I’ve been skiing twice before in the Three Valleys. Every time, we’ve stayed in the lower part of Courchevel (Le Praz or La Tania), ‘cos staying higher up involves spending a whole lot more money than I can justify. And every time, we’ve tried to ski all the way to Val Thorens and back - just so that we could claim to have got value for money from the extra 20% spent on ski passes to extend them from Courchevel only to the whole of the Three Valleys.
Well this year was the year to make it happen.
The trouble before was that the lifts and pistes in both Méribel and Val Thorens all seem to run perpendicular to their valleys. Yet Val Thorens is higher than Méribel. So to stand a chance of getting into Val Thorens village itself, you have to leave Méribel Vallée via the highest pass - Monte De La Chambre. And I’ve gotta tell ya, that’s a right swine to get to from the diagonally opposite corner of the valley.
In previous years, we’d tried to get around this by crossing into Méribel via the Col de Saulire at the head of Courchevel. But with the Saulire cable car out of action, this was looking pretty tough. It may also have been the reason for our previous failures - just to get into Méribel valley via this route involves at least four lifts - slow going.
So this year, we crossed via the Col de Loze, skied down to Méribel village via the blue boulevard de la loze, and then saw-toothed up the valley via the Tougnette 1, Platiers 1 & 2 and then the Cote Brune lifts, bringing us to Monte de la Chambre by a little after 10:30 - at least three hours quicker than on previous years!
Val Thorens was certainly worth the effort, and we did the Marielle (black), Plein Sud (blue) and Béranger (red) pistes before hot chocolate & a picnic lunch and heading home via the long, flat & narrow Boulevard Cumin (red) and the Doron & Monte de la Chambre lifts from Les Menuires.
In fact we had time to spare, so on the way back through Méribel valley, we popped up to Mont do Vallon (2952m) & back down Combe de Vallon (red) just to avoid a 50 yd walk up hill from the bottom of Lad de la Chambre (red) and the start of Ours (blue) which would take us into Mottaret for our lifts home.
Bearing in mind how ‘easy’ this had all been, thoughts began to turn to the third-and-a-half valley beyond Val Thorens, above the town of Orelle. Could we manage that on Thursday, getting up to the Sommet des Pistes (3230m) and back in a single day . . . . ?
- Type: Other
- Date: 01/15/2008
- Total Time: 5:00:00.00
- Approximate distance skied: 32 miles.