It may only be the first day of August but as the temperature is heading north slightly here in Sydney and we have experienced our first electric storm for quite a while it must be time to start thinking of the next ski season. During the summer months there are a huge number of activities to enjoy in the Alps, this weekend is traditionally one of the busiest but it's not just holidaymakers out in the sunshine there is a tremendous amount of work being done getting the Three valleys area ready for next season.
Last year the Courchevel ski area announced a seven year plan which included investing over €118 million in lift improvements, piste improvements and enhanced facilities. Given the economic situation across Europe this was seen as a significant investment plan. The first changes were seen last season and included the new Biollay Chair with increased capacity and speed and a slightly changed arrival point which opened up more possibilities when reaching the top. The seven year plan is continuing this year with significant changes around the La tania sector. Not all changes will be in place for next season but when complete will see the old La Foret Gondola, Cretes Chair and Praz Juget drag being removed completely. Of particular interest to Meribel based holidaymakers is the likelihood that the old (and slow) Col de la Loze chair will be dismantled. We use this chair on a regular basis on the way back to Meribel and whilst it is slow - and the exit point somewhat precarious - it is a lovely spot in the sunshine so it looks like just one season left to enjoy the quaintness before it is put into retirement.
Some of the improvements in the Courchevel area are distinctly "cosmetic" and of course there is nothing wrong with improving the visual improvement of the resort. Last month the 2nd Saulire cable car was taken off site for a little glitz to be added to its appearance. Not something you want to get stuck behind on your way down to the shops.
The good news is not restricted to investment in Courchevel. The Société des Trois Vallées (S3V) who operate the Méribel-Mottaret ski area have announced a € 62 million investment plan. The details are not yet clear but such a significant investment shows the level of confidence in the future of the area which is a clear sign that things will just keep getting better for Meribel. This latest news means that S3V are the leading investors in ski areas across the whole of France.
More news on what changes will mean to visitors this winter season will be posted over the coming months.