October 27, 2021

What Is It Like Skiing The Three Valleys?

skiers by ski lifts

The World’s largest ski area is the Three Valleys. However, size isn’t everything. The terrain in the Three Valleys is also diverse (off-piste, gentle meandering greens, forested reds, snow parks, need we go on?) Natural snow cover is supplemented by over 1230 super-efficient snow cannons, allowing for an abundance of high-altitude skiing.

With its position as one of France’s top resorts, it must sustain some very high standards, which necessitates significant ongoing investment in constructing an efficient, comfortable, and quick lift system. Natural reservoirs feed the snow cannons. A superb fleet of piste-bashers is deployed each evening to groom the pistes to enjoy them the following day, skiers and those who enjoy snowboarding.

Orientation
Val Thorens, Courchevel, Meribel, Les Menuires, St Martin de Belleville, Brides-Les-Bains, and Orelle are among the ski resorts that form part of the Three Valleys, with smaller villages included in several of the larger ski areas. Newbies often ask which is the quickest way to reach the Alps?

Courcheval
Courchevel includes La Tania (1400m) and Le Praz (1300m), where all of our chalets are located. The Courchevel Valley is a reasonably sized area for beginners and intermediates and can be skied on a local one valley lift pass. The other settlements in Courchevel are around 1850 m above sea level (which is ‘Courchevel’ – the major resort), 1650 m above sea level (Moriond), and 1550 m above sea level (which is ‘Courchevel’ – the main lodge) (Courchevel Village).

Meribel
The Meribel Valley plus the Belleville valley (containing Les Menuires and Val Thorens) and Orelle (‘the fourth valley’) become accessible to those having a Three Valleys pass. The local free buses, known as navettes, run from early morning until late at night, making it convenient to travel between the communities. For a schedule, go here, or ask your chalet host while you’re there.

Skiing is a popular sport
There are plenty of varying runs to suit all levels of skier, and snowboarder is one of the best things about the Three Valleys.

For beginners
There is a fantastic selection of expertly manicured green and blue pistes, as well as some tremendous lines through the trees towards La Tania. For intermediate skiers, the Combe de Saulire and Creux offer long open sweeping red pistes, as well as some tremendous wide available blues in Courchevel Moriond. The couloirs provide some of the sharpest skiing in the Alps for specialists, and firm bumps can always be found on Chanrossa, Marmottes, and Suisse. The variety is practically unlimited, which is why visitors return to the Three Valleys again and again.

Snow conditions
Snow conditions are excellent since there is a significant amount of skiing (80%) at high altitudes (above 1800m). There has been considerable investment in snow-making facilities to supplement the snow supply lower down during dry seasons. The nighttime grooming crew does a fantastic job, especially towards the end of the season when the freeze-thaw cycle can make late afternoons slushier — by the following day, everything is back to corduroy!

Green & Blue runs
Plan Fontaine, La Tania — a meandering green that provides a lovely lengthy run into La Tania for beginners.
Loze to Meribel Village – soothing blues leads you on a delightful excursion, perfect for children (watch out for dragons!)
Folyeres, La Tania Is a beautiful blue piste with playful rollers that is flanked by trees. The snow is kept in excellent condition by snow cannons.
Courchevel 1850, Biollay — a lovely undulating blue that changes into the green on the way back to the village.
Ariondaz, Courchevel Moriond – Take advantage of the vast, peaceful slopes and stop for lunch/vin chaud in Le Bel Air.

Reds and Black runs
Mont Vallon, Meribel – Starts at 2952m and offers stunning views and snow.
The Bouc Blanc restaurant is located at Dou des Lanches, La Tania, steep and narrow.
Val Thorens, Glacier & Christine – lengthy run from the Glacier Peclet down to the resort
Jockeys, Le Praz — a steep, forested trail that’s great on a snowy day when the trees improve visibility.
Courchevel’s Grand Couloir — are you brave enough to ski Europe’s steepest black run?