An independent guide to Val Thorens

View of Mt Blanc from Val Thorens

3 Valleys from Val Thorens

Chapelets, Courchevel
Chapelets, Courchevel

How to do the 3 Valleys from Val Thorens - ideas for routes, and other tips. This is a 3 Valleys piste map.

3 Valleys from Val Thorens: leaving Val Thorens

Pionniers chairlift
Pionniers chairlift

The obvious way to set off is by going to the top of the Plein Sud sector, which involves taking two lifts - Pionniers or Plein Sud, then Funitel 3 Vallées or Télésiege 3 Vallées.

(Another possibility would be head towards Les Menuires, without taking a lift, on boulevard Cumin. Note it is flat in places, so awkward for snowboarders).

At the top of the Plein Sud sector, there's a great view into the Méribel valley, and towards Mont Blanc beyond.

Top of 3 Valleys chair
Top of 3 Valleys chair, looking towards Méribel and Mont Blanc

The long run down towards Méribel Mottaret is called Lac de la Chambre.

Top of Lac de la Chambre
Top of Lac de la Chambre

Lac de la Chambre used to be red, but then they made a track at the top, which goes a longer way round and is less steep. Now Lac de la Chambre is blue. The top of the old red is still there, but the lift company seems to have given up pisting it - which is a shame, because it was great fun to ski.

After quite some way, you reach a junction.

Lac de la Chambre junction
Junction part-way down Lac de la Chambre

To the left, it's a flat track, followed by a run down to Plan des Mains chair; to the right, it's downhill first, then flat. Either way, there's some flat. I tend to go left, and do the flat first. You arrive at a flat area where two lifts start.

Plan des Mains
Flat area where Plan des Mains and Mont Vallon lifts start

If you're fast skiers or boarders, and want to pack in as much as possible, you could take Mont Vallon bubble up, and ski one of the reds back down (Campagnol or Combe du Vallon).

To continue to the centre of Méribel Mottaret, there are two options.

3 Valleys from Val Thorens: to Méribel Mottaret

Option 1 - Plans des Mains chair

Easy boardercross, Mottaret
Easy boardercross, Méribel Mottaret

Usually the best option is to go up Plans des Mains chair, then turn right down Sittelle (blue) towards Méribel Mottaret. If you like the sound of it, you could divert off to the right of Sittelle into the snow park, for example to do the easy boardercross.

The last part into Mottaret (on Martre) is quite often a little hard and icy.

Méribel Mottaret
Méribel Mottaret

Option 2 - Ours piste

Ours piste, Méribel
Ours piste, Méribel

Instead of going to Mottaret via Plans des Mains, you could take the straight on option, a blue run called Ours (bear). It goes through the trees and is scenic, but there's a lot of flat, so it isn't necessarily suitable for snowboarders or skiers who are averse to polling along.

Ours brings you to Méribel Mottaret.

3 Valleys from Val Thorens: Méribel Mottaret to Courchevel

There's a shorter and a longer option from Méribel Mottaret.

Option 1 - Pas du Lac

Pas du Lac, Mottaret
Pas du Lac, Méribel Mottaret

The shorter option is to get Pac du Lac bubble out of Mottaret (two sections, so stay on at the mid-station) up to Saulire, the top of the Courchevel ski area.

Option 2 - la Truite to Méribel

La Truite piste to Méribel
La Truite piste, leading to Méribel

If you have enough time, you could take the very pretty green by the stream and through the trees, from Méribel Mottaret to Méribel. It's called la Truite (the trout). You arrive at the Rond Point des Pistes in Méribel, then you can go up the Saulire Express bubble (two sections, but change at the mid-station), to Saulire.

Top of Saulire, Courchevel
Top of Saulire, Courchevel

From here, you can go towards Courchevel 1650 (Moriond) or Courchevel 1850.

3 Valleys from Val Thorens: skiing in Courchevel

There are plenty of fun routes to do in Courchevel. I'm going to suggest two possibilities - one based on Courchevel 1650 (Moriond), and the other on Courchevel 1850. Of course, you can do your own variants of these routes, and cover more ground if you're fast and have the energy.

Option 1 - Courchevel 1650 (Moriond)

Creux piste, Courchevel
Creux piste, Courchevel

Take the Creux piste. It's reasonably steep for a blue, but the gradient eases lower down.

You reach Chanrossa chairlift, which you can take.

Chanrossa chair
Chanrossa chair, Courchevel

The red run from the top of Chanrossa is Roc Merlet. Continue on the blue run beyond the bottom of Roc Merlet chair, but fork right to cut across the Pyramides drag lift, and join Pyramides blue run. It's an easy, enjoyable, rolling blue, that passes the top of Roc Mugnier chair and continues to Bel Air (where the Western Ski Park is).

It's well worth going down the Bel Air red run, and coming back up Chapelets lift, above the Chapelets piste. With a view of the rocky faces opposite, this is one of the most picturesque parts of the 3 Valleys.

Chapelets, Courchevel
Chapelets, Courchevel

From the top of the Chapelets lift, turn right down Rochers, a fun gully run, to get back to Bel Air.

There's a posh restaurant at Bel Air, but it also has a takeaway sandwich and panini window, with picnic tables by it.

To get back to the top of Saulire, take the green Petite Bosse piste, then a blue run down through the trees to Aiguille du Fruit chair. Turn left at the top of the chairlift, and ski down to Marmottes chair; Marmottes goes up to Saulire.

If you want to go to Courchevel 1850, turn right at the top of Aiguille du Fruit, and follow Altiport/Biollay pistes.

Option 2 - Courchevel 1850

Combe Saulire
Combe Saulire

To go towards Courchevel 1850 from Saulire, take the red Combe Saulire piste. The steepest part is at the top. If it looks too steep, go straight on along the ridge, rather than left down the main run; there's a track that does a zig and a zag to reduce the gradient.

Saulire track
Track from the top of Saulire

Saulire is quite a long red run. How easy or difficult it is depends a lot on the snow conditions. It's usually fun.

You arrive at the departure station of the Saulire cable car. Just below it is the Family Park, with an easy boardercross.

Courchevel Family Park
Family Park, Courchevel

From the bottom of the Family Park, it's a flat and easy slide to Courchevel 1850. My usual lunch stop is at the bakery inside the shopping centre in Courchevel. It involves clip-clopping over a hard floor and down some steps, but it's the best value you're likely to find in this part of the world.

If you have time before or after lunch, you could go under the bridge, past the start of Plantrey chair, and all the way down to Le Praz at 1300m; you can admire the ski jump from the 1992 Winter Olympics.

Bouc Blanc
Bouc Blanc piste

Another option for lunch is the Bouc Blanc restaurant. Take Chenus bubble out of Courchevel 1850, then Loze Est and Bouc Blanc pistes down to the Bouc Blanc restaurant. It's consistently good food, large portions, and reasonable prices.

From the Bouc Blanc, you can take Folyères piste down to La Tania. It's sometimes a bit icy, but if you've come from Val Thorens, skiing through the forest will be fun and novel.

Folyeres, La Tania
Folyères piste, La Tania

3 Valleys from Val Thorens: heading home

There's less skiing and more time on lifts on the way home.

Option 1 - via Saulire

You can go back via Saulire. As described in the Courchevel Moriond section, you get up there on Marmottes chair. From Courchevel 1850, take the Verdons or Chenus bubble, Biollay chair, and Vizelle bubble.

Vizelle bubble, Courchevel
Vizelle bubble

From the top of Saulire, take the red run down to Méribel Mottaret. It's often a bit hard and icy under your skis. If someone in your party is tired, they could go down to Mottaret in Pas du Lac bubble.

From Mottaret, take Plattières bubble followed by Côte Brune chair.

Cote Brune, Méribel
Côte Brune, Méribel

Then you're back at the top of Val Thorens. You can get back to resort via Goitschel/Chardons and Plein Sud, or the blue run Pluviomètre.

Option 2 - via Col de la Loze

If you've been to Le Praz, come back up with Forêt; if you've been to La Tania, come back up with La Tania bubble. Both bring you back to the Bouc Blanc restaurant. From there, you can pick up Dou des Lanches.

Dou des Lanches
Dou des Lanches

Dou des Lanches arrives at the top of Col de la Loze.

Col de la Loze
Col de la Loze

From there, take Pic Bleu piste down past the start of Loze chairlift. After that, you can choose between the Animals Piste or Blanchot, to the bottom of Altiport chair.

Piste des Animaux
Pistes des Animaux

Forêt piste (from the bottom of Altiport chair) is totally flat to begin with, but there is a rope tow. Then the bottom of Doron gets you to Méribel.

Legends chair, Méribel
Legends, Méribel

Take Legends out of Méribel, then Grive and Perdrix to Méribel Mottaret. From Mottaret, the route home is the same as the second part of Option 1.

I hope you have a great 3 Valleys trip.

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Val Thorens snow report

Snow-covered car, Val Thorens

Read the latest snow reports for Val Thorens, covering snow depths, quality of the snow, number of pistes and lifts open, 3 Valley links open, and avalanche risk.

Val Thorens weather

Sea of cloud, Mont de la Chambre

The Val Thorens weather page explains the weather systems which affect Val Thorens, and has a link to a weather forecast.

Find out about the Foehn and Lombarde winds, and the effects of climate change in Val Thorens.

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