End Of Season Round Up

The 2014/15 winter ski season will surely go down as one of the most eventful in Cool Bus history. We fought through many challenging days behind the wheel but were lucky enough to have an awesome team behind us without which things could have much harder! Here’s a quick run down of the highs and lows…

Back in December things were looking pretty dire. With what was widely reported as the worst early season snow conditions for 40 years, many resorts in the Tarentaise were unable to open at all for their first week. Others such as Les Arcs and La Plagne opened with only two or three runs of artificial snow. Amidst all this doom and gloom we were doing our best to cope with our busiest week of the winter, providing transport for the “Festival de Cinema Europeen des Arcs”! Squeezing 200 transfers for the glitterati of European Cinema into one hectic week is no mean feat and the drivers and office staff at Cool Bus were already demonstrating the sort of determination that would prove vital later on in the winter!


And then from one extreme to the other… Having struggled to squeeze a few centimetres of snow together for skiing through the busy Christmas period we then saw 40cm fall in a couple of hours during the early morning of Saturday 27th December. The chaos that ensued was widely reported in the UK press. For the full low down see our blog post below. Suffice to say our drivers and office staff were stretched to the limit and beyond with gridlock throughout the local area and journey times running into double figures just to get to Geneva airport (never mind getting back again)! The mayhem continued all through Sunday as well with the customers of lesser transport companies left stranded in airports, train stations and town halls across the area. The one silver lining from this weekend was the incredible feedback we got from our customers praising the superhuman efforts of our drivers who persevered through the worst conditions imaginable!


January started in a much more sedate fashion. Always the quietest period of the season, we were blessed with a few weekends with very little traffic and even the weather was kind to us. As we approached the end of the month though, the snow reports were bringing warnings of an impending storm. This time the worst of it fell on Friday morning rather than Saturday but it still made for a pretty challenging weekend!

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 10.43.07

The snowy weather continued into February and we had some pretty fun days both driving in it and skiing/snowboarding on the mountain. Here’s a little time-lapse driving video from our Vimeo channel showing what conditions were like that week.

Snowy Driving from CoolBus on Vimeo.

As the snow continued we experienced another interesting saturday at Geneva airport when they shut the runway for over an hour! This was right in the middle of the day on the 21st February – one of the busiest saturdays of the season, falling during UK half-term and French holidays. The result was many of our clients got diverted to Zurich, Basel or Lyon and then bussed back to Geneva 4 or 5 hours later. Another challenging one for our Geneva airport rep Sara to deal with!
Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 09.24.08 The very next weekend saw yet more disruption, this time in the form of a 50 tonne boulder which rolled down the hillside to finish up right in the middle of the main road up to Val Thorens! With this happening on Friday afternoon there was nowhere near enough time to get the road cleared before the peak traffic on Saturday morning (again still inside the French Holiday period!). The authorities diverted traffic onto a much smaller side road and allowed only descending traffic (cars but not coaches) to pass during the morning and then opened it up to those arriving in the afternoon. This resulted in a huge tailback of arriving traffic which built up steadily to Albertville through the morning and which did not clear until late into the night. Despite having very few transfers to the 3 Valleys we were still effected as the main route into the valley was blocked. Once again our drivers pulled out all the stops and their considerable knowledge to find alternative routes via every backroad available around Albertville!


March provided some much needed respite as the snowfall eased off again and things returned to near normal! Despite the good snowfalls of february, most resorts still lacked a decent amount of base due to the dry december. At this point it was looking increasingly like we might see a very early end to the season and we took advantage of the good on-piste snow conditions to get a few sneaky runs in on our mountain bikes!


Winter Bike Uplifts from CoolBus on Vimeo.

And then April delivered! A good solid snowfall that seemed to last for a whole week provided just what was needed to see out the season. Even the snowpack (which had been incredibly unstable for most of the season) improved hugely meaning there was some awesome conditions to be found off-piste. With all of this happening just after the Easter holidays, the resorts were relatively quiet and we finally had the chance to really enjoy the snow! Here’s a little video showing one of our late season day trips to Ste. Foy.

Ste. Foy Spring 2015 from CoolBus on Vimeo.

And then just when you think its all over… there’s a landslide in Moutiers! On the day of the landslide itself (Wednesday 8th April) delays of up to 3 hours were affecting traffic into and out of the valley. Once again our drivers local knowledge was put to the test with some interesting shortcuts being devised along gravel roads and through forests! With most of the debris landing on the railway it was the trains that were worst affected and the Snowtrain was unable to complete its journey up to Bourg St. Maurice for the following 3 weeks while repairs were carried out!


With such an eventful season its seemed only right that we see it out in spectacular fashion and so the end of April saw the inaugural Cool Bus Grand Prix take place at the karting track in Albertville. Nearly all of our drivers took part, competing in pairs that were picked at random. In the end it was Charlie Ward and Graham Gilligan that took the chequered flag with Emily Horridge taking the honours for fastest female around the track.

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 13.55.56

From here celebrations moved on to Charly’s Factory in Bourg St. Maurice where Christophe and Agathe served us up an amazing meal. Then onwards to our, now famous, End of Season Party in Malgovert Forest, Les Arcs with all the usual trimmings – a boot full of Kronenbourg, huge open fire, glowsticks, balloons and DJ Carpetface!

Huge thanks to all the drivers and staff at Cool Bus that made the 2014/15 season what it was. You are the best! And not forgetting our customers who have been incredibly understanding and cheerful through some of the toughest times we’ve ever seen out on the snowy roads of the French Alps!

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 14.09.34

See you again next winter, its been emotional…

27th December 2014 – The Worst Transfer Day on Record?

There we all were, moaning about the lack of snow and then it came, seemingly in a matter of minutes… At around 3.30am on Saturday morning some Cool Bus drivers were setting out to work, from Bourg-Saint-Maurice up to nearby resorts, snow free roads all the way, only to be met by carnarge on the way back down the valley en-route to airports servicing the area – Geneva, Lyon, Chambery and Grenoble.c985b04a976d2fb1361d87c7761ef54ec954bbbc43346cec71fb104c01125a63 The day had only just started and for many it would (hopefully) be the longest day and in fact weekend of the year! Quite frankly, we’ve never experienced roads like it. The main routes to and from the Tarentaise – through Moutiers and Albertville particularily, were gridlocked. Perhaps those worst affected were holidaymakers starting out their journeys on Saturday morning to the airport from Tignes, Val d’Isere and Ste. Foy. Reports say that a bus crashed and blocked the Ste. Foy road which then created mass queues on the only road that services these resorts – no way out, literally. It was TWELVE, yes TWELVE hours later that some vehicles got down to the end of the valley, a drive that would normally only take an hour at most!6fdb5a80f8cd6664133b36590a8882cc19afdbe2ec7786efd7fa751ffe342de8 The knock-on effect from such incidents was the main cause of problems throughout the day, that and drivers getting stuck here, there and literally everywhere including the fast lane of the motorway, before it was standstill! It is so important to be prepared for travel to the mountains in the winter, to actually know how to put snow chains and to not leave it too late in the event of snow on the roads but equally, not drive on snow-free roads at 20km/ph with chains on… Together with the sheer volume of traffic that is inevitable on this weekend of the year (between Christmas and New Year) and this instant snowfall, the motorways of the Savoie and all connecting roads to ski resorts were riddled with accidents, blockages and queues.5e1a26898e6f1d2294ab333bfc5c9b96976b46e97b9fb29efa0333d2250d433e What many people don’t know and without giving too much away, there are some excellent back road shortcuts that we here at Cool Bus use when times are hard on the main roads. Wherever possible, we tried to use every ounce of our knowledge and experience to bypass the jams and even though there were indeed some journey times well into double figures, we’ve had some greatly appreciated feedback from many of our customers – some of whom made their flights and others who weren’t so lucky. Getting people to their destination safely is our main priority and we are glad to report we were 100% successful.

“Just wanted to say a huge thanks to Emily for getting us to Geneva yesterday . The conditions were atrocious. We hope Emily got back safely. She was a trooper and was very helpful and always positive,” Robert, Donna, Izzy, Jakey.

“We just wanted to say how fantastic Wayne was when we were stuck in all the chaotic traffic en route from Lyon to Val d’Isere yesterday. He tried every possible short cut and had endless patience even with two young children and four adults in his load. We would not have got through without his skill and knowledge. He kept his good humour in spite of a very long day. Thank you,” Alice and Ian Herve.

“Firstly want to thank our skilled driver Will for getting us safely,courteously and patiently to Les Arcs yesterday,” Damian McManus

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank her (Sheryl) for her amazing driving yesterday. She drove fearlessly for 6 gruelling hours in a snowstorm that stopped many others in their tracks. She took short cuts and made quick-thinking decisions to avoid the huge jams and blockages on our way. Luckily, our flight was delayed to allow us to fly home but without her skilful driving we would be either stranded or injured. Please pass on my huge thanks to her and wish her and Ivan a very happy future together-Sheryl is one of life’s “good guys” and I was privileged to have met her,” Alicia Syson

“Please thank Niall for his epic back way driving. Please let us know that he got home safely,” Sally

“Can I just pass on my thanks to your team for getting us back to Geneva last night? It must have been a chaotic day, but your driver Lauren was extremely good – a fast but safe and smooth driver who was a pleasure to deal with,” Janet Bettle

“My family and I travelled into Geneva from Belfast yesterday and were due to be picked up by a private transfer arranged by Ski Lifts …. Due to the chaos, their driver ran out of hours and your driver Robyn Maddison very kindly came to the rescue as he was transferring another family to Le Plagne and offered us a lift and as it turned out a life line, as without his tenacity and determination we would still be in Geneva. I must compliment you and your firm on the quality of your vehicles and drivers ….. Robyn was simply magnificent. He knew all the back roads and got around the Autoroutes that had simply become carparks …. Robyn drove us for over 10 hours and would not give up, networking all of your other drivers on the road and your control for every ounce of intelligence as to what was drivable and what was not …. Eventually crawling up the Le Plagne hill through 21 hairpin bends, to drop us at the front door of our hotel….. Remarkable … When most other skiers were spending a night on the floor of the local school or town hall and he still had a two hour drive home to negotiate Please pass on our thanks and best wishes to all your team …. Truly brilliant, above and beyond the call of duty service yesterday …. Well done…” Lee Callow

“I just wanted to say thank you to our wonderful driver (Wayne). He got us to the airport yesterday with 6 minutes to spare and we made it on to our plane ( with a little bit of queue barging) !!” Mary Ann Rolfe and Family

“I just wanted to email to say a huge thank you to you and particularly to Sam who picked us up from Les Arcs yesterday for our transfer to Geneva airport. It was an horrific journey and he was absolutely brilliant, bearing in mind he was transporting 3 children for nearly 10 hours!! He is a credit to your company. Please pass on our thanks to him again, we really appreciate his calmness and humour as well as his safe and careful driving in really awful conditions. Thank you again for a second year of well organised transfers. Hope to be in touch again next year!” Jackie Jeffries and family

Thanks to all of our drivers for their hard work and patience and here’s hoping we don’t see another weekend like this for at least another 15 years!2048d6be20ff44feee94e047ba491deb1f3c8e6ce6fe4f6cd56f2f84f435bc33

Opening Day!

OK, the likes of Tignes, Val D’Isere and Val Thorens might have been partially open for some time now but for the bulk of resorts, the middle of December brings the opening weekend of the winter season. Cool Bus were out in force yesterday with the full fleet of 24 vehicles on the road. This year it was a little bit special as for the first time ever we actually managed to get every van fully sign written before the start of the season, largely down to the efforts of Bry! Driving back early from Geneva passing a Cool Bus every 20 minutes in full livery was truly a sight to bring a tear to the eye!


The first week of the season for us is largely filled with providing transport for the Festival de Cinema Europeen des Arcs – lesarcs-filmfest.com. Now in its 6th year the festival sees the best of European cinema brought together for a week in Les Arcs. Its a bit like the Cannes Film Festival with a little less glamour and a bit more snow!

Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 14.24.31

Cool Bus have been involved right from the start and are the official transport suppliers. For us this means ferrying around lots of VIP’s (obviously we think all of our customers are VIP’s!) as we bring in the film producers, directors and actors represented by the featured films. This year the focus is on Irish cinema which is great as its means at least half the films being shown are in English! We are particularly excited about seeing Frank – http://frank-film.com/#/, a new film by Lenny Abrahamson which is in the running for an award. Remember Frank Sidebottom from the ’80’s (the man with a massive head!), yeah he’s in it!


Opening Day Snow Conditions

There’s been plenty of press already about the lack of snow in the Alps and there’s no denying that conditions are far from ideal but we thought we’d take a chance here to focus on the positives and give you a rough idea of what’s open in this valley and while we’re at it lets not forget that the avalanche risk is at a record low for this time of year!

Tignes has been open for some time and has the best snow in the valley due to its high altitude. Access between Tignes and Val d’Isere is possible. Around half the lifts and a third of the runs in Espace Killy as a whole are currently listed as open. Val is currently showing around half its pistes and lifts as running.

Les Arcs and La Plagne both opened on time with limited skiing in both. Les Arcs has the 2000 bowl open with good piste skiing plus some shorter runs in 1800. The link between Les Arcs and La Plagne is due to open next weekend on the 20th December.

Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 13.57.41

Some skiers in Les Arcs yesterday!

Over in the 3 Vallees, Val Thorens is offering the best skiing as you would expect given its high altitude and the majority of its pistes and lifts are up and running. Les Menuires is open with a limited area. Meribel is partially open but there are only very limited runs currently accessible in Courchevel.


After a very mild november the weather has turned much colder. Snow cannons have been running round the clock to boost snow cover. The forecast for next week is currently showing snowfalls for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday! Bring it on!

For more detailed info try the links below:

Val D’Isere – http://www.valdisere.com/valdisere/fr/glisse/pistes_remontees/ouvertures_pistes_remontees

Tignes – http://www.tignes.net/en/skiing-in-tignes/ski-area-932.html

Les Arcs – http://www.lesarcs.com/domaine-skiable.html

La Plagne – http://www.la-plagne.com/en/winter/news/snow-forecast/weather-forecast.html

Val Thorens – http://www.valthorens.com/hiver-fr/val-thorens/infos-live/plan-interactif-des-pistes.426.html

Les Menuires – http://en.lesmenuires.com/slopes

Courchevel – http://www.courchevel.com/winter/en/snow-cover-n563.html

Meribel – http://www.meribel.net/ski-2011/outils/ouvertures-pistes.html

Doing Our Bit for Sochi!

As you may have read in this season’s most thrilling on-board magazine (The Cool Bus Magazine!) we’ve been getting excited about the imminent 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games for some time now and they start in just over a weeks time!

sochi logo

Team GB have a great chance of getting some medals from the likes of freeskiers James ‘Woodsy’ Woods and Katie Summerhayes amongst others. This last week we picked up some of the GB Paralympian team and took them up to Tignes and back for some last minute training.

Some of the GB Paralympian Team with Cool Bus driver Niall!

Some of the GB Paralympian Team with Cool Bus driver Niall!

They are heading off to Russia in the next few days and we wish them all the very best of luck!

Here’s to 2014!

First of all we’d like to wish all a Happy New Year from the Cool Bus team. Hoping everyone enjoyed the festive period and all the best for 2014!

Well, it’s been our busiest start to a season ever and it all kicked off with the Les Arcs Film Festival. Going from strength to strength each year, the Festival du Cinema European des Arcs attracts the best of film and cinema to our home resort of Les Arcs. Over 70 feature films all originating from European countries were showcased to industry professionals and the public a like in seven cinemas across the resort. It was a great success once again and we look forward to being an official partner again next year.

cool bus

Official vechicles of the Les Arcs Film Festival!

cool bus

Waiting for film goers after the VIP opening event of the Les Arcs Film Festival

Obviously, Christmas and New Year are busy times for everyone in the French Alps with most resorts at full capacity and although there’s not been a massive amount of snowfall so far this winter, it seems people are still keen to hit the slopes. As of this weekend, things will start to calm down a little until the Febuary half-term onslaught so it will be time for us to enjoy the fresh snow that is forecast to fall in the next few days! 20cm+ is forecast for Saturday evening so those travelling out this weekend might just have timed things perfectly. Enjoy!


It’s All Go at Cool Bus HQ

As you know, winter is just around the corner and yes, there has been the odd snow flurry. In fact, there’s been loads of snow and resorts like Tignes, Val d’Isere, La Clusaz, Courchevel and Val Thorens have already opened their snowy doors to the public to varying degrees. This weekend sees the huge Espace Killy area open for business for the season but despite the snowfalls, we’ll still have to wait until 14th December to ski Les Arcs though.

Winter is here!

Winter is here!

Here at Cool Bus we have been busy, not just with getting people to the slopes and seasonnaires to their seasons, but with pre-winter preparations, official paperwork and dealing with the Swiss authorities, a new Cool Bus staff house, the new website, new magazine, the list is endless! It’s all change this winter…



Probably the most important job of all is getting the Cool Buses ship shape and looking fresh ready for the Christmas onslaught! This year as well as Sweet Protection, Orange Bikes and Dupraz Snow we’ve joined forces with Planks Clothing! Planks is a British based company that has now made a name for itself across the ski world. A ski specific clothing brand, Planks provides quality kit for skiers who like to look the part. They’ve recently launched a ‘Ride In’ range of toasty thermals and an eyewear line to keep the Alpine sun out of our eyes whilst driving! Also, look out for the Funi mentions too, check out the swish new website and make yourself a new hat while you’re there!

The Boss is a dab hand at stickering by now!

The Boss definitely loves stickers the most!

Welcome Planks Clothing!

Welcome Planks Clothing!

Funi make excellent knitwear items.

Funi make excellent knitwear items.

Thanks to Orange Mountain Bikes for their continued support!

Thanks to Orange Bikes for their continued support!

At the moment, we’re eagerly awaiting a delivery of Sweet Protection goodies including more helmets and super tech riding gear to keep us safe and dry on the hill. Even though it’s definitely winter now here in the Alps, we couldn’t help but order ourselves a few new trusty, Halifax built steeds from Orange too! And once the winter kicks off we’re hoping to get our hands on one of Dupraz’s new split boards, the D-Tour, for some backcountry exploration.


We all do!


Even the Cool Bus Subarau is representing!

Even the Cool Bus Subarau is representing!

Be sure to let us know what you think!

Cool Bus on the Telly!

Last night we made our television debut in the first of a new series of BBC 3′s intriguingly named show Snow, Sex & Suspicious Parents!

CoolBus in Val

Check us out on TV!

We had the task of sneaking the suspicious parents out to Val d’Isere from Grenoble Airport where we dropped them off in order for them to start spying on their children whilst they are on a ski holiday in one of the world’s most famous ski resorts. Famous for it’s après, Val d’Isere is always going to be messy on a night out…

The program makes for pretty cringey yet amusing viewing and we think it’s safe to say that the parents did indeed have reason to be suspicious! Perhaps there is a lesson to be learnt for all of us who enjoy the après that little bit too much. Or, maybe not!

passengers in coolbus

Spacious & comfortable travel in the Cool Bus!

If you missed it, catch up here on iPlayer.

New Website Dropping Soon!

Nice wheels!

Seen as though the Cool Buses have been servicing the Tarentaise and beyond for a while now, we thought it was about time that we got around to modernizing our website! Well over a decade has passed and times have changed so the brand new site will be much better looking and more user friendly. Easier on the eye one might say. We hope so anyway because we think it looks amaaaazing!

New site snippets...

New site snippets…

We’ll let you know when it’s live so you can go on and see for yourselves!

Looks Like Snowboarding is the Way Forward This Winter

Last year it was skiing, this year snowboarding looks like making an appearance on the front cover of The Cool Bus Magazine!

Still work in progress and still time to get involved!

Still work in progress and still time to get involved!

Do you have a business in the Tarentaise or beyond? Need a bit more exposure? Try 16,000 Cool Bus passengers…And for those who just simply want a good read, it’s not long ’til winter now…

Contact amie@origami-media.com for more details.

The Mavic Trans-Provence 2013 Is Upon Us!

Once again for the fifth year of the Mavic Trans-Provence, a number of Cool Buses have headed south for the start of this epic mountain bike race.

Camp preparation is under way and the racers will be arriving imminently to get organised for the six race days ahead of them which will see them cover 292km of ground, incorporating 8355m of vertical ascent and a massive 14,731m of vertical descent!

Logoed and ready to race!

Logoed and ready to race!

The Cool Buses are on hand to give the seventy-two racers (including twenty of the world’s top Enduro athletes) uplifts at the start of each day and picking up camp, dropping it again at the finish of each daily stage. Starting near Sisteron in the  Alpes-de-Haute-Provence area, the race weaves it’s way down through miles and miles of singletrack, finishing this year in Menton on the Mediterranean coast.

Look out for our regular updates on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram once the race kicks off on Saturday 28th September.