SkiCuisine meribel 9

What is skiing and snowboarding like in the Three Valleys ski area

14 September 2016

If you’ve never been to the Three Valleys and you’re wondering if you should give it a go, the answer is YES! Three Valleys is the largest ski area in Europe and it’s suitable for absolute beginners to complete champion skiers!

About the Three Valleys ski area

Courchevel, Meribel, Val Thorens and various smaller resorts make up the Three Valleys ski area. The Three Valleys has a good track record for snow fall but also has plenty of snow-making facilities providing guaranteed skiing from the start to the end of the season. The length of the season is long and can be enjoyed from the start of December to the end of April. The presence of Glacier terrain in Val Thorens helps the slopes hold their snow for longer than many other resorts, meaning that the season opens in November!

Each valley offers something different in terms of terrain, style and local features:

Courchevel is home to some of the smartest 5 star hotels and luxury chalets, offering some great beginner and intermediate slopes but equally challenging black runs and couloirs. On bluebird days you can enjoy sunny slopes and make the most of the multitude of piste-side restaurants providing fine dining on the slopes! Courchevel features eight black runs, 34 red runs, 35 blue runs and 19 green runs for you to enjoy.

Meribel is the middle of the Three Valleys, allowing you to access the other resorts on each side with ease. Meribel is more traditional in style, with beautiful stone and wood chalets combined with wonderful views and pine forests. The wide valley makes this a spectacular place to enjoy your alpine holiday. The resort has seven black runs, 23, red runs, 34 blue runs, nine green runs and 31.5km of cross country runs.

In the morning you can enjoy the sunshine slopes on the Tougnete side of the valley. From there, the great lift system links into the neighbouring Belleville valley where you can access Les Menuires and the Val Thorens slopes quickly and easily. Enjoy the pretty descents down to the traditional village of St Martin de Belleville before heading further up the valley to Val Thorens, the highest resort in Europe with a peak of 3,230m. Val Thorens has 68 runs in total: eight black, 27 red, 25 blue and eight green. More purpose-built in style but with some of the best slopes on offer, this valley provides snow-sure skiing throughout the season. 

Getting around the Three Valleys

You can buy one ski and lift pass that covers you for all Three Valleys. The Three Valleys offers a modern and fast lift system; queues are rare and even during busy times you may only have to wait a minimum amount of time compared to many other resorts.

The lift system is well linked, making skiing and snowboarding in all Three Valleys relatively easy to navigate; signs are visible and the lift companies provide simple to read lift maps. All information is available online, including weather and safety reports, interactive lift maps, lift opening/closing information, and recommended ski routes.

Safety is a priority; the Three Valleys has a fantastic team of ski patrollers to ensure the pistes are safe for everyone of all abilities. There is a large fleet of piste grooming machines and the pistes are frequently groomed, creating ideal conditions for beginners and intermediate skiers. For those that prefer more challenging slopes and bump runs, many runs are left to shape themselves naturally.

Suitable for everyone

Some of Europe’s best Ski and Snowboard schools operate out of the Three valleys. If you want to feel confident on the slopes, then lessons are the answer.

The Three Valleys has some of the best off-piste areas in the world and the only way to experience this is by hiring a qualified local guide. They will ensure your safety but also take you to places off the beaten track, where amazing snow can be found and spectacular views across the Alps are guaranteed.

The area offers something for everyone. Not only does it have a fantastic alpine skiing area, numerous board parks and free ride areas offer amazing jumps, boarder cross, boxes, rails and jibs – perfect for those that want to spend more time in the air than on the snow! The famous DC Area 43 in Meribel-Mottaret is world-renowned.

For non-skiers there is plenty to do, from snow shoeing with a local guide and cross country skiing to parapenting. All resorts have swimming pools with wellness areas, most hotels offer spa facilities and private treatments are available in your chalets. Some fantastic shopping is available for those that like some retail therapy; enjoy a browse around local markets and buy local produce to take home. 

Family friendly

All the resorts offer piste-side areas for the family to relax and have some fun. The Inuit village at Meribel’s Altiport has an igloo village, swings, games on snow and even sled dogs with their musher. In Courchevel, the Family park on the side of the Verdons piste adds more every year – try the jump landing on a giant air bag, the most fun you will ever have on the slopes!

The newly opened ‘Fun Slope’ in Val Thorens has snow tunnels, bridges, spirals and banked turns – 3 minutes of action designed for skiers and snowboarders of all ages who want to have fun.

Fine dining

If you enjoy delicious cuisine, then look no further than the amazing restaurants dotted around the Three Valleys. With everything from local cuisine such as Raclette, Fondue and Tartiflette to fine dining Michelin starred restaurants, you will not be disappointed. And of course our very own Chalet chefs are carefully selected and trained to provide fantastic cuisine to our guests. Both on and off the slopes, you can dine extremely well.

Après ski

The Three Valleys has a vibrant après ski scene. After a day on the slopes you can enjoy some sundowners and dance to some of the best bands in the Alps, with live music played in many bars. The resorts boast some of the most famous après ski venues, such as The Rond Point in Meribel, La Folie Douce in both Val Thorens and Meribel, and plenty of other great places. Into the night, clubs and bars have happy hours and plenty of different events going on. Meribel will be hosting a spring party between 18th March and 1st April, featuring bands, DJs and plenty of live music through the resort.


If this takes your fancy, take a look at our availability and prices on our catered chalets and we hope to see you in the Three Valleys.