Creux, Courchevel 1850
This long, winding run has the advantage of being accessible from both Couchevel and Méribel since a whole stack of lifts access it from the top of 2700-metre Saulire. But that can also be a disadvantage, since it means it gets very busy. However, get up here first thing in the morning and you can enjoy a wide, fast descent under the face of 2734-metre Roc Merlet all the way down to the intersection of the Roc Mugnier, Gravelles and Aiguille du Fruit lifts where you have the option of going up and repeating; or you could stop half way down at the Chanrossa chair to head up to 2734-metre Roc Merlot for …
Jean Pachod, Courchevel 1850
Jean Pachod is worth it for the views alone – once you hop off the chair you’re presented with sensational panoramas towards 3051-metre Aiguille du Fruit, 2,867-metre Portetta and out into the Parc National de la Vanoise. The run itself isn’t usually that busy, and it’s short but relatively steep; you can’t see what’s coming around some of the corners which adds to the excitement. You eventually pop out onto the lower slopes of Creux from where you can repeat the run or continue to the bottom of Creux and take the Roc Mugnier chair to go and enjoy…
We like this red because it’s right out on the very edge of the huge Three Valleys ski area, so you feel like you’re out in the wilds – a little bit, anyway. Also, it doesn’t usually get busy until later in the morning. Snaking down between rock outcrops and bluffs from the top of the Chapelet and Signal chairs, it’s also quite steep in places so for less adventurous intermediate skiers that can add to the excitement. On the way back up the Chapelet chair, look out for the famous ‘forked tree’ after which the local, Brit-run ski maker Forked Tree Skis is named.
Bouc Blanc, La Tania
Accessed from the Bouc Blanc drag lift (which boarders will not enjoy) or various lifts which rise up from Courchevel 1850 and Courchevel-Le Praz, Bouc Blanc meanders all the way down to La Tania from high, open slopes through tree lined lower pistes which add greatly to the variety and enjoyment. It also has good views down to the Bozel Valley. But its real attraction is that it’s north facing, so the snow often remains in good condition here when other slopes are getting a bit grotty.
Venturon, Méribel Mottaret
Venturon is accessed from the top of the Côte Brune chair and starts off steep and winding before the gradient eases towards the bottom to give your quads a rest before you head back up for more of the same. And more adventurous skiers can easily access the off-piste to skier’s right and, should it prove too challenging, hop back onto the piste. The north-facing slopes here stay in good condition for most of the season and are always a good bet when conditions elsewhere are getting a bit sketchy.
Combe Vallon, Méribel Mottaret
Snaking down pretty steeply off the top of 2952-metre Mont du Vallon, the pitch of Combe Vallon is pretty relentless from top to bottom which makes it a good workout for your quads. There are sensational views from the top and throughout the run you’re surrounded by impressive mountain panoramas; note that it can get a bit busy at times with unfit skiers talking a break from the rigours of the descent, especially towards the end of the day.
Campagnol, Méribel Mottaret
You hit Campagnol if you go skier’s left off the top of Mont Vallon; it loops its way down the mountain at varying pitches and offers lovely views towards the Glacier du Borgne, Col de la Chambre and way down towards Meribel, with different vistas and a different feel to the descent on virtually every bend in the piste.
Jerusalem, Méribel/St. Martin
Jerusalem has a wide, open feel and equally wide open views; and like Venturon it has some gentle and easily accessible off-piste to the side if you fancy something a bit more challenging. It faces south and is a great sunny slope, although this does mean that early season is when conditions are at their best, as intense late season sun can melt the snow quickly.
Col, Val Thorens
Located off the top of the Col chairlift at an impressive altitude of 3130-metres, the slopes here face north-west so the snow generally stays in good condition (although it can be cold early in the season). The views from the top of the chair are fantastic, and the eponymous red is short but steep and exciting; if you get it after it’s been pisted (usually every other day) it’s a superb run.
Boismint, Val Thorens
Accessed by the chairlift of the same name, Boismint is another run that tends to stay in good condition thanks to its north-east facing slopes, which means it also gets the early morning sun; this gives you another reason to head here first thing along with the attraction of catching it straight after the piste bashers have done their thing. The steepest and most challenging section is part of the way down, and it continues on into the red Plan de l’eau if you want to extend your descent all the way to the lowest point in ‘VT’ at 1800 metres.
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