Are you a skier looking for untouched powder, no queues and an encounter with nature? We’ve researched a selection of our favourite secret runs across Les 3 Vallées ski area.
The Cime Caron up on the Val Thoren glacier sits at an altitude of 3,200 meters and has 360 degree panoramic views over Mont Blanc, the Ecrins massif, the Grande Casse and the Italian Alps. Once you’ve taken in the views enjoy an adrenalin filled decent down the legendary La Combe black run. But If you want to be alone on the mountain, choose the opposite side direction Orelle, a nice open backbowl with a long piste to the Chairlift of Rosael.
The Saulire’s couloirs in Courchevel is a red run that starts at 2700meters at the top of the cable care and drops down over 1400meters. If you’re a more experienced skier head down the 900 metre Grand Couloir which is classed as the most difficult black in the resort. You can also cross from the top and ski the Combe des Pylones, mostly well groomed and quiet, a long red run going to the bottom of the cable car.
Mont Vallon is the highest point in the whole of Meribel standing at 2,900 meters. This area offers a range of options for off piste and alpine skiing, expect an incredible descent down La Combe du Vallon. Probably the longest run of the 3 Valleys.
La Pointe du Bouchet in Orelle has the higest skiable summit in Les 3 Vallées and is a firm favourite with ski tourers. At 3,230m expect an adrenalin hit as you head down La Mauriennaise, a red run that finishes in a huge wall.
Runs for every ability
For nature lovers – Take the Rafford red run in Méribel for a journey through beech tree forest to the village of the same name, where you can make a coffee stop – magical!
Beat the crowds – In Courchevel, the Creux Noirs sector is a solo skiers paradise, also perfect if you’re looking for a quiet lunch stop. The rocks behind the chair lift arrival station are a perfect picnic site, prized by locals.and there is a nice open bowl for off-piste just beside you. If you walk 10mn, you can reach some nice couloirs around the small Pointe Emilienne, on the col du fruit, an incredible surrounding point of view between Courchevel and Meribel Valley.
Child friendly – If you’re looking for peace and quiet, even during the February school holidays, ski on Les Chapelets sector in Courchevel Moriond. Breath-taking views, all to yourself. Don’t forget to bring your children to the Pistes des Indiens ( in Moriond) to meet authentic Indians on the slopes with their tepees! And of course playing and jumping on the Family Park juste beside the Verdon gondola. Wide runs – From the summit of Le Roc de Fer, Le Touniette or Cherefleuri, or indeed Le Mont de la Challe, all the runs going down to St Martin are perfect for skiing without the crowds – wide runs, dream landscapes, hardly anyone else around…it’s paradise for children! One of the children’s favourite is the Jerusalem red run, a large open serpentine going to the bottom of the new 6 express Chairlift.
For solitude – The Mont de la Chambre sector in Les Menuires in the late afternoon is a must do. You’ll feel as if you’re the only one on the slopes.
For experienced off-pisters – Val Thorens and the Belleville Valley offer up some of the best off piste skiing in the alps. But venturing onto this type of terrain comes with a certain amount of risk. Always be accompanied by a professional and make sure you have the required ability level and equipment.
La Combe Sans Nom, which goes from Cime Caron to Rosaël (Orelle); an itinerary just for experts. For the really experienced off-pisters head to the Bouchet glacier, visible from the Val Thorens-Orelle zip line. Set off towards the Gébroulaz glacier (3,434 metres) via Chavière with a descent to Méribel-Mottaret. Le Col du Fruit will delight those who love nature with a capital N as the itinerary concludes at Lake Tuéda in a Swiss pine forest on the Méribel side. The run is also skiable on the Courchevel side.
A more classic Courchevel itinerary is la Combe des Avals, which provides beginners with a great introduction to the discipline. When it’s snowy and foggy, you can find some nice itineraries in the trees around Courchevel , La Tania and Meribel, with a better visibility and no risk. From the Belleville Valley, set off to discover Les Encombres Valley from La Masse to Saint Martin, accessible to skiers of all abilities, supervised by an ESF French Ski School qualified professional… An off-piste skiing must.
Other spots you shouldn’t miss La Jean Blanc (black) and Les Chapelets (red) in Courchevel, La Léo Lacroix (black), La Masse (red), Le Grand Lac (blue) in Les Menuires, or even La Combe du Vallon (red), La piste Mauduit (red) or Le Roc de Fer (blue) in Méribel. Less well-known but well worth a visit are La Jérusalem (red) in Saint Martin de Belleville and Les Folyères (blue) in La Tania, both of which deserve to be hurtled down.
Our favourite off piste mountain restaurant is a traditional Savoyarde mountain restaurant above Les Menuires that very few skiers know about. A short traverse from the bottom of Montalauver drag-lift, cross a road then drop down a short steep slope to get your lunch. The cheese selection is a must try here! You can now from this season, reach the restaurant directly with the new red run of La Chasse.