The 3 Valleys ski area takes the trophy for the largest ski area in world. It offers a winter sports playground covering an extensive 1,400km². It won’t be news to those who are familiar with skiing in the Three Valleys that there are a copious amount of runs for all levels and although you can quickly and easily navigate your way around the main runs, it takes time and experience to get to know when and where the hidden gems are in the Three Valleys.
Ashley Kay of First Tracks Ski Coaching, the ESI in Courchevel, shares his 3 “diamonds in the rough”…..
In the Three Valleys there are a few runs that get very few skiers on them and, in good snow conditions, really are worth checking out. They tend to be runs which either have a discrete start point / entrance, or are hidden from the view of people coming up the lifts.
3 Great Hidden Runs in the Three Valleys
#1 – Intermediate Level
The red “Raffort” run that leads onto the “Villages” close is easily one of the prettiest ski runs that I’ve discovered over the years. This run, located in the Meribel valley, is a must on a sunny day after a snowfall when temperatures are low which will generally be in January, February or early March. It’s a picturesque, but narrow ski slope and winds down through pretty snow covered pine trees followed by orchards of apple and cherry trees. Once you reach the end of “Raffort”, catch the Olympe bubble back up to Meribel La Chaudanne after crossing a little road. N.B Avoid in poor snow conditions!
Instead of getting the lift back to Meribel why not ski back to Meribel Le Raffort at the end of the day and stay at your own private luxury chalet in Meribel? How about L’Ecume des Neiges? A stunning property which can be combined with Chalets Le Ruisseau and L’Abrevoir for larger groups. These are great corporate ski chalets too.
#2 – Intermediate and Advanced Level
Sticking to the theme of quiet runs in the Three Valleys, this time in the Courchevel ski area, is “Altipôle”. It conveniently starts right next to the highly recommended restaurant; La Cave des Creux. It’s not a very long ski run, just 1.5km in distance, but a excellent one for carving, because it’s groomed every day! What’s better is that it feels like your own private ski run as it is often deserted! In our opinion, there isn’t much that beats that feeling of whizzing down an empty piste, perfecting those carving turns…
We recommend skiing the Altipole run before catching the lift back up to enjoy a well earned drink or a sumptuous meal. La Cave des Creux has a great reputation amongst locals and holiday makers alike.
#3 – Beginner Level
For family skiing in the Three Valleys, and perfect for beginners, there is a fantastic “excursion” run. Dropping down to the Clos Bernard Restaurant in Meribel it is a beautiful and scenic slope. The slope starts close “La Piste des Animaux” which you’ll find at the end of the Loze Chairlift. The ski down descends through the forest where you’ll pass Clos Bernard Restaurant at the perfect time for a pit stop. Hidden in the trees and serving hot chocolates and lunch, it adds to the excursion run very nicely. To reduce the risk of getting lost, we do recommend doing taking a guide or instructor on this run! Top top it off, catch the horse drawn sled at the end to avoid the traverse back to the main slopes.
For beginners, a nice “excursion” run is the beautiful and scenic slope that goes to the Clos Bernard Restaurant in Meribel. The slope starts close “La Piste des Animaux” at the bottom of the Loze Chairlift. The ski down takes you through the forest and you can stop for a hot chocolate or lunch at the Clos Bernard Restaurant, hidden in the trees. We do however recommend doing this run with a guide or instructor to avoid getting lost! The ski and very short walk to get back to the main slopes can be avoided by taking the horse drawn sled!
If you fancy hitting the apres ski scene, where better to start than The Rondpoint, just one lift away from La Piste des Animaux. While the adults lap up the atmosphere and beer, the kids can play safely in front of the venue where they can easily be monitored.
Ski Lessons and Ski Guiding in Courchevel
First Tracks Ski Coaching is the official ESI Ski School in Courchevel, specialised in private ski lessons and ski guiding. Feel free to contact First Tracks if you’d like help planning your ski lessons in Courchevel. We pride ourselves on our à la carte and flexible approach.
Thanks to First Tracks for your insightful overview on the best hidden gems in the Three Valleys. If you would like any more information on the hidden gems of the Three Valleys or if you have any ski school requests you can do this by giving us a call on +44 1202 203 650 or sending us an email.