Mountains #19 & #20 of #EpicRace -- Courchevel & La Tania

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Bonjour! We finally made it to France for the last week of the race and our trip. The last 8 resorts we have left to ski are all located in an area known as Les 3 Vallées, which is the largest skiable area in the world. We are basing ourselves out of Méribel for the week since it is the most centrally located of all of the villages.  Apparently a lot of other racers had the same idea and I'd bet we have over 20 of them staying in the same building with us.

We spent the night before down the hill in the town of Montiers and enjoyed a delicious dinner at a tiny little french restaurant. It was a complete one-man show with the owner serving as the bartender, waiter, and even the chef! He didn't speak any English so it was quite entertaining trying to order. We had a delicious charcuterie with salami, pâté, prosciutto, pickles, fresh bread, etc. Next it was on to Fondue! It was very tasty, although it was literally just cheese and bread -- no apples or any other items to dip as well. Then homemade dessert! Definitely a fun dinner out.

The next day we drove up to our hotel in Méribel to check in and drop our stuff off before skiing.  Since Dave told them it was our honeymoon, we were upgraded to the "penthouse"! It is the very top of the building and we overlook the ski hill. It's an apartment rental with a kitchen, living room, dining room, bedroom, and 2 bathrooms -- very cozy! There was a bottle of champagne, some chocolates, coffee mugs, and some other little trinket items to welcome us which was quite fun.  The building is ski in/ski out which is an awesome change from walking through town!

Awesome welome gift!
After checking in, we headed out on to the hill to check off two more resorts for the day. We were both exhausted, but decided to push through it to take a day off later in the week when we really needed it.  The cool thing about the area is that just like in Austria, you can ski from one town to another, but here, the mountains seem MUCH bigger.

We headed straight over to the next valley of Courchevel and La Tania. It started out as a pretty overcast morning and the light was pretty flat which made it a bit difficult to see. We ended up skiing right by the airport though! The resort of Courchevel has a resort that is in the middle of the ski hill -- you can ski all around it! The runway is at a slant so plans apparently land going uphill and take off going down the hill, so they're able to get away with a very short runway. This is definitely the resort for the private jet crowd! Every high end brand you can think of has shops right next to the slope in the main hub of town.

Hotel in Courchevel with massive chandeliers. 
Before we started our day, we picked these two resorts since they were the closest and there was a nice loop that would hit all of the required checkpoints, and we figured we could be home in 2-3 hours. Well, that didn't quite happen and it took us a full 6 hours! We had some issues finding the tourist office in Courchevel since there are several village locations and we ended up at the very base. That office was closed for lunch until 2 and wouldn't be back for an hour. So we decided to head over to La Tania, check off that mountain and just come back.  Well wouldn't you know we get to La Tania, and there office is closed until 3! So, back over to Courchevel we went. Back at the tourist office it was finally open but they had no idea what race we were talking about or what stamp we needed, so they put their return address stamp on our paper instead of the official one. We were a bit peeved at this point and then headed BACK over to La Tania.  Luckily that tourist office was open again as well and gave us the correct stamp.  We also ran into some more racers and asked them about the tourist office in Courchevel and they told us where to find the correct one. We had about 90 mins before the lifts closed and decided to go for it and go back over to Courchevel for the 3rd time that day to get the right stamp.  Don't want to be disqualified for some minor stamp technicality! Luckily 3rd times the charm, we got the stamp, and we're finally headed home. It definitely was not how we planned to spend our day, but we did get to explore quite a bit of terrain!

Since we're in an apartment, we were finally able to make a home cooked meal instead of eating out.  We made our own little charcuterie platter, and picked up some fresh sausages from the local butcher and made some pasta for dinner.  It was so nice to sit, relax, and know we're in the same spot for a full week!

For the photo/video requirements, we completed the following checkpoints:

1) Top of the Saulire cable car (the highest point between Courchevel and Meribel Valley)

2) La Cave Des Creux (Restaurant)

3) Courchevel Airport


1) Bouc Blanc Chairlift

2) Le Bouc Blanc Restaurant

3) Top of the Dou Des Lanches chairlift

It was quite the day of back and forth skiing!
20 down, only 6 more to go!

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