European Ski Resorts – What’s Changed for 2019/20?

Competition in the snow-sports industry has never been fiercer.

Snow sports enthusiasts demand more and more value from their travelling agencies, hosts and resorts, forcing them to constantly evaluate and improve their services and facilities.

This is especially true in Europe, where relatively new ski resorts have emerged and managed to attract considerable numbers of skiers with their competitive prices and decent facilities.

Most major improvements and changes are constantly taking place in some of the most famed resorts in the French and Austrian Alps.

Keeping track of the changes is not always easy, so we wanted to provide a concise list of all the major changes that took place this season in skiing resorts across Europe.

Austria

Mayrhofen

Famed not just for its skiing conditions, but also for its authentic Tyrolean character, Mayrhofen has a seen a great surge in first-time visitors during the last years, something that caused some delays in transportation during the high season.

The Moslbahn, a new 10-person gondola, has connected the bus station with the mid-mountain area and a new red run.

France

Alpe d’Huez

Alpe d’Huez saw the opening of a new 10-person gondola that took the place of the Eclose and Bergers chairlifts and can take almost 2,500 people per hour from the lower quarter to the Bergers area.

Courchevel

Courchevel boasts some of the best-groomed slopes across Europe, but its lift system, which was considered excellent for many years, needed upgrading, along with other sectors of its general infrastructure.

Scheduled to be the host of the 2023 FIS World Championship, Courchevel saw some major improvements including a new Grangettes gondola, taking skiers from Courchevel 1550 to Courchevel 1850.

The new system can carry 2400 people per hour in less than three minutes.

Another major upgrade was the renovation of the Le Croisette building in Courchevel, which now provides much better access to the gondolas of the village. In addition to that, twenty-six new snow cannons were installed and used this season – an investment that cost around a million euros.

La Plagne

Comprised of 10 different villages, La Plagne’s family-friendly feel and extensive intermediate slopes have made it extremely popular for families, but certain changes and upgrades were necessary to keep up with the growing number of visitors, especially in the Plagne Centre.

Some of them involved infrastructure improvements, including an undercover bus station, as well as recreation hubs, like the new base village bar, a bowling alley, and an outdoor ice rink.

The most significant addition though was the new Deep Nature day spa, with its luxurious spa area, encompassing a hammam, a Nordic and salt bath, counter-current swimming pool, and saunas.

The handy Plagne Access, a new Lift Pass payment system, was also used for the first time this year, allowing visitors to link their bank card to their lift pass and use it for purchases and payments within the resort.

La Rosiere

La Rosiere, small and more peaceful (compared to other neighbouring resorts), has been for many years a favourite skiing destination for under-aged skiers and families, but efforts have been made to make it more appealing to intermediate adult skiers.

The resort was considerably expanded and now encompasses 123 miles of runs, including five new red pistes and a great free-skiing zone that is now lift-accessible.

Now, Mont Valaisan peak is part of the ski area, raising the resort’s altitude to 9,186 feet.

Since 2019 you can enjoy 5 new red pistes in the Mont Valaisan sector, which you can enjoy whilst gaining access to the ski area’s new highest peak of 2,800m. This new expansion completes the choice on offer for the more athletic skiers, on the north facing Aoste Valley side. Located on the French side of the ski area, to the right of the Redoute Ruinée Fort, this investment of 15 million euros created 5 new red pistes with 2 new person chairlifts : The Moulins and the Mont Valaisan. You can now discover a more technical ski area with more freeride possibilities.”www.larosiere.net

Infrastructure was also improved, with a pair of new six-person chairlifts.

Les Deux Alpes

Les Deux Alpes is the highest skiable glacier in France, and the greatest lift-served French off-piste ski area; still, a new eight-person chairlift on La Toura was added to serve the needs of the growing numbers of visitors and eventually replace the Toura and Lac Noir chairlifts.

Despite the fact that Les Deux Alpes is already the largest snow-park in Europe, further expansion plans are underway, including new pistes, snow cannons, public infrastructure, and recreation facilities.

Meribel

Co-hosting the 2023 FIS World Championships with Courchevel, Meribel currently undergoes some major improvements in its public and skiing infrastructure.

First, the resort’s snow-making capacity doubled this season, and two new pistes were added, along with ‘fun zones’ for first-timers and families.

LE YETI PARK / MERIBEL

In addition, the Mont Vallon bubble lift and two new high-speed six-seater chairlifts on the Roc de Fer side link now transport skiers across the Belleville Valley, providing easier access to the famed Jerusalem piste.

Tignes

Tignes’ visitors welcomed this year the new Grande Motte cable car and the open-top roof terrace.

Val d’Isère

Val d’Isère’s La Daille gondola needed a major upgrading for many years now.

The resort eventually decided to replace it with a new heated ten-seater, with Wi-Fi connectivity, cutting in half the time needed to reach the top and tripling the carrying capacity, which is now estimated to 2,800 people per hour.

On top of that, it provides direct access to the Folie Douce terrace.

We also saw the reopening of the Teleski 3,000 draglift, which remained closed for more than five seasons.

Now advanced skiers enjoy access to some rather tough skiing terrain lying between Solaise and Fornet.

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