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|Resort: Saint Martin de Belleville
Domain: 3 Vallees
Author: All the Giants
Date: 16th - 23rd January 2010
Our holiday: We were 8 blokes staying in a chalet in St Jean de Belleville, 7km down the road from St M. We ranged in different levels from good intermediate to intermediate to a first timer skiier and snow boarder. THis was my second trip, having previously stayed in Les Arcs 1800
Website : http://www.st-martin-belleville.com/index_en.php
Basics : Saint Martin is in the 3 vallees in the Savroie part of France. We flew from Gatwick to Geneva then drove hire cars through Annecy and Albertville to Moutiers then up the mountain.
Lift system : There is only one bubble out of Saint Martin itself, you then need to get the chairlift to the top, but from there you can easily get over to Les Menuires or drop into Meribel. Then the 3 vallees is your playground. Modern express chairlifts and bubbles everywhere. Very short waiting times, but then we did go at a quiet time. The only problem came around 4pm, getting onto Saint Martin 2. Panicing people trying to get back to Meribel or Courchevel before the lefts closed.
The terrain : There was a 10cm drop the night before we got onto the slopes. The vast majority of the slopes were in really good condition, especially in the morning. Heading over to Meribel on Faon or Blaireau was a treat. With only one main run to Saint Martin from the top (Pelozet into Biolley) this got quite compacted and bare, and didn't make for a particularly pleasent run home. Pelozet was particularly bad after being joined by Pramint. But the area was bathed in sun all day long. With easy links to Meribel and Courchevel, you could never get bored. I wouldn't recommend Saint Martin as a base for first timers, better to go up to Les Menuires for lessons, more blues and easier ones as well. Jerusalum was lovely to come down last thing at night, always quiet and a nice way to finish the day, even if it was a little icy.
The snow : 10cm on our arrival day and 10cm halfway through the week freshened everything up.
Off-piste : Can't comment
The resort : As we were driving up to Saint Martin, the large car park near the bubble was very helpful. Saint Martin itself is small, especially compared to Les Menuires, but very picturesque and there are a few nice bars. Dahlia near the bubble does a good burger, and was great for an Apres ski Vin Chaud. We only went out a couple of times due to the expense of taxis but we ate in L'Eterlou, which is at the bottom of the nursery slope, which was great food, great value and very nice service. Highly recommend there. Piano bar was a good place to go for some atmosphere. Chardon Bleu (i think) at the top of Saint Martin 1 did a lovely Chocolat Chaud avec Chantilly, which was well worth having before getting back up for a last Jerusalum of the day.
Food : Dhalia Burger for lunch, Les Grand Lac Restraunt at the bottom of Grange. Saint Martin is much better value than Meribel. L'Eterlou for dinner
Accommodation : Stayed in one of the guys friends chalet. Very nice, but not being the resort was a pain
Costs: 235E for 3 vallees lift pass, 9-15E for lunch, 15E-25E for dinner, 3.50E for Vin Chaud, 5E for a pint. 50E for blue skis.
Conclusion: Saint Martin is a lovely village. Skiing is a little limited around the village itself but very easy to get anywhere in the 3 vallees so this isn't an issue. Nightlife is quieter so if your want somewhere busier, Les Menuires would be better. Would suggest any first timers might prefer lessons in Les Menuires.
(This is my first effore so please feel free to comment and i'll add or change anything. Thanks
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