Overview of Les Trois Vallées, France
Written by Greg and Heather Burke • Last updated Sep 21, 2017
Les Trois Vallées makes up the largest ski resort in the world - with 600 kilometers of trails (over 370 miles) served by 200 interconnected lifts among 8 ski areas. It's like Vail, Park City Canyons and Whistler combined. While the name translated is Three Valleys, it's so much more than just that. Les 3 Vallées is actually 4 big mountain valleys, 25 peaks, including 8 ski regions, the biggest of which are Courchevel, Méribel and Val Thorens.
Courchevel is the most famous of Les Trois Vallées ski areas, heralded for its high end clientele, and for its beautiful ski villages with upscale lodging - beautiful boutique hotels bearing 5 stars, gastronomic dining, designer shopping, and also fun activities for families and lively après ski. Courchevel has gorgeous groomed trails skiing, great on mountain chalets for lunch, and you can easily access the other ski resorts of 3 Vallées by lift.
Val Thorens is the biggest of Les Trois Vallees, and the highest Alps skiing at 10,500'. Here you have vast above tree-line skiing, wide open bowls with a few groomed trails off each dramatic peak, plus limitless off-piste opportunities. High capacity ski lifts, trams, gondolas and six packs shoot off in every direction. Val Thorens' on mountain village is more modern, with bigger hotels and less of the quaint cozy feel – but therefore it's more affordable than its sister valleys.
Méribel is a more charming Savoyard village, with classic chalet architecture, a main street with shopping, bars and restaurants, and a convivial alpine feel. Families will like Méribel for its Olympic Park with ice skating, bowling and a pool. Méribel is indeed the heart of Les 3 Vallees, you can easily ride one lift and be skiing Courchevel, or a few to be at Val Thorens vast terrain. Many consider Méribel to be France’s most well-designed ski resort for its pretty village, ski in ski out proximity of most hotels and lodges, and great events and après ski at Rond Point.
Les Trois Vallées’ offers skiers and snowboarders 370 miles of ski terrain, more than you can explore in a ski week, or a ski season. The closest airport to fly into is Geneva to reach Les Trois Vallées - by car, train or bus. The mountain range is east of Grenoble, west of Val D’Isère - Tignes and south of Chamonix Mont Blanc. This is the French Savioe region, noted for its après ski and farm cuisine – sample some cow cheese in the form of fondue or raclette at a mountain hut for lunch – featuring local Beaufort, Gruyere, and Reblochon, best enjoyed with the local wines of Gamay, Pinot Noir and Moneuse grapes.