Ultimate Guide to the Best Off-Piste Skiing In the Three Valleys
For some, the perfect ski holiday is all about lapping up the fine things in life in the most opulent luxury chalets Courchevel has to offer. To others however, nothing matters more than blazing as many ambitious trails as possible and chasing fresh powder where few dare to venture.
Unsurprisingly, the world’s single largest ski area is packed with more amazing off-piste skiing opportunities than anyone could hope to cram into a dozen lifetimes. As such, it’s a good idea to do your homework ahead of time and tap into a little local knowledge, in order to pinpoint the most unmissable opportunities of all.
So for the more adventurous types considering a luxury ski holiday in Meribel or Courchevel this season, here’s a quick overview of just a few superb off-piste ski spots you may otherwise have never come across:
Most off-piste action at Saulire will see you flying in the direction of Courchevel, with a couple of runs pointing more toward Meribel. Take the Saulire gondola and head right for the couloirs heading to Meribel, or take the ladder on the right to try your luck with The Couloir L’Echelle aka the Death Couloir. Suffice to say, it’s not what most would consider ‘fun’ as such, but is a good way of confirming your machismo…if you so wish.
It’s also worth checking out the powder around the Niverolle red and Grand Rosiere black, along with the pretty expansive area to the east of the Loze chair.
Though the general terrain and conditions around the Roc de Tougne tend to be borderline irresistible, this also happens to be prime avalanche territory and is therefore NOT recommended, unless you take a pro guide with you.
There’s a great spot under the Olympic chair, where a series of gorgeous tree-lined routes will take you down to Les Allues and Raffort, which are both simply gorgeous and well worth a visit. This is however only possible when snowfall has been particularly generous. In generally decent conditions, consider getting off at the top of the Olympic chairlift and heading the back way toward St Martin de Belleville – brilliant terrain, endless routes to play with and (for some reason) a notable lack of folk making the most of it!
A quickie recommendation but an important one nonetheless, brave this often very tough drag lift and you won’t need anyone to point out to you where the amazing off-piste ski opportunities are – they’re on both sides of you and completely obvious!
Mont du Vallon
Last but not least, an unmissable descent in Mont du Vallon can be found by heading from Val Thorens by way of the 3 Vallees 2 chairlift, which after taking to the top it’s a case of heading down the back and staying to the right to eventually join the gorgeous Lac de la Chambre red.
Photo source: flickr.com/photos/msquirrell