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In pictures: On the slopes in France’s Three Valleys

Three Valleys ski aea, French Alps

I might not be able to fit a ski trip in this year, but each winter a part of my heart lies out on the slopes of the Three Valleys. This huge ski area in the French Alps, covering famous resorts like Méribel, Courcheval and Val Thorens, is where I learnt to ski and where I’ve been back again and again since. There are over 370 miles worth of pistes to ski or snowboard on, with pretty alpine villages and snow-dusted pine tree forests in between them. I’ll have a full guide to the skiing (and après-ski) in Méribel-Mottaret – my Three Valleys home – coming up later this week, but until then here are some shots to show you, far better than I could ever explain in words, just why this part of the world keeps calling me back.

Three Valleys ski aea, French Alps
Three Valleys ski aea, French Alps
Courcheval, Three Valleys ski aea, French Alps
Three Valleys ski aea, French Alps
Cable cars on the slopes in Meribel

Les Meniures, Three Valleys ski aea, French Alps

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27 Comments Post a comment
  1. I’ve never tried skiing but did give snowboarding a go. I got snow-bored of falling on my butt and left it at that.

    January 13, 2014
    • I had a very brief go at snowboarding once but found it really tough – I prefer to be able to move my legs independently! I think skiing is easier to get the basics of, though my parents love coming on ski trips and neither of them ski, they just love the scenery (and the food) and there are lots of walks, sledging etc to do.

      January 13, 2014
  2. My first day back after skiing so this has helped ease me into a day in the office! Beautiful shots 🙂

    January 13, 2014
    • Hope you had a great week on the slopes and some good weather for it!

      January 14, 2014
  3. Gorgeous photos! Skiing this area has been on my bucket list for quite a while… some day!

    January 13, 2014
    • I’d be interesting to see how you found the ski resorts in the Alps compared to in the US, I’ve only skied in Europe so far but would love to try it further afield.

      January 14, 2014
    • I’d be VERY interested to see as well 🙂 I’ll be sure to let you know when that day comes!

      January 15, 2014
  4. Love it. Skied at Three Valleys back in winter ’06. I don’t know if I’ll get to ski this winter. But I so hope I do whether it’s here in the UK or Europe.

    January 13, 2014
    • I think I was there in 2006 too – the first year I ever skied! I do love it but it can be hard to fit it in as there are so many other trips I want to do too.

      January 14, 2014
  5. I love looking at your beautiful pictures….snow and I don’t get along when I am out in it…:-D…but,I thoroughly enjoy photos of it and of all you skiers!!!!
    Keeo having fun…Thanks for sharing.

    January 14, 2014
    • Thanks so much – I think I love the scenery as much as the skiing!

      January 14, 2014
  6. thetrustedtraveller #

    Great pics! Wishing I was there instead of 40 plus degrees at home in Sydney.

    January 14, 2014
    • Wow 40 degrees is a bit warm even for me, but would trade my English cold, cloudy, drizzle for either the snow or the sun!

      January 14, 2014
  7. Thanks for bringing back great memories with your beautiful photos. Last visited in 1973 when the sky was just as blue and those peaks as crisp and clear. Magical memories.

    January 14, 2014
    • Glad to bring back some good memories, it’s such a beautiful part of the world.

      January 14, 2014
  8. Wonderful! I have to try skiing!

    January 14, 2014
    • Definitely – I never thought I would enjoy it but love being out in the mountains among all that snow.

      January 14, 2014
  9. Gorgeous post, Lucy! I’m with you on losing your heart here! You mentioned in one reply earlier,

    “I’d be interesting to see how you found the ski resorts in the Alps compared to in the US, I’ve only skied in Europe so far but would love to try it further afield.”

    In the western US slopes (Sierra Nevada), I’ve skied Tahoe, Mammoth/June mountain, China Peak (Yosemite areas) in California, Jackson Hole in Wyoming, and Park City in Utah. A fair number of Olympic-calibre venues.

    Compared to Europe/Alps, the biggest difference I have noticed is the attitude, altitude and tree lines.

    Because the Alps are so much older and higher, the terrain is more challenging, there are fewer trees at most of the super-high elevations as you’re above the tree-line. In Europe it’s about the skiing; in the US it’s about the ski “experience”. Europeans aren’t as body conscious, clothes conscious and status conscious as the US skiers tend to be. Most US skiers don’t grow up doing this as a family activity- it’s taken up as an individual sport with friends.

    These are, of course, lots of gross generalizations, but for the sake of comparison it may give you some ideas and others may chime in to agree or disagree.

    One funny story to add… you know from my blog that I spent 10 years in the Caucasus, in Azerbaijan. Skiing, being so expensive, is known but not widely practiced. But one expat businessman took his office staff to a mountain area after a good snow and used his Toyota Land Cruiser as a tow up the mountain and let the staff slide or board down, all afternoon.

    I hadn’t thought about that for years… Thanks for bringing back happy memories!

    January 14, 2014
    • Thanks for your comment – skiing in Azerbaijan is definitely unusual! It’s really interesting to find out your thoughts about the difference between the US and Europe. I’ve read too that it’s more usual to stay lower down and travel up to different resorts each day in the US, whereas in Europe you stay up in one resort and can often ski in and ski out of your accommodation. Looks like I’ll have to go out there myself and test it out sometime!

      January 15, 2014
    • Hi again, Lucy- Interesting that we were chatting about skiing in Azerbaijan. I just saw this quote in an article that came out yesterday. It’s about the Sochi Olympic issues primarily, but this part was of note:
      “Sochi is not the only part of the Caucasus impacted by ambitious winter tourism designs. Russia plans to build major downhill ski resorts elsewhere. According to a January 14, 2013 article:

      [T]he draft project of the tourism cluster in the south of Russia envisages the construction in 2011-2020 of five world-class mountain resorts in Lagonaki (Krasnodar Territory, the Republic of Adygea), Arkhyz (Karachaevo-Cherkessia), Elbrus-Bezengi (Kabardino-Balkaria), Mamison (Republic of North Ossetia-Alania), Matlas (Republic of Dagestan). The length of all the ski slopes will total nearly 900 km. 179 elevators will be installed. Hotels of various levels of comfort designed for 89,000 places will be constructed. … Each year the North Caucasian tourist cluster will accept 5-10 million tourists.”

      So, apparently, if you wait long enough, you can tour Russia on ski’s- then everyone will truly be Rus-ski’s… 😉

      January 15, 2014
  10. What beautiful views. I’ve always liked the idea of skiing but have never actually got around to booking a trip and I find that the older I get, the more scared I am of breaking something! Maybe I should follow your parents’ example and just go for the views and the food;)

    January 16, 2014
    • I only started skiing a few years ago and am definitely a bit of a part-timer – there’s lots of breaks for vin chaud and some afternoons I’ll go for a walk or something instead. It’s got to be a holiday too for me!

      January 17, 2014
  11. No body will able to understand what does ski means to a skier but two skier can so I really enjoyed your blog and ski spirit to and three valley of France is kind of heaven piece for ski to me and i am sure for you too.

    January 27, 2014
    • Thanks, yes skiing is one of those things you have to try for yourself, and this is one of my favourite places to do it!

      January 30, 2014
  12. Lucy, really love your photos! I was also looking for the lodge where I would be holding hot toddy while watching all of you ski!!

    January 30, 2014
    • Although I do love skiing, that’s definitely my favourite part of a ski trip – soaking up the scenery with a vin chaud!

      January 30, 2014
    • There ya go!! Cheers…

      January 30, 2014

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