With almost 400 miles of slopes and 80 miles of challenging cross-country trails, the Three Valleys area is one of the world's most extensive skiing fields. To help readers select the most suitable resort for their needs, we have compiled this guide to the Three Valleys and its main resorts.
General information about the Three Valleys
The Three Valleys area was named after its geographical location, as the ski slopes and its numerous resorts dot the landscape of the Saint-Bon, Belenville, and Allues valleys.
One of the most characteristic features of the Three Valleys area is that all the valleys are interconnected, thanks to its complex system of 143 chair and surface lifts, 37 gondolas, and 3 cable cars. In fact, and stamina permitting, it is possible to ski from one end of the Three Valleys to the other under one single lift pass.
Although Courchevel is known for its exclusive client base and for having no less than eleven 5-star hotels, the resort is a good option for skiers on a mid-range budget too, although these need to be booked well in advance. The nightlife is on the boisterous side, with several after-hours clubs and casinos, yet quieter options can be found.
Snowmaking and piste maintenance are impeccable. With hundreds of instructors, Courchevel is one of the best resorts to learn the ropes of skiing, and the resort caters to families with small children both in terms of accommodation options and skiable terrain.
With a maximum elevation of 10,564 feet, Val Thorens is the highest resort in the Three Valleys. The resort's 68 runs cater to all ability levels, with 8 beginner runs, 52 intermediates, and 8 advanced pistes in Val Thorens. Given the resort's altitude, snow reliability is excellent throughout the season. It also boasts 5 terrain parks that are great for snowboarders too.
The local restaurants range from pricey joints to affordable self-service venues. Cellar bars, a cinema, bowling alleys, and an ice-driving range complete the leisure offer at Val Thorens.
Meribel was the first resort to open in the Three Valleys. The resort is located in the Allues valley, which is part of the Vanoise National Park. The superb scenery is only one of the reasons why Meribel is considered the gem of the Three Valleys, as unlike in other resorts, Meribel seems to have expanded according to an organised plan that leaves no room for factory-like buildings that would spoil the charm of the area.
In terms of accommodation, those who are after a high-end experience have plenty of options to choose from, with a number of luxury chalets offering ski-in/ski-out or central town locations. Generally these luxury chalets sleep between 8 and 14 people and feature en-suite bedrooms, bespoke interiors, personal service from a chef and host, and in some cases saunas and outdoor hot tubs too.
Meribel has 76 pistes, 93 miles of skiable terrain, and 2 large terrain parks. The resort is most suitable for intermediate and expert skiers, with top red and black piste runs including Sittelle, Campagnol, Ecureuil, and Combe Valon, while cross-country is best near the altiport.
The apres-ski scene in Meribel combines trendy vibes with a chilled atmosphere. The reosrt’ nightlife offering is characterised by lounge bars, gastro-pubs, discos, stand-up comedy venues, and live music. The local restaurants serve gourmet Savoyard cuisine, fondues, steaks, and bistro food generally in a rustic atmosphere. Recommended restaurants include Kuisena, Orée du Bois, and Plantin.
This post is via VIP SKI, the specialists in luxury ski holidays, with luxury ski chalets throughout the Alps including Meribel, Val d’Isere and La Plagne, among others.