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Six resorts in a day - James Cove, Les Trois Vallees
Tuesday April 14, 2015 - Email this article to a friend

Our content editor has just skied all the resorts of Les Trois Vallees. 50kms of slopes and 5,000m of vertical. It takes his total number of resorts visited this winter to 56.

Some people collect stamps.

Others classic cars or cats.

And me?

I collect ski resorts.

Sadly I can't own them but I can ski in them and this season I have now clocked up over 50 different ones in Europe and North America. Some I have only been in for a single day and others just a few hours.

I have been in a few for many days and I have visited Verbier several times and been there for over 4 weeks in total.

In fact I am there again this weekend.

This week I reached my half-century in some style as I hit all the resorts of the largest linked ski area in the world - Les Trois Vallees.

I did it with a couple of friends - Pascal Goyard from the local ESF ski school who chose the route and Colin Mathews who runs Meriski and probably knows Meribel better than most.

They were the perfect people to do it with.

Les Trois ValleesThe Three Musketeers













We decided we needed to visit every resort and every satellite resort - Meribel Centre, Meribel Motaret, Courchevel 1850, Courchevel 1650, Courchevel 1550, La Tania, Le Praz, Les Menuires, Saint Martin de Belleville and Val Thorens. 

I started my day catching the lift up from Brides Les Bain and went through Les Allues so technically I had visited them too.

Les Trois ValleesLes Trois Vallees










Right lets get the figures out the way immediately.

We left at 9.30am and arrived back at 4.25 pm.

In between we took 22 lifts, skied a vertical descent of 5,120m with a total distance of a shade under 50kms. It was tough, but not that tough. 

In fact it wasn't really tough at all.

Just fun. Cool

Les Trois ValleesLes Trois Vallees













We left Meribel, and skied through Courchevel 1850 and headed to Le Praz.

We hit one immediate problem just below Courchevel 1850.

Les Trois ValleesLes Trois Vallees













Unperturbed we checked with the liftie who said it was a bit muddy at the bottom and gave us a Gallic shrug of the shoulders when we asked if it was skiable.

We took that as a 'Yes'.

Les Trois ValleesHeading down













It was a bit bare at the bottom, it is after all the middle of April, but perfectly skiable down to 1,400m.

Les Trois ValleesLe Praz













We left at Le Praz at 10.10 and were in La Tania by 10.35.

Conditions were hardly any better.

Les Trois ValleesLa Tania













La Tania was the press village for the 1992 Albertville Winter Olympics and was built specially for the event.  It is known as the buget and back-door way into Courchevel.

We were glad to have knocked off the low resorts first thing and glad to be heading into the main body of the Courchevel ski area by 11.00.

It was a trek to get round to Courchevel 1650 at the extreme end of Courchevel but everyone else clearly thought the same so we had the slopes to ourselves.

They were perfectly groomed and flattering red runs with not a soul to be seen.

We barely turned - just pointed out skis down hill and went for it.  Fast.

Les Trois ValleesSpeeding to Courchevel 1650














Les Trois ValleesLes Trois Vallees













We were in Courchevel 1650 shortly before 12.00.

There was some tempting off piste and spring snow around that Pascal pointed out.

Sadly we had to ignore it as we were on a timetable.

Les Trois ValleesTempting













Did you know that Courchevel has an airfield? 

I guess it is frequented by the rich Russian visitors to Courchevel, but they are down about 30% in numbers across the Alps this winter so I guess it has been in use less.

Les Trois ValleesComing into land













By mid-day the slopes were getting decidedly slushy so I decided on a pit stop. 

I had rented my skis from Precision in Meribel and chose some Blizzard G-Power 7s to cope with the icy pistes in the morning and then some Dynastar Power Track 84s to cope with the softer snow and slush of the afternoon.

Thank you #Precision.

Les Trois ValleesWider under foot












By now time was ticking on and I could detect my fellow skiers wanting lunch.

"We will stop but we must get the bulk of the route over with and just leave us the third valley for the afternoon," I said.

They reluctantly agreed.

Lunch is a serious business for the French.  It should certainly not be messed about with by an Englishman.

Les Trois ValleesLonging for lunch













It was worth it though and we had a fabulous lunch at Les Cretes above Meribel.

Tucking in Tucking in













It was not over-priced, had perfect views with a location to match.

"It is one of my favourite restautants in the whole of Les Trois Vallees," said Colin Mathews. As a veteran of several decades he should know.

After a lunch that was completed in an hour, long by my standards and very short by those of Pacal and Colin, we clipped in again.

Les Trois ValleesInto the third valley











Next stop St Martin de Belleville. 

The only problem was the final run down to the resort was shut and, unlike Le Praz, earlier it was firmly closed. 

Oh well, we had almost made it.

Les Trois ValleesNo further













No such problems in Les Menuires.

Les Trois ValleesLes Menuires













Next it was on to our final destination; Val Thorens.

Les Trois ValleesOn schedule













Les Trois ValleesVal Thorens













We ignored the tempting call of some après ski.

Les Trois ValleesAprès ski













Val Thorens is the highest ski resort in Europe at 2,300m with the skiing going up to 3,230m. 

It shuts on May 10th.

We didn't have time to ski the top of the resort as the clock was ticking and we still had to get all the way back to Meribel.

Val Thorens may be the final resort but it was not our final destination.

Soon, for not such good reasons, we realised we had made a good call.

We let rip on the route back. 

We were going to make the connecting lifts in time but it is always good to be ahead.

Les Trois ValleesLes Trois Vallees













Just below the Lac du Chambre we came across an accident as a young child had fallen heavily at speed. She had injured her neck and head and looked concussed.

We screeched to a halt and put out skis up to indicate to other skiers of the danger. 

Les Trois ValleesHelp needed














We helped as we could and alerted the pisteurs.

Having offered all the help necessary we set off again.

Les Trois ValleesBack on track













By 16.00 it was positively tropical with the temperature at 16ºC.

And by the time we arrived back at Merible Centre at 16.25 it was 20ºC.  

The perfect temperature to drink a cold beer.

And a final count ski resorts: 56.  I wonder if I can make 60?

Les Trois ValleesWell deserved













For the spirit of the mountains

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