The largest ski area in the world and known all over the world, the 3 Valleys and its resorts of Val Thorens, Meribel and Courchevel will once again delight this winter the ski lovers, as well as the curious who want to try more original activities
Val Thorens, the highest ski resort in Europe
Val Thorens is the highest ski resort in Europe, at an altitude of 2,300 meters in the heart of its ski area. And 99% of the area is above 2,000 meters, on the glaciers of Péclet, Chavière and Thorens, natural barriers with the Vanoise National Park. In short, in addition to enjoying the incredible 3 Valleys area, you can enjoy one of the most beautiful views of the Alps from the peaks of the glaciers and the Vanoise massif!
Born in 1971, Val Thorens is the brainchild of Austrian developer Pierre Schnebelen. Located in the heart of the 3 Valleys ski area, you can put on your skis from the bottom of your chalet, the slopes and the shops are directly accessible. An impressive choice of bars and restaurants are available at such a high altitude, including that of two-starred chef Jean Sulpice. The resort, labeled Famille Plus Montagne, is also equipped with a large sports and leisure center (7,500 m²). Today, it is one of the most important winter sports resorts in the Alps and welcomes holidaymakers from all over the world: 70% of its clientele is foreign. A warm and cosmopolitan atmosphere is guaranteed!
As for skiing, everyone can choose between groomed slopes, from green to the most breathtaking black, or powder skiing thanks to the interactive "info live" map (on the resort's website) which allows you to find out in real time which slopes and lifts are open or not, as well as which slopes are groomed... or not... in the 3 Vallées. Freestyle enthusiasts go to the Plateaux sector where a snowpark gives skiers and snowboarders the opportunity to have fun on about 70,000 m² of tables, rails and boxes of different sizes. Contests are organized throughout the season. In the 2 Lakes sector, a boardercross offers a series of whoops, jumping tables and turns
Ski tours and off-piste skiing are possible in the glacier areas of the Vanoise, with high mountain guides and ski instructors. Taxi-skiing, tandem skiing, dual skiing: handiskiing is also widespread in Val Thorens. Finally, a slalom stadium with sound and light welcomes many competitions.
But the resort is also open to many other activities: snowshoeing, walking or snowmobiling, as well as mountain biking on snow, ice driving with the presence of a car circuit, mini-quads, paintball, laser game, paragliding or microlight flights, or even even yurt parties! The Chalet de la Marine has installed a Mongolian yurt at an altitude of 2,500 meters where original evenings are offered several times a week.
Méribel, skiing and charming architecture
The resort has developed around its original village of Les Allues at an altitude of 1,100 meters, which is quite calm. Then comes Méribel Village, at an altitude of 1,400 meters, which was only developed at the end of the 1990s (a few sheepfolds scattered before that date), then we find Méribel proper, between 1,450 meters and 1,600 meters above sea level and which extends in a succession of chalets and residences whose architecture is inspired by traditional buildings made of wood, stone and slate. Finally, Méribel-Mottaret (1,850 meters) has a more modern and concrete appearance, with its typical buildings from the 1970s
Méribel is suitable for all levels of skiing, and even offers a smart smartphone application that, depending on your profile, allows you to find your ideal route through the 3 Valleys. The Plattières snowpark, created in 1995, is the oldest in the area. For cross-country skiing, there are dozens of kilometers of trails in the Méribel area that lead you to Lake Tuéda, in a nature reserve of cembro pines and in a protected forest. To do as well: off-piste skiing, ski touring, ski raids, heli-skiing, snowshoeing, dog sledding, snowmobiling or walking, ice climbing, paragliding, flying in the area..
In the resort, you can go indoor climbing, swim in the Olympic Park swimming pool, slide on the ice of an ice rink, unless you prefer a game of bowling or a good movie. Relaxation and wellness centers, as well as stores selling regional products, are also available, as well as many bars and restaurants. Lovers of heritage and baroque will visit the church of Les Allues for its altarpiece, as well as the sawmill and the mill of Raffort.
Courchevel, sporty and jet-set
Courchevel is the oldest resort in the 3 Valleys ski area. It has also become the most popular winter sports resort for the international showbiz world and wealthy families
The Courchevel ski area covers 528 hectares, including more than 150 km of mostly north-facing slopes guaranteeing quality snow cover. The highest point in Courchevel is the summit of La Saulire (2,740 meters). Several slopes are reserved for beginners and children. If you enjoy cross-country skiing, nearly seven dozen kilometers of forest trails await you in Courchevel. Miles of marked trails are also maintained for pedestrians and snowshoers. In fact, there is a plethora of leisure activities on snow or ice throughout the resort: sledding, initiation to snowmobile and snowcat driving, quad biking..
In addition, there are climbing, paragliding, hang-gliding, airplane, helicopter (with the option of heli-skiing), hot air balloon and microlight flights..
When it's time to eat, everything is possible, from the classic fondue restaurants to the starred restaurants that have taken up residence in the resort. They are not the only ones, since we regularly meet in Courch' the king of Morocco Mohammed VI or Lionel Ritchie rubbing shoulders with financial magnates and billionaires. At lunchtime, all these people meet at the Chalet de Pierres to enjoy a beaufort pie before going to Chanel, Dior or Prada. Then, after a glass of champagne in the Strato 's lounge or a moment of relaxation in its swimming pool under the shelter of a Murano chandelier, it will be time to dine in one of the many Michelin-starred restaurants. A great way to end the day!
When can I go? While the 3 Vallées resorts offer activities all year round, the ski area opens this winter from December 4, 2021 to April 22, 2022.
How to get there. By plane (from Geneva, Lyon, Chambéry or Grenoble), by train (Moutiers or Albertville stations) or by car, everything is possible.
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