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

The First Post-Summer Snowfall…

Last night it snowed down to 1800m in some parts of the French Alps! As the clouds swirled around the Tarentaise there were flashes of the white stuff not too far up on the hills.

A drive up the Col du Petit Saint Bernard confirmed that winter is trying pretty hard  to break through. Temperatures were below zero and the road had actually been ploughed at the top! Beautiful scenery and dramatic as every first post-summer snowfall, the question is, has this snow got us excited for winter? Sure has! Although temperatures are set to rise again next week and a bit more summer sun would be nice for now.

Here are the pictures to prove it!

mountains snow

Cold and windy just over the Italian border, but amazing nonetheless!



Just down the road it was 25 degrees!

Just down the road it was 25 degrees!

Snow Still Lingering in The Alps!

Those of you who holidayed in the Tarentaise this winter will surely agree that the snow conditions were generally awesome. In fact the total cumulative amount of snow was said to have been seven and a half metres! Col roads in the valley took longer than usual to open after the season finished as snow was being cut through and snow walls were so high they were super unstable and the risk of avalanche was still high well into June!

mountain road

The cols are now open after an initial delay. It’s as beautiful as ever up over the Cormet de Roselend.

Since the winter season finished at the end of April though, we have had some fine weather, much like the heat wave in the UK recently! So you’d expect the snow to be gone by now right? Wrong! Many mountain bike and walking trails in Les Arcs up above 1800m are just becoming fully rideable and it’s mid July! There is still a lot of snow up there and ‘fresh tracks’ can be seen in the Grand Col area where a super keen skier has refused to let go of winter.

mountain snow

Still loads of snow up near the top of the Transarc lift in Les Arcs!

The Summer season is now definitely in full swing however, and Bourg-Saint-Maurice is bustling with visitors. The Paradiski area seems to be busier with mountain bikers and we are certainly busy with airport transfers and uplifts. The Tour de France heads along parts of our airport routes tomorrow, Friday and Saturday so it would be rude not to go and show our support. Look out for a Cool Bus on the TV coverage if you’re a fan!

mountain road

We have been over to Alpes d’Huez a few times already this Summer and Le Tour will be going up here twice tomorrow!


It seems that the French Alps isn’t the only place that is getting dumped on at the moment!

planes on the runway

For those travelling out for a ski trip tomorrow from the UK to Geneva, Lyon, Grenoble or Chambery airports, we very much hope that your journey runs as smoothly as possible. We are aware however that the chances of disruption are high due to the bad weather across England, Scotland and Wales.

If you have booked a Cool Bus transfer for Saturday 19th January or indeed Sunday 20th January (should the snow persist) please be so kind as to let us know about any changes, delays or cancellations as far in advance as possible. This way we can be sure to try to accommodate all customers and make sure everyone’s ski holiday gets off to the best start possible!

We’re sure this goes without saying but it’s advisable to check with your airline and/or airport of departure before even leaving the house, just in case. At present (Friday at 5pm), the following airports are experiencing difficulties; East Midlands, Birmingham, Southampton, Gatwick, Heathrow, Cardiff, Bristol, London City, Leeds Bradford and Glasgow.  

If your flight is delayed, suspended or cancelled then please call +33 632 192 962 or email: office@thecoolbus.co.uk. One way or another, we hope to see you tomorrow!