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WhoAre Copyright SARL Cool Bus.

We are the largest provider of private airport transfers in the Tarentaise Valley servicing the airports of Geneva, Lyon, Grenoble and Chambery and these resorts:

All material in this magazine is strictly copyright and all rights are reserved by SARL Cool Bus. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or part without the written permission of SARL Cool Bus IMPORTANT NOTICE: Whilst we have done our best to ensure all the information presented in this magazine is correct at the time of going to print, we take no responsibility for any inaccuracies or omissions. If you do notice a mistake please let us know by emailing: mag@thecoolbus.co.uk

Tignes - Val d’Isere - Les Arcs La Rosiere - Ste. Foy - La Plagne Courchevel - Meribel Les Menuires - Val Thorens We have been operating for 16 long years and run a fleet of 25 eye-catching Volkswagen Caravelles. You can book your private transfers on our website www.coolbus.co.uk and pay on-line with instant confirmation. We also do fun stuff in the summer mainly involving bikes!

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Editor: Rob Forbes Writers: Rob Forbes,Lauren Little, Jemma Harrison Contributors: Chris Cracknell, Emily Horridge, Jenny Hyndman, Della Forbes Emilie Bussiere Design: www.ryanmitson.com Advertising Sales: Emilie Bussiere emiliebussiere@hotmail.fr Thanks to the tourist offices of Val d’sere, Tignes, Les Arcs, La Plagne, La Rosiere, Ste. Foy and Val Thorens Summer cover by David Billings

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Extreme Knitting

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he Cool Bus mag is back with Issue 5! As always this issue is bigger and better than the one that came before it. All the usual resort guides are in there but this year we’ve got more fantastic articles than ever. For those struggling with the weak pound we’ve got advice on how to go self-catered. There’s ski technique, a history of snowboard movie sound tracks and an introduction to the future of ski transport.

lot more. You’ll also find the next instalment of Cool Bus history which we started last year.

As per last year, if you flip the mag over you’ll find a whole other issue dedicated to summer. Here you’ll find a load of stuff on activities to while away the summer months in the Alps including road biking, mountain biking, spa breaks, wake boarding, wild camping and a whole

As I write this, Tignes are digging their way out of a ton of snow that has fallen over the last few days. Conditions up there are supposed to be incredible right now. Here’s hoping that continues throughout the 2016/17 season and that this years winter holiday is your best yet!

At Cool Bus HQ we are looking forward to another busy season with our regular fleet of 26 VW Caravelle’s. This winter we have a permanently manned desk at Geneva airport which should make it that bit easier to find your driver after you’ve made your way through the throngs in arrivals. The big news is our new carbon free VIP service which we are incredibly excited about. You can read all about it in our “Are Transfers Electric?” article.

ff u t S n i W

Wow!

We’d like to enlist your help in getting our wonderful magazine spread as far and wide as possible. To help with motivation we’ve knocked up this little competition for you with a bunch of great prizes.

1st

Sweet Protection Igniter MIPS ski/snowboard helmet one of the most advanced on the market

2nd

Set of unique PolePlant, handcrafted bamboo ski poles

3rd

3x Anvil Sustainable Cool Bus teeshirts and Cool Bus baseball caps

Bon chance!

We want to see pictures of you with our magazine in as many unusual places as you can think of. Marks will be awarded for the furthest travelled from our base in Bourg, famous landmarks, pictures featuring celebs and just anything that’s a little unconventional! Post your pics on our Facebook page and/or on Instagram with the hashtag #coolbusmag To win, photos must clearly show our 2017 magazine and your face. Be aware that we will be keeping a keen eye out for photoshopping and we may ask you to email us the original pic!

5. 13. 14. 17. 20. 24. 28. 32. 34. 40. 44. 48.

LES ARCS & BSM GUIDE

JOHN DOE SESSION

SELF CATERED MADE EASY

LA ROSIERE GUIDE

VAL D’ISERE GUIDE

ARE TRANSFERS ELECTRIC?

TIGNES GUIDE

SAINTE FOY GUIDE

HISTORY OF SNOWBOARD MOVIE SOUNDTRACKS

LA PLAGNE GUIDE Even Melinda Messenger Is getting involved

THE NOTORIOUS SKI PLATEAU

3 VALLEES GUIDE


ollectively Les Arcs, Peisey-Vallandry, Villaroger and Bourg St. Maurice make up one half of the huge Paradiski area. The other half, made up of the various villages of La Plagne, is linked to it by the world’s first double-decker, 200 man cable car, the Vanoise Express. Les Arcs boasts one of Europe’s longest pistes (8km and over 2000m of vertical descent) from the top of the highest peak in resort, the Aiguille Rouge, to the hamlet of Villaroger all the way down at 1200m. It is also the local resort for most of the Cool Bus team so it goes without saying, we all love it! Les Arcs 1600, 1800 and 2000 were all built in the 1970’s using similar ‘unique’ architecture! Consisting of multi storey buildings containing small apartments all clad in wood with curved sloping roofs they might not be the most attractive but they do blend in with the surroundings better than some of the concrete tower blocks you see in other resorts. The newer village of Arc 1950 was completed just 9 years ago by Canadian company Intrawest and this influence is clearly seen in its architecture. Vallandry certainly wins the award for the most attractive village in the area and has a unique, central position in the heart of the Paradiski meaning its just as easy to head to La Plagne for a days skiing as its is to spend

Les Arcs & Bourg Saint Maurice the day in Les Arcs. The smaller villages of Peisey-Nancroix and Villaroger have developed from farming hamlets and as such retain a charming traditional feel but lack some of the amenities of the larger villages. Then down in the valley, the hub town of Bourg St. Maurice links to Arc 1600 via a very efficient funicular railway which takes just 7 minutes to whisk you up the 800 metre climb!

Bourg is more of regular town and as such has more amenities including several large supermarkets and chain stores, a 3 screen cinema, large indoor swimming pool, many nice bars and more great restaurants that you might expect from a place of its size! Its actually a great place to stay and a good deal cheaper than staying up in the ski area and you might even bump into a Cool Bus driver or two!

Photo: Manu Reyboz

Photo: Tristan Shu

Les Arcs & BSM Guide

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The Skiing The area has a great mix of pistes for all abilities. Each village has its own nursery slopes but the best is probably in Arc 1800 accessed by the new Villards bubble lift. For beautiful treelined pistes head to Peisey-Vallandry and Arc 1600. Arc 1800 and 2000 have some great red and blue pistes for blasting down. Snowboarders and skiers looking for some good cruising runs with fun jumps off to the side won’t regret a few laps of the Derby and Grizzly chairlifts!

There is an excellent Snowpark between Arc 1600 and 1800. No half-pipe but the kickers and other features are beautifully shaped and maintained by the snow park crew. There’s a line of blue jumps for beginners, red line for intermediates and a black line which really is only for advanced skiers and snowboarders. Additional features change from year to year but there’s likely to be a quarter pipe, hip jump, rails and boxes of varying degrees of difficulty, an air bag and the famous waterslide outside the Altiport restaurant!

There is some incredible off-piste to be had in Les Arcs. Some of this is easy to access and very obvious from the piste and consequently gets tracked out very quickly. To get to the harder to find stuff we would absolutely recommend hiring a guide for the day. If there’s a group of you it can work out pretty cheap. Either way, if you are heading off the piste please make sure you are carrying an avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe as an absolute bare minimum and that you know how to use them.

04 79 06 85 03 OR 06 25 50 61 09 CHALET DES NEIGES ARC 2000 06

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Les Arcs & BSM Guide

Bars

Photo: MerciCreative

If you are staying up in 2000 then don’t miss Whistlers. As well as being a legendary bar they also have a great food menu (also available as take away or delivered) and live music. They stay open late into the night and its a great spot to catch that all important football match!

Ski Schools New Generation Ski & Snowboard School (www.skinewgen.com) in Vallandry is a British run, award winning (Snowvole Ski School of the Year 2013) school that provides group and private lessons for children and adults of all abilities. You can also choose an Adventure day to explore more of the Paradiski area or book a ‘Developer’ session if you’re at an intermediate or advanced level. These days, most French ski resorts have an Ecole du Ski Francais (ESF) and as opposed to years gone by, most have English speaking instructors. It is worth bearing in mind that group lessons

Just next door in Arc 1950 you’ll find the only Irish bar in Les Arcs - La Belle Pinte which is a great spot for a social pint of Guinness. Nearby you’ll also find Le Club 1950 which is the place to head for drinking and dancing into the small hours. Bar King Mad or BKM as it’s become known is the seasonnaire bar of

choice in Arc 1800 (Place de Villards). Excellent food & cocktails, DJs and Shot Roulette‌ Say no more! Another favourite just next door to that is the Red Hot Saloon. At the other end of Arc 1800 is Chez Boubou’s, a popular and often rowdy little bar which attracts French locals and seasonnaires alike. The legendary Bar Mont Blanc can be found in Vallandry right next to the piste below the Grizzly lift. Whether it’s something on Sky Sports you just can not miss, a game of pool, an apres beer on the sun deck or live music you’re after, The Mont Blanc is where it’s at. If you are staying in the lower villages of Peisey-Nancroix make sure you pay a visit to Greg’s Bar, a cosy underground drinking spot with a friendly atmosphere.

There are many good bars down in Bourg but don’t miss l’Entrinque, next door to the Kosy restaurant. Its a great little place with Brasserie du Mont Blanc ales on tap and an extensive wine menu and they frequently have a live band playing. Our other Bourg favourites include Le Central Bar (aka the Spot) and Le Tonneau but for an apres beer right next to the funicular head straight to Charly’s Factory who also have an excellent food menu. New on the scene this year we also have the Cherry Garden which is the nearest thing you can find in Bourg to an English pub garden! They have ale on tap and an excellent Thai food menu.

can often be large in number, especially during the peak weeks of the holidays. Another French ski school growing in popularity in most resorts is Evolution 2. As with the ESF, Evo 2 (www.evolution2-lesarcs.com) go beyond the normal ski and snowboard lessons as they have fully qualified high mountain guides if you are looking for an off-piste, wilderness adventure. In Les Arcs you can find a branch of both ESF and Evo 2 in nearly all villages across the resort. Fancy a new challenge? Try learning to Telemark with the Ecole du Ski Internationale (www.arc-aventures.com).

Wine and

beer bar

Wine

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Live Football

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95 avenue du stade / Bourg Saint Maurice FB : L'entrinque ph : +33 6 17 87 24 92

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stro i B e L Alpin t Situated in the town square at the foot of Bourg St. Maurice pedestrian High Street. Bistrot Alpin Is a cosy, tastefully furnished restaurant serving authentic bistro dishes Succulent steaks, frogs legs, fish of the day, andouillette “bobosse"

Gourmet burgers with amazing home made chips

Mouth watering dessert platters

Oyster bar on the terrace every Saturday morning!

46 place Marcel Gaymard 73700 Bourg Saint Maurice Phone: +33(0)4 79 07 59 85 www.facebook.com/LeBistrotAlpin 06

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In Bourg St. Maurice we really are spoiled for restaurants and the variety of what’s on offer might surprise you… For classic French Bistro cuisine head to the Bistrot Alpin in the town square. They have a fantastic menu including fish dishes, andouillette ‘bobosse’, burgers, home made chips and frogs legs! Don’t miss the oyster bar on the terrace on Saturday mornings. Morrocan: For a delicious tajine you can’t go wrong with l’Oasis. They have an extensive, authentic Moroccan menu including couscous, kebabs, sweet pastries, wines and teas. You can even take-away! Corsican: The Alta Rocca just around the corner offer delicious Corsican dishes

Photo: Manu Reyboz

Restaurants

including wines and beers from the island. They knock up some incredible pizzas with traditional Corsican ingredients that are also available to take-away.

Les Arcs & BSM Guide

Thai: Don’t miss the all new Cherry Garden with its great Thai Fusion menu. When the weather’s good you can also eat out in the garden which is great if you’ve got kids in tow. We also love Charly’s Factory next to the funicular, the cosy Montagnole, the Michelin starred Arssiban, and if you absolutely must have some cheesy Savoie goodness then you can’t go wrong with Le Refuge on the high street. Up in Arc 1800, BKM has made something of a name for itself thanks in particular to their gourmet burgers. The Mountain Cafe at the Charvet end of Arc 1800 is an excellent Tex-Mex style restaurant with a great atmosphere and very popular with the locals.

RESTAURANT L'OASIS

PIZZAS DELICATESSEN (FIGATELLI, COPPA, LONZU...)

CORSICA WINES AND BEERS CHEESE

4 0 AV E N U E DU STAD E BO UR G SA IN T M AU RICE

T. + 3 3 (0) 4 79 0 0 69 0 0

Avenue Arc en Ciel, 73700, Bourg Saint Maurice

PH : +33 (0)479070773

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maybe an idea to book. There’s a large, (hopefully) sunny terrace overlooking parts of La Plagne or sit inside in front of the fire.

La Vache (situated at the bottom of the Parchey chair lift in Plan Peisey) is a must visit either at lunch time (it is ski in/ski out) or of an evening if you’re staying nearby. We recommend trying the Falafels and Thai Curry if it’s on the menu. Their burgers are incredible. If meat is not your thing then the veggie burgers here are a winner too! The place is always busy (which says it all) so it’s

serves up local speciality dishes. Chez Eux has a similar sort of menu.

Special mention also to the renowned l’Ancolie restaurant down in Nancroix below Peisey. If you’re looking for an incredible menu served in beautiful surroundings by friendly, welcoming staff then this is the place!

Next door in Arc 1950 the Nonna Lisa offers traditional French and Savoyarde food in the Refuge du Montagnard including the local holy trinity of fondue, tartiflette and raclette! With an attractive wooden interior its a great spot for big groups and family meals.

Up in Arc 2000, Whistlers has a great menu that is also available to take away. The Kilimanjaro is popular for evening food and

Brasserie Le 1950 is tipped for good food with a sleek and typical ‘brasserie’ interior, located within the Manoir Savoir

O

A L N I N

SA

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Photo: MerciCreative

AUTHENT IC SAVOYA R D A N D TRADITIONA L F REN CH RESTAU RAN T R E F U G E D U M O NTAGNARD - A R C 1950

Savoyard specialities Pizzas 4*/.E&+ 2. .E0+&0,42. . Families and Service non stop big groups welcome booking advisable TEL : + 33 ( 0 ) 4 5 0 07 5 6 4 8

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ade Take ish & HomChem F ips Free D Away & t s s p i a h C o R ken elivery c i h C Galerie Pierra menta Place du Charvet Arc 1800 - Le Charvet Les arcs

tel. +33(0)479243704

Photo: andyparant.com

Restaurants Continued...


Les Arcs & BSM Guide

residences. Chalet Luigi is popular with families and offers lots of pasta as the name suggests. Situated on the Marmottes piste as you enter the village, it’s a good place for lunch or dinner. Up on the mountain, the Bulle Café is a great spot to grab a snack or a full blown fresh fish platter during the day. Situated underneath the Arcubulle chair lift in the Arc 2000 sector, it’s right on the piste and is a dome shaped structure which you can’t really miss unless you’re skiing with your eyes shut!

If you’re after something quick to eat into Arc 1950 head to Meli-Snack. You can literally ski up to the door, wolf down an american sandwich and then ski off again! Le Sanglier qui Fume located underneath the Mont-Blanc chair lift, just out of Arc 1600 opened recently and has fast become the place to go for lunch and more sophisticated late afternoon/après drinks with tasty bites to choose from the menu to go with your well earned wine and beers at the end of a hard days skiing.

- General Store - Summer Beaufort - Dryed sausage

(porc, smoked porc, beaufort, reblochon)

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Part of the world’s 2nd largest inter-linked ski area

2 3 4 5 6 7

70% of all pistes above 2000m

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Ski pass Les Arcs Adult - 50 euros/day or 259 euros/6 days

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Nearest airport – Chambery (120km) but most popular Geneva (155km)

6 ski in/ski out villages 425km of pistes 132 lifts Skiing from 1200m to 3250m Opens 10th December 2016 and closes 22nd April 2017

- Goat cheese - Wine cave - Bio products - Artisanal Jams

74 rue Desserteaux 73700 Bourg Saint Maurice Ph: +33(0)4 79 22 09 42 Lundi au vendredi : 8.30-12.30 / 16-19.30 Samedi et dimanche : 9-12.30 / 16-19.30

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Other Stuff To Do The Rodeo Park is a 3km toboggan run at 2000m! It’s open to kids and adults over the age of 12 with a valid lift pass as it starts just below the top of the Transarc and Arcabulle lifts. There’s also a shorter but very fast toboggan run accessed from the Villards bubble in Arc 1800 which finishes through a tunnel with strobing rainbow lights!

8th Edition of the Festival de Cinema European des Arcs 10th to 17th December The winter season has barely kicked off but possibly Les Arcs’ most important showcase is the European Cinema Festival for which Cool Bus are the official transport supplier!

The Grotte de Glace (120m long ice caves) at the top of the TransArc bubble is a cave full of icy sculptures. The Outdoor Ice Rink in Arc 2000 is chilly fun for the family. If all that sounds a bit cold the brand new 3800m² Centre Aqualudique in Arc 1800 is an indoor pool with water fountains, spa area and a waterside for the kids!

Freeride Week 21st January Until 6th February We’re not entirely sure why its called free ride week but takes over a fortnight but hey ho! It all kicks off with a round of the Freeride Junior World Tour on the 21st and 22nd and rounds out with the Senior Freeride World Qualifier. Throughout this period there will be demo’s and tuition in avalanche safety and probably the odd soiree! La Journee D’Enfer 21st January A competition in teams of 3 and open to all, consisting of 5 events - a rally, a giant slalom, a flying kilometre, a ski cross and a fight with laser rifles! Sounds interesting! The Big Up And Down 27th - 29th January Ski touring event featuring two French legends - Kilian Jornet and Enak Gavaggio. Three very different tours on consecutive days The John Doe Friendly Sessions 8th and 9th April See next page for full details

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Photo: Propaganda73.com


April 8-9th 2017

For the 2016 edition you invited the Psykopit crew. Did that go down well? Absolutely! The Psykopit pro riders invited on the John Doe enjoyed it a lot and we expect them to return again this season. We really wanted to make 2016 a French oriented session so who better to ask than the most crazy French snowboard crew of the century! They haven’t changed a bit, all still very strong riders who don’t take themselves too seriously! What's new for 2017? For the 5th edition we are planning an RPM session. RPM was a snowboard movie that came out in the 90’s starring Mike Ranquet, Bryan Iguchi, Joel Mahaffey, Chris Roach, Circe Wallace, John Cardiel, Noah Salasnek and Jamie Lynn. Our goal is to get as many of the original cast along as we can! It's complicated because most of these riders are still active and on a pretty busy schedule.

A freestyle snowboard event now in its 5th year, The John Doe Friendly Session will take place this season in Les Arcs on April 8 and 9, 2017. We caught up with Joes, President of "L'Amicale du Snowboard" to give us the low down. What is the John Doe? The "John Doe Friendly Session" is a meeting of snowboarders that takes place at the end of each season to ride and socialise in the snow park of Les Arcs. There is always a relaxed, friendly atmosphere, BBQ, plenty of beers, and a party continuing on into the night down in 1800! It’s not a contest strictly speaking so prizes are just given out on a lottery. The format is simple and without pressure: an open snow park session with different levels of difficulty and a relaxed bank slalom. It’s very accessible to pro riders and amateurs alike.

Any more plans for the future? The idea is to keep expanding the event to try and bring in as many professional snowboarders as we can. We hope to inspire the kids and perhaps we can even set up a snowboard training camp. We would also love to organise a Jane Doe - a session devoted to girls. We are working on adding an eco-friendly dimension to the

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event. Namely, fewer machine hours and more digging done by hand. We invite everybody to come and help shape the park and we will help arrange your accommodation! We plan to use more natural features to make modules that require less building and also to bring more focus to the bank slalom. What is “L’Amicale du Snowboard”? An association that has been in existence since 2014 following the creation of "John Doe”. As well as myself there’s Fred Marchadier (the treasurer), Kab (photographer), Julien (snowpark shaper), Mathilde (who works for Les Arcs), Alex B. (boss of the BouBou Bar - the association's official headquarters!), Polo Tornado (Laboshop) and many more. We have known each other for over 20 years and our friendship and passion for snowboarding gave birth to "L'Amicale du Snowboard". Anyone else who deserves a mention? Absolutely! We must not forget the guys in the snowpark, those who shape the park and without whom nothing would be possible: Julien, Ptit 'Djay, Jeff and Rico. Big thanks to everyone who has attended and joined in at the John Doe over the years and all our partners for their determination, their motivation, their passion and their smiles! VOLCOM, VANS, SKULLCANDY, LES ARCS, K2 SNOWBOARDS, RIDE, LIBTECH, ELECTRIC.

HERE’S AN EDIT FROM THE 2016 EDITION HTTPS://VIMEO.COM/163070909

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Self Catered It seemed like such a bargain when booking… “Yeah, we’ll do all the cooking ourselves.” But rustling up a feast for a troop of hungry and worn out mountain bears is no easy feat, especially when you’re knackered from a hard day on the hill and a couple of apres beers.

Let’s face it, all you really want to do is order pizza and fall face-down on to your bed, ski boots still attached. But rally along! Because pizza alone cannot sustain a week of intense powder slaying! So we, at Coolbus HQ, have come up with a few options to take the “self” out of self catering.

ON THE CHEAP... ONLINE SUPERMARKET SHOPPING

With decent catered chalets coming in at around €700 or more per person the savings for a family or group who decide to DIY can be staggering. That salvaged little cache can take a serious hit, however, if you have to pick up the weekly groceries in tiny, overpriced resort shops.

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Photo: Val D’Isere Tourist Office

Luckily it’s SuperU to the rescue. The French supermarket chain finally have their act in gear with a well laid out website, that is easy to navigate and buy online. Order at home, a few days before you fly, and les vendeurs will have your shopping bags ready to be collected when your CoolBus transfer swings by on it’s way up the hill. Head to www.coursesu.com to place an order. For non French speakers you can translate the page using the automatic Google Translate system. It’ll save a lot of angst over which 20 cheeses to get!

Quick Tips...

MAKE SURE YOU PICK THE CORRECT STORE. Heading to Tignes/Val d’Isere/Les Arcs/La Rosiere/Ste Foy?…. Bourg St. Maurice Heading to La Plagne/ Montchavin / Les Coches / Peisey / Vallandry?… Aime Heading to The 3 Valleys?… Moutiers Check the STORE OPENING TIMES Get in touch with CoolBus HQ to see when they predict you’ll be passing the store. Your shopping won’t be ready earlier than the time chosen, but they’ll keep it in the fridge until needed so the best option is to have it ready well ahead of schedule. Most SuperU stores open 7.30pm Mon to Sat, and on Sunday mornings until 12. Write the chalet or apartment address, NOT your home one, otherwise they won’t accept it!


Self Catered Made Easy

DELIVERED TO YOUR DOOR If messing around with supermarkets seems like a bit of an effort (you are on holiday after all) then, fret not, there’s a new company in town who is taking the hassle out of it all. HUSKI will do your shopping for you and bring it up the slopes at a time that suits.

They also do preprepared meals and other holiday essentials like GoPro hire, if that floats your boat? New in the Tarentaise for winter 16/17, they’ll be expanding to other resorts next season. Head to www.hu.ski for more info.

THE FIVE STAR TREATMENT GET A CHEF If you got a steal on your chalet then it’s probably cheaper to hire a chef for the week, rather than go fully catered. In addition you can taylor the food to suit your taste and style. There are a heap of chef agencies across the French Alps, allowing you the choice of a few meals on a couple of days to gourmet restaurant standard dining. Our favourite is ‘Chloe’s Cuisine’ in Vallandry. Setting the benchmark for chalet cooking, Chloe and her team offer a weekly menu (breakfast, tea and 3-course dinner) for €270 per person. Or you can choose to have meals delivered ready to your door. Further afield and there’s ProjectSki in Val d’Isere who will deliver to your door, or book a private chef to come attend to your every whim via Amandine Cuisine.

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Must Eats Think of this as a dining-out (or dining in?!?) checklist for your holiday. A round up of the best local treats this corner of France has to offer.

A rich, creamy, cheesey, bacony, gooey potato bake. Every restaurant worth it’s salt will have this dish perfected. Sits like a lead weight in the belly. Must be washed down with copious amounts of number 6 (see below).

2. Raclette or Fondu

3. Diots

Melted cheese on top of bread and meat, or with bread and meat dipped in. A Savoie institution. You won’t be let out of the valley unless you’ve had at least one or the other.

Delicious thick smokey sausages, easily picked up from any charcuterie. Cook in wine and serve with crozets (little pasta squares).

4. Îles Flottantes The floating island! A dessert made from meringue sitting atop a bowl of thin custard. Truly as bizarre as it is tasty.

Click www.hu.ski & Collect with Coolbus en-route

5. Apremont If you are looking for good local Savoie white wine then you can do no better then Apremont, in my humble opinion. Light, dry and round.

6. Le Genepi Hold on to your ski pants because when the genepi hits it’ll knock them off! A local liquor, usually made by the restauranteurs and landlords in the summer months to any number of family recipes. It’s the prefect end to the night. Actually, scrap that, it’s also the perfect start to the night! Enjoy.

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More Ski, Less Schlepp?

Self-Catering doesn’t have to be hard work anymore. Huski is the new Alpine food and drinks delivery service. Let us bring you delicious meals at amazing prices right to your chalet door.

www.hu.ski

Photo: Val D’Isere Tourist Office

1. Tartiflette


La Rosière A unique resort in the Tarentaise in that it’s the only one where you can ski into another country!

The resort of La Thuile over in Italy links seamlessly across from La Rosiere via pistes and ski lifts across the Col du Petit St. Bernard. Situated in the Aosta valley, this side of the Espace San Bernardo (as the two are collectively known) is affected by a completely different weather system. As such it is not unusual to find white-out conditions in La Rosiere and clear blue skies in La Thuile or vice-versa. The difference really can be that pronounced.

The Skiing La Rosière alone is a relatively small ski area, perfect for beginners because of its gentle slopes, beginner areas and plateaus. Intermediates and advanced skiers will definitely want to buy the Espace San Bernardo pass because there’s more challenging terrain over the border and down towards La Thuile. There are some great areas of off-piste on both sides that do not get tracked out too quickly.

The run down through the forest from La Rosiere to the lowest chairlift at Les Ecudets at just 1200m is great fun when there’s sufficient snow. This is also a great lift to use to access the resort if you are here for a day trip as its only a five minute drive up from Bourg St. Maurice! La Thuile has more than its fair share of treelined pistes lower down. Later in the season the snow on the Italian side tends to hold out better due to its north facing aspect.

Julien Gaidet

La Rosière is a high altitude village (1850m) that gets a lot of sun because of its south-facing position. Built in the 1950s, it is a purpose-built resort which also holds a lot of war history. At the Fort de la Redoute you’ll ski past the ruins of an old border fort which was built to keep out the Italians and Germans many years ago. The town probably has the best panorama in the valley with views both down towards Moutiers and up towards Val d’Isere.

Ski Schools Elite-Ski (www.elite-ski.com) is a British run ski school in the resort that can provide private lessons and then group lessons through the ESF (www.esflarosiere.com). There is also an Evolution 2 (www.evolution2larosiere.com).

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There are some lovely restaurants in town whether it’s traditional French mountain specialities, local cuisine or just a burger you’re after. Talking of burgers, Le Comptoir is a good choice and is very child-friendly. There are always a few establishments in French resorts that are known for their cheesy delights and in La Rosière for these you should head to the La Turia, Le Genepi or Les Marmottes. If you’ve eaten too much Tartiflette at lunchtime, the pancakes from Crêperie Le Pétrin could be ideal for you. Sweet or savoury, eat in or take out, they are delicious! In our personal opinion, some of the best pizza ever tasted comes out of the snack stop, Pizza Al Taglio. They serve excellent deep-pan pizza slices, whole pizzas plus other fast food options and if you’re lucky the nice Italians in there may give you a free slice to try! This is a friendly, convenient and fast place for lunch or dinner. While holidaying in La Rosiere, a lunchtime visit to La Thuile in

Italy is an absolute must. Even though it’s only a couple of chairlifts away, dining in La Thuile is a very different experience to the traditional French resorts nearby. Think heaps of home-made pasta, proper pizza and Tiramisu plus a shot of Limoncello to wash it all down. Expect to be stuffed on your ski back to France! Try La Clotze next to the Chalet Express chair lift for a convenient lunch on the mountain and also Maison Neige for a special dining experience in an old military barracks, right out in the middle of nowhere. Maison Neige is a ski lodge with 12 bedrooms but the restaurant is open to all and has a warm fire-filled atmosphere and awesome views over the snow. Maison Carrel is worth a visit too for its beautiful interiors. For food on the mountain on the La Rosière side, be sure to try L’Antigel situated off the Tetras piste. It is thought of by most as the best mountain restaurant in the area. Le Plan du Repos up there in the wilderness at 2100m has spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. It’s also possible to walk here from the village of Les Eucherts as it’s located on the piste just above.

Bars Not renowned for its nightlife as much as nearby Val d’Isere for example, there is nonetheless a good little selection of bars and a nightclub or two should you want to ruin your next mornings skiing! Le 1850 opposite the Tourist Office in the village centre is a cosy little bar which serves tapas to enjoy with a good glass of vin. Free WiFi is on offer and there is often live music too.

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Over in Les Eucherts village, Le Skifood which is located within Les Balcons residences is a popular spot. There’s a games room too so you can enjoy a game of pool with your beer or whilst waiting for a snack or a take-out pizza. For late night

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Restaurants

partying, also in Les Eucherts, is the Moobar Night Club. Open for après and onwards into the night, this large space turns into a ‘disco’ with DJs and is open until 4am. As well as being a great place for some quick ‘pub grub’ Le Comptoir can be a lively bar of an evening. There may be a DJ playing après-ski too. Our personal favourite has to be Bar La Roz on your left as you enter La Rosiere on the main road. This place is usually buzzing with seasonaires and holidaymakers alike. There’s often live music playing and drinks are reasonably priced. Finally, as with its Val d’Isere namesake, Le Petit Danois claims to be the ‘No.1 party bar in La Rosière’! There’s live music every Monday, Thursday and Friday, food served all day and it’s open until 1.30am every morning. When the sun’s out, there could be a BBQ on the go too!


La Rosiere Guide

Torchlight descent presented by ESF La Rosiere 12th December Starting at 6pm the torchlight descent is always popular and happens on Monday nights from this date, most weeks of the season. Feux d’Artifices Outdoor Mix 31st December Fireworks and DJ’s out on the snow to celebrate the New Year! Freeski Playoffs 9th March Sixteen of the best skiers from around the world launch themselves off a 20 metre kicker in a series of one on one battles. A spectacle not to be missed! Freedride Junior Tour 18th March A stage of the junior tour for skiers and snowboarders aged 14 to 17. The event will take place on the north face of the Fort de la Redoute Happy Days 10th - 15th April A celebration of spring! A week of family orientated music and shows to take you back to your childhood.

Other Stuff To Do La Rosière is a great place to stay with a family and whether you have family members who don’t ski or just fancy a day off the slopes then there are loads of non-skiing activities in resort. Snow shoeing and local area hikes are popular in and around La Rosiere as there are a lot of pretty chapels, landmarks and history. Tarentaise Tours (www.tarentaise-tours.com/welcome) will organise day trips to a variety of interesting sites and much more for that matter! For après-ski activities that don’t involve drinking, La Rosière has bowling, ice-skating and the Ruitor Cinema showing English speaking films (occasionally) so there’s no shortage of stuff to do. Most of this is located in Les Eucherts village on the right-hand side of the main resort and only a short (free) shuttle away.

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Linked with the Italian resort of La Thuile 150km of pistes 19 lifts in La Rosière area which rises to 39 in the whole Espace San Bernardo Skiing from 1176m to 2640m

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Resort opens 10th December 2016 and closes 22nd April 2017

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Lift pass price adult €43/day €206/6 days (Espace San Bernardo)

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Nearest airport – Chambéry (130km) but most popular Geneva (165km)

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Photo: Val D’Isere Tourist Office

Val D’Isere Right at the very top of the Tarentaise valley, Val d’Isere is one of the most well-known ski resorts in the world. It has a reputation like no other for its world class accommodation, après-ski, fine restaurants and shops and, together with Tignes, makes up the huge Espace Killy skiing area It is one of the oldest and most attractive towns in the area. The local church dates to the late 17th century and skiing took off here way back in the 1930’s! Mainly consisting of free standing chalets built in traditional style and nestling in a stunning valley at the head of the Isere river, it does also carry a price tag as it’s one of the most expensive for accommodation and food & drink.

The Skiing Despite being well known for its steep blacks, Val d’Isere still caters for the beginners out there! The Solaise area has a large beginners slope with plenty of space for veering off to one side and several green and blue runs, perfect for progression. As the name suggests, these runs catch the sun whenever it makes an appearance, so are great in January when temperatures can be low. The long pistes running from Toviere down to la Daille are a great way to rack up the miles and will have your legs burning by the end! The glacier at Le Fornet provides some of the best cruising runs, especially if you go from the top of the glacier, all the way down to the village in one go! Any time the visibility disappears, it’s time to head over

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towards the forested areas of Laisinant and Le Fornet. There’s always somewhere to ride on the Espace Killy, no matter what the weather! Even on a clear day, the tree-lined runs between Val d’Isere and Le Fornet will offer some of the most fun pistes of your holiday, especially if the powder is stacked up! The Tour du Cugnai and Tour du Charvet are classic, famous off-piste routes in Val d’Isere. Whilst they can get busy later in the day, the views and snow are amazing if you get there earlier. Guides are essential when going off-piste in Val d’Isere, due to the steep terrain, cliffs and avalanche danger. There are plenty of day touring routes in the Val d’Isere area, with mountain huts positioned in the most beautiful locations. If you have good weather and can hire a guide, this is definitely worth a day of your trip and will allow you to explore the real off-piste of the Espace Killy!


Val D’Isere Guide

Dicks Tea Bar dicksteabar.com is something of a Val d’Isere institution! The debauchery has run riot here since 1979 and the place is still as popular as ever. Expect the usual mix of booze, beats and bodypoppin’! Saloon Bar saloonbar.com underneath the Hotel Brussels is a popular bar on the snow front that you can ski straight to. If you’re so up for après that you don’t have time to drop your skis back at the chalet then no need to worry, the Saloon will take them in and look after them for you, rather like a cloak room in a nightclub back home. Handy! Le Petit Danois www.lepetitdanois.com sells itself as the No.1 party bar in Val and lives up to that name by providing après-goers with live music 6 nights a week and a free shot for every drink bought between 4-7pm… sounds dangerous!

Photo: Val D’Isere Tourist Office

Photo: Val D’Isere Tourist Office

Café Face www.cafeface.com

Doudonne www.doudouneclub.com The Doudonne has steadily made a name for itself over the last few years and has played host to some pretty big name DJ sets including the Freestylers, A-Skillz and Rudimental. We are certainly looking forward to see who they can bring in this winter! Cocorico Cocorico is the Doudonne’s apres-ski bar and you can ski right up to the front door at the foot of the Face black piste at the centre of the Val. The huge sunny terrace has been extended over the summer so that even more people can dance on the tables in the sunshine! STOP PRESS! Cool Bus favourite, A-Skillz is confirmed at Cocoricos on 24th January!

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A range of accommodation from budget apartments to some of the world’s most expensive chalets

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Skiing from 1500m up to 3450m

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15 green runs, 32 blue, 21 red, 13 black & 1 snowpark

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Adult lift pass price €55.50/day €278/6 days for the whole of Espace Killy

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Nearest airport – Chambery (145km) but most popular Geneva (180km)

146km of pistes in local area with 300km total in Espace Killy

Opens 26th November 2016 and closes 1st May 2017

Photo: Val D’Isere Tourist Office

Bars

Café Face www.cafeface.com La Folie Douces & presence down in the village of Val is a well-priced spot, with chilled music to start après and getting livelier until closing at 2am. Regular DJ nights are on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Ski Schools Because of its influx of British holidaymakers in the winter, Val has a plethora of English speaking ski schools to choose from. Leading Edge Ski School is a new, British-run establishment and the guys there offer friendly tuition, aiming to give you the best experience on the mountain. Whether you’re a total beginner or you want to explore the nether regions of the Espace Killy, Liam or Chris can help.

New Generation Tignes is a another British run ski school that offers high quality tuition. Probably the most well known amongst Brits is BASS - the British Alpine Ski & Snowboard School. With 25 successful years teaching in the Alps, their school in Val offers individual lessons and courses to brush up freeride skills and more. Progression Ski and Snowboard School is ‘Val d’Isere and Tignes’s leading ski & snowboard school’ and they offer the full range of lessons in both disciplines plus heli-skiing options, telemark instruction and corporate trips.

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If, like us, your main priority after skiing is good grub then Val d’Isere is definitely the place to come. You cannot expect to pay ‘normal’ prices for food here because, well it is Val d’Isere after all, but that shouldn’t put you off because it is definitely possible to get your money’s worth. There are options for everyone – plenty of ‘snack shack’ style establishments, posh burgers that won’t break the bank all the way up to Michelin starred tastiness. L’Avancher is a great place to go on chalet night off or for a treat, serving quality French bistro cuisine and local speciality dishes mainly involving lots of cheese. Located in the centre of Val in the Galerie des Cimes, there’s a really quirky eatery called Dans les Jardin des Alpes where one could be fooled into thinking

La Taverne d’Alsace located within the Kandahar Hotel is a local favourite even with Jean-Claude Killy, the legend of whom the resort L’Espace Killy is named after! If it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for us! La Taverne which translated means pub does definitely have that old pub feel and is warm, cosy and comfortable. Plus the food is a mix of French and German with the Alsace connection - think Duck Shepherds Pie, Veal Ribs or maybe Calf’s Head perhaps and Alsace specialities such as Sauerkraut with varying accompaniments. Le Perdrix Blanche is a long-standing favourite for their seafood and oysters in particular but also their fine meat dishes. For food up on the mountain, the

first and very obvious suggestion is La Folie Douce which is pretty much world famous for its during/après-ski party on the piste. A large building with an even larger terrace includes two restaurants. The best (and most expensive) is La Fruiterie which takes inspiration from old mountain dairies and the second is called Nuvo Self which is probably one of the ‘trendiest’ self-service establishments in the Alps - it does have a DJ booth! La Folie Douce is the collective name for the restaurants and the bar/terrace which is just one big lively, happy place! It’s not the type of establishment you go to for a quick lunch or one drink really, it’s like a little trap of good food and lots of alcohol. You can eat from 12 noon and the bars stay open until 5pm (they only close because there is so much carnage that everyone has to be ushered off the mountain before the pisteurs can go home). In between there’s dancing on the tables and spraying of champagne guaranteed! La Folie Douce is located at the top of the Daille cable car and is also accessible for those who don’t ski, as you can buy a return pass for that lift alone for around 10 euros. Another few restaurants on the hill in Val worth visiting include La Peau de Vache which is half way down the famous La Face run above the town. Its burgers are something special and the place is also known for its welcoming, friendly host. You can’t miss Le Signal as it’s a strange looking wooden cube-like building, so why not head there for lunch? Decorated with a freshness in comparison to most French mountain places, this great mountain top restaurant is right near the glacier and can be accessed by foot from the cable car. It’s pricey but worth it for the location, service and a varied, different menu. Les Tufs is a dining experience right on the slopes, located at the bottom of the Funival just a stroll up from the Telecabine de la Daille. The décor is clean in a ‘neutral chalet’ style and the terrace is a lovely spot for lunch when the sun’s out. Pizzas start at €14 and there is a reasonably priced ‘Tufs’ menu for €21.

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Photo: Val D’Isere Tourist Office

Photo: Val D’Isere Tourist Office

Restaurants

that they are dining a l’exterior because of the garden under the stars theme. You can pick up a tasty 900g sandwich called Le Hunger Breaker from the sandwich bar which will set you back just under €10 or grab something from the delicatessen for dinner.


Val D’Isere Guide

Other Stuff To Do Aside from skiing there are plenty of other activities on offer in Val. Most non- skiers might like to head to the sofas and sun-loungers of the bars and restaurants overlooking the snow front but there’s certainly more to Val than that!

The newly up-graded, indoor Aquasportif Centre in town, just next to the massive L’Olympique gondola lift is a really impressive building that includes all sorts of alternative activities for both adults and kids. Obviously there are pools, spas and wellness areas and a great big climbing wall. There’s a gym and a weights room if you really want to beast yourself whilst on holiday! Try the golf simulator if you’re a fan.

Photo: Val D’Isere Tourist Office

As you come into the town itself, look out for the Val d’Isere Ice-Driving Experience on the right. It’s a specially made driving circuit (sponsored by BMW) where you get to slide and skid around in their 4x4 vehicles on the snow. Everyone loves a good skid! There’s also Ice-Karting, a driving simulator and you can even have a go at driving a piste basher!

Criterium de la Premiere Neige December 9th-18th The opening event of the international ski racing calendar, now in its 61st year! Classicaval Music Festival 26th – 28th January & 6th – 9th March For over twenty years people have been enjoying this classical music event in a wonderfully magical location Wintergolf 22nd - 26th March Golf on snow! We assume they don’t use white balls for this otherwise they’ll probably still be playing in June! International Adventure Film Festival 17th – 20th April Exhibitions, first hand accounts and eleven adventure films to catch at the conference centre auditorium

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Are Transfers Electric?

egular readers of the Cool Bus magazine may remember an article we ran in our last issue entitled “Eco-Skiing” in which we highlighted some of the ways that we, and fellow ski industry brands are trying to do our bit minimise our impact on the environment. The final paragraph read as follows:

Ultimately we are looking towards a day where we can viably use hybrid vehicles that run partly on electricity generated from our own solar panels. It may not be as far off as you think! ”

Well just how soon that came around surprised even us! A somewhat inebriated conversation with a Tesla employee during the early hours of a friends wedding in Barcelona last May planted a thought that resurfaced during the 8 hour drive back to Bourg St. Maurice the following day. A few hours of internet research in the office confirmed that the future of airport transfers might be just around the corner in the shape of Tesla’s brand new Model X due to be available at the end of 2016. This new vehicle was set to be the most advanced SUV on the market and with 6 passenger seats and a range of 300 miles it was certainly ticking all our boxes! From a purely business point of view it made no sense at all. For the cost of one Model X seating 6 passengers Cool Bus could comfortably buy 3 Volkswagen

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Caravelles which would seat 24 people. The numbers simply didn’t add up but should it really all be about the maths? Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last 10 years you will be aware that the temperature of our planet is increasing at an unnatural rate. The disastrous effects of this are already starting to show in many ways including an increase in freak weather events such as floods, hurricanes and droughts, rising sea levels and an acceleration in the species extinction rate across the globe. Ultimately if it continues unchecked we could be heading towards a day when our planet is no longer habitable for anyone. It is now widely accepted that the main reason for this warming is the “greenhouse effect”, caused primarily by increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere as a result of human activity. The number one reason for these elevated levels of CO2 is the burning of fossil fuels and transport alone accounts for roughly one third of consumption. The bottom line is, if we want our planet to stay healthy one of the many steps we must take is to stop using cars powered by petrol, diesel and gas. Tesla is a company that have taken this onboard and come up with a strategy to change our views on electric cars. Back in 2008 they came out with the Roadster, a sports car that radically redefined

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what was possible from a battery powered vehicle. In 2012 they produced the Model S, a luxury saloon which has sold over 100,000 units and is still available to buy. Both models were produced at a loss to the company due to the huge amounts invested in their research and development but the aim here was not purely to make huge profits but to change peoples perceptions of electric vehicles and give the car industry a much needed shove in the right direction.

need to do is put your foot flat to the floor and the car takes care of everything else. Being reliant on a huge bank of batteries means these vehicles are certainly heavy but with all that weight situated just inches from the ground in the floor plan, the road handling is like nothing you have ever experienced. It is literally stuck to the tarmac.

Tesla have piled huge sums of money into the development of every single area of the Model X. With a battery range of over 300 miles, Tesla are lightyears ahead of Using the same the competition but philosophy we it is so much more decided to take the than this. The Model plunge and order a X is the safest SUV Model X ourselves. on the market. It has Make no mistake, 20% lower drag than these cars are its nearest competiincredibly expensive tor. It features the but as soon as we largest panoramic test drove one it windscreen in was clear to see production. All why! It is quite Tesla’s feature the simply the best car most advanced we have ever driven. driver aids available The power and road OFF 1 CHARGE in any car including handling is akin to collision avoidance, that of a thoroughemergency braking bred sports car. and autopilot, all linked to a radar continuously scanning the road Until you have travelled in a Tesla ahead. Even the air you breathe it is impossible to understand just while driving is better quality how smooth the ride is. Regular than that outside thanks to its cars genuinely feel old fashioned HEPA filters! and clunky afterwards. Its like you are floating along silently And then there’s the falcon wing above the road. doors! OK these might be a bit gimmicky but they do offer The Model X 90D is capable of unbridled access to the two rear hitting 60mph off the lights in row’s of seats even from the just 4.8 seconds. The four wheel tightest of parking spaces and drive is electronically controlled they certainly turn some heads! to maximise traction. All you

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GENEVA CHARGING POINT


Are Transfers Electric?

FALCON WING DOORS

he ski industry is at odds with itself. One of the main reasons we love it is the pure joy of being in the high mountains, surrounded by imposing snowy peaks but many of the things we do to get on our holidays are implicit in causing the very issues that threaten it. With this in mind we present to you our new VIP airport transfer brand, ZEAT (Zero Emission Airport Transfers). With the Model X retailing at well over 100k euros it is currently too expensive for us to realistically consider as a viable option for replacing the Caravelles in our Cool Bus fleet. As a VIP brand we can charge that little bit more for the luxury it brings with it and hopefully recoup some of the huge outlay for its purchase.

FOUR WHEEL DRIVE

ZEAT bookings can be made via our dedicated website www.zeat.vip. While the brand may be different the entire service will be run by the same team behind Cool Bus so you can rest assured that we have all the knowledge and experience at our fingertips to ensure you the very best VIP service. We will be offering transfers to all resorts in the Tarentaise from Geneva and Chambery. Our dedicated, smartly dressed driving team have many years of Cool Bus experience behind them as well as a wealth of knowledge about the local area. Ideally we would love to see our

You can find out more about us in all of these places :

cool_bus

user6239472

Model X on the road every single day of the season to maximise its potential and reduce the carbon emissions of Cool Bus. As such we will be offering the ZEAT treatment to selected Cool Bus customers as an upgrade to their existing transfer for the low price of just 100 euros. In addition to this we will of course fill any of its empty journeys with our Cool Bus clients so if you are travelling with us in 2017 you might just get lucky and get the full VIP treatment for free! The more people that get a chance to travel in it, the more people we can switch on to the potential of electric cars which might just help us as we all strive to eliminate the need for fossil fuels in the future. The power for charging our new Model X will come from 3 sources. Firstly, the 21 solar panels installed on the roof of our depot in Bourg St. Maurice. Where this is not sufficient to supply all the charge necessary the remainder will come from our local grid which is sourced entirely through hydroelectric plants. In addition to this we will also use Tesla’s Supercharging station close to Geneva airport which is also fuelled entirely from renewable energy sources. You can therefore rest assured that all the kilometres covered by our Tesla will be done with precisely zero carbon emissions!

Watch out for a Tesla Model X creeping stealthily around a ski resort near you this season‌

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Tignes

Photo: andyparant.com

Tignes has long been a favourite amongst both British and French snowsports lovers and no wonder with its high altitude location, snow-sure villages, glacier (which is open for summer skiing too), both freestyle and freeride scenes and a lively après/nightlife vibe! The resort is split over several villages. Tignes Les Brevieres is down below the dam and the only spot low enough to feature some treelined pistes and more traditional style chalets. Tignes 1800 at the top of the dam has recently been expanded with a couple of new hotels and its own wellness area with a pool. Tignes Le Lac and Le Lavachet are adjacent to each other up above 2000 metres and consist mainly of large apartment blocks as does Tignes Val Claret up at the head of the valley.

The Skiing The terrain throughout the resort of Tignes really does offer something for everyone, boasting a glacier, tree-runs, pistes ranging from beginner slopes to black moguls, progressive freestyle parks and world-class back country. Tignes hosts the Freeride World Qualifying tour each season, and was chosen as the venue for the European Winter X Games for three successive years. With several areas specifically for beginners, and a host of cruisey green and blue runs for progression, Tignes is the perfect training ground for those new to snowsports. The beginner slopes in Tignes Le Lac and Val Claret are serviced by gentle chairlifts and provide a decent length of run, allowing for maximum practice time. The beginner run in Tignes Le Lavachet is serviced by

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a button lift and gives access the lac slope. The new lift over the beginner slope in Tignes Le lac will be ready for this winter. The beginner run in Tignes 1800 is also a big favourite especially with the new cafe nearby for pit stops! There are several blue run areas in Tignes, the cruiser's paradise. These also double up as jib-heaven for all the freestylers out there, as perfectly moulded side hits are formed after each snow fall. The runs are super wide and provide plenty of space for everyone, even during the busy new year and February holidays. Palafour and Grattalu are the popular spots on the 'sunny side' above Tignes Le lac and Val Claret, and for good reason! With consistently excellent snow, the runs on the glacier also provide a great playground of blue runs, with the red 'double M' run becoming a little steeper as it

heads back down to Val Claret. When the heavy snow days roll in, head down to treelined runs in Les Boisses or Les Brevieres. Make sure you avoid the multitude of cliff faces just off the side of the piste though. It's best to stick to the marked runs in this area. If you do plan to head off-piste it is absolutely essential to hire a guide and carry all the appropriate safety gear. The faces here are steeper than in some other resorts, which leads to some serious avalanche danger. However, there are some un-pisted black runs, which can prove to be great fun after a fresh dump of snow! 'Bus stops' tracks the face on the sunny side of Tignes, from the top of the Merles chairlift down to the lake, whilst the couloirs off Mickey's Ears are excellent when the conditions are primed.


Tignes Guide

Ski Schools Perhaps different to nearby resorts, Tignes has a genuine snowboard vibe and there are a couple of really good, snowboard only schools here so it could definitely be the place to learn. Fresh Snowboarding (www.freshsnowboarding.com) offer group or private sessions for beginners to experts, in freestyle, off piste & kids courses. Or you could ‘join the Rebel Alliance’ with Rebel Alliance Snowboarding

(www.rebelalliancesnowboarding.com) who run operations in both Tignes and Argentina with English speaking instructors. The guys here specialise in performance courses and freestyle and off-pistes sessions. Back to skiing and there are plenty of schools to choose from. New Generation Tignes (www.skinewgen.com) is a British run ski school that offers high quality tuition. BASS (www.britishskischool.com/ BASS_Resorts/Tignes) provide instructors with the highest level of qualifications to satisfy your every needs on the slopes. Alpes Attraction are a local outfit offering instruction and guiding at all resorts in the Tarentaise. They cover skiing snowboarding and even telemarking!

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Part of the large and very famous Espace Killy area

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Tignes boasts the 4th longest funicular in the world!

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There is a sunken village underneath the Lac du Chevril

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Skiing from 1550m to 3450m

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150km of pisted runs with 87 lifts to get you to the top

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21 green pistes, 65 blue, 44 red and 24 black

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5 free lifts to give beginners a taste of what’s to come

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Opens 26th November 2016 and closes 1st May 2017 (also partial opening outside these dates)

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Adult lift pass price €55.50/day €278/6 days for the whole of Espace Killy

Ski/Snowboard hire The guys at Tignes Spirit (based in Tignes le Lavachet) are the most knowledgable in the area when it comes to repairs and servicing. They also provide the highest quality equipment throughout their fleet of skis, snowboards, touring kit, splitboards and

anything else you might need during your holiday. You can buy or rent at massively reduced prices, and their friendly technicians deliver and collect the equipment from your holiday accommodation free of charge. The complete service!

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Bars Each ‘village’ in Tignes has its own little scene and there are busy bars in whichever village you are staying. Starting in Le Lavachet there are a few options choose from. Just up from the Tignes Spirit shop, So Bar is a cosy little place serving quality spirits and wines and with a dart board made out of YES

snowboards it’s definitely cool. Just next door, TC’s is really popular amongst seasonnaires and young holidaymakers and is guaranteed to be a messy affair. Onto Tignes Le Lac and the first place of choice amongst many is The Loop Bar which has a great après atmosphere that continues late into the night. There’s always something going on here and the live music they provide is probably the best you’ll find in resort. Up on rue de la Poste near the

bottom of the Palafour lift you’ll find The Marmot Arms which has proper ales on tap! They serve up some incredible gourmet burgers. Its a great spot for cheap apres drinks and they often have DJ’s on until late. High up in Val Claret is the Couloir which has had a refurb and is a bit more swanky nowadays. Carefully selected wine and good beers on draught too. Open until 4am are the Melting Pot and Blue Girl nightclubs in your typical French style!

Brand new this winter is the Planks shop/cafe/bar which promises to be a good spot for apres drinks sitting as its does, right at the foot of the pistes near the funicular. Down in Tignes Les Brevières head to The Vault for après drinks and the rest! Open until 1.30am expect lots of live music, karaoke, quiz nights, BBQ evenings and much more! Vincents is also a buzzing spot, and the go-to hangout for a few beers after a day on the slopes.

Restaurants IONAL FRENCH FOOD REVISITED

THIS WINTER, COME AND DISCOVER THE NEW MENU OF OUR CHEF

JO H AN AU D RE N CONTACT FOR RESERVATIONS NADIA & SERGE REVIAL P: +33(0)4 79 06 52 46 LE ROSSET - TIGNES E: INFO@HOTELGENTIANA.COM

WWW. H OTELGENTI ANA.COM

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grab some Asian delights. The noodles and Thai curry are spot on! They will even deliver to your door if you’re too shattered after a day on the hill. Le Brasero is a ski in/ski out bar and restaurant in Le Lavachet with outdoor seating in a great suntrap. If you want quality food and chilled après drinks at affordable prices then look no further. Their excellent menu includes savoyarde, crispy fries, juicy steaks, seafood poultry and loads of wonderful desserts. Just opposite, La Queue du Cochon is great for posh-nosh in a cosy setting. As the name suggests you can even get roasted pigs tails! Also, Le Bouchon Montagnard serves good meat dishes, notably beef and duck and is very ‘local French’. If you’re in Val Claret or fancy getting the bus up there to eat of an evening then head to Saint Jacques which may set you back a bit, but is well worth the

cash in our opinion. It’s been a favourite with locals for a long time, maybe because it has such an extensive Belgium beer selection! With a big (hopefully sunny) terrace at the top of the Chaudannes chair lift from Tignes Le Lac, Lo Soli is a good option for daytime dining. Their self-service restaurant offers Savoyard specialities and also has a warm and cosy inside dining area. L’Alpage is also at the top of the Chaudannes lift and is a big stone, chalet-esque building where you can eat gourmet regional dishes. You can’t get much higher in altitude (3032m) than Le Panoramic, a restaurant on the Grande-Motte glacier which is a real culinary treat. The stunning panoramic views are a definite bonus too. It’s pretty cool to see all of the friendly staff decked out in their traditional Savoyard berets! There is a snack bar too for those on-the-go.

Photo: andyparant.com

TRADIT

Rendez-vous is a Savoyard speciality eatery which also serves good steaks. Tignes Cuisine is a great little take-out where you can

Photo: andyparant.com

In Le Lac try the Gentiana for traditional French food reinvented by their chef! You’ll find it just up the hill from Hotel Le Refuge.


Tignes Guide

There are too many free music events to mention that happen throughout the season in Tignes. Be sure to pick up a programme of events from the Maison de Tignes or out and about around town on your arrival in resort. NYE Fireworks 31st December If you’re in Tignes on New Year’s Eve then you won’t really be able to miss the fireworks but it’s worth heading to the snow front in Le Lac to take the experience in properly and welcome the New Year in, in style!

Other Stuff To Do TIGNESPACE (www.tignespace.tignes.net/en) is a new sports centre in Le Lac which offers awesome climbing facilities. Different sections of the wall are reserved for different levels with a sixteen metre high wall for the pros! You can also rent out the huge trampolines by the hour, badminton courts and football pitches, if you still have energy at the end of the day! The Lagon Centre is a popular indoor swimming pool ‘complex’ that is located in Le Lac, right opposite the Maison de Tignes and next to the Tovière lift. A wellness centre, gym and fitness suite together with the swimming pool, water slides, bubble pools

and water jets here and there means both kids and adults can enjoy some aqua fun. Also in Le Lac there’s Jack’s Bowling Alley which is actually in the bar/nightclub of Jack’s just next to the sports centre. If you’re looking for something very different to add to your winter holiday experience then it can’t get much cooler than an Ice Diving! This can be organised by Evolution 2 Tignes (www.evolution2.com/tignes/en/adventure) and involves lowering yourself through a hole cut out of the frozen Lac de Tignes, with an instructor by your side, in order to marvel at the underwater ice formations below. Day or night dives are available from €80. Sounds blooming freezing!

SFR Freestyle Tour 4th-7th March Currently the largest freestyle ski competition in Europe and this event in Tignes is also the World Cup final this year so the world’s best will be here! It is however an ‘open’ event and amateurs (adults and juniors) can sign up. Takes place in Tignes huge super-pipe up in Val Claret. European Snowpride 18th - 25th March Waving a great big rainbow flag its the week long gay pride festival on snow! Tignes is incredibly proud of its reputation of acceptance and welcomes the festival once again with open arms. Live in Tignes by Francofolies 3rd - 6th April 4 days of music concerts across 3 outdoor stages. Acts confirmed this year so far include Vitalic, Etienne de Crecy and Chinese Man. Black Shoes 29th April - 1st May This ski telemark event celebrates its 25th anniversary in Tignes this season!

Photo: MNSTR

Yeti Race 7th May A trail running race with a difference. Choose between the long (20km) or short (10km) course. Each includes specially designed obstacles to test your strength, concentration and agility.

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Sainte Foy need to spend 250 euros on a pass to access a huge ski area! For the more adventurous it also has world renowned off-piste and acts as a perfect base for exploring other resorts, being just opposite Les Arcs and only 15 minutes drive from Tignes, Val d’Isere and La Rosiere.

The Skiing

Bars

Its off-piste where Ste. Foy really excels and for which it has gained a big reputation in recent years. There is good terrain just to the side of most pistes but under the Marquise chairlift in particular, you will find a huge expanse of untracked mountain. If you want to take things a step further, hiring a guide for the day will allow you to really get the best out of the resort (a bit of local knowledge here goes a long way!) but, as always, don’t think about going off-piste without all the appropriate safety equipment. There is some epic terrain to find and with a bit of hiking you can easily rack up over 1500m of vertical descent. We regularly come here for day trips. For a taste have a look at this edit on our vimeo channel https://vimeo.com/125559705

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Photo: Anne Marmottan / OT Sainte Foy

Ste. Foy has an excellent beginners area with two magic carpet lifts (surely the easiest way to get back up the slope when you are learning) which you can use for free! Above this four chairlifts feed twenty odd, top notch pistes. There’s some good easy blues for beginners to advance on and some harder but fun blues and reds for cruising down, a lot of which are treelined. Higher up you’ll find some harder reds and blacks that do not get groomed giving you the chance to get some powder turns after a recent snowfall.

Ski Schools For such a small resort Sainte-Foy has an abundance of ski schools to choose from and they are all within walking distance of all accommodation in the village. Your typical French ski schools in the ESF (www.esf-saintefoy.com/en) and Evolution 2 (www.evolution2saintefoy.com) feature. There’s also Snocool (www.snocool.com/en) who are a smaller operation with English speaking instructors, who offer a few different options like freestyle courses for example.

A firm favourite with locals and holidaymakers alike is Le Sainte Germain. This lively little bar boasts an excellent selection of wines and beers and an incredible tapas menu made with local ingredients. Yeti Boots (www.l-iceberg.fr) is conveniently situated near to the ski school and is another popular après ski bar. Serving delicious snacks, it’s the type of après establishment that you can ski straight to and end up dancing the night away in your ski boots! Over in La Bataillette (the left side of Ste. Foy as you look uphill), the Black Diamond is a fantastic apres bar with snacks and live music.

Photo: Pascal Arpin

If you’re looking for a quaint, traditional ski village then Sainte-Foy absolutely fits the bill. Its a small, friendly resort with an abundance of amenities and is particularly ideal for families on their first or second ski holiday - when you are still learning to ski you really don’t


Sainte Foy Guide

Restaurants

Photo: Pascal Arpin

For a small resort, Sainte-Foy and its surrounding villages are full of excellent restaurants. L’A Coeur has earned itself a great reputation for its tasty menu and is also great for après and evening drinks. The Black Diamond also has an exceptional restaurant which scores highly on Trip Advisor. Further afield you’ll find Le Monal, which is situated in the lower, original village of Sainte-Foy-en-Tarentaise. An institution for 130 years, this restaurant serves traditional dishes with a twist and has a substantial wine cellar. Chez Mérie is located in the hamlet of Le Miroir and is well worth a visit with some delicious dishes cooked in a wood fired oven.

For food on the mountain try the terrace overlooking the monstrous mountain of Mont Pourri at Chez Leon. Warm up with a traditional dish like tartiflette, or go for gratins or lasagnes also cooked in a wood oven. Brevettes is next to Chez Léon at the top of the first lift out of Sainte-Foy and offers a rustic atmosphere in a busy setting, you can’t be in a hurry during the lunchtime rush! For a quick bite and conveniently located at the top of the Arpettaz lift is the Fogliettaz Snack Hut which serves up hot food like paninis and good hot chocolate. You’ll find Les Marquises restaurant unsurprisingly close to the foot of the Marquise chairlift! This is a great spot for lunch on the mountain offering both proper sit down meals and an outdoor snack-bar.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

An off-piste Mecca of the Tarentaise valley 4 chairlifts, 2 magic carpets Most accommodation in the village is ski in/ski out Skiing from 1550m to 2620m Resort opens 17th December 2016 and closes 17th April 2017 Adult lift pass prices €30.50/day €165.50/6 days Nearest airport – Chambery (125km) but most popular Geneva (160km)

Other Stuff To Do Relax and unwind in Sainte-Foy at the Ô Pure Spa which is a serene place to escape from the hectic slopes and the cold of the winter. In fact, there is a special winter treatment called the ‘Grand Froid’ for face and body with warm oils, alternating stretches and deep movements for intense muscular recuperation. Mountain Equilibre (www.mountainequilibre.com) is an English run company offering exercise sessions off the piste including reflexology, pilates and massage. Contact Sarah on

+33 (0)687 82 33 36 for more info and bookings. For the whole family Igloo Outings can be arranged through with Snocool. TarentaiseTours.com are also an excellent choice for all things mountain based. Snow-shoe walks, ice-climbing initiation, bobsleigh initiation and chopper flights around Mont Blanc are just a few of the possibilities on offer to make your stay even more memorable.

La Montee de Sainte-Foy 13th January Night-time ski touring event with Adrien Perret - 270m of ascent for amateurs and 500m for the pros and finishing up with a Savoyard meal and vin chaud! Derby of Ste. Foy 14th January An annual off-piste ski race organising by local ski school Evolution 2. Live Concert - That’s All Folks 19th February Watch this trio playing live at the foot of the pistes. Live Concert - Pariswing 12th February, 26th February and 8th April Live band at the foot of the pistes. La Piste Des Etoiles 8th April A fun, all-day team event open to anyone, featuring 10 challenges dotted around the ski resort.

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Greg EStLuImNpE TIM

Soundtracks

1986

By 6ft Stereo

f you’re like me then at some point before you head out on your pilgrimage to the snow, probably from the first signs of Autumn, you will have watched clips/shorts/movies (depending on your attention span and what you can get away with at work) of the worlds finest snow sliders tearing the mountains to shreds. I’ll also take another guess, that the movies that stand out are the ones whose soundtrack reaches out to you, either in terms of musical taste, or somehow compliments the action perfectly. Either way, a riders section can be made legendary simply by the choice of music that accompanies it, how can that be? First, we need a bit of history (Its OK, you have time!) There was a time when skiing was boring and desperately uncool, snowboarding was in it’s infancy and no-one cared. The only person documenting the sport was Warren Miller, making tediously long movies with mediocre action, sections with people falling off chairlifts, moguls, ski ballet and worse. All put together in decidedly cheesy terms with an even cheesier soundtrack, chosen by your Grandad (but not your cool Grandad who was a hippy and at the first Glastonbury). This is how these sports and lifestyles were presented to the world, so unsurprisingly, the world thought it was a bit naff. Then, along came Greg Stump

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with a series of movies that changed everything in snow film making. “The Maltese Flamingo”, “The Good, The Rad and the Gnarly” “The Blizzard of Aahhs” and “License to Thrill” showcased skiing’s underbelly, the dirtbags who were rebelling against everything Warren Miller was showing, introducing young punks who, instead of spending days training at slalom, were chasing powder and dropping cliffs. The films, and the stars in them, were all on a shoestring budget, so big names weren’t included, instead it was the young and hungry such as Glen Plake, Scott Schmidt and their friends who got the call and whose personalities perfectly suited Stumps trashy, pop cultured stylings. Licensing music is an expensive business so these films sought out smaller labels, eventually working hand in hand with ZTT, giving the label widespread coverage in return for exclusive tracks from some of the hottest acts of the era - 808 State, Nasty Rox Inc and Frankie Goes to Hollywood to name but a few. This wasn’t the family friendly Warren Miller show, this was young, energetic and punk which, in the process, inspired a generation of kids (me included) to follow their lead and live the lifestyle that looked oh so enticing, changing the snow industries forever. Greg Stump was lured away from skiing to make music videos (and a lot more money, I expect) and without his vision, cheesiness made it’s way back into ski movies and things went slightly naff again. But really, by this point, no-one was watching,

1987

1988

1989


Snowboard Movie Soundtracks

Snowboard film producers became the taste makers, combining their creativity and energy with the aesthetic of the current skate movies (early snow movies often featuring skating alongside) trashy soundtracks, often with the bands name-checked MTV style. Capturing the newest tricks and styles was more important than production values given there wasn’t any due to the ludicrously low budgets, but with video cameras becoming a consumer item it was now far easier to turn in something watchable and more importantly, sellable. In the pre-internet era and certainly before mainstream acceptance getting hold of a copy of the latest shred flick was hard and the new films were coveted and pored over, even through the summer months, as content hungry snowboarders literally studied each movie, learning each trick, section and, by proxy, soundtrack by heart.

So it became that the tracks in these movies were not only the soundtrack to the latest tricks but the soundtrack to our lives. Long after the video tape wore thin from overuse, those songs and the memories attached to them remain lodged in our craniums and take us back to those special times whenever and wherever we hear them. Of course Burton were among the first companies to start putting out feature length movies showcasing their team but these often featured slightly strange themes and failed to capture the essence of the fledgling sport, more like a corporate show reel.

Photh: The Fourth Phase - Mikkel Bang by Mike Yoshida, Red Bull Content Pool

because snowboarding had reared it’s head and was overshadowing skiing in terms of youth popularity, creativity and energy.

But then, along came two production companies which changed the face of snowboarding and how it was presented, Fall Line Films and Mack Dawg Productions. Fall Line had higher production values and made travelogue style films, capturing the lifestyle of powder hungry kids, whilst Mack Dawg placed themselves on the bleeding edge of progression, showing rider after rider pushing the limits of freestyle with a heavily skate influenced theme.

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oth styles of movie had huge success, but Fall Line gave way to a new company by the name of Standard which upped the production again and bordered both worlds, showcasing the best big mountain riders alongside the most talented freestylers, often giving them the chance to take their tricks to the big mountain environment. But come the late 90’s Mack Dawg scored a coup with the hottest team on the planet, the newly formed Forum Snowboards team, and it was this that solidified their position. Purely freestyle, rider driven sections, and soundtracks that reflected the riders often overblown personalities made for compelling watching and often made Standard’s offerings seem a little bit old hat. But this push and pull between the two companies gave us some of snowboardings most memorable moments: JP Walker announcing his arrival to the sounds of Blondies ‘Dreaming’ in Simple Pleasures and Terje Haakonsen being generally heads and shoulders above everyone else in TB2. This two horse race continued for years with only a handful of independent releases coming anywhere close, one of the most notable being ‘1999’ which featured a heavy list of some of Europe’s finest riders but what made it stand out was it’s use of sound design and it’s soundtrack. Although it was based on the standard rider/section format it was like a snowboard movie mixed together by a DJ so each section cleverly segued into another, the songs often mixed into each other using real life sounds to knit parts together. In short, a film whose soundtrack has never been bettered until last years film Paradigm, whose creators went to great depths to make the sound of snowboarding as integral a part of the film as the action itself. It seemed that the consuming snowboarder was happy with their lot until a group of riders, tired of the way snowboarding was being presented, organised themselves into a production group, called themselves Robot Food and changed everything (again).

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Production Company

TIME

LINE

1989 Mack Dawg Productions

1989 Fall Line Films/ Standard FIlms

2002 Robotfood Productions

2008 Brain Farm

Over the course of three movies, this group of über creative riders, showcased not only the finer points of freestyle snowboarding but incorporated lifestyle and goofing around, moving as a crew which everyone wanted to be a part of.

Maybe they saw the future and realised they may not have a place in it. Mack Dawg made it to his movie Double Decade before winding up and Standard Films reached TB20 before calling it a day on full length snowboard movies.

As well as being refreshingly honest visually, the soundtracks are what make these movies so watchable. Classics from the Cars, mixed with up and coming bands such as The Caesars (arguably responsible for making their hit “Jerk It Out” cool enough for Apple to use it in its iPod ad campaigns) Indie pop from Her Space Holiday and a cover of “Video Killed The Radio Star” by the Presidents of the USA.

As with much of the media, the internet was changing the way the hungry public was consuming the sport. Kids didn’t want to hang on for action which, by the time it was released, could be nearly a year old. They wanted to see it a few days after it was shot. So as it was, short movies, or clips, started to be self released by the riders themselves, taking away the need for a big production company.

As well as being great songs, they seem to fit the narrative of the films and the personalities of the riders to a degree not seen or heard before. Well, maybe once or twice but we’ll come back to that later. You can tell how good something is by how many people try to imitate it and, as such, the whole snowboard industry was now making movies about friends and good times. The Robot Food crew however, knew the time and after three short seasons they called it quits.

The unmistakable kings of this self promotion has been the Helgason brothers, Halldor and Eiki. Their brand of goofing about, showing as many slams as landed tricks (but those tricks that are landed, oh my) and new media savvy has tapped into a whole new vein of snowboarding culture and rocketed them from relative nobodies in their native Iceland, to being the arguably the biggest names in snowboarding today. Except for one person who is still,


That person is Travis Rice. His movies, ‘That’s It, That’s All’ and ‘The Art Of Flight’ were both filmed over the course of two seasons apiece, completely disregarding the trend for quick fix hits. His new film ‘The Fourth Phase’ was filmed over a maniacal three seasons and was released this October. But whilst taking spunking money to new levels, they have also taken snowboarding cinematography to a whole new extreme, borrowing technology used in major feature films to create masterpieces, documenting the absolute cream of snowboarding. Is it worth it? Oh, you better believe it. These films not only make you want to go snowboarding, they literally guide your mouse finger to the Easyjet website and book your flights for you. I can only imagine the percentage increase in injuries on the mountains by middle aged guys (like myself) trashing themselves because they are so jazzed

up after watching Travis Rice in the chalet before heading out. Part of what makes these films so watchable is the epic soundtrack. Brain Farm, the production company responsible, worked with artists like M83 (who, in turn, must doff their caps to ZTT’s Propaganda) to score the soundtrack and the accompanying visuals work together so harmoniously you wonder if they had the tunes blasting in their headphones whilst filming. So here we are, bang up to date. Where are snowboarding movies going next? And what will their soundtracks be like? In an age of quick fix hits, will music become irrelevant all together? Surely the people putting together these clips won’t be able to license ‘proper’ music, so will it revert back to trashy guitar bands making tunes in their garage? Or will music technology become such that instead of playing guitars in their garage, kids will be able to recreate an epic score to rival any Travis Rice film and give it away for free? What I do know is this, the savvy snowboarder knows their success rides on what music they back their footage with for it is the tune that sticks in people’s ears, get that right and you’ll become part of our sport’s rich history…

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Photo: The Fourth Phase - Behind the Scenes by Scott Serfas, Red Bull Content

by sheer brute force, bucking the trend. This person’s movie exploits get more ridiculous with every successful release and with the deep pockets of Red Bull behind him, it is affording him time to get very ridiculous indeed.

Photo: The Fourth Phase - Ben Ferguson by Tim Zimmerman, Red Bull Content Pool

Snowboard Movie Soundtracks

@coolbustransfer

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6ft Stereo Playlist

TIMELINE

To save you gluing yourself to Youtube for months watching every shred flick ever made here is my own personal list of movies that will jazz you up featuring songs that will stick in your mind for months and years to come.

1993

Photo: The Fourth Phase - Travis Rice by Scott Serfas, Red Bull Content Pool

TB2

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A New Way of Thinking Standard Movies first proper solo outing was a who’s who of snowboarding when it dropped in Autumn ’93. Bleeding edge freestyle and big mountain riding, the likes of which hadn’t been seen before with this level of production, and some killer, if slightly predictable, tracks to accompany it. Noah Salasnek’s skate style fitting the tune by Primus so completely and Terje closing things out with a tune that announces his complete dominance of the sport that feels more like a best of rather than an introduction. Terje Haakonsen PAW Gasoline Noah Salasnek Primus Jerry Was A Race Car Driver Terje’s section www.youtube.com/ watch?v=2NychdrUBF4

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1994

1995

1999

The Garden

Odd Man Out

1999

Volcom In the late nineties, at a time when budgets were getting bigger and quality was improving, Volcom turned away from all that, handmaking a film, shooting on Super 8 using absolutely no digital technology. This gave the vibe a decidedly different feel to everything else at the time and it’s soundtrack pushed it even further that way. Instead of thrashy guitars or in your face hip hop, they went back to Neil Young and Deep Purple and earned their place in snowboarding folk lore. Road Trippin Neil Young – Heart Of Gold Terje Haakonsen/ Jamie Lynn/Bryan Iguchi Deep Purple Highway Star www.youtube.com/ watch?v=Zvz6DHQ-9ds

Although the action is pretty shabbily cut together with botched landings cut short, the guys at Room and Board productions had made the savvy move of coming to London and getting in with Sony music who let them use some of the finest up and coming bands of the day. The soundtrack boasts big tunes by Oasis and Reef, who both went on to great things turned this from an average shred flick to one of the most memorable. Not to mention a small UK contingent getting cameos and a large section filmed at the UK’s snowboarding home in the Alps, Les Arcs. Axel Pauporte Oasis Slide Away www.youtube.com/watc h?v=0J5HEUGW-R4&index=1&list=PLFnM_0St Xubn9Th7Mm3J2qAH2k c1p6_Re

Mosberg From out of nowhere came a crew and a movie that changed the way soundtracks had been done up to that point. Using the sound effects and weaving them into the soundtrack, which in itself had been mixed DJ style, gave this movie a fluidity not seen as yet, sewing the individual pieces together and making it very hard to turn off. An underground classic. Axel Pauporte The Beastie Boys Sneakin Out Of The Hospital Babs Charlet NTM IV my people There is nothing online pertaining to this film, track it down on VHS!


Snowboard Movie Soundtracks

6ft Stereo

2002

2003

2004

Afterbang

Lame

Afterlame

Robot Food This movie was the one that broke the mould in the early noughties. The DVD came with loads of extras that could be unlocked with codes that were released throughout the winter but the real secret was that they were showing you what it was like to hang out with these guys (and my god did we want to hang out with them), shredding insane mountains and parks, smashing powder, all to a top drawer compilation of songs. Travis Parker Her Space Holiday Keystroke David Benedek The Presidents Of The USA Video Killed the Radio Star Outro/Credits Talking Heads Once In A Lifetime vimeo.com/116454731

Robot Food Proving that they weren’t a one trick pony, the Robot Food crew came back and expanded on the theme with a couple of new names, notably the punk as fuck Scotty Whitlake, and Travis Parker’s seminal section, arguably one of the best ever, with a classic track, one that literally everyone in the western hemisphere knows. David Benedek Billy Idol Dancing With Myself Scotty Whitlake/ Louie Fountain section The Clash Should I Stay Or Should I Go? Travis Parker Tears for Fears Everybody Wants To Rule The World vimeo.com/114524210

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Robot Food As if to stick two fingers up to the rest of the industry the Robot Food crew made a new movie in a more documentary style following the exploits of the riders as they try and find good snow, hot park laps and killer footage. For me, this is the complete movie. I want to hang with these guys, I want to be part of their bro-down, I want to shred with them, and if their soundtrack was the soundtrack to my life, I could live (and die) with that. Intro Norman Greenbaum Spirit In The Sky Jakob Wilmelmson/ Hampus Mossesson Air – All I Need Outro The Knife Heartbeats vimeo.com/115685726

user6239472

@coolbustransfer

is a DJ and Producer who, after seasons in Val D’Isere and Morzine, and calling Bourg Saint Maurice/Les Arcs his home for many years, is now based in Brighton UK, with a vast knowledge of snowboard movie soundtracks blotting out other, more useful, information in his brain. He is to be found playing in and around Brighton and at festivals such as Glastonbury and Beautiful Days. When at home he hosts a weekly show, 11am-1pm on 1BrightonFM.co.uk and also puts out a monthly podcast, one of which is an hour mix of snowboard movie tunes, which you can find here: www.soundcloud.com/ 6ftstereo

coolbustransfer

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La Plagne Did you know that based on ski pass sales La Plagne is the most popular ski resort in the world? True fact! It’s linked to Les Arcs via the Vanoise Express double decker cable car (the biggest of its kind in the world) and combined they make up Paradiski which is one of the largest linked ski areas in the world (435km of pistes in total). Blimey, someone phone Norris McWhirter! The resort of La Plagne

is made up of a number of high altitude, purpose built, ski in/ski out villages and a few smaller, traditional farming villages including Champagny-en-Vanoise, Montchavin-Les Coches and Montalbert. All of these provide us with hundreds of kilometres of on and off-piste skiing, some great restaurants and bars and loads of off-the-slope activities. What more could you ask for?

The Skiing La Plagne for some reason has gained a reputation as a resort for intermediate skiers which is best avoided by snowboarders unless you like unclipping and walking a lot! Well we reckon this is far from the truth and to be honest, we love the place! There are some flatter linking pistes where you can run out of steam but as long as you look far ahead enough you can usually charge through these and there is more than enough terrain to keep advanced skiers and snowboarders happy if you know where to look.

Photo: T Shu

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The lower villages have an abundance of beautiful tree-lined pistes ranging from nursery slopes to roller coaster reds! The greatest concentration of these would have to be over in the Montchavin-Les Coches sector. Throughout the central La Plagne areas and further afield towards Champagny you will find a host of fun, undulating blues and reds that criss-cross each other giving the opportunity to switch between runs at will. Wider,

motorway style pistes can be found up at the higher altitudes around Plagne Bellecote and Belle Plagne which are great for charging and carving huge turns. Whilst similar to neighbouring Les Arcs in terms of the total length of pistes, La Plagne is actually much larger in square kilometres. What this means is there’s tons of terrain for the more adventurous to explore between the pistes. The ultimate backcountry playground in La Plagne has to be that found from the top of the highest mountain in the area - the Bellecote. If you wish to explore up here a guide is not just advisable it is absolutely essential as is a full compliment of avalanche safety equipment and the knowledge of how to use it. There have been numerous fatalities up here over the years involving even the most experienced of locals who have been caught in freak avalanches. Of course it goes without saying that all the villages have their own nursery slopes as well and there is a good selection of green pistes and easier blues to take your skiing or riding to the next level.


La Plagne Guide

1

A large resort linked to Les Arcs by the one-of-a-kind Vanoise Express

2 3

Over 50,000 beds in resort

Snow-sure, high altitude villages Skiing from 1250m to 3250m

Upper areas open 10th December 2016 and close 22nd April 2017 and lower villages of Montchavin, Les Coches, Montalbert and Champagny open 17th December until 22nd April

7 8

Adult lift pass price €50/day or €259 for 6 days (La Plagne only) Nearest airport – Chambery (120km) but most popular Geneva (150km)

Ski Schools

Photo: T Shu

ESF (www.esf-plagne.com/ski-school-la-plagne) is the largest ski school provider in La Plagne. Oxygene Ski School (www.oxygene-ski.com/en/la-plagne) is also a favourite in these parts too. Olivier at Evolution 2 (evolution2-montchavin.com) in Montchavin-Les Coches speaks excellent English and will provide some great off-piste guided adventures should you so wish. El Pro (www.elpro.fr) is a small independent school in Belle Plagne which has been established for 20 years.

Julien Gaidet

4 5

130 pistes – 10 green, 69 blue, 33 red and 18 black

6

Local outfit, Reflex Ski School (www.reflex-skischool.com/en) have a great reputation and guarantee no more than eight people per group. They are also number 1 on Trip Advisor!

Photo: Philippe Royer

British run outfit New Generation (skinewgen.com) have a team of fully qualified, English speaking instructors on hand for group lessons for the kids, a technique refresher, and anything in-between and have the local knowledge and skills to help you get the most out of your skiing holiday.

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Up in Plagne Soleil the best restaurant in the whole resort in most peoples opinion is Au Coin du Fer although perhaps foie gras and bone marrow is not to everyone’s tastes! In most French ski resorts there seems to be a restaurant called Le Refuge and La Plagne is no exception! Serving traditional and local dishes, the one in Plagne Centre is an excellent choice with a friendly, welcoming atmosphere. Le Grizzli is another favourite for French specialities in Plagne Villages. Over in the lower village of Montchavin you will find the Hotel de Bellecôte which has a superb restaurant that is popular with locals and holidaymakers and is known for its local dishes.

At the bottom of the half-pipe, just above Plagne Bellecote, is Les Chalet des Colosses restaurant. Known for its good old British post box and varied international menu, it’s a good spot for lunch on the terrace which over looks the Bellecôte snow front. On the pistes above the village of Champagny, right on the edge of the resort of La Plagne and overlooking the pistes of Courchevel, you will find an excellent self-service restaurant with adjoining snack bar called Le Roc des Blanchets. The food and the views are both impressive.

Bars In Plagne 1800 you’ll find La Mine Bar which, as the name suggests, has a mine theme! The bar is decked out with old lights and mining tools in an English pub style which is kind of a novelty in these parts! It’s a really cosy, dimly lit place, that has played host to some pretty serious parties over the years! Spitting Feathers has fast become the place to go in Plagne Bellecôte not least because the guys there provide a shuttle service to pick you up and drop you back to your accommodation!

Photo: Philippe Royer

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If you’re in Plagne Centre, the resort’s busiest village for nightlife, be sure to check out Igloo Igloo in Galerie du Pelvoux which provides tasty cocktails and a funky atmosphere think penguins and polar bears in an Igloo shaped room! Also in Plagne Centre and popular with seasonnaires and young holidaymakers alike is the British run Scotty’s Bar. Definitely the kind of place you go to for après and end up leaving in the early hours of the morning!

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Restaurants

Le Plein Soleil on the pistes of the Montchavin-Les Coches sector has long been a favourite for mountain food stops. With both traditional French food and French/German Alsace influences, notably the Strudels, it’s well worth a visit.


La Plagne Guide

Photo: Philippe Royer

parks are open most afternoons and cost €10 for two runs. The Grotte de Glace or Ice Caves on the Bellecôte glacier are a little more chilled, literally! Check out ice sculptures and more, high up in the mountains.

Other Stuff To Do If there’s one thing you must do whilst visiting La Plagne then its visit the Blacksheep Igloos (www.blacksheep-igloo.com) up above Plagne Villages. You can choose to stay the night or just eat a traditional fondue meal in one of the fully equipped ‘restaurant’ igloos. Prices start at €49 for the evening meal or €99 for the evening meal and a night in a fully equipped (think comfy cushions, furs and candles) ‘bedroom’ igloo. Need an adrenaline alternative to skiing or snowboarding? How about a different form of snow sliding? Plagne Bellecôte and Plagne Centre both have ‘parks’ specially dedicated to sledging. The Eldorado and Colorado

In Champagny-Le-Haut an artificial 24m high ice tower is constructed each winter for ice climbing. Believe it or not this is open to all. Even if you have no climbing experience whatsoever you can still book yourself onto an initiation session with their experienced instructors. If clinging to a vertical ice face by just the very points of two ice axes and a pair of crampons sounds a bit much to you its worth stopping by for a look anyway. Its quite a spectacle, particularly at night when the tower is floodlit. Did you know La Plagne has an Olympic Bobsleigh track and you can have a go! If you enjoyed the film Cool Runnings then you’ll love the Bob Experience! Try hurtling down this 1.5km long track that has 19 G-Force filled bends.

Yeti Race 10th December A trail running race with a difference. Choose between the long (20km) or short (10km) course. Each includes specially designed obstacles to test your strength, concentration and agility. Red Pompon Night 31st December Every year the New Years Eve festivities get better and more spectacular in Plagne Bellecôte with fireworks, special effects and DJ’s until the early hours. This year’s theme is disco so best dig out your finest bell bottom salopettes! Gorzderette Tournament 27th - 29th January A multi-activity event involving all sorts of snow related disciplines such as ice climbing, hay sledging and nordic skiing. All the action takes places around Champagny-en-Vanoise. Ice Climbing World Championships 4th & 5th Febuary Taking place on the Champagny-le-Haut ice climbing wall Born To Be Show 23rd February is an impressive torchlit descent, fireworks and a music filled after party FIS World Telemark Championships 14th - 19th March Taking place on the pistes above Plagne Centre

Photo: Elina Sirparanta

Photo: Monica Dalmasso

Sublicimes 5th - 18th April End of season festivities with a different theme at each summit in the resort. This year look out for Zen, Adrenaline and Yeti themes amongst others!

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If you’ve been on more than a handful of skiing holidays you’ve probably experienced, or are currently experiencing, the dreaded ‘skiers’ plateau’. Unsurprisingly it’s actually very difficult to progress in a sport when you only spend a couple of weeks (or days!) a year practicing it, in fact it’s remarkable that we see any improvement at all! Different skiers and snowboarders plateau at different levels but you may recognise some of these symptoms: Good weather, comfy boots and a fulfilling breakfast contribute to some easy skiing. A freshly pisted red is no challenge at all and you get that cruise-y feeling. You’re happy enough to give anything a go – it might not be pretty, but you can get down and you don’t mind giving a bit of advice to your peers if they struggle. But, throw in bad visibility, chunky moguls, heavy snow or surprise ice and it goes slightly out the window. That said, plenty of people find themselves plateauing slightly earlier – comfortable as long as they can see a blue piste pole next to them. Alternatively, you might have hit your plateau slightly later – you’re confident but cannot master those slick, consistent turns once you head off piste. So here’s a bit of advice that might help your upwards trajectory towards the next level. To master the trickier conditions that you’ll find on the mountain is to escape the pesky plateau!

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Ski Plateau

Skills This may seem obvious but if you ski with the same or similar people every year you’ll never advance past the top level of your group. Despite the occasional effort you won’t actually have a reason to push yourself to go harder or faster. In addition, while skiing with your familiars, you’ll have picked up bad habits that without realising. To others at your level it’ll probably just look like your specific style. There’s a couple of fixes for this. Most obviously, ski with someone better than you! Don’t be embarrassed to copy them or follow their line, ask questions and for advice. An easy way to do this is by hiring an

Photo: Merci Creative

Confidence Another contributing factor to the skiers’ plateau is how we stay within our comfort zone. We get it – you’ve got six days that you want to spend enjoying skiing, not spend saying your prayers and biting your knuckles as you teeter off a cliff-edge. Pushing yourself may seem the solution to escaping the plateau, but be aware of negative progress: “As soon as you’re on terrain or in conditions that you’re not comfortable with, your frame of mind changes, self-preservation kicks in and will affect you physically” says Nendaz instructor Dan. He consistently sees skiers on tough terrain hunching downwards in a protective stance that does nothing to

instructor. Most instructors will initially take time to watch you, identify your bad habits or weaknesses, and suggest how to improve. Even better, choose an instructor who offers video feedback – it’s sometimes awkward to watch yourself but you’ll instantly see where you’re going wrong. Alternatively, why not mix it up completely, for example, learn to snowboard. As a skier this will make you really think about how your edges are your turning device, after all, on skis you have four edges, on a board you only have two! You could try less drastic practices like skiing without poles, it will draw your attention to your arms and upper-body position and how much you usually rely on your sticks!

advance their skiing. The solution to this, is to take it back a step. Find a gentle, quiet piste where you can really play around with your technique. You can afford to charge your edges and accelerate or tighten your turns a bit more if you’re not worrying too much about what’s underfoot. Once you’ve mastered new skills on something easy you can take them to a tougher piste. We’d also suggest at this point you do ski with your friends and familiars: it might not advance you technically, but if you’re not afraid of making a fool of yourself you won’t mind the occasional trip and tumble as you try new things. A private instructor will be happy to assign individual goals to each member of your group if you want to bring one along.

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Inspiration

Different ways an instructor or guide can help you make the most of your holiday! (Without ending up in a Ski-school snake)

Are you feeling inspired yet? Our last piece of advice is less about you and more about what’s around you. Einstein supposedly said ‘the definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result’. Now we can’t vouch for Einstein’s ability on skis (he lived in Switzerland so may well have ventured up the mountains!) but this is good advice. If you’re skiing the same thing, in the same resort, with the same people, you cannot expect changes to your level. You don’t have to ditch your mates or even your favourite resort but there are a couple of things you can do for some added inspiration.

Instructorled guiding: You’re competent and you don’t necessarily need lessons - ask for instructor-led guiding to show your group how to link up all the best pistes (and bars!) in resort.

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Join a group lesson or guided session. Not only will your professional guide or instructor most likely be an inspirational Ski-God but skiing with people you don’t know will offer useful insights into how different people interpret the same skills.

Lessons in bad weather: Don’t retreat to the chalet in a whiteout. Go out with an instructor in lessfavourable weather and learn how to tackle poor conditions – never miss a day on the hill again.

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Photo: Val D’isere Tourist Office

It’s also human instinct that you’ll try to ski your best around strangers! Another tip is to upgrade your gear, or treat yourself to some new kit. You’re likely to feel guilty if you’re not using it to full effect, and you’ll want to show it off!

So What Next? If you think the best way to escape the plateau is with a bit of help from an instructor or guide why not check out a service like ongosa.com. Ongosa personally match their clients to ski and snowboard instructors and guides based on their character and interests as well as qualifications and experience. This means lessons become more tailored, focused and intuitive – helping to fast track you out of the plateau! You can read more about them, get in touch for a recommended instructor or guide, and even book your lessons at www.ongosa.com.

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Intensive skills session: You don’t want to waste time or money so book an hour or two for an instructor to identify your weaknesses. They’ll propose what you can work on for the rest of the week.

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Become a beginner again: You’re confident in most aspects of your sport. If you ski, hire a snowboard instructor, and vice-versa. It’ll make for a trip full of new experiences, laughs and bruises!


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E E G A AL P L

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A once in a lifetime opportunity to buy a piece of Alpine history! This magnificent 300 year old chalet is situated in the protected village of Le Monal close to the ski resort of Ste. Foy, and accessible by car (only to owners of the properties in the village) in 30 minutes from Val d’Isere or Bourg St. Maurice. Le Monal is a unique listed

village due to its architectural, historical and geographical significance. It sits in a natural, south facing bowl surrounded by mountain streams, ponds and larch forest with a stunning backdrop of glaciers spilling down from Mont Pourri just opposite.

Biomonde - L’Eau Vive Bourg saint Maurice, 153 Grande Rue -

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The house itself comprises 100 m2 spread over three floors with an additional 50 m2 of adjacent land.

Sale will be by closed bid. Contact Gerard Arnaud for further details -

Phone: +33 6 07 38 24 69 Email: refugelemonal@gmail.com

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Photo: Cattin OT Val Thoren

3 Vallees Les Trois Vallées is first and foremost the world’s largest ski area and consists of nine resorts. The three villages of Courchevel make up the most easterly valley. La Tania sits halfway between this and the Meribel valley which also contains Mottaret and has Brides-Les-Bains at its base. The most westerly valley contains St. Martin-de-Belleville, Les Menuires and Val Thorens. But wait for it - there is a fourth valley! Orelle sits over the back of Val Thorens in the Maurienne valley. There are obviously some big names in there as well as some you may not have heard of before but they all certainly offer excellent skiing and there is something for absolutely everyone in this world famous area.

The Skiing As you might expect from such a huge area, the 3 Valleys has an abundance of every possible type of skiing. Most people are more than happy to spend the majority of their holidays exploring their local valley and then have just one or two days venturing further afield. For certain you’ll find every type of skiing present in each area but for the record, here’s a few of our favourite spots! Our favourite tree runs have to be over in Courchevel and La Tania (the two are adjacent), not surprising given that this is the lowest part of the whole ski area. You’ll find some awesome blue and red runs here threading their

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Ski Schools You won’t be short of ski schools to choose from in The 3 Valleys that is for sure, but you need to make sure you book lessons with a school that is close to your accommodation especially if you’re a beginner, otherwise it could be a mission to get there first thing in the morning.

way through the forest all the way down to 1300m altitude. Best for cruising or out and out blasting would have to be over in Les Menuires and Val Thorens. Up here you are well above the tree line and the pistes are wide and well groomed, perfect for carving big turns! There are huge tracts of off-piste to be had between the pistes of Mont Vallon at the head of the Meribel valley and some more difficult lines from the top of Saulire between the Meribel and Courchevel valleys. As always, don’t venture out of bounds without all the necessary avalanche equipment and the knowledge of how to use it and we’d also highly recommend enlisting the services of a guide.

English speaking ski schools who service Meribel, La Tania and Courchevel include Parallel Lines (www.parallel-lines.com) and BASS (www.britishskischool.com/BASS_Resorts/Meribel) who are both well established and offer the full range of lessons and courses. On a smaller scale but no less professional is Ski Marmalade (www.skimarmalade.com), if ever there was a name that stuck! An all British line-up of instructors, these guys cover the resorts mentioned above too. In Val Thorens and Les Menuires there’s the French/English speaking Prosneige (www.valthorens.prosneige.fr/english) who have some rave reviews to be found online. Whilst working as part of the ESF, David Mitchell (www.davidmitchell-ski.co.uk) is Val Thorens' only native English speaking instructor and he can provide private lessons with himself or if you’d prefer, he can arrange group lessons for you through the ESF so that you don’t have to worry about speaking French!


Restaurants A large percentage of people holidaying in the Méribel and Courchevel valleys choose the catered chalet option so they all head out to eat on the chalet staffs night off. As such it’s definitely important to book a table! This tends to be Wednesday but probably advisable to reserve your place on Tuesday or Thursday as well. During school holiday weeks it’s probably best to do this sooner rather than later in your stay. In Méribel, head to L’Igloo which serves up good burgers and pizza and is well-priced. Another that falls into the well-priced category is the Lodge du Village which is slightly out of town in Méribel Villages towards La Tania. It’s lively with après so is the ideal place to spend the whole evening in your ski boots and be able to dine on a tasty sandwich. La Gallette is a small place in the centre of town and offers some pretty tasty savoury pancakes. For more expensive options there’s Aux Petit Oignons in the direction of the Altiport at 1600m. This little onion is still in the mid-range price bracket with

mains at around €20+. For a special treat, try La Grand Coeur which has starters from €29! Staying in Courchevel (being one of the most expensive ski resorts in the world) can make it difficult to find a table in the cheaper places to eat. Don’t get caught short if you’re on a budget, book in advance otherwise you may have to eat in the 2 Michelin Star restaurant – Chabichou where you can’t really get a plate for food for under €75! For Savoyard specialities, as the name suggests, the Petite Savoyarde in 1650 or Moriond as it’s now known, has a traditional menu of main courses from €13. Elsewhere across the resort, La Ferme de Reberty has always been a ‘ferme’ favourite but is really only accessible if you’re staying in Reberty village (Les Menuires) or if you’re skiing past during the day of course. John’s American Restaurant further up the valley in Val Thorens doesn’t have the most original name but is a very popular Tex-Mex place serving up some great steaks. Le Montagnard has to be the go-to in St. Martin de Belleville and La Bouitte has a unique style. For food on the mountain try

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330 marked runs – 13% green, 39% blue, 38% red and 10% black. 600km of pistes 180 ski lifts Skiing from 1300m to 3230m 2000 snow making machines!

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Opens 10th December 2016 and closes 23rd April 2017

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Adult lift pass prices €60/day €294/6 days for the whole of the 3 Vallees

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Nearest airport – Chambery (110km) but most popular Geneva (140km)

Chalet de la Marine in the Val Thorens sector. It’s a large, picture-perfect chalet on the blue Dalle piste off the top of the Cascades chair lift and offers a huge terrace over looking the slopes and a large, varied menu for lunch. Choose from the traditional restaurant or the self-service bistro.

Photo: Cattin OT Val Thoren

A traditional spot for lunch in an old farmhouse is The Bergerie, situated on the Bellecôte piste on the slopes of Courchevel 1850. The Bel Air above 1650 is good value for mountain food in these parts. In Meribel, lunchtimes are popular at La Folie Douce which is the newest addition to it’s collection of restaurants in the Savoie. In the 3 Valleys you’ll find it at the mid-station of La Saulire bubble which makes it convenient for skiers and non-skiers alike. After lunch here you can join in the late afternoon debauchery in the bar! At the foot of the slopes in Meribel 1650 there’s the Télébar Hotel which houses the cutely named Cookie’s Club where you can sit on the south facing terrace and eat well for not too much cash. Ski in, ski out, that’s what you want at lunchtime!

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Bars Amongst the many villages of the area there are certainly those that have more of a party atmosphere. Courchevel and Méribel are known for their active nightlife and more expensive drinks, whose prices seem to go up with the altitude of the bar, for example, Courchevel 1850 is generally more expensive than 1650. So, let’s start at a lower altitude!

straight from the slopes, on foot or by bus. There’s a huge terrace and many an evening can be spent dancing on the tables! Le Pub is a British-run place in the centre of town and is a firm favourite for lively après and music. Jack’s Bar near the Chaudanne also never disappoints! For late nights in Meribel you’d do well to head to O’Sullivans down in Mussillon. They regularly have big name DJ’s playing and already the following acts

confirmed for this season: 12th Dec - Akil (Jurassic 5), 15th Dec Jack Beats, 26th Jan - A-Skillz, 9th Feb Rodney P and Skitz Val Thorens has the ‘Highest Pub in Europe’ in The Frog and Roastbeef which is also the only English pub in town and the prices here aren’t so bad. The small village resort of Saint Martin de Belleville is certainly a little quieter than most although there are still bars and a couple of nightclubs to enjoy like Le Joker and Le Billig.

Over in Méribel the Rond Point or ‘The Ronnie’ as it’s affectionately known, is a popular après ski destination which can be reached

Photo: Folie Douce

The Drop Inn is a bar located in the basement of a Pleisure Holidays chalet in La Praz. It’s open to everyone and serves up well-priced drinks and proper toasted sandwich snacks, a rarity in these parts! ‘The place to go’ in Courchevel 1650 (or Courchevel Moriond as its now known) has to be the Funky Fox which now offers no less than four Live Music/DJ nights per week, and a lively atmosphere and top tunes are always guaranteed. They have comfy seating for you to relax in for your well-deserved après ski drinks, watch sporting events from, or even for tasting some of delicious home-made meals. In 1850 for an expensive cocktail or bottle of champers, head to The Caves. Their drinks selection and prices won’t disappoint if you’re looking for a lavish evening. There are Parisian cabaret acts for entertainment too!

Other Stuff To Do Scattered around the area of The 3 Valleys there are plenty of Spas and wellness centres to ease those ski legs. In Saint Martin de Belleville head to La Bèla Vya to enjoy mountain inspired treatments using milk and honey. Ever tried mountain biking on snow? Like doing skids? Who doesn’t! Roc n’Bike in Les Menuires provides the chance for everyone to try it and

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there’s 8km of piste to ride. Head to La Croisette and sign up in order to learn how to slalom and of course, brake! You can learn to fly in Courchevel! Or you can just go on what promises to be one of the most beautiful flights you’ll ever take. The specially designed small snow plane will fly over Courchevel and the rest of the 3 Valleys and the views of Mt. Blanc promise to be stunning! The airport in Courchevel 1850 is very unique in its

altitude, it is in fact the highest International mountain airport. There are a good few companies that offer plane flights, helicopter flights and even parachuting but we recommend getting in touch with Aéro Club Courchevel (www.aeroclub-courchevel.com) for flights and lessons and with prices starting at €150 for a 3 person voyage, it’s not too expensive. Air Mauss Parachutisme seems the go-to for parachuting, they will entice you out of the door of that plane if it’s the last thing you ever do!


3 Vallees Guide Piste Bash Festival: Meribel 27th March - 3rd April Loads going on during this week long event with bands, DJ’s and comedians playing at venues across the resort. Already confirmed for this year are Chali 2na (Jurassic 5) and Krafty Kuts with tons more big acts still to be announced.

Just a small hand full… Ski Cross World Cup: Val Thorens 6th-10th December

Telemark World Cup: Meribel 21st and 22nd January International Festival of Pyrotechnic Art: Courchevel 2nd March Watch hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of fireworks explode in all their glory! Teams from around the world come to compete against each other with routines to music. It really is a spectacular show and on the white of the pistes of Courchevel with the mountain backdrop, it’s worth a watch.

Photo: Cattin OT Val Thoren

FIS Ski World Cup Ladies Alpine: Courchevel 20th December

PoederBaas Freeride Festival: Val Thorens 11th-17th March For skiers and snowboarders alike. Entries open to all but limited to 100 competitors. There will also be clinics and a few parties!

3 Vallees Enduro: Sunday 2nd April Open to all, in teams of three, the 3 Vallées Enduro is a fun event which is in its 12th year and has become the world’s largest gathering of amateur skiers over the years. It’s all in the name of discovering the 3 Valleys and to endorse the fact that it is accessible to everyone. Check out more at www.les3vallees.com/enduro Mont Vallon Challenge: Meribel 22nd and 23rd April Race on skis down Mont Vallon on Saturday (Freeride/Giant Slalom with a waterslide at the finish!) then on mountain bikes on Sunday (Meribel to Brides-les-Bains). Sounds exhausting!

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his is our second summer issue highlighting many of the wonderful things you can fill your time with, here in the Alps during summer. It’s fair to say there’s an emphasis on bike related activities but that pretty much reflects how we spend our time at Cool Bus! Whether its smashing through cols on roads bikes, exploring far flung areas on our mountain bikes or simply lapping the local bike parks, two wheels is definitely where it’s at. Having said that we did manage to leave a little bit of space to squeeze in some more family

friendly activities which you can read about in our “3 Things..” article . Elsewhere you’ll also find the second part of our “Tales Of Cool Bus Past” series, this time covering our first winter season where things didn’t quite go to plan! If its mountain biking that’s brings you to the Alps in summer then don't miss our guide to all the local bike parks and if you want to explore further afield you’ll be interested to read about the local mountain bike guiding scene in our “Girl Guiding” article. We hope you’ll find it useful if you are out here on your summer holidays and if you’re reading this on your winter trip hopefully it’ll inspire you to spend some time here next time the snow melts!

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ROUTE DES GRANDE ALPS

SOSPEL

TALES OF COOLBUS PAST THE FIRST WINTER

GIRL GUIDING

ESPACE KILLY BIKE PARK GUIDE

PARADISKI BIKE PARK GUIDE

SAN BERNARDO BIKE PARK GUIDE

3 VALLEES BIKE PARK GUIDE

3 THINGS WE LOVE TO DO IN THE ALPS

BOOK REVIEW


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Route Des Grande Alpes eptember is one of the best months of the year to be in the Alps. After the hectic and sometimes stiflingly hot months of July and August, the early Autumn lull comes as a welcome relief. The mountains are far more peaceful and the trees gradually start to turn from their usual dark green to yellows, golds and reds while the high peaks see some early pristine white snow. On a more personal note, at Cool Bus, we find ourselves in the twilight zone between the end of the summer season and starting preparations in earnest for the winter. During this time its very easy to find an excuse to take a few days off work to enjoy the mountains that first enticed us here away from the green fields of England.

to drive from Nice back up to Bourg after a spell working for the team behind the Trans Provence - meaning we had ourselves a free ride home. The only slight fly in the ointment was that our window of opportunity left us with less than a week to prepare.

It was during just such a period last year that I found myself convincing sometime Cool Bus driver and long term good mate Ross Kean to join me on a little cycling trip. At our base in Bourg St. Maurice we find ourselves a quarter of the way along the famous Route des Grandes Alpes, a 700km long itinerary stretching from Lake Geneva all the way to the Med. It takes in some of the French Alps most stunning scenery and famous mountain passes and circumnavigates several national parks including the Mercantour, Queyras and our own local Vanoise park. Depending on the exact route you use its possible to top out on 16 mountain passes including the highest in Europe, though we’ll leave it up to you to decide which one that is (more on that later!).

And so one week later, at 8am on a chilly Tuesday morning, we found ourselves outside our local bakery divvying up our kit between the two bikes at the start of a four day Alpine cycling tour.

The full route from Thonon-Les-Bains to Menton opened in 1995 and since then it has seen tourists pass through in their millions in all forms of transport from classic car rally’s through to the ubiquitous touring motorbikes but the one that had piqued our interest was two wheels of the human powered variety. It wasn’t the first occasion that the idea had been floated between us but suddenly the time was right. In just over ten days our friend (and another long term Cool Bus employee) Jelle was set

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For me this meant seven days to order some bike mounted luggage from an online bike store along with a few water bottles, gels and other paraphernalia. For Ross it meant rushing out on his bike every day to beast himself up all the local cols in a mad panic to raise his fitness levels to what he saw as the required level. In truth, Ross was considerably fitter than me before he even started this regime and all this extra training was only ever going to add to his time waiting at the top of every col but at least it kept him busy for a few days.

The very first pass to tackle was surely one of the hardest - the Col de l’Iseran. From Bourg St. Maurice (at 850 metres above sea level) it rises nearly 2000 meters over 50 km. Like most of the cols we were set to summit, the Iseran has played host to many stages of the Tour de France over the years. Given its sheer size it seemed only right to make a few stops en-route and by 9am we were sitting sipping coffee at “Le Monal” in Ste. Foy-en-Tarentaise having been in the saddle for a total of 30 minutes! By mid-morning however, we were doing much the same thing in Val d’Isere and at 12:30 we had bought literally the last two coffees of 2016 from the refuge at the top of the Iseran (this is no joke - the next motorcyclist that came in was told there was no more coffee until June 2017 - he decided no to wait!). What followed was essentially 70 kms of mainly downhill riding. This was to prove a common feature of the trip. As we were heading south following the watershed, each mountain pass generally preceded a long descent following a river that was headed steeply towards the coast. Whilst this was frequently into a

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headwind it did help with morale and added to the sensation that the route was mainly downhill all the way! By 3pm we were down in St. Michel-de-Maurienne and facing up to our second challenge of the day, the Col du Telegraphe. With just over 850 metres of ascent, it pales into insignificance compared to the Iseran but this late in the day, and having already pedalled through 120 km of mountainous roads, it presented a pretty formidable challenge and one that taught me three valuable lessons: Number one - when cycling long distances, eat as often as you can. If you wait until you’re hungry its already too late and chances are you’ll run out of energy before you reach the finish line leaving you to grind out the remaining kilometres in a world of pain and suffering. Number two - Ross Kean has an inbuilt setting which prohibits him from letting any other rider pass him on a climb. On a route as busy with cyclists as the Grandes Alpes expect to see his back wheel disappearing off into the distance whenever he gets a sniff of another rider gaining on him. And finally, when booking a hotel the key is to look for one as close as possible to the finish line of the days ride. Even a small 2 km climb out of town can seem like purgatory after 8 hours in the saddle. And so, after a very pleasant evening spent in a hotel 2 kms the wrong side of Valloire drinking

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Galibier beer, we set off at 9am on day two to tackle the col of the same name! Our mutual friend Jon Thorpe (another Cool Bus driver) had sent us a text the night before warning us to save a bit for the last 2 km but in the event, the Col du Galbier proved to be a genuinely enjoyable pedal. The scenery was stunning and traffic virtually non-existent. The gradient did ramp up a little towards the end but hitting it fresh first thing in the morning meant it proved relatively pain free. The views from the summit down towards the Col Du Lautaret were pretty incredible and the descent the other side was fast, flowing and downhill all the way to Briancon some 40km distant. After a quick lunch stop the second test of the day was the long and drawn out ascent of the Col de l’Izoard. The name itself should have offered a clue definitely pretty ‘ard! Initially following a river, the undulating road features several short downhills. Losing height during an ascent is always hard on morale particularly when there is still an awful lot of climbing to come and caused Ross to call me several times to check that we were definitely on the right road! After seemingly endless forested hairpins the road ramps up to 9% for the final few kilometres and we certainly noticed the change in pitch! The road eventually topped out on a spectacular barren summit surrounded by scree slopes and rocky pillars at a whopping 2344 metres. With a light drizzle coming down

and the wind blowing a hooley, we only hung around long enough for a quick banana and obligatory photo before setting off gingerly down the damp, sweeping hairpins towards Guillestre. Thirty kilometres later we found ourselves down in town looking around for our hotel which naturally ended up


Route Des Grande Alpes

being 1km out of the centre up a steep hill. Lesson 3 from day one was still taking a while to sink in! We spent the evening downing pints of “recovery drink” with a couple of friends, Emily (see page xx for more on her) and David, who were en-route to Valberg to

compete in the World Enduro mountain bike series. They brought news of some bad weather that we had narrowly missed on the way down. Apparently the Col de l’Iseran was now closed with the road buried under 30 cm of snow. Had we left Bourg one day later we wouldn’t have even made it over the first pass! Day three was the one we feared the most. On paper it was the longest with the most climbing and unlike day one, we’d be doing it on legs that were already fatigued. 156 kilometres including the Col de Vars (1141 metres of ascent) and the mighty Col de la Bonette (1589 metres of ascent), the highest point of the Route des Grandes Alpes. In the end however, it turned out to be some of the most enjoyable riding of the whole trip! The Col de Vars is stunning in itself. Initially winding its way up a steep valley through the strung out ski resort villages of Vars it then climbs up above the tree line through beautiful rolling mountains. There’s even a pretty decent

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cafe at the summit where the friendly proprietor can serve you up a very decent coffee! From there we had a relatively short descent to the town of Jausiers where we decided to take a break to prepare ourselves for the main event of the day! We pulled up next to the river and were immediately called over by some riders on an organised tour who had a substantial buffet set up in a lay-by. They kindly asked us to join them and the cheese, Snickers and Coke that we mopped up from their left overs was a welcome relief from the gels we had stuffed in our pockets! Suitably bolstered by this feast we set off up the Col de la Bonette at record pace. For the first time I actually started to feel fitter and was able to push myself to ride at a high intensity for the two plus hours it took to reach the top and in the end I arrived only about 10 minutes behind Ross which was definitely a personal record!

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ake no mistake, the Bonette is a monster! The col itself sits at 2715 metres which puts it only 50 metres lower than the Col de l’Iseran. Not content to be outdone however, a paved road has been built up around the back of the Bonette summit which goes up to a height of 2802 metres. Technically this makes it the highest “through road” in Europe. The signs on the way up do lay claim to it being the highest col but since this technically passes over at the lower altitude of 2715 metres we’ll leave it for you to decide! What does make the Bonette stand out from the Iseran is the scenery. When you reach the summit you have the sensation of being above all the surrounding summits instead of still amongst or below them. Whilst we were there we saw no less than six bearded vultures soaring nearby. Occasionally you might see one of these huge birds (also know as the Lammergeier) with a wingspan of 2.5 metres in our local Tarentaise valley but to see six of them all flying together below us was quite incredible! The summit was fairly busy with several bus loads of tourists and also by far the coldest place we had been so far so we didn’t hang around too long before plunging into the truly epic descent through fast, flowing bends all the way down to the Tinee river. Having learned the lesson of the previous two days, we had

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carefully selected our hotel for the night in the last town on the descent, some 5 kms before the start of the next days col. We were both surprised to find when we arrived that it was not the first time we’d been there! The local bar on the main street through town serves as a stage finish in the Trans Provence mountain bike rally that Ross had previously worked at and I had raced earlier in the year. The jolly (drunk) bar owner welcomed us in with open arms (cuddles) for a few pints of the local “recovery drink”. Sadly our hotel for the night did not live up to the same standard. Being a small town the only restaurant that was open turned out to also be in our hotel where the food reflected the quality of their rooms. Luckily, after three days of intensive exercise, sleep came easily even on the most sunken of mattresses! And so onto the final day and our glorious arrival on the Cote d’Azur! The first Col of the day passed relatively easily and after a quick coffee stop on the descent we ran straight through to the Col de Turini. This stunning mountain pass is famous for seeing the yearly passage of round one of the World Rally Championships as part of the Monte Carlo Rally. Though nowhere near as high as those further north in the Alps it still packs a punch in the epic scenery department particularly on the descent into Sospel and we found ourselves stopping every couple of hundred metres to take photos. At 3pm we rolled into Sospel for a very late lunch

with our good friend (and ex-Cool Bus employee) Bry Watt who now calls the town his home. After a quick stop for kebabs and panache we were off up the final Col of the trip - the Castillon. At just 700 metres the summit is lower than our home town of Bourg St. Maurice and we were quickly over the other side and rolling down towards the Med in convoy with Bry covering our rear in his van! Before long we were battling our way through the rush hour traffic of Menton before pulling up at the beach in the Old Town for a swim. And so, at sunset, the two of us skipped hand-in-hand into the Med wearing just our cycling bib shorts like a couple of camp Victorian bathers! With that formality out the way we jumped into the back of Brys van for a quick drive along the coast to Nice. The bars and clubs of the Old Town were calling us and we headed straight to the nearest gourmet burger restaurant to hit the protein window, washed down with pints of “recovery drink”. If you have never spent a Friday evening touring the many bars of Nice’s Old Town I would like to hereby recommend it. Its a genuinely friendly place with a cosmopolitan feel and generous opening hours. If you have just finished a gruelling four day cycling tour and find yourself flagging as the clock ticks past midnight I can also highly recommend PowerBar’s Powergel shots. Not only do they provide a dual source carbohydrate mix in a Haribo flavoured sweet but they also pack the powerful punch of 75mg of caffeine - enough to keep you going to the early hours! When bedtime calls you may also consider Valium to be a wise


Route Des Grande Alpes

choice to bring you down quickly and help ease the following days hangover. If however, you need to be and out of your hotel just four hours later you may find this to be more of a hinderance. This was the predicament Ross and I found ourselves in the following morning. Ever seen “Night Of The Living Dead”? The scenes outside the Hotel Campanile at 9am that Saturday morning were very similar. And so our trip back to Bourg began much like this: • 09:00 - stagger bleary eyed out of our hotel, yawning and pushing two bikes • Wander around Nice port trying to find our driver Jelle • Find Jelle then lose him again whilst trying to find the van • Find Jelle again • Load up the van then drive back to the hotel to collect the items from our room that we forgot first time around • Stock up on food for the journey • Drive around Nice lost for an hour or so • 13:00 - find the right road out of town and begin the 7 hour drive back to Bourg

too much pain but if you want to make life easier, stretch it out over a longer period. The full route from Thonon-les-Bains is achievable in 6 days. We chose to complete the ride unsupported meaning we had to carry some bare essentials with us. The total weight we had (excluding food) did not exceed 7kgs between us. Carrying a waterproof, extra top and gloves is absolutely essential for the long descents as well as enough food and water to get through the day and of course, spare inner tube, pump, tools and a first aid kit. On top of this we carried clothes for the evenings and other essentials such as a 3G enabled phone for navigating and bookings hotels etc. One way to make life easier is to use a support vehicle. There are many companies out there that offer fully organised group trips along the Route des Grandes Alpes and who will take care of

every aspect for you but if you are simply looking for a support vehicle then look on further than Cool Bus! Our experienced drivers can transport all your gear from hotel to hotel and provide support during the day by meeting you en-route with food, water and spare parts if necessary at a cost of 300 euros per day (you would also need to cover the drivers accommodation). We'd recommend planing a trip like this for the months of June, September or October. From November until the end of May many of the cols will be closed and during July and August they see a lot of traffic which makes the whole experience just that little bit less pleasurable.

For further information about support vehicles or if you simply want some advice planning your own trip, don’t hesitate to contact us at coolbusoffice@icloud.com

And there we have it! A thoroughly enjoyable four day ride through the Alps and one that we can highly recommend. Completing our daily requirement of cols never proved too difficult in fact most days we didn’t start riding until after 09:30 and were finished well before 6pm. With just a moderate level of fitness you can comfortably achieve the two cols a day necessary without

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few years back one of our long standing employees, Bry Watt, dropped the bombshell that he wanted to move away. Much as he enjoyed snowboarding, it did not match his love for mountain biking and the long winter months during which most trails in the valley were permanently covered in snow where becoming a strain. He decided the best step was to move to pastures greener where year round biking was a more feasible option. We kept in touch and one place that always seemed to pop up in conversations with him, was the town of Sospel. It wasn’t long before he was calling it home and expounding its virtues at length to us. Last autumn a convenient slot in our schedule allowed a few days to pay him a visit and find out what all the fuss was about… The sleepy little town of Sospel sits just 20km inland from the mediterranean cost, nestled amongst the hills of the Alpes Maritime. The town is well known for being on the Route des Grandes Alpes (see page 2 for more details on this) at the southern end of the famous Col de Turini which also see’s the passage of the Monte Carlo rally every January, the first event of the annual World Rally Championships. As such the main road through town see’s an almost constant flow of classic cars, motorbikes, sports cars and road cyclists. Recently though, it has begun to establish itself as destination for off-road cyclists as well. The surrounding hills and mountains are dotted with ancient walking trails, all ripe for mountain biking and this

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Sospel

is what first attracted Ash Smith to the area. Ash has been a good friend of Cool Bus (and in particular of Bry) for many years, firstly through Trail Addiction but more recently through his role as head honcho of the world renowned mountain bike endurance rally that is the Trans-Provence. These days Ash is president of Sospel MTB and has been influential in transforming the area into what it is now. Over the last 5 years and with the help of several other local bikers, Ash has worked tirelessly to explore, log and groom the dozens of trails that spiral out from the town. He has produced a detailed map of the entire area which includes spot points (nodes) at each trail

junction. The current version of the trail map is available at the tourist office but Ash plans to take this a step further and produce a smart phone app that will enable you to string together nodes and produce countless permutations of trails which your phone will seamlessly navigate you through. When we visited Sospel last autumn we were lucky enough to have not just Bry to show us around but also Ash and his wife Melissa. We spent two days using one of our vans and a bike trailer to uplift and ride a dozen local trails and were genuinely blown away by what was on offer. We rode trails around Sospel and also another local town called

Breil-sur-Roya, as well as venturing further away towards the Col de Turini where the mountains become more Alpine and the riding becomes similar to that which we are used to in Bourg. The variety of what is on offer here is staggering. There is everything from 3-4 hour high mountain enduro rides, fast flowing single track, rocky technical trails, even a bike park area in Sospel with jumps, berms and woodwork. The trails don’t see the passage of too many bikes so they are all in excellent condition. The climate here is warm and generally quite dry meaning you’re unlikely to be plagued with much in the way of mud and that riding through the winter is a genuine pleasure! Another big plus for Sospel is its proximity to Nice. A transfer from the airport takes just 45 minutes making this an ideal location for a long weekend of mountain biking and with its warm climate, it’s a perfect option to escape wet riding conditions in the UK for a few days during autumn and winter. All-in-all we were sold on the place! From next spring we will be offering airport transfers from Nice and mountain bike uplifts in the area. For enquiries and booking transport and for advice on places to stay in the area contact Bry on sospel@thecoolbus.co.uk The best times to visit Sospel are autumn and spring but its certainly also feasible all through the winter. During July and August its really very humid making mountain biking less pleasant!

sospel-mtb.com

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toughie but doing so in the midst of a family Christmas definitely makes it that little bit harder. On the plus side, Boxing Day is one of the few days of the year that you can get around the M25 to Dover without sitting in traffic for an hour plus!

When we left the “Tales Of Cool Bus Past” last issue the early seeds had been sewn and the first Cool Bus had been purchased. Several successful summer trips had been completed and everything was set for the first winter season providing airport transfers. Unfortunately, as we are about to hear, things didn’t exactly go as planned. Cool Bus Rob takes up the story… On 26th December 2001 I left the green fields of Hertfordshire for the snowy mountains of the French Alps. Setting off on your own for a new life in another country where you don’t know anyone is always going to be a

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Over the previous 12 months I had formed a close bond with my new driving partner, a 1992 Mercedes 508 minibus. We’d already been on several adventures together right through the heart of the Alps all the way to Monte Carlo. She’d been up and over many mountain passes and proven herself perfectly capable if a little steady. Definitely more of a tortoise than a hare. Our first clients were already lined up to be collected from Geneva airport the very next day and we had a base arranged in the beautiful Peisey-Nancroix valley in Les Arcs. All that stood in our way was a short ferry journey followed by a 10 hour slog across Northern France. Pretty soon we were chugging along the A26 towards Reims with some repetitive beats pumping out from the Pioneer 6 CD multi-changer (state of the art in 2001!). Every now and then however, I could swear there was an extra beat in there, not quite in time with the rest - one of those sounds where you’re not

quite sure if you’ve heard it or not. Turning down the music made it a little more obvious but still not loud enough to identify. Best solution was probably just to turn the music up a notch or two. Another hour passed and the noise was getting to the point where it was hard to ignore. The stereo was all the way up to 11 and my ears were ringing. What started as a nagging doubt was fast becoming a real concern. I was pretty certain it was mechanical and a few tests rolling with the clutch in indicated that it was coming from the engine. You don’t need to be a formula 1 mechanic to know that rhythmic knocking noises coming from an engine equals big problems. A sinking feeling came over me as I realised that I wasn’t going to be making it to Peisey today which in turn meant I wasn’t going to be collecting customers from Geneva tomorrow. But what to do now? Clearly some professional assistance was required and the nearest garage at this point would surely be in Reims but how do you go about finding one? These days you can simply ask your phone and she’ll give you directions but this was currently way beyond the scope of a Nokia 3330. I was mulling over this problem whilst simultaneously slipping into dark lonely place when, on the outskirts of Reims, I spotted right next to the motorway, a Mercedes garage! One of the few


Tales Of Coolbus Past getting that done anytime in the next month was slim plus they would charge an absolute fortune for it - around 40,000 francs (yep these were pre-euro days)! A little research showed I could get a reasonably priced reconditioned engine fitted in the UK for a fraction of this price so I did what most people would - got myself some AA cover and then headed back out to France to request recovery back to the UK!

Peisey - Nancroix plus points of working practices in France is they don’t celebrate Boxing Day so I was encouraged to find the garage fully open with mechanics beavering away. With my broken French I managed to explain what the problem was and with a quick listen to the engine the mechanic confirmed that it did have a serious issue. With it being Christmas they did not have a full compliment of staff and he told me that it would be many days before they could investigate further. With that in mind the best course of action seemed to be to head back to the UK with my tail between my legs where I could await news without running up expensive hotel bills.

Back in Hertfordshire I spent the next four or five days making calls via the free Mercedes help-line to the garage to find out the score. The bottom line was she needed a new engine and the chance of the garage

Twenty four hours later, after a car journey, ferry crossing, a night on the doorstep of Calais train station dodging drunks, a train to Reims and then a 6km walk to the van I was on the phone to the AA to request my vehicle repatriation. “No problem, someone will be with you inside the next two hours.” Three hours later I was back on the phone to them again asking where my tow was. “Very sorry Mr. Forbes but your vehicle is over 3 tonnes and therefore not covered under our policy”. So back to square one. Faced with no reasonable alternatives it seemed the best course of action was to take a risk and try and drive it back to the UK, hoping that the engine didn’t terminally fail en-route! The 3 hour drive back to Calais passed without incident though there was no doubt the racket coming from the engine was getting louder. Getting back onto UK soil felt like I was halfway there but the journey up to the garage in Lancaster was a further 5 ring twitching hours. I finally rolled into town at 10pm to find the owners had kindly stayed behind to wait for my arrival! A week later I was back in Lancaster collecting the van with its newly reconditioned engine fitted and everything seemed to

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c Mont Blan be back on track. I immediately set off for France. This time however, I only made it as far as Leatherhead before the engine started knocking again! A few heated calls followed to the garage. A local mechanic checked it over and an hour later they agreed it was their fault and came down to collect the van so they could fit it with another rebuilt engine. Finally, on the 18th January 2002, after three weeks of delays, two replacement engines and a whole lot of stress, we finally rolled into the sleepy mountain village of Nancroix and Cool Bus was officially in business! We immediately settled into the Chalet Arc hostel run by local legend Carol. I was lucky to find the place virtually overrun by like minded snowboarders all of whom had booked themselves into the place for the entire season. We all quickly bonded over jugs of

house wine at Bar Mont Blanc and I am pleased to say that some of this group remain close friends with Cool Bus to this very day. We soon settled into a fairly relaxed work schedule including transfers for Dragon Lodge at the weekends and local shuttles to the pubs and supermarkets for residents of Nancroix and Bourg during the week. One such regular shuttle was up to Benjy’s in Les Arcs 1800 to catch DJ Sponge (6ft Stereo - see page 34 for an article from him), another guy who went on to be a lifelong friend. Evenings at Chalet Arc were spent mainly working our way through the collection of snowboard VHS videos. Once we got through the lot we simply went back to the beginning and started again! As the end of the season approached it seemed logical to try and cover some costs for the

The Gang In Amsterda m

journey back home by organising a trip for the local seasonaires. With this in mind we set off to the UK in late April via Amsterdam! I carried eight passengers in the Mercedes (with 8 snowboard bags and numerous other pieces of luggage), two others followed us on a motorbike and a further two arrived by plane. All eight of my passengers managed to spend three nights sleeping crammed into the back of the Cool Bus with all our luggage at the Zeeburg campsite, just a short tram ride from the delights of Amsterdam city centre. It turned out to be a fitting end to a great season and one that would be repeated several times over the coming years. During this first season Cool Bus was definitely what is referred to these days as a “lifestyle business�. The office consisted of a hand written diary, pay as you go mobile phone and the internet terminal at Bar Mont Blanc. It certainly saw more improvement to my snowboarding than it did to any long term business goals but I did come away with three very important things: 1. Some key local business contacts. 2. The knowledge that a living could be made from airport transfers and 3. A bunch of lifelong friends. Over the next few seasons things were set to get more involved as Cool Bus made the transition into a fully fledged business with all the complications and stress that brings along with it. Its easy to look back fondly on those days where life was far simpler - Eat Snowboard Drive Repeat - and forget the incredibly stressful start that had to be endured first to get to those good times!

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With Emily Horridge p until recently it was extremely difficult for anyone from the UK to work officially in France as a mountain bike guide. Only two routes were available to attain equivalence for a British qualification. The first was to back it up with the International Mountain Leaders award (essentially a mountaineering qualification that takes years to achieve). The alternative was to go full French and complete their standard full time, 4 month course (1150 hours of study, naturally all in their native tongue!).

qualify. In doing so he opened up a dialogue with the good people at the French mountain bike governing body, the MCF. This ultimately lead to the establishment of an exam which now enables British guides to gain equivalency for their UK qualifications in just one week, to the eternal gratitude of future guides everywhere! But he hasn't stopped there! Sam is currently working away on a project under the guise of EO-MTBING.eu with the aim of creating a European wide mountain bike guiding standard. With this in place any rider would be able to gain a qualification in their native country

In 2014, Sam Morris, owner of the highly respected mountain bike holiday company “Bike Village” and all round local legend, did just that, becoming the first British person to

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that is recognised across the whole of Europe, opening up a world of possibilities and also allowing scope for multi-day, guided mountain bike trips that cross national borders. Over the last five years Emily Horridge has worked both for Bike Village and Cool Bus but outside this she is a hugely accomplished mountain biker. With many successful years racing downhill and enduro she has also guided riders at home in the UK as well as abroad. Last May she attended the very first UK equivalency exam in France and was one of the lucky few to meet the high standards required to give her a pass. She now has big plans for guiding both locally in the Tarentaise and in other parts of the French Alps. We caught up with her for a quick chat about it all…

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I get so excited when I’ve found something mega that I can show people

How long have you been a guide, and how did you get into it? I was asked to do some skills coaching in Morzine back in 2006, and that’s where it all started really. The following year I returned for a full season and from that point on I became a guide, picking up the relevant qualifications along the way, until finally in June 2016 I became a French qualified guide - one of very few Brits to have achieved this. So it’s been about 10 years now! How did you end up in Les Arcs? I saw a guiding job advertised on Singletrackworld with one of the holiday companies over here. I got the job, and within the first week I knew more people than I ever had in Morzine - people here seemed much more open and friendly, and it was really nice to receive a warm welcome from the people working the lifts, rather than the grumpy grunting I’d become accustomed to.

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Many people just work as guides for the odd season here and there, what made you stick at it? Primarily, I love riding my bike! After uni I ended up doing a few seasons and eventually got to the point where I didn’t know what else I’d rather do. Getting my Carte Professionelle this year, which means I can legally guide in France, has given me the opportunity to make guiding very much my own gig rather than working for someone else, so that’s pretty exciting right now. It’s feels like a big old project to make that happen in a financially sustainable manner but it’ll be worth it. Plus it quite nicely pools all of my experience and skills from previous jobs.

How did you find all the trails? How do you remember them? Well, I think I’m lucky! I’m an ex-downhill racer so we just had to learn tracks inside out to be fast on them, so that helps a lot. I have been shown a lot of the trails I know in Les Arcs and La Plagne, but others I’ve spent a lot of time researching myself. What do you do when the lifts aren’t open? Ha, I pedal! There are some amazing all-day rides in this area, and the best time to do them is when the lifts are closed. Coolbus have bike trailers so we can get to the trail head with a lift from them, and then that’s us out for the day. It’s so good to be away up in the mountains, eating lunch

overlooking stunning scenery with a brilliant trail to be looking forward to. We’ve been told that you have a bit of a map fetish, care to elaborate? Haha, you know me well. I spend far too much time and money on them quite frankly! I just spend hours and hours looking for potential new trails on the map, it’s like an addiction. The not-so-good bit is when you try to ride those trails and it turns out they’re a bit rubbish. But of course, when you come up-trumps, it’s the best day ever! I get so excited when I’ve found something mega that I can show people.


What’s the worst bit of your job? All the admin! All that boring stuff. Having to ride in the rain is bad sometimes, but most of the time you’re happy that you got out there anyway, I love the feeling of beating the weather! And the best bit? I just love showing people cool trails! It’s so satisfying making sure people have the holiday they’ve been dreaming about all through a grey British winter. And then reliving the day’s riding over a post-ride beer or three. Some other plus points include the beautiful places my bike takes me, maps, and finding awesome new trails. What would you say to someone thinking about becoming a mountain bike guide? Go for it! If like me, it’s all about showing your friends a trail you know they’ll be raving about forever more, then you would love being a guide. The British Cycling courses are great, and I’d especially recommend the guys at Cyclewise in the Lake District for these. Even for someone not thinking about becoming a guide, the Level 2 MTB Leader course is a great tool for learning

about navigation and some basic trailside repairs. If you’ve only ever ridden in UK trail centres but want to get out into the more natural trail environment, it’s invaluable in building those essential skills and the confidence to use them. Level 3 is the icing on the cake with some really good training on leadership skills and group management. From there you can also take the next step and gain your French equivalency as I did. What does the future hold for you? Hopefully by the time people are reading this I’ll be well on my way to having set up ‘The Inside Line’ which is the name of my guiding business. I’m planning on running some all-inclusive holidays in the Queyras Regional Park, a beautiful area of flowing singletrack just south of Briançon. Alongside that I’ll still be guiding here in Les Arcs, but with a focus on big mountain adventure days,out of resort where it’s all about putting the effort in to reach epic singletrack. It’s the mountain bike equivalent of hiring a ski guide to take you out into the back country I guess, and it’s my favourite kind of guiding.

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Interested in taking the new French guiding equivalency test yourself? The next course is due to take place in France in spring 2017. You can book yourself on by contacting Michel Antzemberger at the DDCSPP of Haute Savoie - michel.antzemberger@ haute-savoie.gouv.fr As a minimum you will need a British mountain bike guides qualification and proof of two years professional experience (outside France but within the EU)


y ll i K e c a sp

E

Photo: Tristan Shu

ignes bike park has developed gradually over the last ten years with considerable investment from the company that runs the resort. Initially building downhill trails around the the Palafour chair and Toviere bubble lifts, they enlisted the help of french mountain bike legend, Karim Amour to help with the design. Since then they have steadily added more trails to their network each summer and in 2012, to coincide with hosting a round of the Downhill World Cup, Val d’Isere joined Tignes to create one fully connected bike park. As of 2016 the area boasts over 150km of downhill and enduro trails spread between the two towns, all linked up via 5 lifts and a shuttle bus service.

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The majority of trails on the Tignes side are well above the treeline and are man-made with big berms and jumps. These range from easy greens right through to full-on, steep blacks.


Espace killy Bike Park Guide

The black trails here definitely have the hardest grading for a reason! In places some are incredibly steep and can be a case of simply slamming the brakes on full and hanging on for dear life! The best example of this is probably Moustache. The black graded Kamasutrail leads you through a free ride park on the Toviere side which is well worth a look. It has some very original features including a big floaty step-up jump and a 360 degree wall ride around an inverted cone shaped natural mountain feature. There are several really good enduro trails over in Tignes as well, the majority of which head down towards Tignes Les Brevieres which is below the dam. This gives you the chance to ride down into the treeline and as such offers a different, more natural riding experience to that higher up. Many of these enduro trails criss-cross each other giving you a few different permutations. Highlights include the excellently named Forest Bump and the scree slopes of Rocky Trail. From Les Brevieres you’ll need to get the shuttle bus back up to Tignes Le Lac so its well worth checking the bus timetable before you commit!

treeline and a few of the trails over this side take good advantage of this including the red Rhododendrons and fun green, Popeye. There’s also a few good enduro trails including the 8km long Into the Wild! If all that isn’t enough to keep you busy there are also pump tracks and skateparks in both resorts along with a host of other activites. Tignes probably has the most original of these with various elements dotted around its lake. Some are verging on the ridiculous and have to be seen to be believed so try searching ‘Tignes Hot-Jump’, ‘Tignes Blob’ and ‘Tignes Flyboard’ on youtube! There’s one more thing worth mentioning about Tignes and Val bike park which makes it stand out from any other. The lift pass is FREE! Yes you heard right! At least it has been for the last 6 years and at the time of going to press we haven’t heard of any plans to change this for 2017. You do still need to pick up a pass though so make sure you pop into the Maison de Tignes before heading to the lifts.

Photo: Tristan Shu

A couple of very fun blue trails link between the two resorts Borsat Attack for riding from Tignes down to Val and Sweet Sweet for the opposite direction. The town of Val d’Isere is 250m lower than Tignes Le Lac. This is enough to drop you into the

Photo: Office du Tourisme Val d'Isère

Some of the most fun of these are the blue trails, in particular Kangooride and Gunpowder which you can blast down with very little input in terms of braking or pedalling. There are also some excellent red trails on both sides of the valley including Funky Tufs.

You can find out more about us in all of these places :

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

Open 1st July until 27th August 2017 Riding from 1550m to 2800m 3 chairlifts, 2 bubbles 165km of trails including 65km of downhill trails 3 green, 9 blue, 5 red, 4 black 75km of enduro trails 2 blue, 4 red, 6 black 25km of cross country loops 1 pump track, 2 skateparks, 1 Airbag 1 shuttle bus route (Tignes Les Brevieres to Tignes Le Lac) Lifts ticket - FREE!

Looking for a decent bike shop? Try Gravity Lab on Rue de la Poste in Tignes Le Lac

Download the trail map at TIGNES.NET

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i k s i aP rad When we talk about the mountain biking in Paradiski we are essentially referring to the trail network contained in the Les Arcs Bike Park. This includes all the Les Arcs villages, Peisey-Vallandry, Villaroger and Montchavin-Les Coches. There are trails over in central La Plagne but the riding there is very limited and for now access from the bike park is far from straight forward and involves a long pedal across a traverse/climb from Les Coches. Over the last twenty years Les Arcs has steadily forged a reputation as one of the leading bike parks in the French Alps second only to Portes du Soleil. The riding here however, is in stark contrast to the largely man made trails you see in Morzine and Les Gets. It is the network of ancient walking tracks that criss cross the mountain, in particular below the tree-line, that have helped establish Les Arcs as a

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dozen trails that run through the lower forests into the valley around Bourg St. Maurice. Of these, only two are shown on the official trail map!

Photo: andyparant.com

leading name. It is worth mentioning that many of these trails do not feature on the Bike Park trail map which makes hiring a guide a worthwhile investment. To give you an idea, there are at least a

177 km or marked trails between 2600m and 800m in altitude 9 Downhill trails (2 green runs, 3 blue runs, 2 red runs, 2 black runs) 5 Enduro trails (2 green, 1 blue, 1 red, 1 black)

4. 5. 6.

Having said that there are more than enough marked trails on the Bike Park trail map to keep you busy. These include a good mixture of old walking tracks and more recently built bike park style trails. One of the most important things that makes Les Arcs work so well is its lift network. You can access a huge amount of the area with virtually no uphill pedalling. The starting point for a lot of visitors to the area is the funicular railway from Bourg St. Maurice.

2 Cross country trails

7.

7 liaisons 7 practice parks (these are small are as with ramps and other obstacles good for kids!)

1 freestyle area (in Arc 1600) which includes 2 northshore style lines, a slopestyle course and a 4X course (though we are not sure sure how you would manage to fit four people down it at once!)


Paradiski Bike Park Guide the newly completed Marsupilami from the Trans Arc mid-station which is a string of beautifully built jumps and berms. This has an incredible flow to it once you have learned the best lines the green trail La Trank’s which is ideal for kids or people new to the sport. It starts from the top of the Trans Arc gondola. There’s no easy trail down from here towards 1800 or 1600 so once you’ve ridden Tranks a few times its best to downlift on the Trans Arc. We’ve seen kids as young as 5 ride this trail and absolutely love it! the red and black forest trails around Montchavin-Les Coches Rock N’ Arolles from the top of the Cachette lift in Arc 1600 is a fun, pedally red downhill trail. It takes a while to learn all the lines so you can carry your speed through some of the blind corners but once you’ve got it you’ll be grinning Woodstock in Peisey proves the point that more often than not, its the blue graded man made trails that can be the most fun!

Photo: andyparant.com

The most famous trail in the park has to be ‘Le 8’ or ‘Black 8’ as it is known to most anglophones. This drops 800 metres over 9km from the top of the funicular station in Arc 1600 all the way down to Bourg St. Maurice. People have been coming to Les Arcs just to ride this trail since long before the concept of the bike park was invented! A couple of years ago work started to replace the huge water pipes that run down the mountain from Arc 1600 to the Hydro Electric plant in the valley (believe it or not these pipes are actually supplied by water from the dam 18km away in Tignes!). As a result large parts of Black 8 became inaccessible but the new replacement sections that were added to the trail have only improved it and added to the technical difficulty. Make no mistake, this is graded black for good reason!

Other stand-out trails include:

8. 9.

1 funicular railway, 1 double decker cable car (biggest in the world!), 3 gondola lifts, 4 chairlifts and 1 lobster pot lift! Day pass 22 euros 7 days 72 (82 euros including access to Montchavin-Les Coches)

Need a decent bike shop? Try Gravity Lab opposite the football stadium on the main road through Bourg or Revolver behind Super U.

You can find out more about us in all of these places :

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Photo: Michael Kirkman

This runs every half hour and whisks you up 800 vertical metres to Arc 1600 in less than 10 minutes. It runs from 8am until 7pm meaning you don’t have to rush out early in the morning to get a full days riding in! From there the Cachette chairlift gives you access over to Arc 1800 and then beyond to Arc1950/2000 and Vallandry via the Trans Arc gondola.

For restaurants and bars in the area have a look through our Les Arcs/Bourg St. Maurice ski guide at the other end of this mag. The majority of establishments mentioned are open all through summer too.

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Download the trail map at LESARCS.COM

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San

o d r eB rna

space San Bernardo is the collective name for the linked areas of La Rosiere in the Tarentaise and La Thuile in Italy. In the winter these two ski resorts link together seamlessly to make one large ski area. In the summer it requires a little more effort to link the two by bike but it is still very feasible to ride both in one day. The lower chairlift in La Rosiere starts only 300m above Bourg St. Maurice so you can pedal up to it in only half an hour. This means its completely possible to set off on your bike from Bourg at 9am and be in Italy sipping a cappuccino before lunchtime! Believe us, we’ve done it! Alternatively you can just drive up to the chairlift where there is ample parking. If you do wish to ride both resorts in one day its worth knowing what’s involved in terms of pedaling: From La Rosiere to La Thuile, ride to the top of the Roches Noires chairlift then pedal up the fire road climb for 20 minutes (100m vertical) up to the Fort de la Redoute (worth a look in itself!) before dropping onto the piste towards the Col de Petit St. Bernard and follow the vague looking singletrack to the Col. From there you can follow the road down until you see the first bike trail heading off to La Thuile From La Thuile to La Rosiere ride the Chalet Express chairlift to the top then pedal the fire road climb for 30 minutes (180m vertical) before the fire road descent to Col de Petit St. Bernard. From the Col you can roll 8km down the tarmac road back to La Rosiere. If all this sounds like a lot of effort Cool Bus actually run a day trip where we drive you to the top of the Col de Petit St. Bernard from Bourg and drop you off at the trail head down to La Thuile. When you’ve had your fill of riding the trails over there we shuttle you back up to the top of one of our favourite trails in La Rosiere which is not shown on their map! This drops you out at 1200m where we shuttle you up again for 10 minutes to access

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San Bernardo Bike Park Guide

another one of our favourites which drops you out all the way down in Seez, just outside Bourg St. Maurice. The cost of this day trip is 200 euros for up to 8 riders but you only need to buy a La Thuile lift pass saving you 40 euros (over the San Bernardo pass for a group of 8), an hour of pedaling and you get to ride two trails you may not have found otherwise! But what about the riding?!... La Rosiere has a selection of very well built man made trails. The downhill trails total around 25km. Over half of this is above the treeline consisting off nicely built berms and jumps. Our favourite however, would have to be Dream Forest. This is nearly 6km long and runs through the dense forest from the resort back down to the bottom of the lower chairlift. Whilst it is man made with plenty of banked corners it still has a much more natural feel compared to the rest of the bike park Over the last ten years La Thuile has established itself as one of the leading bike parks in the area, something which lead to it being used for a round of the

Enduro World Series in 2014 and 2016. The trails here are numerous and the vast majority run below the treeline. Some use modified walking trails and some have been built from scratch. What makes these trails stand out is the balance between retaining a natural feel whilst still maintaining a good flow. Corners are wide enough and sufficiently banked to enable you to carry speed which is something you don’t get with the 100% natural trails in the area which are generally dotted with speed killing hairpins! The emphasis in La Thuile is certainly towards the harder end of the trail spectrum and its intermediate to advanced riders that will get the best out of a trip here. A quick look at the stats shows that half of the trails are graded black. Expect your forearms to get a good workout from the relentless tree routes and steep chutes! Other highlights of La Thuile have to be the welcoming friendly Italian atmosphere and the chance to have pizza, Peroni, gellato, espresso and limoncello for lunch for the same price as a McDonalds in France!

1. La Rosiere: 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. La Thuile: 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.

Day Ticket San Bernardo 24 euros

1200m to 2250m Day Ticket La Rosiere 15 euros Open Dates 2nd July until 24th August Sunday until Thursdays only 09:45-12:15 then 13:45 until 16:45 2x chairlifts

1400m to 2300m Day Ticket La Thuile 19 euros 220km of trails in La Thuile including 2 blue downhill trails, 3 reds and 5 blacks Open dates 24th June until 27th August Open Every day from 09:30 until 17:00 2x chairlifts

Download the trail map at LATHUILE.NET

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s ee ll a V 3

f there is an undiscovered gem of mountain biking in the Tarentaise then it has to be Les 3 Vallees. Despite Meribel hosting the final round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in 2014 it still remains very much off the radar as far as mountain bikers are concerned. We spent a whole day in the Meribel valley on the closing day of the resort last summer and saw just four other mountain bikers on the 40km of incredible trails that we rode! No surprise then that their trails are in such fantastic condition! Les 3 Vallees is a huge mountain bike area. In terms of square kilometres it is easily the largest lift linked bike park featured in this magazine. For those that are unfamiliar with the area, the

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valleys, from east to west, are Courchevel, Meribel and the Belleville valley which includes Les Menuires, Val Thorens and St. Martin-de-Belleville. Each has sufficient trails to keep you busy for several days but combined they make an awesome venue for a week long holiday.

and be aware that if you turn up at a bus stop and see eight other riders waiting you might be out of luck! Higher up you will find some good purpose built trails above the treeline at 1850 and up around the Saulire peak. This is also where you need to head if you want to drop down into Meribel.

In Courchevel you’ll find some incredible natural trails through the lower forests, particularly down towards Le Praz. Its possible to ride all the way down to St. Bon or even Bozel, way down in the valley at 750m altitude. Probably best to invest in an IGN map (like OS in the UK) if you want to do this as a lot of the trails don’t feature on the bike park map. There is a free shuttle bus with bike racks for 8 bikes that runs half hourly from St. Bon and a couple of times a day from Le Grand Carrey all the way back up to Courchevel 1850. Do check the timetable beforehand though

The Meribel valley features some great natural trails lower down and purpose built trails higher up. The DH4 downhill trail that runs from the top of the Tougnette chairlift is not to be missed. Really well built making the most out of the mountain with very steep berms and nicely shaped jumps which all flow together beautifully. This was a new trail back in 2015 but doesn’t see much traffic and therefore still rides ‘as new’! Our favourite route in the whole area has to be the trail that follows the ridgeline between the Meribel and Belleville valleys, so


3 Vallees Bike Park Guide

much so that we offer this as an uplift out of season. It also features in the Trans Savoie bike race. From the Pas de Cherferie there is a fairly brutal climb up the steep fireroad and piste up to Le Verdet at 2294m. It is well worth the effort though as what follows is an epic ridgeline descent that can take anywhere between 2 and 3 hours depending on how much of a hurry you are in! Near the top the trail is undulating with some fun, rocky descents interspersed with very short climbs. Just as you drop into the treeline the trail starts to really flow with sweeping, naturally banked corners. Further down expect some rooty sections and then fairly exposed forest singletrack towards the bottom. Some of the trail is marked up as E7 on the Meribel trail map but we have tweaked our own version to include some more cheeky

singletrack and to finish all the way down in the valley at Moutiers. If you uplift the trail with us we provide a Garmin GPS so you can navigate your way successfully through the many junctions. Have a look at the edit of the trail on our vimeo channel - https://vimeo.com/99338416 Of the 3 valleys, the Belleville side probably has the smallest concentration of good trails mainly due to its higher altitude. The only trails that run below the treeline are the lower parts leading into St. Martin-de-Belleville. As such Val Thorens or Les Menuires wouldn’t be the best location to choose for a holiday but if you are over in Meribel or Courchevel for the week its definitely worth popping over for a day. There are several really well built downhill tracks with huge steep berms and jumps running down towards Les Menuires and St. Martin-de-Belleville.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

largest linked bike area in the Tarentaise 300km of marked DH and Enduro trails between 2700m and 700m including: 6 green, 11 blue, 12 red and 15 black 6 marked cross country routes 12 gondola lifts, 2 chairlifts and 2 shuttle bus routes with bike carrying capacity to bring you up from the base of the valley opening dates 2nd July until 25th August 2017 day pass 17,50 euros, week pass 52 euros for all 3 Valleys which is a total bargain whatever way you look at it!

Download the trail map at VALTHONET.COM

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1. To cool off

(that don’t involve bikes!) Flicking through the pages of our summer section its clear to see there’s a definite emphasis towards activities involving bikes! As it happens there’s actually a ton of other things to do in the Alps during the summer. We ran an article last year covering everything from parapenting to rafting, rock climbing to lake swimming and hiking to go-karting but this year we thought we’d just highlight three things you might not have considered before.

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During July and August temperatures down in the valley in Bourg are regularly well over 30 degrees. One way to escape is to head up to a higher altitude but an alternative that we love is throwing yourself in to a cool alpine lake and where better to do this than WAM Park! The park is situated in Montailleur, just the other side of Albertville and is based around a 900m long lake. The park originally opened a couple of years ago as a cable tow for wake boarding but has since developed into so much more. The wake boarding itself is great. If you’ve never tried it yourself we’d highly recommend it. Its actually a lot easier to pick up than you might imagine. If you’re a snowboarder you’ll certainly find you are already a step ahead. Skiers might prefer to use their waterskis. It’s not just for adults either. Kids

can have a try getting pulled along on a kneeboard. We’ve seen 6 year olds manage this successfully but an alternative for younger kids is to ride on a kneeboard with a parent. They have the whole family covered. One problem with wake boarding and the other variants mentioned above is that it is very tiring, particularly on the arms. Expect to have had enough after an hour but the fun doesn’t stop there! On the other side of the lake WAM have built a water games course. Have you seen Total Wipeout on the telly? Its a bit like that! A load of inflatable obstacles are anchored in the lake including trampolines, climbing walls, rotating balance beams. It really is fun for all ages. If you just want to spectate there’s a floating pontoon over-

looking the water games area where you can relax on a sun lounger, sipping a cool beverage from the WAM bar! They also have a cafe where you can buy snacks and ice creams. Other activities on the lake include stand up paddle boarding and you can even rent your own floating pontoon to paddle out into the middle of the lake for a bit of solitude! The temperature of the lake is perfect for cooling off during summer and you wont regret a day spent at WAM! A one hour ticket on the wake boarding cable tow costs 18 euros including equipment and the water games park costs 10 euros an hour (though you can get it for as little as 5 euros when paying for a whole group together) For more info go to www.wam73.fr


3 Things we love to do in the alps

2. To fully immerse yourself in the mountains We absolutely love wild camping. Around the Tarentaise there’s heaps of places where you can get up and away from it all and spend a night star gazing. Of course there are some spots where this sort of camping is definitely not allowed. Certainly anywhere in the Vanoise National Park is off-limits. People take the park very seriously so we can guarantee you’ll not go unnoticed if you try and camp up there. There are various other spots dotted around the valley where wild camping is frowned upon and you’ll usually find appropriate signage advising you of this. One such area is Les Cinq Lacs up above Bourg St. Maurice for example. We generally aim for places where there is evidence of people camping before. Fire pits, picnic benches and permanent barbecues are a good indication. Over near the climbing routes on the cliffs of Notre-Dame-du-Pre you’ll find an official campsite with a wild camping feel! Facilities are minimal and there are large fire pits there that you may use. For the full experience leave your tent at home, pack a warm sleeping bag, bivvy bag (if you have one but definitely

not essential during the summer months), a pack of merguez sausages and a hip flask of Genepi! The higher up into the mountains you go, the better the star gazing and naturally cloudless nights with no moon all add to the experience too. If you are going to have a fire please light it in a designated fire pit or barbecue and keep it small. It should go without saying that you absolutely must leave the place as you found it. Scour the area before you leave the next day to make sure you have collected every piece of rubbish no matter how small. One big advantage to staying up in the mountains over night is that you often find yourself walking back down to civilisation in the crisp morning air long before anyone else has made it out hiking. The light is incredible this early in the morning and gives the mountain views much greater depth than you get when the sun is overhead (you’ll see the similar effect at dusk too). Add to this the beautiful sunset and sunrise you are likely to see and you’ve got an unforgettable way to get the full mountain experience!

3. To pamper yourself Visit a spa! Did you know the ski industry actually developed as something that spa’s could offer their clients in winter? With thermal springs dotted all over the Alps you are never too far away from one but our local favourite is over in Italy at Pre-St.-Didier. Turn the page for more…

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r e i d i D . t Pre-S

Its springtime, the season has finished and most seasonaires have left Bourg. The tops of the mountains are still white, but lower down the slopes are now green and lush. The cols are often still deep in snow at this time of year. The Col de Petit St. Bernard is an important summer road link between France and Italy. In winter it forms the pistes of La Rosiere ski resort which links over to the Italian resort of La Thuile. Every year at the end of May, snow ploughs must cut through 6-7 metres of snow to clear the route. In the Tarentaise we are always excited to see this opening so we can pop over to Italy for cheap coffee and delicious pizza. This year its extra important because we have a date with some serious relaxing at the QC Therme spa in Pre-St.-Didier! Pre-St.-Didier is a spa town in the Aosta valley. Aosta is the least populous region of Italy where they speak both French and Italian. Aside from the breathtaking scenery, which include the Italian slopes of Mont Blanc to the west and the

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Matterhorn to the north, the area is packed with ancient buildings and monuments. Impressive castles in seemingly impossible locations cling to the slopes and ridges of the valley sides. QC Terme Spa is a beautiful old building with some more modern additions situated in the centre of Pre-St.-Didier. Its stunning gardens offer perfect views of Mont Blanc. It is fed by naturally occurring springs that have been gushing mineral rich warm water for over a thousand years. Summer or winter, it’s magical to sit in the warm outdoor pools surrounded by that magnificent scenery. On arriving down at QC I was surprised to find just how many ways there are to pamper yourself! There are over 40 different water treatments alone. The outdoor pools have waterfalls to gently massage your back and shoulders, hydromassage benches for a more powerful massage and hydro jets to improve circulation. The sensory pool plays music underwater and has floating aids so you can


3 Things we love to do in the alps lie back in the semi darkness and stare at the ceiling which twinkles with star-like lights. The Kneipp circuit is excellent for circulation. Essentially you walk in a loop through two adjacent knee deep pools, each about 3 metres long. One is filled with hot water and the other with cold. It takes your breath away a little. I found it better to sit and have a foot spa whilst watching the shocked

faces of others doing the kneipp circuit, very entertaining! The Vichy shower has you lying on a slab with gentle hot water raining down on your back. Saunas, steam rooms and delightful relaxation rooms with hanging basket chairs are just a few of the delightful treats you stumble across as you explore the sprawling corridors and tunnels of this beautiful building.

There’s daily free treatments with delicious smelling scrubs and creams and mud treatments. There’s nothing better than lightly dozing on a heated waterbed having steamed and scrubbed yourself to a deliciously smelling goodness! Naturally they also offer private massages and body treatments if you feel the need but to be honest there’s more than enough included on a day pass without

having to spend more of your hard earned. But it’s not all serious relaxation. There is opportunity for a few laughs too. After watching the folk on the kneipp circuit, encourage your friend to relax in a hammock for a while and watch her slam gracefully onto the floor in front of a queue of suave Italians. The gorgeous Italian spa folk pop round with treats every now and again but they can be slightly ambiguous in their delivery. The language barrier provides opportunity for more entertainment and you may find yourself giggling with delight as you watch your friend taste a spoonful of face cream or smooth yoghurt over her cheeks! There are so many ways to unwind here that we’d recommend staying for a few days. The spa has a sister hotel 2 km away where you can take advantage of the amazing restaurant with its very reasonable prices. I discovered this magical place on a pilates and chi khung retreat. For 625 euro we had 3 nights in the spa hotel with use of the hotels onsite spa, full access to the QC Termes Spa, a 5 course meal and the most amazing breakfast buffet that I have ever come across. They have healthy food and drinks available at all times in both the hotel and main spa, but if carrot sticks, muesli and juice isn't enough for lunch, they also actively encourage you to take doggy bags away from the restaurant at breakfast. Such a novelty to be able to stuff a bag with cake without guilt instead of cunningly sneaking out a satsuma. Don’t you just love these Italians!? Continued...

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Pre-St.-Didier Continued Rent a Blacksheep Campervan for your next road trip From just â‚Ź69 per day Departure from Lyon & Bordeaux Geneva & Marseilles

Enjoy your next European Road Trip

Visit www.blacksheep-van.com for more information or to book online Call +33 (0) 9 51 38 88 15 Email contact@blacksheep-van.com Find us on Facebook - /Blacksheep

There are many other things to do locally that are less relaxing if you are keen for such things. I’d highly recommend a wee hike up to the viewing platform above the town. The views from here are incredible. The platform is suspended out above a gorge with a zip wire that forms part of a parcours aventure course in the woods. Just the look of the small platform on the other side of the 200m gorge you cross made my stomach lurch and I

had to grab the sides of the viewing platform. Don't think ill be doing that, but feel free yourself! Close by you will also find the Skyway Monte Bianco. This brand new lift whisks you up from Courmayeur to an altitude of 3300 in a rotating bubble lift. You top out at the Punta Hellbronner right next to Mont Blanc. Surrounded by many 4000 metre peaks, the views from here are quite simply spectacular!

See the spa website for more details www.termedipre.it. the sister hotel can be found at www.qctermemontebianco.it for more details on Pilates and Chi khung retreats in the area contact Sarah Sissons at sarahs@mountainequilibre.com.


Book Review Need a book to read while you relax next to the spa pool? Here’s a few favourites!

CORKSCREW

We Are All Made Of Stars

No More Birthdays

We are all made of stars is a beautiful tale which will make you smile and cry.

This thoroughly enjoyable, debut crime novel from author Lissa Pelzer borrows much of its styling from 1950’s noir novels. The mysterious main character, Lilly (aka Carol Ann Baker) is certainly something of a femme fatale and spends much of the story trying to charm a sum of money that she feels she’s owed from ex-hitman Bobby. There’s twists and turns aplenty and Lilly has to use her wits to stay one step ahead of tough lady detective, Davis.

The highly improbable, but occasionally true, tale of a professional wine buyer by Peter Stafford-Bow

Felix Hart always falls on his feet. Even expulsion from school works in his favour and he's soon on his way in the heady world of wine buying. From counter clerk in Charlie's Cellar he quickly works his way up to head of wine, ale, spirits and salted snacks at Gatesave and then on to Minstrel of Wine, the highest order of vinous honour, demonstrating his world-class expertise in wine, music and bawdiness. Once under the influence of the mysterious potion supplied by the enigmatic Madame Joubert there's no stopping him. He's off on on a most excellent adventure. With an eclectic cast of characters he gets himself into and out of some very unusual and tricky situations. It's a modern day Bill and Ted with a bawdy British gent at the helm. If you like wine you'll be fascinated by the wine tasting sections for entrance into the order of minstrel, but even if you don't like wine and you just like to laugh this book is for you. Peter Stanford-Bow has written an engaging tale that is hilarious from beginning to end.

by Lissa Pelzer

by Rowan Coleman

You will become really fond of all the wonderful characters. You’ll adore funny, feisty Hope who puts up all sorts of barriers to protect herself and gorgeous Ben her best friend since childhood. There is Grace who needs to put something right before she passes. Lovely geeky Hugh who opens up to his new single mother neighbour and starts to see the potential in sharing his life again. The main character Stella works the night shift at the hospice and writes beautiful poignant and funny letters for her wards as they near the end. Telling their loved ones what they are unable to speak out loud. Her own marriage is troubled since her husband lost his leg in the line of duty.

Pelzer doesn’t hold back with this rollercoaster of a tale which at times goes to some pretty dark places! The pace of the narrative makes it difficult to put down and you’ll find yourself repeatedly thinking “Oh I’ll just read one more chapter!”. An inspiring first novel and one of a series, the second of which is already available to buy from Amazon - Dead Memories

It's kind of chick lit, but so much more. Not a bad hair day or a shopping bag in sight. You will cry, but also be warmed by the beautiful letters that Stella writes. A delightful read.

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This is the new Orange Alpine 6. It replaces the Alpine 160 in our range and is rebuilt from the ground up to improve every element of the acclaimed all-mountain big hitter. New lightweight British built 6061-T6 aluminium frame New single-pivot compact rear swingarm Long, low & slack with a 64.5° head-angle. Geometry for 27.5 wheels with 170 front/160 rear travel Frames from £1700 | Bikes from £2800

*Specs and colours live on the Orange Bikes website

PAINT

DECALS

THE ALL-MOUNTAIN AND TRAIL BIKE CONCEPT FROM ORANGE — “IT JUST WORKS”

Cool Bus Onboard Magazine 2016/17  

Ski Resort Guides for Les Arcs, La Plagne, Val d'Isere, Tignes, Meribel, Courchevel, Les Menuires, Val Thorens, La Rosiere, Ste. Foy. Histor...