Thinking about leaving the grey skies of Jolly Olde behind and embarking a fantastic sunshine and snow adventure? Look no further than the French Alps.
The most famous slope is of course Chamonix. You may be forgiven for thinking that this is a location exclusively for very expert skiers. This is, of course, not the case. Although there are a great many runs available for those keen to do double or triple diamond skiing, even a world-class resort such as Chamonix has places for beginners to ski as well.
The Three Valleys bills itself as the “biggest ski area in the world.” There is no way to proved this absolutely unless of course you personally measure all the world’s ski areas but at over 600 kilometers of prepared slope skiing and 175 lifts between the three individual resorts, there is certainly enough to keep anyone busy.
Courchevel, Meribel, Les Menuires, Val Thorens and Mottaret are the five resorts that make up the Three Valleys conglomerate. Between these resorts, you will be able to find accommodation to suit any budget, ski runs designed for every skill level and enough nightlife to keep everyone satisfied.
Val Thorens is a wildly popular destination. At 7550 feet, it has the double honour of being the highest ski resort in the world and running the world’s largest cable car. Although Val Thorens has eight peaks over 10, 000 feet, there is plenty of good skiing available for novices. It is possible to get an umbrella pass that covers all five resorts or a scaled-down version that is good for one or two areas.
If going to a giant mountain resort isn’t quite your speed, there are plenty of other smaller resorts available. When booking, it may be helpful to know what the following commonly used phrases refer to.
- Family Skiing – geared towards families and includes doctors, chemists, shops and child rates
- New Gliding Techniques – geared to beginners and has instructors available for lessons. Also includes safe areas where you can try your new skills out without frustrating expert-level skiers.
- Cross Country Skiing – referred to as Nordique in French, lessons are often available and the trails are usually suberbly groomed.
- Large Domain – encompasses several hills, which can be accessed on skis only.
- Club Resort – much like a beach resort. Offers many extra leisure activities for non-skiers and a full menu of evening entertainment.
- Charming Village – a resort that is meant to mimic a traditional mountain village. Natural spaces are preserved and there are no modern buildings. A variety of mountain activities are on offer including dog sledding, snowshoeing and both Alpine and cross-country skiing.
- Super Fitness Resort – at this sort of resort, you can expect an extended fitness centre and spa along with the usual skiing and snow activities.