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Ski guiding in Meribel France with British ski instructors
Ski guiding in Meribel France with British ski instructors
Ski guiding in Meribel France with British ski instructors
Ski guiding in Meribel France with British ski instructors

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Top 7 Favourite Pistes In The Belleville Valley - The 3 Valleys

Posted on
January 29, 2020

Hi everybody and welcome back to another post from your loyal blogging Méribel ski instructor. A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article about my favourite pistes here in the Méribel Valley, click here if you missed it. Since that article was published, I've skied with a few people who mentioned that they had read it, which soon developed into a further conversation as to their own favourites. For regular visitors to Méribel, it doesn't take long for us to make a list in our valley, however it can take longer to learn the other two valleys. So why don't I share with you some more of my favourites to help you along, with possibly a couple of pistes you may not have come across? This time we are going to look at the Belleville Valley, which hosts the ski resorts of Val Thorens, Les Menuires and St. Martin de Belleville.

Verdet

A beautiful quiet piste

Verdet is one of those rare treats that many people miss as they ski past the entrance. It can only be accessed by the Olympic chairlift above Meribel. At the top it is all too easy to get distracted by the stunning views looking down into Belleville. As soon as you can peel your eyes away from this scene, start skiing down the Roc de Fer blue piste back towards Méribel and within a few hundred metres look out for the entrance on your right hand side. It is a lovely sweeping piste that drops you into Belleville above St.Martin, and eventually joins onto the bottom of the Jerusalem piste before continuing towards the St.Martin 2 chairlift. The reason why I love it so much is because it is often very quiet as it meanders down through the summer pastures. Do be aware that later in the season, the snow conditions on this piste will be affected by the warmer sun.

Jerusalem

Speaking of the Jerusalem piste (mentioned above), there is no way that I can omit this famous run. Accessed by the Tougnete 2 chairlift from Méribel, or the St. Martin 2 chairlift above St. Martin, head north along the ridge and you will soon see the entrance. Up until a few years ago Jerusalem was a red piste, and not the current grading of blue. However after some landscaping work was carried out, the old part of the steep red pitch (now separately called Cherferie) was bypassed with a more gentler section; hence the new updated blue grading. Why is this piste so well known and popular? Possibly because of its name, however in its own right it is a cracking piste that takes you through the summer pastures (just like Verdet mentioned a moment ago) and past umpteen picturesque shepherds huts. It is a genuinely beautiful alpine experience, and one not to miss during a week's holiday.

Tetras

Looking down on the highest ski resort in Europe - Val Thorens

Over in Val Thorens, the highest ski resort in Europe at an altitude of 2,300 metres, there is a huge ski area with countless pistes. The centre of Val Thorens can sometimes be a busy area, so I quite like to head towards the western side of the bowl. The Asters blue piste is accessed by the Boismint chairlift, next to the more popular Moutiere chairlift. This piste weaves its way down to the recently upgraded Plan de l'Eau chairlift. Tetras feels like one of the longest pistes over in Val Thorens, and being away from the crowds, it is an absolute peach of a piste.

Asters

Closer to Val Thorens it is still possible to find quiet pistes. Although Asters is a relatively short red piste, it is a beauty. Accessed by the Thorens funitel above the Portette chairlift, peel off to the right to find the entrance. Before doing that, do make a point of soaking up the views at the top - looking south towards the Fourth Valley and across to the top of the Bouchet chairlift on the 'Sommet des 3 Vallées' at 3,230 metres. The Asters piste is often very quiet, normally with good quality snow, and sweeps down past Le Caribou mountain restaurant which is always worth a visit.

Croissant

The deliciously named Croissant piste

Croissant, what a great name for a piste? However, I haven't chosen this piste because of its name. Accessed by the efficient Funitel Peclet, and also the Lac Blanc chairlift that serves the Val Thorens Stade (race piste). It runs parallel to the Stade race piste, and is just as long as the way more popular Lac Blanc piste. Without concentrating on navigation, it is easy to miss the start of this red. Ok, perhaps I have been influenced by the name of this piste, but because it is quieter than most pistes, and offers a great ski experience, I believe it deserves a mention.

Moraine

I've tried to avoid having Val Thorens dominate my top 7 favourite piste list, but in reality there are so many great slopes over there. The Moraine blue piste is another example. Accessed by the Moraine bubble, it is normally in excellent condition all winter long thanks to the high altitude and north facing aspect. The Moraine bubble used to be a chairlift, and coupled with the Col chairlift that climbs further up, they were rather affectionally called the Fridge and the Freezer chairlifts for good reason. Thankfully being a bubble now, it is a more comfortable experience assessing the Moraine piste. This blue is beautiful: not too steep, nice and wide, with snow cannon coverage during any lean times. Probably my favourite blue piste in Val Thorens.

Combe de Rosael

A sharp reminder of a black piste

In theory the Combe de Rosael shouldn't be included in this list because technically it is located in the Orelle Valley (also described as the Fourth Valley of the Three Valleys). But hey, it's close enough! Accessed only by the Cime Caron cable car at the moment as it has been for decades. However from next winter onwards, a second lift will take you to the top: the brand new Orelle bubble will come up from the distant valley floor. This new bubble will have a mid-station at the side of the Refuge/Mountain restaurant, where the current 3 Vallées Express stops from Orelle, and will then continue up to the top of this black piste. The snow conditions on this piste are normally very good. When it is groomed it feels incredible, and when it isn't, the bumps will mean you will need to grit your teeth all the way down. It is well worthy of its black piste status! I also love the fact that this black finishes on the Gentianes blue piste which takes you down to the Refuge and other chairlifts without the need for skiing on the busier Mauriennaise red piste.

As ever, all of these pistes are subject to the variations of weather and snow conditions, and these choices are of course entirely subjective. If you have other favourites then I'd love to hear about them. By the way, I don't know if this is Pisteur policy, but one thing I've noticed is that the vast majority of the lollipop piste markers are positioned on the right hand side! There has only been one piste in total within this article and the previous one from the Méribel Valley where the piste markers are on the left. Is there something in this, or am I now getting way too ski geeky?

Feel free to stay more up to date via my Instagram account, Facebook page and also Twitter - links can be found at the top of the page. Do come back soon, and don't forget...... Live With Passion. Martin.

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With our skills- based system of learning, we give you the tools to safely negotiate any demands the mountains make on you, helping you to increase your comfort zone and ski in a wider range of conditions. Whether you are a nervous novice, a blue piste cruiser or an all mountain adventurer, we tailor your ski lessons to create a perfect fit. The question is, which one are you?

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Hi everybody and welcome back to another post. I hope you are all safe and well, and coping admirably during this period. Since the previous post, click here if you missed it, I've been staying at home as instructed and also heading out on my road bike several times a week.

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With our skills- based system of learning, we give you the tools to safely negotiate any demands the mountains make on you, helping you to increase your comfort zone and ski in a wider range of conditions. Whether you are a nervous novice, a blue piste cruiser or an all mountain adventurer, we tailor your ski lessons to create a perfect fit. The question is, which one are you?

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