Question Les Trois Vallées suggestions please.

Ian D

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Ok so looking at a France trip in Jan 2023.

Daughter is looking to do a uni elective in France and Mrs D and I are thinking of going over with her. Looking at Paris for New Years then head down to the 3 valleys for a few days, 4 or 5. Getting there around Jan 5 or 6.

Mrs D won't be doing back to back days skiing, so looking for things to do when not skiing. Want ski in ski out or close to it. Want fairly easy transfer in as don't want to waste too much time getting in and out.

Not looking for double blacks, Mrs D won't forgive me if we do too much damage before sending daughter on her way to Uni and we head off to the Riviera.

So looking for first hand experience and suggestions.

Thanks brains trust......
 

Sbooker

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Not 3 Valleys but we’ll be next door at Les Arcs from the seventh of January. Train from Paris (we’re catching it and did so last month too) goes direct to Bourg Saint Maurice station. The funicular goes from the station to the resorts of Les Arcs. The resorts sit between 1600 metres and 2000 metres so are ‘ski in ski out’. We’re staying in 1800 where we stayed last month.
The area is huge with a full 2000 metres vertical. La Plagne (the hill next door that is right next to the 3 Valleys) is linked by a cable car so the total skiing area could keep you interested for a season. The reason we have opted for Les arcs for that time of year is the huge amount of tree lined runs and tree skiing that makes visibility much better in snowy weather - compared to most other surrounding areas that have much more limited tree terrain. To give you a sense of scale the area is more than 5 times larger than Whistler Blackcomb.
Accommodation is very reasonable. We are paying under $200aud per night. Lift tickets are approximately $87aud per day. Plenty to do for non skiers for a few days. Pools, gyms, spas, luge, ice skating and importantly really easy access to the real valley town of Bourg Saint Maurice.
Train back to Paris or Geneva or wherever is simple and a pleasure. No car needed.
Trail map.
 

Ian D

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How much do you want to spend?
I will be there so would be great to catch up and show you around.
Well we don't want to rub shoulders with Tom Cruise or the Hemsworths but equally not looking for bargain basement.

Comfortable without being stupid.

Catch up sound awesome.
 
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Ian D

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Not 3 Valleys but we’ll be next door at Les Arcs from the seventh of January. Train from Paris (we’re catching it and did so last month too) goes direct to Bourg Saint Maurice station. The funicular goes from the station to the resorts of Les Arcs. The resorts sit between 1600 metres and 2000 metres so are ‘ski in ski out’. We’re staying in 1800 where we stayed last month.
The area is huge with a full 2000 metres vertical. La Plagne (the hill next door that is right next to the 3 Valleys) is linked by a cable car so the total skiing area could keep you interested for a season. The reason we have opted for Les arcs for that time of year is the huge amount of tree lined runs and tree skiing that makes visibility much better in snowy weather - compared to most other surrounding areas that have much more limited tree terrain. To give you a sense of scale the area is more than 5 times larger than Whistler Blackcomb.
Accommodation is very reasonable. We are paying under $200aud per night. Lift tickets are approximately $87aud per day. Plenty to do for non skiers for a few days. Pools, gyms, spas, luge, ice skating and importantly really easy access to the real valley town of Bourg Saint Maurice.
Train back to Paris or Geneva or wherever is simple and a pleasure. No car needed.
Trail map.
Awesome, will look into this a bit more as an option.
 
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Sbooker

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@Boodwah
Where do you stay in Les Trois Vallees? I’ve skied the Val Thorens area for a couple of blue sky days and loved it. Being inexperienced in the region I would not be confident navigating in snowy white out weather though.
Courchevel seems to have a bit more tree cover?
 

Boodwah

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First is decide on which valley. With exception to St Martin (which is a cute lower alpine village) Val Thorens is all above the tree line. Better more reliable snow on days when you can see. Fun on sunny days. Most of the resorts in that vallley are functional but hideous, often good value.
The middle valley Meribel is perhaps the most practical bc you can hop over into the other two very easily, but w a few exceptions I’ve never much liked the skiing there, always skiing the traverse to catch the next lift. Also in early winter when you’re there, all the villages are pretty much in shade all day.
Because of its situation (it’s not tucked in a valley like the others) only Courchevel has the gobsmacking views that you want in the Alps, Mt Blanc, Grand Bec, Grand Casse, and the Dent de Villard, the scenery at CCV is just better, the best in France I think. It’s also a more varied and interesting ski area in itself consisting of its own 3 vallies from Moriond to La Tania.
The higher you go the more you pay basically, w 1850 the bees knees. With the Russians now evicted, it’s probably more affordable and less annoying. The shopping is pretty amazing, and the Olympic ice rink from 84 is open every night. The water park at 1550 is fun, and most restaurants are affordable. There’s half a dozen 3 Michelin star ones, but a few which are melbourne prices for exceptional food.
The free gondola between 1550 and 1850 runs well into the evening, so if you can’t find anything ski in-out affordable at 1850, then 1550 would be my next choice. 1650 sits in the sun longest as it’s almost another resort. 1350 La Praz is in the shade all day at that time of year, but is cute.
La Tania is also in the shade but has cheaper options and fewer crowds.
 

Boodwah

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@Boodwah
Where do you stay in Les Trois Vallees? I’ve skied the Val Thorens area for a couple of blue sky days and loved it. Being inexperienced in the region I would not be confident navigating in snowy white out weather though.
Courchevel seems to have a bit more tree cover?
My wife family from there. Unfortunately they had to sell family chalet last year, so we’ll prolly find an apartment at lower elevations this year!
Lots of trees CCV, also meribel, you can sometimes ski all the way down to Bozel or Brides les Bains.
 

Hyst

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Awesome, will look into this a bit more as an option.
If you look at Les Arcs there is this nice small hotel - ski in ski out. Area has trees for bad weather and you can pass over to La Plane.

https://hotel-la-vanoise.com/fr/

As I understand you do not like the "huge" French apartments!

From Paris have to take a taxi from Gare de Landy or Gare de Aime

There are a few catered chalets further down but not ski-in ski-out, if you should be interested, was very happy with them: https://go-alpine.co.uk/

Nice view point:

Non skier info form a other catered Chalet.

:wave:
 

Incider

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La Tania is reasonably cheap and is located in the middle, providing easy access to courchevel and Meribel
 
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Kenzie

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First up:- a reality check - you are proposing to arrive in resort during New Year week (31 Dec to 7 Jan). This causes two problems:-
1) This is one of the six weeks of the season every accommodation provider would expect to be fully booked.
2) The slopes will be very busy, as will the lifts, especially on the Friday when everyone tries to squeeze as much skiing in as they can on their last day - expect massive amounts of lift-queue barging (and remember this is France!) and plenty of collisions on piste.

Second up:- another reality check - you are looking at only 4 or 5 days. In any of the mega ski areas - 3 Valleys (approx. 600 km of marked pistes), Paradiski (450km) or Espace Killy (300km) you'll only be able to scratch the surface.

A few questions:-
How are you travelling to the Tarentaise?
What sort of accommodation are you looking for - Hotel/Chalet/Chalet-hotel/Self-catering? Full board/Half board/Bed and breakfast/Rooms only?
What is your euro budget and what would it be covering other than accommodation and lift passes? eg kit hire, lessons, mountain lunches, apres ski, evenings in bars etc
What do you mean with 'other activities'? Pottering around the village? Shopping? Or more active things, such as dog sledding, ice diving, snow shoe walking, ice skating etc?

If you could be flexible about your arrival date, arriving on Saturday 7th would greatly increase the variety of accommodation for you to choose from (the week after New Year week is one of the quietest of the season), and would bring some of the UK TOs (tour operators) into play. Arriving on Sunday 8th would bring the rest of the UK TOs into play. The accommodation would also be much cheaper that week, and the slopes very quiet, with few (and short) lift-queues.
 
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@Ian D start here

then, consider this closely:
First up:- a reality check - you are proposing to arrive in resort during New Year week (31 Dec to 7 Jan). This causes two problems:-
1) This is one of the six weeks of the season every accommodation provider would expect to be fully booked.
2) The slopes will be very busy, as will the lifts, especially on the Friday when everyone tries to squeeze as much skiing in as they can on their last day - expect massive amounts of lift-queue barging (and remember this is France!) and plenty of collisions on piste.

Second up:- another reality check - you are looking at only 4 or 5 days. In any of the mega ski areas - 3 Valleys (approx. 600 km of marked pistes), Paradiski (450km) or Espace Killy (300km) you'll only be able to scratch the surface.

A few questions:-
How are you travelling to the Tarentaise?
What sort of accommodation are you looking for - Hotel/Chalet/Chalet-hotel/Self-catering? Full board/Half board/Bed and breakfast/Rooms only?
What is your euro budget and what would it be covering other than accommodation and lift passes? eg kit hire, lessons, mountain lunches, apres ski, evenings in bars etc
What do you mean with 'other activities'? Pottering around the village? Shopping? Or more active things, such as dog sledding, ice diving, snow shoe walking, ice skating etc?

If you could be flexible about your arrival date, arriving on Saturday 7th would greatly increase the variety of accommodation for you to choose from (the week after New Year week is one of the quietest of the season), and would bring some of the UK TOs (tour operators) into play. Arriving on Sunday 8th would bring the rest of the UK TOs into play. The accommodation would also be much cheaper that week, and the slopes very quiet, with few (and short) lift-queues.

once you've washed that all through Mrs D's brain (and lets not kid ourselves, this is where all the answers lie), then a realistic plan can start to form
 
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Boodwah

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First up:- a reality check - you are proposing to arrive in resort during New Year week (31 Dec to 7 Jan). This causes two problems:-
1) This is one of the six weeks of the season every accommodation provider would expect to be fully booked.
2) The slopes will be very busy, as will the lifts, especially on the Friday when everyone tries to squeeze as much skiing in as they can on their last day - expect massive amounts of lift-queue barging (and remember this is France!) and plenty of collisions on piste.

Second up:- another reality check - you are looking at only 4 or 5 days. In any of the mega ski areas - 3 Valleys (approx. 600 km of marked pistes), Paradiski (450km) or Espace Killy (300km) you'll only be able to scratch the surface.

A few questions:-
How are you travelling to the Tarentaise?
What sort of accommodation are you looking for - Hotel/Chalet/Chalet-hotel/Self-catering? Full board/Half board/Bed and breakfast/Rooms only?
What is your euro budget and what would it be covering other than accommodation and lift passes? eg kit hire, lessons, mountain lunches, apres ski, evenings in bars etc
What do you mean with 'other activities'? Pottering around the village? Shopping? Or more active things, such as dog sledding, ice diving, snow shoe walking, ice skating etc?

If you could be flexible about your arrival date, arriving on Saturday 7th would greatly increase the variety of accommodation for you to choose from (the week after New Year week is one of the quietest of the season), and would bring some of the UK TOs (tour operators) into play. Arriving on Sunday 8th would bring the rest of the UK TOs into play. The accommodation would also be much cheaper that week, and the slopes very quiet, with few (and short) lift-queues.
Crowds are really not that bad. Prolly even less now Russians evicted. The lift system is incredible, queues are rare, especially if you know how to play the mountain, and less Poms too now since Brexit stopped them working there. Also, being there over that time period gets you tix to some pretty amazing fireworks and Chrissy cheer, and (ironically) Russian Chrissy/New Year celebrations.
Travel there is easy. Train to Bourge-St-Maurice (usually TGV to Lyon then one change), bus up the hill. Or cab from Lyon international (about 200 euro) Or fly to CCV direct if you want to pay lots more.
If you want to ski hard and fast, you can get a huge snapshot of the 3V each and every day of those 4-5 days. Pretty much every single lift in 3V is high speed detachable, the Foret 6pack is the fastest in the world if you want to lap powder tree runs on a snowy day. But if we're venturing to 3V from vallee CCV, we'll usually choose a destination/itinerary/lunch stop the evening before based on predicted weather.
 

Undies

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Spent quite a bit of time at 1650, and would echo all of Boodwah's thoughts. I enjoyed staying there and then heading up to 1850 for fancy dinners and the like. 1650 has got a bit of nightlife itself, so suited me well as a base.

Bonus brownie points with Mrs D if you arrive via the airport. Lifetime memories right there.
 

CarveMan

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If you want to ski hard and fast, you can get a huge snapshot of the 3V each and every day of those 4-5 days. Pretty much every single lift in 3V is high speed detachable, the Foret 6pack is the fastest in the world if you want to lap powder tree runs on a snowy day.
Absolutely, I spent a month in Le Praz in 1998 and it felt like the biggest resort in the world, obviously because it was, but it was seriously vast and I was pretty young and inexperienced. It was a whole day mission to get to Val Thorens and back.

Fast forward to about 4 years ago, I went to Courchevel for a wedding so we skied a day there and I couldn't believe how much faster you could get around, we only bought Courchevel tickets as we thought we would not even scratch the surface but with the new fast lifts we did a lap of all the major areas and regretted not being able to drop in to Meribel.
 

Boodwah

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Absolutely, I spent a month in Le Praz in 1998 and it felt like the biggest resort in the world, obviously because it was, but it was seriously vast and I was pretty young and inexperienced. It was a whole day mission to get to Val Thorens and back.

Fast forward to about 4 years ago, I went to Courchevel for a wedding so we skied a day there and I couldn't believe how much faster you could get around, we only bought Courchevel tickets as we thought we would not even scratch the surface but with the new fast lifts we did a lap of all the major areas and regretted not being able to drop in to Meribel.
CCV is three valleys in itself, La Tania, CCV/Praz and moriond which boarders the Vanoise NP.
The benefit of having a 3V pass out of CCV is in the late arvo when you can still ski in the sun from CCV dropping each time down to Meribel until last ride up, or passing a wild noisy hour in the sun in Meribel Folie Douce
 
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LDJ

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Skiing wise I really enjoyed being based at courcheval 1550 was in chalet 2 min from lift and could ski back (bit of goat track but that’s half the fun). Cheaper more relaxed (not glam like 1850) but easy gondela that starts early to get staff to 1850 and from there access to all the best lifts and restaurants in the evening if you like the more classy stuff. 1850 wasn’t for me to top end and pricy but I agree could be some bargains with the Russians out of the picture. They were crashing their private jets into the snow banks at the alti port when I was there in 2020. 1550 more central than 1650 skiing wise for my liking but 1650 still good. La Tania also good option if you want cheaper chalet and ski in ski out as lots of UK tour operators there. I loved st Martin but not easy to get on snow accom. I majorly dislike Val T (party atmosphere and above tree line so shocking in low light/storms) but lots of people love it. Also really don’t like Les menuires it’s chaos on piste there and always busy in the centre for skiing. Prefer skiing CCV and meribel with some trips to Val T area. Orelle and st Martin would be lovely bases if happy to pay for French hotel and potentially walk a little to base lifts. You’ll have a blast wherever you go.
 
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davekinkead

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I live in Les Arcs so will second some comments.

Transfers ... TGV direct from Paris to BSM connecting to the funicular at the station to Arcs 1600 makes life very easy. Alternatively, get off at Moutiers for a 30 min private transfer up to the 3Vs.

Pistes ... Anywhere in the Tarentaise is amazing. All resorts will have high snow sure conditions and tree runs for bad days. Paradiski or 3V would take months to properly explore.

Non-skiers ... Arcs 1800 or Meribel have pools, spas, snow shoeing, a Folie Douce to enjoy in the early afternoon before it gets messy. Don't know Courchevel well enough.

Crowds ... The French only seem to ski in the school holidays and like most of Europe, 90% of accom is Sat - Sat. Xmas week is busy. New years week is CRAZY busy. You are trying to travel during the busiest week of the season so if you can delay your skiing to 7 Jan, it will be so much more enjoyable.

Apartments ... French ski apartments make the tiny house movement look like a oligarch's excess compensation over a tiny D. Check the square meterage when before you book or find someone to share a chalet with.

Vibe ... Meribel is more chalets / chalet-style-hotels and has great atmosphere. Les Arcs has 'unique' architecture that would have been an awesome backdrop to a 1967 Bond film. Of the Arcs, 1800 is the prettiest (although I'm not sure that adjective could be used for any of the Paradiski resorts except Peisey & Villaroger) .

Enjoy!
 
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johnski

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Hard to go wrong in most of the 3V each have their pros and cons. Agree with others that Val thorens while the highest and most snow sure is the bleakest in bad weather, lots of late night party stuff and up there in price with CCV. Personally like Reberty 2000 just up from Les Menuires. Ski in ski out, can get to meribel with one lift, Val thorens one lift, ski down to La masse (great off piste options), a few good restaurants, easy to get to Les Menuires (for shopping and restaurants) but away from the crowds. Good apartment options (like Residence Les Alpages de Reberty), chalets (uk companies) and hotels @elSpike stayed at Ours Blanc hotel just down from Reberty 2000 which looked good in his trip report earlier this year. 2nd week of January typically quiet if you get there after Saturday 7th.
 

elSpike

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Hard to go wrong in most of the 3V each have their pros and cons. Agree with others that Val thorens while the highest and most snow sure is the bleakest in bad weather, lots of late night party stuff and up there in price with CCV. Personally like Reberty 2000 just up from Les Menuires. Ski in ski out, can get to meribel with one lift, Val thorens one lift, ski down to La masse (great off piste options), a few good restaurants, easy to get to Les Menuires (for shopping and restaurants) but away from the crowds. Good apartment options (like Residence Les Alpages de Reberty), chalets (uk companies) and hotels @elSpike stayed at Ours Blanc hotel just down from Reberty 2000 which looked good in his trip report earlier this year. 2nd week of January typically quiet if you get there after Saturday 7th.
Definitely would stay in Les Menuires again. It's very central and relatively quiet in the evenings. Ours Blanc was an exceptional hotel, but you get what you pay for as it wasnt exactly cheap.
 

Annabuzzy

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Ok so looking at a France trip in Jan 2023.

Daughter is looking to do a uni elective in France and Mrs D and I are thinking of going over with her. Looking at Paris for New Years then head down to the 3 valleys for a few days, 4 or 5. Getting there around Jan 5 or 6.

Mrs D won't be doing back to back days skiing, so looking for things to do when not skiing. Want ski in ski out or close to it. Want fairly easy transfer in as don't want to waste too much time getting in and out.

Not looking for double blacks, Mrs D won't forgive me if we do too much damage before sending daughter on her way to Uni and we head off to the Riviera.

So looking for first hand experience and suggestions.

Thanks brains trust......
I’ve done the TGV out of Paris through to both Chamonix and Val D’Isere, but not Les Trois Vallee. Val is a little easier than Cham - with Val you get a bus from Bourg St Maurice whereas with Cham you need to disembark the TGV to another train taking you to central Cham, but if your accommodation isn’t near the train station you’re now taxi travelling with all your gear!

I believe Les Trois Vallee is adjacent to Paradise Ski, which incorporates La Plagne, which is right above Mourg St Maurice, so should be pretty easy.

As I haven’t been there I can’t give you non skiing activities but I’m sure there wou,d be snow shoeing and lots of promenading to be done. It IS Europe after all!
 
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