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Les 3 Vallées 2019/20 - Courchevel, Meribel, Val Thorens etc

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
A bit more wind-affected today, but still not too shabby:



Boulevard des Amoureux from the bottom of Brigues down to Le Praz was pure glass at the end of the afternoon - slippy slippy!
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Another beautiful day on the slopes, with even fewer people out than usual for a Saturday. There was seemingly no disruption to the lift services, despite the threatened strike action, but reports of traffic delays in Moutier, due to protests, which may have delayed people getting to the resorts. The crowds will no doubt be here tomorrow.
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Much busier today compared to yesterday - combination of HT crowds plus the consequential impact of a poor snow season for low resorts driving people to high-altitude areas. We’re staying in La Tania - spent most of Saturday in VT where the snow (piste) was superb, we had a blast. We went over to 1650 and back today. Snow was good in the morning (a bit hard in places but OK overall) softening later (it felt very warm particularly with a hint of a Föhn blowing). Below 1,800 metres the snow is slowly beginning to turn ... Folyeres was quite sticky at 4PM. Snow expected on Wednesday which should make for a great end to the HT week.
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Bit Ropey today. Rain below about 2000 metres.
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Enjoying these conditions updates.

I’m thinking of another trip to Le Praz on 29th Feb for a week.

I had a look online and one region of France is still on holiday then. I’ve always tried to avoid Feb - is it likely to be super busy?

I would go to VT instead, but with all the easy green runs Courchevel is better for my wife who is a beginner...

On my last day (2nd Feb) it was raining till about 2200m and the snow was very sticky...
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Hi all. I've booked flights to Geneva for a long weekend at the end of March. 27th to 30th. We're looking at getting some cheap self catering accommodation possibly in Les Menuires or Reberty. Is reberty mostly ski in / ski out? Is it a better place to stay than Les Menuires if looking to access VT quickly and / or get over to meribel? Depending on snow conditions we would like to spend a day getting over to Courchevel 1650 and back. Is this pretty achievable or too much of a trek to be worthwhile (we'd be on the first lifts each morning)? Thanks in advance!!
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adriangrogan wrote:
Hi all. I've booked flights to Geneva for a long weekend at the end of March. 27th to 30th. We're looking at getting some cheap self catering accommodation possibly in Les Menuires or Reberty. Is reberty mostly ski in / ski out? Is it a better place to stay than Les Menuires if looking to access VT quickly and / or get over to meribel? Depending on snow conditions we would like to spend a day getting over to Courchevel 1650 and back. Is this pretty achievable or too much of a trek to be worthwhile (we'd be on the first lifts each morning)? Thanks in advance!!


Anywhere in Croisette/Reberty/Bruyeres will be ski in/out and Menuires has very easy access to Meribel or VT. Getting to Courchevel 1650 is easy, either over Saulires, and down Marmottes, up chanrosa or Roc Merlet or down to Meribel, up Rhodos and Loze, down to Biolley and down under the altiport and up Roc Merlet. You can get there in about an hour.

Accomodation through https://fr.locationlesmenuires.com/appartements-residences-chalets.html is plentiful and easy to book
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@adriangrogan, Reberty is suburb of Les Menuires. As @andyrew, most of Menuires is ski in/ski out. We stayed in Croisette.

Definitely achievable to get over 1650 and worthwhile as a good travelling day.
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Just got back from Reberty 2000. Lovely little suburb of Les Menuires (a bit higher) with a couple of decent restaurants and one bar. It's on the edge of Boyes piste, from the top of Menuires or Doron lifts (both from LM) or Bruyeres if you're coming from, er, Bruyeres. It's only very slightly less accessible to Meribel/VT than LM/Bruyeres, as you have to ski down to Bruyeres and get the bubble to the top (speedy though). As mentioned, we did Courchevel in a morning no probs. Highly recommend getting over to Orelle too, some cracking pistes and shiny new lifts.
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Orelle is wonderful. I think it’s also handy that it’s at the end of the tube line so to speak! Doesn’t get as busy as some parts. Now the Cime Caron is working again, it’s been easier to get to again this season.
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Brilliant information everyone. Thanks
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Busy busy busy today - biggest queues I have seen all season! (Not surprising really...).

A nice little top up last night as long as you could find smooth snow underneath.





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Looks fab!
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offpisteskiing wrote:
Busy busy busy today - biggest queues I have seen all season! (Not surprising really...).

A nice little top up last night as long as you could find smooth snow underneath.







Lovely piste conditions at times and in certain areas today. The red Murettes down to Le Praz wasn’t pisted last night, 5cms of fresh snow on top of a mogully, hard frozen base was not pleasant first thing. 1650 was a bliss though, relatively quiet and the 3 reds off the Chapelets chair were fab. As was the Saulire side of Meribel this PM. The snow in the trees off Lapin was very inviting if a bit heavy. Snow and high winds tomorrow with Thursday looking sunny and calm - should be a good day.
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First trip to 3Vs on 29th Feb can’t wait. 3Vs is pretty much one of the only major French resorts I haven’t done. Based at Courchevel 1550. Close to gondela. Any tips on lifts to access in the morning to avoid queues or any lifts to avoid around 1550, 1850? Every resort has its bottleneck lifts to work through quickly or avoid and they are good to know
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Took the family to Orelle (from La Tania) today, Mrs F is absolutely knackered and a bit grumpy Laughing. Snow summary : a cocktail of hard packed, icy and artificial snow in the Meribel valley, soft and forgiving in VT and grippy in Les Menuires. Crowds galore though - very long lift lines particularly for the Tougnette bubble this AM, Cote Brune (this chair should have been replaced with a bubble years ago) and La Moutiere. Some runs and pressure points also feel uncomfortably crowded but hey, it’s HT week.
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@Ldj226, does your party happily do all grades of piste?
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franga wrote:
Cote Brune (this chair should have been replaced with a bubble years ago)


Even a 10-person gondola like the new Bruyeres gondola or the Bouchet-Caron gondola which should be open next year wouldn't give much extra uplift. A modern 6-pack would be better...
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Just don't go ballooning

https://www.ledauphine.com/societe/2020/02/20/savoie-courchevel-une-mongolfiere-atterrit-d-urgence-au-milieu-de-la-route
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DidierCouch wrote:
franga wrote:
Cote Brune (this chair should have been replaced with a bubble years ago)


Even a 10-person gondola like the new Bruyeres gondola or the Bouchet-Caron gondola which should be open next year wouldn't give much extra uplift. A modern 6-pack would be better...


Yep, fair point (as long as the queues are managed efficiently and every single chair is full).
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PeakyB wrote:
@Ldj226, does your party happily do all grades of piste?
3 advanced and 1 good but slightly nervous intermediate (fine on reds and pistes blacks but no moguls etc)
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Ldj226 wrote:
Based at Courchevel 1550. Close to gondela. Any tips on lifts to access in the morning to avoid queues or any lifts to avoid around 1550, 1850?
The 1550 Grangettes gondola takes you straight into the 1850 Croisette lift station from where you take another 1 or 2 gondolas to get to the top of a peak. Most common choice would be Verdons and then Vizelle or Saulire to be at the top of 1850. For sure you should do this route one or two days in the week first lift to experience the quality of Saulire/Creux/Suisses/M etc. when they're pisted and fresh (check the App for pisted status) as they are iconic runs.

Personally I find 3 straight gondolas terminally dull so once you've got first lift syndrome out of the way I suggest you walk straight through the Croisette, turn right and put your skis on. Punt 30m towards Jean Blanc Sports and turn right under the bridge. Turn left 150m after the bridge (signposted Plantrey lift/Le Praz) and go skiing. You can either get straight on Plantrey or carry on down Brigues red to the Foret chair out of Le Praz. From either of these you can either work your way up 1850 with skiing between lifts, do circuits around La Tania/Le Praz (taking in some even better reds and blacks in Murettes/Jockeys/Jean Blanc) or ski through La Tania towards Meribel and the rest of the 3Vs.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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"Personally I find 3 straight gondolas terminally dull..."

But far less dull than a commute to work! wink
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Bergmeister wrote:
"Personally I find 3 straight gondolas terminally dull..." But far less dull than a commute to work! wink
I agree on both accounts. I used to hate gondelas but last year in Saalbach they were amazing so I'm coming back around on using them
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Will be in Meribel from 1-8 March. I'm a snowboarder who wants to do more off-piste stuff, and with a bunch of skiers who are generally happy on groomed runs. Want to try to tempt them to do some off piste if I can. Was hoping you guys could give some advice about runs in the 3V where you can basically go off piste from the top of the run and then meet up with the run/different run/skilift at the bottom of the off piste bit, so you are skiing fresh tracks/powder/off piste like terrain but not straying too far away from the run or the lift system? Plus they aren't going to want to hike with ski boots/skis to carry.
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@karansaraf, you are likely to be mildly flamed on here for skiing off piste alone and sorry if I am being presumptuous but without a bleeper, shovel, probe (though the latter two are no use if skiing alone). I would say this if you are going to do so (and I have done something similar) be aware that even the most innocuous bit of off piste carries inherent dangers. If you understand the risks, have tried to educate yourself and mitigate against them then personally I think it's fine, you can have some fun and get a taste for doing more - hopefully with more like minded people.

As for where in the 3V. Well by definition as you don't want to stray too far and meet up at the end of the run you can do a lot reccying while cruising around and visualise your entry and exit points from the lifts/piste.

One good area that springs to mind is Mont Vallon. When you go up the bubble you can see the off piste left and right. And there are pistes that effectively skirt around the said off piste so easy to meet at the bottom.

Others may have other ideas too but as I say you can reccy on the fly.
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Oh no I'm not saying I would do it alone - I would never do that, and given I only have 2-4 weeks a year at best for snow holidays, it's likely I'll never be at a level where I would consider doing it alone. The very reason I'm asking for bits of good off-piste terrain directly adjacent to runs/lifts is so that I can get my friends to come with me! They're not going to want to make any extra effort to go off-piste which is why I asked specifically about this kind of stuff (I guess off-piste in name/technically only, rather than true off-piste/backcountry/side country - basically stuff that links to runs and is all largely visible from the runs). Don't want to stray far away at all from the controlled areas of the resort. I'll leave that to the instructional camps I'm going to start going to every year having been on a couple this year already (PdS and Fernie in Canada), when I'm with a trained guide.
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@karansaraf, the Liberty Ride area above St Martin is where you want to be. Accessed off Tougnete 2 or Cherferie lifts in Meribel and then you do circuits off St Martin 2.

Other lifts that have extremely obvious off-piste opportunities for beginner off-pisters are Dent de Burgin and Adret in Meribel, Becca, Roc 2 and Granges in Les Menuires and Moraine, Boismint and the Grand Fond in VT.

Slightly steeper stuff (mostly) with an escape route can be done off Chanrossa, Suisses and Vizelle in Courchevel, under Tougnete 1 and Roc de Tougne in Meribel, under Bruyeres and pretty much all of La Masse in LM, Col, Portette and Thorens in VT and Bouchet in Orelle. I wouldn't do Mont Vallon in Spring - too steep in certain areas and liable to slab avalanche.

Bear in mind that this is the 3Vs. It's popular. You won't be skiing powder and fresh tracks in any area that can be seen from a lift, you'll be skiing other people's chopped up mank.
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Looks like bad crash near La Lechère if anyone is driving up this afternoon ☹️
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@Ldj226, First week of March likely busy, as still French school holidays. Good advice from @Raceplate, above I think.

Also generally the Dou du Midi, Jean Blanc and Deviation 1550 pistes tend to be quieter than most in the 1850/1550 sector.

If heading over from the Chenus / Bouc Blanc side, the Sources/Rocher de L'Ombre drag lifts sometimes a good way to bypass any big queues for the Verdons gondola. Bit of a cross-piste traverse from the top of those drag lifts, watching carefully for traffic from your right, to get across to Vizelle, which then takes you up top of Saulire.

Biollay often a very busy chairlift with big queues but tends to shift them reasonably quickly.

With your slightly nervous intermediate in mind, if heading over to Meribel and beyond, the Col de la Loze route is easier than the top of Saulire crossing in my experience.

Courchevel 1650 shouldn't be overlooked as a good area to ski, especially on your first day, in my opinion. If lift queues to get over there or back are especially big, the free bus service is a good and quite frequent option. I especially like the reds off the top of Chapelets chairlift, a great way to get the ski legs going at the start of a week.

If you're thinking of heading over to Les Menuires / Val Thorens I have a couple of tips about making the return journey a bit more enjoyable. Note though that mid afternoon onwards, the return to the Meribel valley from Les M/Val T can get a bit like the Whacky Races during a busy week.
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Evening all.

Did the 3V last year, where we were based in La Tania and had a blast. We only managed the one trip all the way over to Val T and it was a dash through to get back to our side before the last lifts.

Looking ahead to a trip next year and want to base ourselves out of Val T. Is it generally agreed that the best time to visit is March onwards? Beats the UK and French school holidays, longer days and hopefully sunny ones as well. We have such a mixed group that it really does tick all the boxed ability wise and being ski in/out.

If we went say, 2nd or 3rd week of March 2021 is the town/apres still reasonably lively? What rough costs would we be looking at for a large beer and some no frills food like a pizza or tartiflette?

Cheers
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@Raceplate and @peakyB great intel thanks. This will help us a lot when heading out first lift and then avoiding crowds as I didn’t realise it was still French school holidays. I planned to miss them but must have stuffed up. We generally cover a lot of piste skiing especially as mum will probably only ski until the morning until 12ish as she is 74yrs!! Anything tricky we can leave for the afternoon. Weather is looking amazing for me but a little dicey for mum as she’s definitely a blue skies/good visibility due to her age.
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@Ldj226, be aware also that the Grangettes lift is a real bottleneck for the ESF. In the morning, I'd either go out at 9am or 10am - anything in-between will see you stood behind fifty 6 year-olds. If you go back for lunch, get out before 2pm or you'll have the same issue. It's one of the reasons why I'd walk straight out of the Croisette most days - even if you avoid the 1550 ESF by being on the first Grangettes lift, you'll likely then be behind 1850 ESF classes at the Croisette lifts. However, on days where you want to be up the top first thing and you put up with the ESF kids on Verdons, at least the following lift (Vizelle) will be quiet first thing.

If you do decide to walk out of the Croisette, I'd go straight to the Plantrey lift. Both Brigues and your home run of Tovets are usually hard frozen first thing in the morning so might be a bit much for some of your party. From the top of Plantrey, you have all colour options and better snow. The Folyeres blue into La Tania is a classic best skied early when it's super quiet so don't miss that. For going back to 1550, the new Praz gondola at the bottom of Brigues/Jean Blanc from 1850 or Murettes/Jockeys from La Tania is perfect for you - it drops you straight onto your home Tovets run and it's more interesting to get to than any of the flat routes back to 1850/1550 from the Saulire. You can avoid those flat routes by taking the Coqs chair (behind Biollay) and then skiing any of the same runs that are accessed from Plantrey plus the option of Lanches red.

One other little used but pretty run for going home is Cospilot. Particularly good option if you're coming back from 1650. Ski over the bridge with a poma on it behind the Pralong chair. It splits briefly through the trees but you can take either fork and it rejoins. You also need to carry your speed from the left hand bend below the garage with all the ralentir signs or you'll be poling the last 20m. Brings you out half way up Tovets right under Grangettes.
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@Fridge03, I think March is a great time to visit 3V. I’ve always found the 2nd week of March significantly busier than the 3rd week. I think this may be because the 2nd week is the earliest opportunity for a month to visit there outside of French school holidays.

Prices in Val T for the food/drink you mention would be similar to what you would have experienced in La Tania I’d say, possibly a little more expensive.

FWIW, I think in March, if staying in that valley, I’d prefer a base in Les Menuires or rather than Val Thorens itself. A bit easier to travel both ways. Very handy for access to two of my favourite areas, La Masse and Mont Vallon. But you probably have specific reasons why you prefer Val T as a base.
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stayed in 3v a lot but usually la Tania and courchevel. Last year stayed in vt and one of our party stays there at least one week per season. My view a great resort for a mixed group as there is a good range of slopes to keep everyone happy. We are staying in les Menuires goi g out on 7th March our choice being dictated by cheaper accommodation. I would anticipate VT being a lot livelier than les Menuires. Yes more difficult to get to la Tania courchevel unless you are a relatively quick skier but there is plenty in Belleville valley and vt to keep everyone happy. Food prices in vt are typical ski resort prices. We are out in a great burger bar that was about 25 euros including a couple of beers we had quite a nice meal out and that was probably 35-40 euros including wine for 2 course.

Dan
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How’s it looking out there? Looks very white on the web cams!

Booked last minute for Courchevel this Sunday for the week. Can’t wait and timing seems good, though hopefully there’s a day or 2 where we get some visibility as it looks snowy!

Reading all of the above - for me, prices and glitz aside, Courchevel is my favourite of the 3Vs, and it doesn’t take long to get to VT. It’s also great if you have beginners as there’s plenty of benign terrain/green runs around.... I think the main artery in VT is often too busy for beginners to build confidence and find space.

Meribel is my least favourite as the snow tends to suffer most, but still has some great runs. I also love to hop over to the Jerusalem run on the other side, which is a lovely cruisey blue.

I find Les Menuires a bit traversy at times to get around personally, and certain lifts seem to get busy, but would gladly stay there as a cheap entry to the 3Vs infrastructure. Anywhere in the 3Vs is great really.... To me, the best skiing in the world when the snows good.

Courchevel 1650 is just brilliantly unchallenging for honing technique, as are runs like Biollay. Suisses on a good visibility/snow day is a black run that will make a hero of even an aspiring intermediate. More like a red... The red runs off Mont Vallon in Meribel are tougher often in my opinion.

I wish they’d left Creux a red as it used to be, as it’s a great run but is just too busy to be enjoyed much of the time.

Bring on next week!
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Enjoy @anjunabeats! I was there for a week in mid Jan staying at Le Praz and agree with much of what you say. Creux is great as a blue and if you keep going all the way to Roc Mugnier....that is a wonderful run when quiet, you can really bomb it. With Suisse (black) and Marmottes (red) adjacent, it gives everyone an option.

I was talked into doing the 3v in a day escapade, in which which get on the hall of fame if you succeed. We took a wrong turn and got held up on the ancient bubble out of Les menuire but got to the last lift as it was closing....so failed! Maybe give that a try?
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Agree about wishing Creux was still a red as it used to much quieter then -now still worth doing but not so much fun
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Any Ski hire recommendations in 1850?
https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=3544033#3544033
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@BobinCH, for touring gear? Camp de Base in the bottom of the Forum building in 1850
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