Best 3 Valleys Secret Spots
The Ski Talini guide to the best secret spots in the Three Valleys
As the largest ski area in the world, the Three Valleys is SO vast that there is plenty of space for everyone! It’s also one of the most popular ski areas in the world, so how do you find those secret spots where you can have the slope practically to yourself and not have to queue at the lift station?
The answer is to ask a local (that’s us!)
Timing is everything
Although there can be congested spots in the mornings and just after lunch at the main resort lifts, you can avoid lift queues if you linger over coffee (and cake?) around 11am, then take a later lunch and make the most of the quiet slopes between midday and 2pm.
You can also escape the crowds by making sure the following off-the-beaten-track spots are on your itinerary…
Belleville Valley Secret Spots
Frequented mostly by freeriders or those with off-piste guides who slip off into the wilds, this is a quieter spot with stunning views: take the Moraine lift followed by Col and you’ll be overlooking the austere beauty of the Glacier de Chavière at 3130m. The red Col piste splits into a choice of two blue runs back down.
LIFT: Masse 2
For some reason we can’t quite fathom, not very many skiers bother to head up to La Pointe de la Masse. At 2804m it has cracking views and a good, long red – Fred Covili – which offers flattering, fast skiing. Stronger skiers should squeeze in a trip up the Lac Noir lift for a run down the black of the same name. The top of La Masse is home to a handsome beast carved in wood – an enormous Bouquetin who will certainly feature in your holiday snaps!
St Martin de Belleville
LIFT : Olympic from Meribel
The ever-popular Jerusalem is a must-ski run for pretty much every intermediate on a Three Valleys ski holiday. Neighbouring Pramint is the quieter way to reach the same spot, but fewer still embark on a lift up the Olympic chairlift to Roc de Fer at 2290m, then cruise down the lovely blue Verdet piste.
Meribel Valley Secret Spots
LIFT : Altiport
If the idea of a little adventure ski followed by a lovely lunch in a romantic spot tickles your fancy, then the Clos Bernard should definitely be on your Three Valleys ski holiday bucket list. Just after the ‘Piste des animaux’, below Loze chairlift, keep your eyes peeled for signs leading to the Clos Bernard restaurant. The track leads through the trees and the cross country track, but is well signposted. You’ll be greeted by a charming little spot in which sits a very nice restaurant – meat cooked on the open fire is their speciality. The way out is less well signposted but the flags (and tracks) make their way eventually onto the blue Lapin piste which takes you to the Golf chairlift to head back to Meribel Chaudanne.
Meribel Mont de la Challe
LIFT: Roc de Tougne
A secret spot which is popular with locals on a powder day, there was much bemoaning of the new chairlift replacing the drags which would open up this area to more traffic. However it still seems to be quiet and there are still fresh tracks to be had in the afternoons so it’s worth adding the Bartavelle and Lagopède pistes to your ‘things to do’ list on a Meribel ski day, especially as it can be reached quickly in the mornings via the Gros Tougre blue and the Teppes chairlift.
Courchevel Valley Secret Spots
At the far eastern end of the Three Valleys is Courchevel Moriond, which is worth a trip in itself for the cruisy, wide blues (and a drink on the sunny terrace of Le Bel Air!) To reach the furthest point, take the red Chapelets from the top of Signal – it’s a long and winding red which remains quiet through the day and has a gorgeous setting in the trees.
LIFT: Creux Noir
This rather ancient little chair is not always open, but it’s worth taking if it is! The views from the top at 2705m really are spectacular. It’s worth having a little pause up here as the black and red pistes which lead back to Creux can be bumpy and a little challenging! Alternatively there’s a track that leads back into the Meribel Valley.
Courchevel Le Praz
This gondola out of 1850 is generally quieter than neighbouring Verdons, so take a seat to the top then follow the signs to Courchevel Le Praz. There’s a choice of two lovely long blacks through the trees: Jockeys leads into the red Murettes if you prefer something a little gentler. Take the Foret chair up and head back west via the lesser-tracked Col de la Loze link into Meribel.
Images: Ski Talini and Courchevel Office de Tourisme