On response to being asked about one of my most memorable ski trips in my younger days, there are several memories that come to mind. Skiing in the Three Valleys, one of the most extensive ski areas in the Alps, must be right up at the top due to it’s variety of ski runs, great restaurants and luxurious chalets! Not only is the Three Valleys the largest interconnected ski area in the world, it also promises non-stop fun for those participating on the mountain, as well as non-skiers who are seeking a more relaxed winter holiday.
I have been lucky enough to have stayed in lots of the ski resorts in the Three Valleys ski area, with both friends and family, all of which proved to be just as wonderful as we’d hoped. Here are my top tips for a luxury ski holiday in the Three Valleys…
Hitting the Slopes
When skiing in the Three Valleys, also known as ‘Les Trois Vallees’, you will be spoilt for choice! Not only are there 600km of interconnected runs and fantastic freeride parks, this fantastic ski area is served by a network of state-of-the-art, fast, comfortable lifts. There are a couple of new lifts which help you to maximise your time on the ski slopes. The new Grangettes Gondola connects Courchevel Village to Courchevel 1850, increasing passenger flow and enabling both pedestrians and skiers to reach Courchevel 1850 in just 5 minutes. And in just 5 minutes and 50 seconds, the new 10-seater Le Praz Gondola will journey from Courchevel Le Praz to Courchevel 1850.
The Three Valleys is made up of 51 green runs, 131 blue runs, 107 red runs and 30 black runs across a number of resorts which include Meribel, Courchevel, La Tania, Les Menuires, Val Thorens and St Martin de Belleville. A personal favourite ski run is definitely the Folyeres piste in La Tania, one of the prettiest routes in the Three Valleys. A slightly challenging blue run with a few rollers adding to the fun as it winds around the trees.
Don’t worry if you’re not a confident skier. One of the best things about the Three Valleys is that whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced skier, there are numerous pistes for you. I visited the ski area for the first time when I was 11 years old and I wasn’t the most experienced skier, certainly not as confident as I am now, yet I still managed to spend a full day exploring the mountain. Intermediate skiers can get between the resorts very easily, ensuring they aren’t missing out on anything the more advanced may be doing!
Lunch in the Three Valleys
No ski trip is complete without at some great lunches on the slopes. The Three Valleys has a variety of restaurants, cafes and bars that has something for everyone. One of my personal favourites is ‘Le Bouc Blanc’, situated at the top of the La Tania bubble, with excellent value food and efficient, friendly service. Not to mention the great terrace around the back which acts as a sun trap on clear days. Other recommendations of mine include L’Ekrin, the only Michelin starred restaurant in Meribel, awarded in 2015 and Restaurant Le Chabichou which has held its two Michelin stars for over thirty years. You can’t visit the Three Valleys without experiencing La Folie Douce in Meribel or Val Thorens, somewhere with great food and of course extraordinary apres! For more recommendations on restaurants in the Three Valleys, head to our Gourmet Guide.
Non-Skier Activities in the Three Valleys
Mission Black Forest Run. Credit: Meribel Tourism
Now that you know the Three Valleys ski area and have an idea on where to lunch on the mountain, you may ask ‘so what about when I’m not skiing?’. There are plenty of non-ski activities in the Three Valleys: why not rediscover your inner child with the excitement of the Mission Black Forest Toboggan run or alternatively the shorter Himalaya sledging run at night in Meribel. And if you’re not a skier at all? Don’t worry, there is plenty for you to do to have a wonderful holiday in the Three Valleys with some great alpine activities.
Another fun activity, especially for the children, is Aquamotion. Located between Courchevel Village and Courchevel Moriond, it is a great place to either relax, splash around or practice your lengths, not to mention the large spa area for adults to enjoy. Here you can unwind whilst having a well deserved massage, manicure or facial. For those non-skiers who would still like to experience the best of the mountains, take a flight in a helicopter to see the sights of Mont Blanc or Lake Annecy from high in the sky or keep on the ground and be whizzed around on a husky-led sled.
The Three Valleys Ski Resorts
Courchevel 1850 is a resort with luxury written all over it. It’s somewhere with glitz, glamour and the possibility of walking past a celebrity shouldn’t be ruled out. Courchevel is not somewhere I have stayed but is a resort I have skied through many times; it is safe to say there is plenty of skiing for all abilities. With wide open pistes, stunning tree runs, designated beginner areas and challenging off-piste terrain, the resort offers world class skiing. Accommodation in Courchevel 1850 is superior, upmarket and has a significantly higher price tag than other resorts within the Three Valleys. You can expect 5-star luxury ski chalets in Courchevel 1850 such as Shemshak Lodge and Chalet Aurore which have a range of luxury facilities and services, ensuring your ski holiday in Courchevel is everything you need.
Meribel is arguably one of the best resorts in the Three Valleys, conveniently located in the middle, offering fast access to the all resorts in the domain. Whether you are working towards a group budget or if you have a limitless pot to delve into for the most luxurious of chalets in Meribel, we will be able to find the perfect ski chalet for your holiday. We have the best luxury chalets in Meribel centre, or secluded retreats that are perfect for family ski holidays. Chalet La Loze is new to our portfolio amongst some other great luxury chalets in Meribel including Chalet Menor and Chalet Trois Ours.
Situated in the Savoie region of France, is St Martin de Belleville luxury ski resort. The main feature of the traditional alpine village remains the 16th century church, nestled amongst the narrow cobbled streets. Known for its friendly atmosphere and gourmet cuisine, it’s a great place to stay within the Three Valleys. Here you will find some exceptional accommodation with excellent value for luxury, including sister Chalets Pure White Crystal and Pure Black Crystal with impressive wellness facilities, and Chez Bugi, showcasing the epitome of alpine elegance. St Martin is also home to La Bouitte, which is the first Savoyard restaurant to have gained 3 Michelin stars and the “fleuron” accreditation – it’s a great lunch stop!
On the opposite side to Courchevel is Val Thorens, the highest point of the Three Valleys, and the highest ski resort in Europe sitting at 2,300 m. Due to the height, Val Thorens is a popular ski resort with a great snow record and a long ski season. Luxury catered chalets are rare in Val Thorens but if you are looking for a luxury ski holiday with a ski-in ski-out chalet then look no further than Chalet La Datcha VT. This chalet is unique to say the least with its own golf simulator to challenge family and friends, a Formula 1 simulator to race around your favorite track, and also plenty of wellness for the those who wish to take more of a back seat.
There is lots on offer in the largest interconnected ski area for both skiers and non-skiers. The next question is where do you stay for your Three Valleys luxury ski chalet holiday? We have a selection of luxury catered ski chalets and luxury self-catered chalets in the Three Valleys so if you need any assistance with choosing the perfect chalet for your group, our team of Ski Specialists at Ultimate Luxury Chalets will be more than happy to help! You can send an email or call us on +44 (0)1202 203653.