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Elements Ski Blog

3 Valleys Riding Guide 2017

23/12/2016 | Anna Ross

An important part of staff training is getting to know the epic Three Valleys inside-out and knowing the best places to go and how the conditions are. We take this on-snow testing very seriously at Element Ski Travel, so that our chalet staff are always on hand to give guidance to guests staying in the chalets or Lodge. Take a look at our riding guide below for our guide to the best the Three Valleys has to offer...
 

Best for Beginners...

There are some lovely beginner greens and blues around the Meribel Valley if you want to stay close to home. Head over to the Altiport area for wide green tree runs, plenty of cafes for hot chocolate stops, and easy comfortable lifts. Or venture a little further afield over into Courcheval and any of the nursery slopes around the resort centre of Courcheval 1850.
 

Best for Cruising...

The sheer size of the 3 Valley ski area naturally means there are some beautifully wide motorway runs. Our favourites are Jerusalem, heading down to St Martin de Belleville; Creux, going down from Saulire into Courcheval and Faon underneath the Tougnettes II chairlift. 
 

Best for Trying a Black Run...

Feel like trying a black run, but don’t want to end up at the top of a crazy-steep and narrow mogul field?! Conditions will affect which black runs are not too bad, so if the snow is good go for it! I recommend Suisses run in Courcheval as a good starting point, it isn’t too busy or steep. Or have a go at the Glacier run in Val Thorens for one of the best views in the 3 Valleys from the top, plus it is really short so even if you struggle it is over quickly!
 

Best for Kids...

Meribel and the 3 Valleys are renowned for how good they are for families and catering for children. Every year a new fun children's area pops up, where you can search for dragons, dress up as Red Indians and make friends with a Yeti! The Piste des Indiens is over in Courcheval 1650, Piste d’Himalaya is in Meribel Mottaret, very close to Chalet Leopold. There is lots to do around Altiport including spotting animals in the forest, trying to find the Dragon de L’Altai and play inuit games in the play area. 
 

Best for Freestyle...

There are some great snow parks in the 3 Valleys which draw tops pros from around the world to train and compete each season. The DC Area 43 in Meribel Mottaret is probably the biggest and aimed at a good level of rider, although it does have a good progressive section as well to gain confidence. The Moon Park around the Tougnette area of Meribel is aimed more at intermediates and always has some fun features set up, with a good flow. Courcheval has the Family Park, with an airbag for safely trying harder tricks, or flying off a big jump on an inflatable ring!
 

Best for Backcountry...

I love the backcountry around Meribel and further into the 3 Valleys. Take care when going off-piste and always make sure you are in a group and have the necessary safety equipment as there have been serious incidents each year on some areas. Consider hiring a guide to show you the best spots. My favourites are the routes from the top of the Olympic chairlift in one corner of the Meribel Valley, either down to St Martin, or Raffort and Les Allues to get good powder runs. When the weather is closed in, head to the Loze area for tree runs. 
 

Best for Avoiding the Crowds...

The 3 Valleys, as a popular area, can get a little crowded on peak weeks (School Holidays). Having lived there I always try and avoid the crowds whenever I can. My top tip is heading over to the furthest corners of the piste map, and getting to the hard to reach places lots of people can’t be bothered to go to. The Chapelets area of Courcheval 1650 is great to lap, especially with fresh snow. La Masse, on the other side of Les Menuires is a hidden gem, often forgotten by guests staying in the bigger resorts. The runs around the Olympic lift in Meribel are also quiet and offer a good mix of blues and a black for all abilities. All of these areas offer some of the best views in the 3 Valleys too as they are on the edge of the Vanoise National Park, with views over the unspoilt areas the lifts don’t reach. 
 
I’m getting excited just writing this, I can’t wait to explore the 3 Valleys again this season! If you are still looking for a ski holiday for 2017, we have a few last beds and rooms available in our chalets. Check our availability and chalets at www.elementskitravel.com. Book your spot for next season too!  
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