the 3 Vallées. A fast gondola takes you over from Courchevel 1300 to 1850. One of the best red runs is 'Park City', named after Courchevel's twin-resort in Utah. The runs from La Saulire are some of the most challenging, and it is here too that experts will discover some of Europe's most challenging couloirs - known as 'The Ugly Sisters' and graded black but in some cases nearly 'off the scale' in reality.
Experts have plenty besides to entertain in the Trois Vallées and around Courchevel in particular. Some of the best loved blacks in the valley in-clude the steep and mogul covered Jockeys or Jean Blanc. Another long black mogul run is accessed from the Chanrossa lift after the huge Les Creux bowl. Off piste opportunities are enormous and guides may take you to the empty expanses beneath Le Signal. Heliskiing in Italy is available through the Mountain Guides office, which is also your starting point for courses or tours in glacier skiing, off piste, powder and extreme.
There are several cross country routes. You can reach Courchevel or Méribel on the Bouc Blanc itinerary (the two resorts are each six kilometres away in either direction)
At the Jardin des Neiges children aged four and up receive an initiation into the joys of snow, in total safety, under the supervision of E.S.F. instructors in a specially adapted and enclosed area.
For the youngest children the tourist office can provide a list of baby-sitters who look after children of all ages, including newborn babies, with indoor and outdoor activities according their ages.
New since Winter 2008 - 2009 children facility (no details on the age limit yet).
The new kindergarten for children who don't ski: Chez Nouvours! To be found near the underground parking, the kindergarten welcomes children from 36 months onwards. Both indoor and outdoor games will be on offer.
For pizza try Les Marmottons or for crêpes, Les Chanterelles.
For typical French cuisine and Savoie region specialities La Taïga is good, as is La Ferme de La Tania. Gastronomic cuisine is provided by Le Farçon - one star in the reference Michelin Guide. If you fancy doing a DIY job the mini market rents out , rental of home raclette and fondue kits as well as selling roast chickens and a wide assortment of local products.
For fast food and snacks try Snow Food or Le Ski Lodge, and Extreme Cuisine for Indian delivery service
The centers of après activity are normally the Ski Lodge Bar and the Chrome Bar, quieter alternatives include the bar at the Hotel Montana. It's easy to get over to Meribel or Courchevel however, if you're looking for a wider selection.
Also, there is a free shuttle to Heribel and Courcheud.
Over in Courchevel there's a larger dedicated railpark under the Plantrey chair. Freedriders will catch some of the best powder turns down below the Dou der Lanches chairs.
Freestylers will have easy access to Moon Park in Meribel, one of the best snowparks of the French Alps.
A Family Park was created in the Verdans area new for the 2009-10 season.