14th February 2022 | Natasha Cove, Les Menuires, France.
It is one of the best locations to access the mighty 3 Valleys ski area and comes in at good value too. We look at the area, day by day, as our reporter hit the slopes earlier this winter for the first time since Covid-19 struck. UPDATED
Saturday: Day One
After a very early start from home (03:15am), we landed in Geneva at 9:30 am local time.
When I say ‘we’ that’s me and my boyfriend, Jack.
That’s him lugging the luggage on arrival in Les Menuires.
We first met when we were working as ski instructors in Verbier a few years back.
We had the usual worries and stresses about travelling in these Covid-19 times, but we sped through border control at Geneva with our entry forms and Covid-19 test results to hand.
At time of visiting we needed them to enter Switzerland – at time of posting this article they are not now needed.
Our transfer journey took us the scenic route to Les Menuires, passing Lake Annecy and the steep uphill incline to Val Thorens – quite beautiful.
The mountains looked the same as the last time we were in them almost 2 years ago.
We’d missed them.
It had been snowing in the days before we arrived, so we were greeted by snowy trees and snow capped bus stops.
The snow was still falling making us very excited for what was in store.
As we arrived in Les Menuires we were met by no better sight when arriving in a ski resort.
We headed to the tourist office to check out what was on offer for the week.
They were very helpful and ran us through potential activities and adventures.
We left with many leaflets and topics of conversation as we ate lunch.
An evening ride in a piste basher to a mountain restaurant looked fun, but more of that later.
We took the local shuttle up to Reberty and found our Pierre et Vacances accommodation.
We quickly checked in to a two-bedroom apartment with spacious living area overlooking the stunning mountains of Val Thorens and Les Menuires.
The apartment also overlooked a Sherpa shop – little did we know how useful this would be for the rest of the week.
After unpacking and settling in, we headed back to town to rent ski equipment for the week.
We rented from the Intersport in La Croisette, an effortless experience with extremely helpful and friendly staff.
We chatted to the Intersport staff and, given the snow conditions, decided all mountain skis would be the best decision for the first few days.
“You can always come back and change them to a piste ski for free later in the week if you wish,” the Intersport ski tech told us.
We were keen to make the most of the powder while also reminding our muscles what piste-skiing was – it has been two long years since we had skied.
I walked away with a set of Volkl all mountain skis.
Jack went for Atomics.
As dusk began to settle, we eagerly made our way back to the apartment wishing tomorrow would come quickly and we could finally ski after two long, long, long years away.
It had been hard getting up in the middle of the night (that already seemed a lifetime ago) to get here but it was so good to sort out skis, lift passes and settling into our accommodation without any time stress.
The next few days should be rather special.
I’ll be updating daily from Les Menuires, so do check back…
Sunday, Day Two
Our excitement for the day ahead woke us up at 6:30, from our Pierre et Vacances apartment.
We could see the most beautiful pink sky outside our window.
It had finally stopped snowing; a beautiful blue sky powder day was ahead of us.
We couldn’t ask for better conditions to commence our return to skiing as the Covid-19 pandemic eased.
After gobbling down some breakfast we quickly jumped onto our skis.
The apartment is ski in/ski out so we were on the piste in no time.
The first few turns were immense.
We got to the bottom of the chairlift and realised, under our masks, we were smiling from ear to ear, so happy to finally be back on the slopes.
Covid-19 checks were made, but it was no hassle.
After a few runs to ease us back into it, we went up La Masse, the new chairlift in Les Menuires.
It takes 7 minutes from bottom to top.
We had a quick hot chocolate stop to give our legs a short break.
We then headed over to the other side of Les Menuires to explore that area before lunch.
The snow conditions were incredible, switching between on and off-piste.
After a quick scenic picnic lunch for refreshment, we kept enjoying the snow.
And the food.
And some mid-afternoon refreshment.
We had both opted for all mountain skis from Intersport, which proved pretty perfect for the conditions.
After a full day of skiing, our legs had had enough by about 4pm so we skied back to our apartment, sitting just off the piste and relaxed.
The apartment was just opposite a Sherpa shop so we bought some supplies to make a tuna pasta and headed to bed.
Tomorrow we are going skiing with an ESF instructor who will be showing us his favourite spots – we need to be at our best.
The first day back on the slopes was nothing short of perfect.
Monday, Day Three
Once again we woke up far too early, with the excitement of being back on skis making us jump out of bed.
After another breakfast of boiled eggs, we quickly got dressed and headed out to another glorious blue sky day.
We were skiing with a guide from the ESF today, Teo.
We met him outside the tourist office and set off up the mountain.
Teo was extremely friendly and knowledgeable on the area.
He took us around Les Menuires and the St Martin area in the morning, he found all the great spots for untouched snow and rolling pistes.
Lunch was at the top of the new bubble lift in La Masse.
With stunning views over the alps, a delicious lasagne, and a healthy allowance of local genepy, we were happy customers.
Teo led us to Val Thorens after lunch. As the weather was warming up the snow was becoming a bit slushy so we stayed high and explored Val Thorens.
Others were enjoying the sunshine in Folie Douce, which looked lively.
All health passes were being checked on the door to ensure safety.
After skiing back to Les Menuires, we headed up to a restaurant called L’Alpage for an apres drink and to watch the sun setting over the mountains.
The sunset ski back to the apartment was brilliant, with the snow reflecting the pinks and oranges of the sunset.
After showering and changing, we headed 100m down the road from our apartment to a restaurant called La Ferme.
On the menu was a 3 course meal for €30 each.
The food was delicious and plentiful, and the price even better.
It was another early night to bed as tomorrow we are going to explore the whole of the mighty 3Vallees ski area and we are heading over to Meribel and Courchevel.
Tuesday, Day Four
We had been skiing for two days now and felt out legs had warmed up.
Today was the day to explore all of the 3 Vallees.
From our P&V apartment in Les Menuires we skied down to the Bruyeres bubble, meaning that within-15 minutes we were in Meribel.
We explored the Meribel area for a few runs before getting the Pas de Lac lift over to Courchevel.
It was incredibly easy to access both Meribel and Courchevel.
The snow in Courchevel was lovely, skiing through the trees and in the sunshine.
We stopped for lunch at the far end of Courchevel, we found a beautiful picnic spot and soaked in some sunshine.
Our first run after lunch, Les Indiens took us through the trees down to Courchevel-Moriond and then we journeyed over to 1850.
Neither of us knew about the airport in Courchevel, so it was a huge surprise when we saw a small jet heading closer and closer towards us.
The landing strip is seriously impressive and thrilling to watch the planes coming in and out.
Not knowing out way back to Les Menuires, we left plenty of time to get back, only to realise that once again, it was a very simple and scenic journey.
So simple and quick in fact, that we had time to stop for a quick aprea at Rock 7 in Les Menuires before heading back to the apartment (via Les Ferme for another drink in the sunshine).
We could not decide what we wanted to do for dinner that evening, so settled on another pizza from Lili Pizza, a 5-minute walk from our apartment.
We collected our pizzas and took them back to the apartment to eat in front of a film – thanks pierre et Vacances for the hi-speed wifi.
After a full on skiing day simply putting ones feet with a film and a pizza was little short of utter heaven.
Wednesday, Day 5
With the weather warming and an icy to layer on top of the new snow, we decided it best to take advantage of Intersport’s offer to change our skis for a different type – free of charge subject to chosen category.
It was time to do some carving on slalom skis.
My boyfreind, Jack, went for Head and I stuck with Volkl.
My race tigers turned out to be a real treat.
They gripped the changing snow conditions and gave me more control and enjoyment.
As always, the staff are incredibly accommodating at Intersport.
We were even able to witness the machine waxing before hitting the slopes.
Out of the slopes they did the trick.
We headed to Val Thorens to carve the rolling red runs and finishing the day with a spot of après (again).
A gentle blue run guides the après goers (me and Jack) back to Les Menuires.
Fortunately we made it home for a relaxing evening in the hotel spa watching the sunset.
It really is such a good offer when hiring from Intersport that you can change your skis to suit varying snow conditions across your holiday, or simply to try something else.
It is done without any grumbles, dirty looks or Gallic shrugs of the shoulders – they are just happy to help.
Thursday, Day 6
With there being such a vast ski area, we extended the Three Valleys lift pass for the remainder of the trip.
The pass includes Courchevel, Meribel, Val Thoren and Les Menuires and alone boasts over 2,000 snow cannons.
After skiing over to Courcheval to explore the extensive child’s adventure and fun areas, we stopped in the lively Meribel to soak in the belated mountain atmosphere.
Taking the Combes 1 and Tougnete lifts from Meribel opens up the Saint Martin valley via the tremendous Jerusalem run.
Les Menuires ski area is a short ride back along the valley.
Dinner was booked at Le Sunny a truly extraordinary mountain restaurant and a real must do while staying in Les Menuires.
The adapted people carrying snow groomer waits at the top of Reberty to transport the diners to the restaurant.
Inside it was quite comfortable with masks obligatory.
The venue is suited to both family and couples; an incredibly memorable and unique experience – a real Les Menuires treasure.
And I even managed to shrink and loose a bit of weight after the fabulous meal.
Friday , Day 7
Friday, Day Seven
With it being the final day and the post-holiday blues looming, we challenged ourselves to cover as much of the three valleys in one day.
To this end, we headed to Courchevel-Moriond.
The principle of ski-in-ski-out has been taken to new heights.
Lunch saw us stop in Chef Bif in Meribel, and it’s easy to understand why it’s a seasonaire favourite – amazing burgers at a reasonable price.
I would recommend getting there before the seasonaire rush however, as you may be waiting in a long queue before the food coma hits.
With favourable conditions and strong(er) legs we skied all of the 3-Vallees finishing at Le Ferme.
Thank you Les Menuires it was worth the wait.
What you Need to Know:
For more information about Pierre & Vacances call 0870 0267 145 or visit www.pierreetvacances.com
Accommodation sample price
Seven nights’ self-catering accommodation at the Premium residence Les Alpages de Reberty in Les Menuires, in a standard one-bedroom apartment that sleeps up to four, is priced from £672 during the 2021/22 ski season. Flights and transfers extra.
Pierre & Vacances (0870 0267 145, www.pierreevacances.co.uk)
Lift pass pass prices 2021/2022 season
Les 3 Vallées ski area six-day adult lift pass is priced from 330€ (£282).
Les Menuires / Saint-Martin-de-Belleville ski area six-day adult lift pass is priced from 267€ (£228)
Price list here
Intersport Fact Box for winter 2021/22:
Intersport has over 750 across the alps, renting award-winning skis and snowboards.
Why rent in resort?
Because you can save money on the airline baggage fee, have less to carry to resort, have up-to-date equipment that’s serviced every rental by qualified professionals.
Swap and change your skis and equipment as conditions demand, and get your feet accurately measured with the Boot Doctor scanning machine – guaranteed comfy, new boots.
Average rental is €8 per day including skis, helmet, poles and boots.