We spent our first week of skiing in Europe in Courchevel 1850, the main resort town of one of the three valleys in the Les 3 Vallées ski area in the French Alps. You can find it on the left-hand side of the ski run map below.
Les 3 Vallées comprise the resorts of Courchevel, La Tania, Méribel, Brides-les-Bains, Les Menuires – Saint Martin, Val Thorens and Orelle, each with multiple villages. It is the world’s largest ski area linked together by ski runs and ski lifts, with 600 kms of interconnected slopes and 180 ski lifts.
We skied a couple of days, got an introduction to ski touring (putting non-skid ‘skins’ on the bottom of skis to walk UP the mountain, then removing them to ski down), and snowshoed a couple of days. We had a couple days of sun, and then got lucky with about 2 feet of new snow, just in time for our Milliman group trip, where we will stay in the next valley over at Méribel Mottaret (in the middle section of the ski run map below).
Loving every second of our time here, the people are friendly, the views are spectacular, the snow sports are fun, the food above our expectations, the slopes not too crowded (apparently the fallen Ruble has kept most of the Russians away), and … did I mention how spectacular the views are? At the tops of the upper lifts, the peaks just go on and on forever….
Les 3 Vallées ski map.
Our ski touring guide, Jean Louis Guigonnet, and Shauna.
Shedding layers within 15 minutes.
Wonderful views of the small village of Le Praz.
The trail was well maintained and the atmosphere was serene. All in all, a very successful introduction to ski touring.
About to take off for our first day of downhill skiing.
Skiing way above the trail line.
Meribel-Mottaret is at the upper end of a long valley.
The hotel in which we will be staying with our Milliman group is at the bottom of the collection of buildings.
The valleys are long and deep with a lot of ski terrain on top.
Because most of Les 3 Vallées is above the tree line, the landscape all ran together.
Many of the ski trails looked to be cut out of the same pattern.
A picture of the beautiful village of Courchevel.
The view from our hotel room.
About to take off for our first day of snowshoeing.
The food at our lodge, Les Sherpas, was beyond our expectations. Seasoned lightly, perfectly cooked and beautifully presented.