The Day in the life of a La Tania Navette
My job is often the most overlooked in resort. I don’t hold the glamour of a télécabine or a téléphérique. I do like to think though, that we are more popular than the button lifts. I am a Navette or free bus to you British people. I work in the resort of Courchevel and this is my day.
I start early, my first pick up is in Le Praz at 7.05am. I don’t get many skiers this early, most of my passengers are ski instructors, lift workers or chalet staff. They tend to live in the lower villages as it is not as expensive as the main resort. The journey only takes me 25 minutes. If I am lucky when I get back to Le Praz my pal will be waiting with passengers from the village of Bozel. Bozel is way down in the valley, where my home is.
I leave Le Praz at about 8.05am for the second time. It is now that I get more skiers onboard, these ones are eager to get into the main resort early. This is so that they are ready for the lifts to open and they will get to ride the pistes that have been freshly groomed by my piste basher mates.
There are other buses on the same route as me. We always flash or toot to say hello when we pass in the middle. Sometimes if the snow is heavy we stop and pass on information about the conditions to keep our passengers safe. After 8.30 it gets busy and there are more of us buses to make sure we can move everyone to where they want to go.
I am lucky as I always get the La Tania run. I arrive there at about 9.10am there are always lots of people waiting for me there. I find this funny because I think La Tania is a wonderful place to stay. They are generally wanting a lift to Courchevel Moriond. This was called 1650, but they changed it. I wish they hadn’t as it confuses a lot of people and they end up getting off at the wrong place or sometimes not at all. I get the La Tania run all day. I leave La Tania at ten past the hour every hour until midnight.
After the morning rush it gets quieter and I only carry a few lazy people who got out of bed late. It gets busier at lunch time. I guess La Tania is great place to lunch, not for me as they have no petrol station. But it is always sunny and I am always dropping people off there to meet their friends for lunch.
The afternoon is full of people that have eaten to much at lunch and are sneaking back to their accommodation for a siesta. My busiest time is once the lifts shut. There are always queues of people trying to get back to the correct village. I would like to blame this on the name changes, but it has always been the case. Sometimes we don’t have a space for everyone, and they may have to wait for the next one.
After 6pm is the most interesting time. It is the end of après hour and we see some funny things, like people trying to ski down roads. We also get lots of singing especially from the English. Despite not releasing a decent song for 10 years, Oasis is the most popular band I hear on my seats. The busiest we get during the après time is the 7.10 from La Tania. Judging by how happy people are when I pick them up at this time I would say that the Ski Lodge is the best place to go for Apres. I once transported the band ‘Bring Your Sisters’, and all their kit, they always play in the Lodge. Maybe they play a lot of Oasis, I’ll ask next time I see them.
The worst thing about being a bus in a ski resort is the long hours. We work until midnight. Sometimes people are so tired that they fall asleep on the way down the hill. Sometimes it can be hard work and as we are free, people don’t respect us. Especially at rush hour when I get hit by all those skis and trampled on by ski boots. Still, it could be worse I could be in Marseille shuttling football fans around.