Top 5 ski runs in Les 3 Valleys

Make the most of your holiday with our pick of the best Les 3 Valleys ski runs

Les 3 Valleys has 600km of pistes across not three but four different valleys, taking in the large domains of Courchevel, Méribel and Val Thorens, as well as the smaller ones of La Tania, Saint Martin de Belleville, Orelle and others. There are a wide variety of runs for every type of skier – from exhilarating blacks down steep couloirs to beautifully groomed reds and spacious, gentle greens. Ashley Kay, director at First Tracks Ski Coaching in Courchevel explains how to explore the famous Les 3 Valleys piste map.

1. The secret blue run

Orelle, the fabled Fourth Valley is something of a secret. It’s a quiet, sheltered bowl that sits in the Maurienne Valley, not the Tarentaise where the rest of Les 3 Valleys ski runs are located.

“One of my favourite blue is Peyron in the Orelle bowl” , says Ashley. “This curvy wide, perfectly groomed slope is long and easy with breathtaking views into the Maurienne Valley towards Italy. The bowl is sunny and sheltered, and the Peyron is a lovely, cruisy blue run – both long and forgiving.”

2. The crowd-free red run

If you’re looking for an exhilarating run on Les 3 Valleys piste map, get up early to ski Venturon first thing in the morning, is Ashley’s advice: “When it’s been groomed, Venturon in Méribel Mottaret is a fabulous, long wide red run. It sets off from the top of the chilly Col de la Chambre and heads down alongside the Côte Brune chairlift towards the bottom of the Mont Vallon. It’s mainly north-facing, so the snow is almost always good.”

3. The best run for food stops

Park City is a fabulous, understated red run overlooking Courchevel 1850. Starting at the top of the Vizelle gondola, you head down the ridge with stunning 180-degree views of l’Aiguille du Fruit and the Glaciers de la Vanoise before skiing into a steep section followed by a long, fast carving section.

“Park City used to be a very busy red run because a chairlift took skiers to the top of it, but this was removed a few years ago and the arrival point of the lift changed. It’s groomed regularly and a joy to ski” , says Ashley. _“But the best thing about this run is that you can finish it off with a hot chocolate stop at La Cave des Creux. It’s one of the best restaurants in Courchevel, and it also has an amazing dessert buffet if you’re peckish. Or enjoy a glass of bubbly at the jet set hangout, Le Cap Horn, instead.” _

4. The hidden couloir

Some of the most famous of the Les 3 Valleys ski runs are the trio of couloirs at the top of Saulire. The first, Grand Couloir, is the only one marked on the piste map, but climb a little further — and a bit steeper — and you can drop into Couloir du Curé, which means ‘Vicar’s Gully’.

_“If you’re someone who likes a challenge, this is the one to choose” _ , says Ashley. _“It’s north-facing so the snow is always good, even in April. The climb is a little like going up a ladder, but it’s worth it.” _

5. An off-piste gem with a twist

Make sure you take a guide and read the Les 3 Valleys snow report before you head out to tackle La Vallée des Encombres, a well-kept off-piste secret.

“There are several itineraries boasting wide open ungroomed slopes with limited steepness in an isolated valley” , says Ashley. “It’s relatively safe, as it’s not steep, so I can take intermediate skiers out there – you’re way off the beaten track and it’s a haven for wildlife. You’ll often see chamois, deer and even wolf tracks.”

At the end of the run is a long and tricky hike out, so finish the day with a helicopter pick-up, at around 100€ per head. “The helicopter can drop you off at various points around Les 3 Valleys” , explains Ashley. “One of our favourite suggestions is a drop at La Bouitte in Saint Martin de Belleville for a three Michelin-starred lunch. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime day!”

Club Med has the perfect ski resorts in the Les 3 Valleys region, Club Med Val Thorens Sensations at 2,300m in Val Thorens.

Club Med Ski - The pioneers in all inclusive ski holidays

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