The Meribel valley offers exceptional skiing in it's own right, which when combined with the Courchevel and Val Thorens valleys creates the best linked ski area in the world. The legendary skiing is complimented by first class facilities, chic bars and restaurants and infamous apres ski - making this the perfect destination for groups of all ages.
Les Trois Vallées
The Three Valleys ski area joins the Meribel, Courchevel and Val Thorens valleys with Meribel at the very heart.
The slopes are well matched for all level of skiers with 17% green runs, 39% blue runs, 33% red runs and 11% black, Whether you are a complete beginner wanting to build your confidence on easy green and blue runs or an expert seeking the steepest couloir Meribel won't dissappoint.
From your start point at La Chaudanne, you can choose to head in 5 different directions. We love cruising the blues down to Courchevel from the top of Saulire. The fast long drops from the top of Mont Vallon. Or if you get an early start making the journey to the top of Val Thorens - don't forget to grab a quick drink at La Folie Douce.
With 85% of the Three Valleys slopes above 1,800 metres which in addition to expansive snow making systems ensures a long season runnning from the start of December until late April. The lift system is modern and efficient minimising waiting time and maximising ski time.
Les Trois Vallées in numbers:
600km of groomed slopes
321Ski runs: 32 Black Runs, 106 Red Runs, 132 Blue Runs and 51 Green.
169Modern high performance lifts
73 Piste groomers
2100 Articifial snow making machines covering 1/3 of the ski area
10 Accessible summits above 2,500 metres (with 6 glaciers)
85% of the ski area above 1,800m
WHEN TO SKI:
The Three Valleys ski area is open from 5th December 2016 until 24th April 2017.
For those who are new to the ski area, we recommend that you speak with our experienced team, who will be happy to advise you on the most suitable slopes to suit your ability. They’ll also be able to give you the inside scoop on where to avoid the crowds, fantastic places to stop for lunch and the best spots to relax and enjoy the views.
WHERE TO SKI
Whatever the weather,and whatever level of skier you are, when you’ve got a playground of 600km of groomed slopes to shred you’ll always find something to fill your (ski) boots. Here's our guide to some of our favourite places to ski in the 3 Valleys.
Skiing as a family
For ideal family skiing Courchevel is as perfect as it comes. Acres of greens and blues, plus the Family Park in 1850 is beautifully shaped so everyone can try the kickers, table tops and boarder cross. If you like your runs with even more room to manoeuvre, Courchevel 1650 beats the crowds plus the kids will love stopping in the Indian Village for a spot of face painting (yes, big kids like you can also get inked). From Meribel take the Saulire Express, pop over the top onto Creux (our No1 favourite run), catch your breath on the Roc Mugnier chair and then pick any of the many runs around Signal and Chaplets. It helps that the restaurants and cafes in this area are significantly cheaper than 1850, if not quite as ritzy.
Skiing in Snowy Conditions
A cloudy or white out day? No worries. Stick on your low light lenses and nip over the valley into the tree-lined runs leading down to La Tania. Folyeres is a firm TG Ski favourite, where, on a bad weather day, you’ll find us happily cruising down this long curvy blue over and over (that’s when we’re not loving the motorway green Plan Fontaine or, in warmer weather when it’s not too icy, the red Moreta Blanche). It helps that the Ski Lodge in La Tania village offers great value lunches and dead cheap beer.
Skiing during Holiday Periods
During school holidays when the pistes are bustling, our top tip is to stick close to home. Head out first thing, avoid the Saulire Express, and hop on the Roc de Fer and Olympic chairs then hoon down Face. Back in Meribel’s Chaudanne, take the Plan De L’Homme and make your way to Faon (a great blue), Blaireau (a steep red) or, if you like bumps, Ecureuil (black). These are also a great start to a powder day when everyone is rushing to get further afield. Make sure you’re on the first lifts, carve up the fresh pow and then when you’ve had your fill nip over to the next valley Saint Martin de Belleville and point your skis towards Jerusalem one of the longest reds in the 3Vs. There are some brilliantly fun, easy access off piste powder fields in this area too - ideal for first time forays or expert carving.
Meribel Ski Pass or 3 Valleys Ski Pass
Of course, if you decide to just invest in a Meribel lift pass there is plenty to get your adrenaline pumping whether you're a first timer (the wide, open runs around the Altiport including it's kid friendly Animal piste will build your confidence in no time) or an old timer (couloir tounier should get the blood pumping). These days out are just for starters what with some challenging off piste around Mottaret, the motorway runs of Val Thorens, the beautiful Mont Vallon with it’s stunning 360 views and the fourth, hidden valley of Orelle for the skier who likes to travel. In the 3 Valleys there truly is something for everyone.
WHERE TO EAT
Maybe it’s just us but even after a great breakfast our thoughts turn to lunch round about, oh, first lifts! Lucky then that Meribel and its surrounding valleys have some of the best pit stops in the whole of the Alps. Whatever your budget there is something delicious just waiting to fix you up till one of TG Ski’s infamous afternoon tea cakes! Part of the fun of skiing is finding those hidden mountain gems for the best hot chocolate stop or the ultimate cheese feast. But here are our recommendations to help you start off your stay in the best culinary way.
Blow the budget… If you’re looking to celebrate a special occasion like say a wedding anniversary or your first black run then La Bouitte, (+33 4 79 08 96 77) a Michelin starred restaurant a stone’s throw from St Martin in St Marcel should be on your speed dial. They pick you up from the slopes, swap your ski boots for fluffy slippers and feed you like royalty – truly, it’s a place to remember.
Crunch your credit card… Courchevel’s Le Soucoupe (+33 4 79 08 21 34) will need booking in advance because it’s fabulous open grill and giant steaks have people making reservations way before they even book their holidays! Beautiful shabby chic style with breathing taking views plus all levels of skier (and even keen walkers) can get there. Closer to home La Plantin (+33 4 79 04 12 11) is a great fine dining find between La Tania and Meribel that will give you an adventure through the trees to get there. They’ll drop you back in Meribel Village when you’ve had your fill.
Wallet friendly… For chalet nights off and mooching round Meribel, La Gallette and its sister restaurant L’Igloo (both +33 4 79 08 53 90) are great value for money. If it’s Savoyard specialities you want head to the cosy and traditional La Gallette. L’Igloo is more contemporary and serves great pizza. Beautiful bargain – you’ll not find a better burger than Mountain Burger Mottaret. What it lacks in surroundings and seating area it more than makes up for in delicious double hand holding sandwiches! Even veggies are catered for with their amazing raclette burgers. This hole in the wall is easy to find, just head for Mottaret’s Sherpa and the queue of fluro clad seasonaires.
If it’s just a sophisticated drink you’re after away from the Jaeger bomb crowd La Maison (+33 4 79 07 17 26), an uber cool Parisian style café is perfect for a post piste Pinot.