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Easter Family Ski Trip - La Tania or Les Bruyeres

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I am charged with booking a Easter ski trip for 4 families (having had 2020 and 2021 cancelled) and I am really struggling to decide between a chalet in La Tania (nicer chalet, independent, piste side) or a package with Ski Famille to Les Bruyeres which offers altitude and convenience. Any thoughts on snow conditions in La Tania first week in April and or experiences of Ski Famille would be most appreciated. Head says Les Bruyeres heart says La Tania - thanks for your help.
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We skied there at Easter 2017. By the end of the week Les Folyeres was all but unskiable (though this is not ususal) and ESF had moved their lessons up to the top of the La Tania Bubble. At 1200m it is a little on the low side so I think Les Bruyeres which is a little higher is better. That said we had no problems being there. The village is sunny and it was nice letting the kids play on the equipment whilst we had a pint at the pub. We would go back.
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Stayed at both.

I would favour Les Menuires (Bruyeres) first week of April - simply because you would spending more time top end of Val T valley and Mont Vallon regardless. La Tania more favourable earlier in the season where the trees allow some protection/skiing in bad weather. You would still be fine in La Tania just means you would have to do a bit more to get to the higher snow and have a crap ski home or download.
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My TR from Les Menuires in April 2019:

https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=3392252&highlight=menuires#3392252
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@Jmackinnon, Just check that La Tania will actually be open at Easter 2022. This year it was scheduled to shut on April 17th. In other words the day prior to Easter 2022. I'd be tempted to choose Les Menuires,even though that will be baking hot then.
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Thanks all - we are looking at the week starting 3rd April so Easter holidays rather than Easter itself..... Drat I was really hoping for some positive April La Tania ski stories..


Last edited by You'll need to Register first of course. on Thu 25-02-21 18:29; edited 1 time in total
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The skiing is fine once you get to Courcheval 1800 or over the ridge into Meribel (though down into Meribel itself can be dicey).

We enjoyed the skiing and would go back. If you are self catering there is a Sherpa and a great little deli shop that sells rotisserie chickens. There is also a number of restaurants etc. You just have to acept that you may be downloading in the bubble rather than cruising the Foly.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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Thank you @FrediKanoute this is really helpful, I think we can live with the bubble back. We love the skiing at 1800 but definitely priced out of staying there with three kids in tow.... Sunshine beers whilst the kids play at the end of the day sounds perfect.
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Jmackinnon wrote:
Thank you @FrediKanoute this is really helpful, I think we can live with the bubble back. We love the skiing at 1800 but definitely priced out of staying there with three kids in tow.... Sunshine beers whilst the kids play at the end of the day sounds perfect.


We have 3 kids as well. We are skiing in Tignes for the same weekend. We skied there in 2019 and it was really good, especially for the kids. Lots to do.
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Quote:

Easter holidays rather than Easter itself

Your company may be different but where I work Easter holidays are Good Friday, through to the Tuesday
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Les Bruyeres
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@Jmackinnon,
Quote:

we are looking at the week starting 3rd April so Easter holidays rather than Easter itself..... Drat I was really hoping for some positive April La Tania ski stories..


Almost 3 years ago we enjoyed good snow down to La Tania on 15/16 April. Even good on 15th down to base station at sunny and open Courchevel 1650 (Moriond).
The south facing slopes of Les Menuires were slushy each afternoon but turning watery by the end of the week.
On likely probability, the choice is between skiing mostly on the Courchevel side, above 1800m level, with a bit of Mottaret too. Or else up at Val Thorens and over the Orelle side, with a bit of La Masse thrown in and maybe Mont Vallons, if you fancy that.
Reasonably quick intermediates can easily ski parts of both extremes of the piste map on same day. If lucky with snow and temperatures, crossing the Meribel valley can be pleasant enough.

Nice 'problem' to have to make a choice on snowHead
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johnE wrote:
Quote:

Easter holidays rather than Easter itself

Your company may be different but where I work Easter holidays are Good Friday, through to the Tuesday


I know it's your bug bear when people say Easter holidays, but actually mean Easter school holidays. And you're right, Easter holidays without any further context means good Friday to Easter Monday.

As soon as any op says Easter holidays and family in the same sentence my mind immediately (rightly or wrongly) assumes school holidays.
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You know it makes sense.
Apologies for being vague - you are quite correct we are not travelling over the Easter Holiday at all. Thanks to all for your help, most appreciated.
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My penny's worth, I think it's probably right to go for Le Men, but the south facing pistes through and above Les Menuires and the Boyes piste down to Bruyeres do get completely fried by the sun in the afternoons-the mush levels are really high and it can be pretty unpleasant at the end of the day. La Tania slopes are north facing and more shaded, even though they are much lower. I've never stayed in La T late season, but I can certainly vouch for doing the counter intuitive thing to all the other skiers on the mountain at that time of year (who head to VT for the day) and skiing over to La T and Folyeres first thing. It has usually been an absolute joy to ski Folyeres on firm snow with barely anyone else in sight. The same can be said of Courchevel 1650. I suppose part of your decision depends on the abilities of your ski party.
Having said that, it's easy to get to VT and Orelle from Les Men. At that time of year, to get back to Les Men and Bruyeres from VT after about 3.30pm I'd be tempted to ski Bvd Cumin (even though it will be rather slow) and just get the Reberty chair back to Bruyeres. It avoids the pistes down, which as I say, can be horrid, especially for little legs or less confident skiers. La Masse can be good mid late afternoon too. It gets very shady and people tend to avoid it so the slopes go quiet. Menuires and St Martin side Pistes where the snow remains remarkably good in April include: Allemands; Grand Lac and Pramint.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
We love Les Menuires (and Bruyeres in particular, given its got the only lift that goes straight from bottom to top without a need to change) for late season skiing; have had 2 trips there for the last week of the season and great snow both times.

If things are really bad snow-wise, then Les Menuires means you're a lot closer to the very highest slopes at Val Thorens. The Orelle valley is beautiful and relatively peaceful (certainly compared to the late-season nursery-slopes zoo in Val T below!).

Most importantly, you can do the Val Thorens toboggan in the evening.
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Quote:

La Masse can be good mid late afternoon too. It gets very shady and people tend to avoid it so the slopes go quiet.

Why do people avoid it? In my humble opinion is is one of the best areas of the 3V along with mont Vallon
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@johnE, people gravitate to La Masse in the morning sun, and in my experience by mid afternoon it can be pretty dead. It’s not a hard and fast rule, but I suppose by 3pm, people from other resorts will have needed to head back to where they came from, so far fewer skiers are up there.
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Jmackinnon wrote:
Thanks all - we are looking at the week starting 3rd April so Easter holidays rather than Easter itself..... Drat I was really hoping for some positive April La Tania ski stories..


Honestly, you could easily make an argument for either of these being more suitable (and I'm fond of both) but if you want a mildly biased argument for LT, I'll give it to you.

First off, for sure you wont have any actual skiing problem with early April in LT. I've skied a fair bit around the 3Vs (75 odd weeks) including 15-20 weeks in late March/April/May staying roughly 2/3 in LT, 1/3 in LM/VT and commuting to LM in the weeks after LT has shut if I'm staying in LT. I know the Spring conditions very well.

LM works fine as a base if your plan is to ski VT all day but that isn't necessarily where the best snow is and even late season VT can be crowded because the majority of punters assume that VT has the best snow so that's where they all go. Also, I don't know what age the kids are but the run into VT off the top of Bruyeres lift is not little kid friendly - if you can't hold your speed and glide well, you'll be poling and dragging/pushing them as much as 200m. Not the most fun way to start the day for a young'un.

To expand a bit on some of the other comments above, LT isn't at 1,200m, it's 1,350m at the gondola and 1,400m in the main chalet area. That 200m can make a big difference as to whether you can ski home. The first lift takes you to 1,900m which is more than sufficient for decent skiing. Both LT and LM will be slushy in Spring but LM will be worse because it's in direct sunlight all day. If you're staying in the higher area of LM (Reberty 2000) it's not so bad but Bruyeres itself is a tougher ski home. The higher altitude in LM doesn't compensate for the lack of shade compared to LT.

2017 late season was definitely an exception conditions wise - it's the only time I've ever had to download on the LT gondola due to lack of snow. However, I was there all of April 2017 and it was only necessary to download in the third week of April (last week of the season for LT), it was certainly still skiable in the first two weeks. In contrast, Spring 2018 was (I think) the most late season snow ever so you have to consider the average conditions rather than a single season anecdote. In 2018, Meribel, LM and C1850 all extended their season closing dates. AFAIK, this was the first time Meribel had extended its season for 20+ years and even though Folyeres was shut I was still skiing home on it (via Meribel) after the LT season had finished.

IMO the three areas for piste snow that hold up best in difficult conditions in the whole of the 3Vs are the top half of La Masse, Courchevel above 2,200m (in the morning) and La Tania's home slopes of Bouc Blanc and Folyeres. The top half of the West side of Meribel is usually pretty good too and often largely deserted. All of these except La Masse are easily accessed from LT but not LM. I'm not a big fan of Mont Vallon for family groups because there's no escape routes - once you're on it, you're on it and if you've misjudged your kids' ability/confidence it could be two hours before you get down.

You've also got a potential issue with La Masse in Spring 2022 because the two separate gondolas that are there now are being replaced by a new single lift straight from the base to the summit. In theory, this is more efficient but it also means that there is no longer a mid station so you can't just do circuits around the top half where the best snow is anymore -you'll have to ski top to bottom and the bottom half will be a challenging slush fest in April for sure.

I'm personally quite sad about this because not only did I enjoy doing circuits around the top half in lousy conditions but I also have a soft spot for the self-service at the top of La Masse; it doesn't have the most extensive menu but it's decent quality at a fair price and the family remember you. It used to be quite quiet but I'm pretty sure it's about to become extremely busy! Ah well, they're nice people, they've been there forever and they deserve the break.

One caveat for LT - where exactly is your "piste side" chalet? More chalets in LT are accessible from the red Moretta Blanche piste than the blue Folyeres piste but the red will almost certainly be closed in April because it has no snow-making. Your chalet operator is unlikely to tell you this wink However, you can still access most of the red piste LT chalets by skiing down the drag lift (after it's closed, of course) and dropping off at the bridge or steps but again this would depend on your kids' ability/confidence. You may be able to see the chalet's exact location here https://www.latania.co.uk/resort/MAP/map.htm Worst case scenario for LT is you enjoy the Bouc Blanc restaurant's sunny terrace for a couple of beers and some music before downloading on the LT gondola right next to it. There's a public lift back up to the chalet area about 50m from the bottom of the gondola.

So there you go, not a lot in it but overall I think LT offers more options. You're welcome to PM me if you want more specific info on LT.
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As per @Raceplate post I really wouldn't really sweat it. I almost wrote a similar post tbh but didn't quite have the time/inclination. I would certainly have no issues going to LT 3rd April.

If you ask which I think is better I will still say LM but that is because you asked the question and doesn't mean I think LT is a bad choice/option.
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Layne wrote:
I almost wrote a similar post tbh but didn't quite have the time/inclination.
I'm trying to work out if I should feel complimented for making the effort or insulted for having nothing better to do Laughing

What I can say is it took me 20 odd years of skiing all over the 3Vs and most other major ski areas in the world to realise that the two best pistes were on my doorstep. If I could only ski Bouc Blanc into Folyeres for the rest of my life I would never be bored and die happy, they are magnificent.
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@Raceplate, lol... you took one for the team... lol

Yeah, sometimes the same old can actually be pretty blood good!
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Can’t say ever had any trouble with La Tania early April either, although there was one year the green had a whopping great big hole with a stream but you could still ski round it.

Plus point it gets nice and warm for apres.
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@Raceplate, Thanks for the info regarding Le Masse 1 and 2, like you I will be disappointed about the gondolas being replaced with one that is non stop without a mid station. I can only think that it is a terrain issue that the new lift cannot have a mid station.
it will not affect me next year, as I will be going in Feb but will when we return to LM. will just have to make do with Rocher and lac noir chairs!!!

without doubt it will benefit non skiers who will now be able to access the top, whereas previously if they had managed to do it, they would have to had negotiated a busy piste on foot.

I have always wondered why it wasn't more accessible for non skiers.

FWIW I also have a soft spot for the two runs into La Tania, generally reasonably quiet and meant I would be soon eating a ski lodge burger!!!!!
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Great summary view from @Raceplate, I concur with everything he's said.

We are LT regulars (our kids are now 13Y and 10Y old).

There's no bigger pleasure in life than enjoying a beer at the Le Roc / 1928 at the Col de la Loze, being prompted by the pisteurs to get your skis on because you're the last group on the mountain and blasting it down Lanches and Folyeres without any soul in sight (everyone else will be at the Ski Lodge) ...

Do it.
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terrygasson wrote:
@Raceplate, Thanks for the info regarding Le Masse 1 and 2, like you I will be disappointed about the gondolas being replaced with one that is non stop without a mid station. I can only think that it is a terrain issue that the new lift cannot have a mid station.


Surely bad news for windy days - when the whole mountain will be closed, instead of perhaps only the top half Shocked

And I can't help thinking it will be busier "over there." Sad
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terrygasson wrote:
will just have to make do with Rocher and lac noir chairs!!!

Unfortunately not, I believe both of those are being removed this summer.
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Bergmeister wrote:
terrygasson wrote:
@Raceplate, Thanks for the info regarding Le Masse 1 and 2, like you I will be disappointed about the gondolas being replaced with one that is non stop without a mid station. I can only think that it is a terrain issue that the new lift cannot have a mid station.


Surely bad news for windy days - when the whole mountain will be closed, instead of perhaps only the top half Shocked

And I can't help thinking it will be busier "over there." Sad

I've just rechecked my resource and it looks like only La Masse 2 is being removed, La Masse 1 will remain, presumably for exactly the reason you've suggested - to keep the mountain open in high winds. Won't be much help in spring though, that entire side is slush from early afternoon onwards.
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franga wrote:
Great summary view from @Raceplate, I concur with everything he's said.

Thanks. OP seems to have gone but for anyone else, one extra point that I should have made (and which I'm sure you know already) is that LT is far more family-friendly for apres than Bruyeres/LM.

LT has a fully pedestrianised centre and it's easy for adults to sit on a sunny terrace with a beer while the kids play in the snow or toboggan down the gentle piste. There is live music several nights a week and in April the bands move outside to play on the terraces. You've also got tourist office stuff going on on Mondays (free cheese, games, hot toddy etc.) and a kids' trampoline.

Live music style apres in LM is pretty much non-existent and depending where your accommodation is in Bruyeres you're either in a rabbit warren of apartment blocks or on a windy mountain road. There's no real co-ordination for activities that I recall.
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Raceplate wrote:
franga wrote:
Great summary view from @Raceplate, I concur with everything he's said.

Thanks. OP seems to have gone but for anyone else, one extra point that I should have made (and which I'm sure you know already) is that LT is far more family-friendly for apres than Bruyeres/LM.

LT has a fully pedestrianised centre and it's easy for adults to sit on a sunny terrace with a beer while the kids play in the snow or toboggan down the gentle piste. There is live music several nights a week and in April the bands move outside to play on the terraces. You've also got tourist office stuff going on on Mondays (free cheese, games, hot toddy etc.) and a kids' trampoline.

Live music style apres in LM is pretty much non-existent and depending where your accommodation is in Bruyeres you're either in a rabbit warren of apartment blocks or on a windy mountain road. There's no real co-ordination for activities that I recall.


I agree with this. The year we were there they had a charity event one afternoon with heaps of activities for the kids. Ours had a ball and loved it. The Ski Lodge is great!
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 Poster: A snowHead
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Raceplate wrote:


You've also got a potential issue with La Masse in Spring 2022 because the two separate gondolas that are there now are being replaced by a new single lift straight from the base to the summit. In theory, this is more efficient but it also means that there is no longer a mid station so you can't just do circuits around the top half where the best snow is anymore -you'll have to ski top to bottom and the bottom half will be a challenging slush fest in April for sure.

I'm personally quite sad about this because not only did I enjoy doing circuits around the top half in lousy conditions but I also have a soft spot for the self-service at the top of La Masse; it doesn't have the most extensive menu but it's decent quality at a fair price and the family remember you. It used to be quite quiet but I'm pretty sure it's about to become extremely busy! Ah well, they're nice people, they've been there forever and they deserve the break.


THREAD DRIFT: Many moons ago, rope drop, we caught the first gondola up la Masse, fresh snow overnight, crisp bluebird, god like morning. After about 200m the lift stopped. We were fuming, but after 10 minutes we crawled our way to the top. We were all bouncing at the wasted time, but it turned out there were only 3 loaded cars as they had stopped anyone else loading. There was probably 20 of us and half skied straight down the bottom. The top lift was running and so we tootled over. Yup, you guessed 10 punters for the next 2 hours destroying every inch of powder. Heaven.

Of the 2 I think I would go for Les Bruyeres because of its links to Val Thorens. Yes the lower slopes get hammered by the spring sun but you can always download from Bruyeres mid station.
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@Jmackinnon, one possible downside to LT is that it is at one 'corner' of the ski area. If you have someone who can only ski blues then return options from further afield are more limited: you always have to return via Courchevel 1850 using Chenus/Coqs/Plantrey and Arolles, or walk uphill from the end of the Col de La Loze piste to the top of Chenus. If everyone can ski reds you can also return via Lanches, or Le Praz (if still open at Easter). LM has more options for skiing out, and returning, in different directions. Whether this matters depends on how your party likes to ski and their abilities
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Jmackinnon wrote:
Thanks all - we are looking at the week starting 3rd April so Easter holidays rather than Easter itself..... Drat I was really hoping for some positive April La Tania ski stories..


Skied 4 years in Easter (inc last week of the season) staying in La Tania. Could always ski back down to La Tania. Even had a BBQ in shorts it was that warm one year!

Pics, the last pic with the chalets is the run down, you can see the depth of snow it has. LT is North facing so does tend to hold the snow.

https://greghilton.co.uk/oldsite/albums/latania2005/
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Quote:

or Le Praz (if still open at Easter)

We have been to La Praz twice at Easter (OK, both times were when Easter was early, either late March or early April) and actually thought it good. On one trip we even had a blizzard and were able to ski back down to the resort. On other occaisions we simply skied to the lift and downloaded.
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