Adventures in France: Skiing the Three Valleys

| March 12, 2012 | 26 Comments

Where to begin? Literally.

Skiing the Three Valleys, which is the largest ski field in the world is a little daunting. With over 600 km of runs and a combination of 180 ski lifts, the decision of where to begin your skiing adventure can be hard.

Skiing Three Valleys

Skiing the 3 Valleys

We spent 6 days skiing the Three Valleys and it feels as if we did not even scratch the surface of the impressive ski field.

So let me start at the beginning. There we were standing at the bottom of just one of the eight areas, the Meribel Valley, gazing up at the biggest ski field we had ever seen and pondering which chairlift to start with. At the time we thought that six days would be more than enough to explore the Three Valleys. How wrong we were.

As usual our decision-making process came down to a quick game of rock/paper/scissors. With rock trumping all and the first lift decided we were off.

I was buzzing with excitement and could not wait to get on my board and with every metre we ascended the view got even more impressive. Then the moment I had been eagerly awaiting had finally arrived. The feel of snow under my board, that first glorious carve and the wind in my hair as I sped down the first descent.

Three Valleys Powder

Skiing the Three Valleys

The first thing we noticed about skiing the Three Valleys was that the runs are long. Really long. Each run easily lasted ten minutes and we even took over half an hour to complete some of them! Needless to say we had a lot of hot chocolate breaks to rest our rubbery legs.

Hot Chocolate Three Valleys

Every run lead us to a new chairlift and every chairlift led us to even more breathtaking views. It really feels like the ski area goes on and on forever. The fact that you cannot get a view over the entire Three Valleys really enhances this feeling as every peak we went over led to a new area and adventure to explore.

The facilities in the Three Valleys are superb. The chairlifts and cable cars are really comfortable and the lines were not too long during our spring skiing adventure.

All abilities are catered for with a great choice of runs of which the majority are groomed daily. For the thrill seekers there are also a huge range of parks and boarder-cross areas that have features from beginners to experts.

One thing that is obvious when skiing the Three Valleys, is that the French take their Après-skiing very seriously. Every bar nestled along the many runs were packed with locals and tourists alike. And that is just to kick-start the evening. Off the ski field the parties just keep on going.

Apres Skiing Three Valleys

Even if you are not in the Three Valleys for adventure then you are well catered for. Each of the main villages including Meribel, Courchevel and Val Thorens boast an impressive range of first class shops, day spas, bars and restaurants all with price tags to match!

And the cafes and restaurants situated on the ski fields themselves are awesome. The food was delicious in that way that the French seem to have mastered. All of it far from the deep fried reheated muck that gets served up in the cafeteria style areas on ski fields back home. Leisurely ski lunches, if you can afford them, consist of three courses and wine seem to be the norm.

Not a bad way to ski really!

Lunch Three Valleys

Lunchtime while Skiing the Three Valleys

Overall a fantastic holiday destination for all levels of skiers. Just remember to come with a full wallet and expect it to empty fast.

Also remember that you have to get back to your hotel at the end of the day so be mindful not to venture too far afield. It took Cole and I over an hour to get back on the first day!

If you want to go skiing make sure you have good travel insurance sorted our first!

About the Author ()

Adela is one half of the New Zealand Adventure Couple who have been travelling since 2009. She loves the outdoors and has a real passion for Snowboarding, Mountain Biking and Surfing (apart from being scared of sharks). She loves food and writes all our food posts. Consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

Comments (26)

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  1. Laurence says:

    The Three Valleys really are an awesome place for skiing. Incredible views and endless runs to explore. I must get skiing again!

  2. Natalie says:

    I really would like to try skiiing sometime. We have some ski centres in Turkey but it is just plucking up the courage to do it. I think the above is a bit too complicated for me to start off as a beginner :)

    • Cole says:

      You would be fine Natalie! Just grab a half day lesson. And I definitely recommend skiing instead of snowboarding to begin with as it is quite a lot easier for your first time :)

  3. Ali says:

    I could barely handle the wimpy bunny slopes in the eastern US, there’s no way I could handle skiing here! It looks gorgeous though!

  4. Being a Florida boy, I haven’t done much skiing, but I have had the itch to for a few years. This place looks simply awesome…

  5. John says:

    Bring a picnic and you save the cost of those expensive in resort restaurants. In France look for Salles Hors Sac, where you can eat your picnic indoors. If it is a bluebird day then find a good spot, but remember to take your rubbish with you to the nearest bin. If you are on a budget don’t even consider shopping in resort. The only exception being if there is a market visits one day a week.
    But if money is no object, then treat yourself, you are on holiday!

  6. 6 days, great skiing, and beautiful scenery? Sign me up!

  7. Sam says:

    Wow, fresh powder trails. So awesome.

  8. Cherina says:

    I’ve only tried skiing once and was kind of thrown in the deep end withou much instruction. I have always wanted to learn properly and I’ve heard that the Three Valleys is one the best places to go skiing. Those views look fantastic!

    • Cole says:

      Apparently some of the instructors are the best in the world so I would highly recommend it. Plus they have runs for all abilities. Hope you get another chance to try it again Cherina!

  9. Is it bad that I’m more excited by the hot cocoa than the skiing? I’ve actually never tried snow skiing (did a lot of water skiing as a kid) but it’s something I’d like to do at some point in my life. Don’t know if my legs could handle six days though!

    • Cole says:

      Haha to be honest we get fairly excited about our hot cocoa breaks as well! I was born on water ski’s as well Bret and so skiing comes naturally to me. I am sure you would be awesome too :)

  10. I have always wanted to learn how to snowboard or ski – SO badly! Someday I’ll finally learn :D growing up in Puerto Rico and currently living in FL doesn’t help the cause! haha. This sounds like a great trip I would love to try these winter activities at.

  11. I am in Val Thorens right now! :) I love the three valleys, it’s my second time here. Just stopped in Meribel for lunch today! We’re planning on doing a run from Val Thorens to Courchevel tomorrow, it’s going to be a long day!

    • Cole says:

      The run from Meribel to Val Thorens was long enough! You are going to be sore after Courcheval to VT haha. Just remember you have to get back!

  12. Kieu says:

    Gerard is really missing snowboarding season back home but were in Asia. Lol. I can barely get up on the bunny slopes but would love to try skiing one day. Maybe France will motivate me. Looks stunning!

  13. cheryl says:

    I’m not much of a skier but the winter and mountain views are stunning! Looks like you had a fun time. :)

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