The 3 Valleys’ Best Off-Piste Skiing
With over 600 kilometres of pistes and close to 200 lifts across 8 resorts, Les 3 Vallées is the biggest linked ski area in the Alps. Amongst the resorts is Val Thorens, the highest ski resort in the Alps. It’s not surprising then that amongst the peaks and valleys you’ll find some of France’s best off-piste terrain. Here we highlight some of the best runs in Courchevel, Méribel and Val Thorens.
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Our Off-Piste Ski Guiding partners offer affordable one-day & multi-day packages designed for skiers and snowboarders looking for the best lift-accessed natural terrain in Les 3 Vallées. Take a guide, you’ll be safer and you’ll have a lot more fun.
Saulire (2738 m)
Take the Saulire cable car to 2700 m and access a number of steep couloirs up to 40° down either side of the mountain towards Méribel or Courchevel. Bootpack or skin a further 10 or 20 minutes up from the lift station to reach some huge vertical drop and epic off-piste terrain on snow that stays fresh for days due to its northern exposure.
Creux Noirs (2705 m)
Hike along the ridge from the top of the Creux Noirs chairlift to access a host of great off-piste. The hike along the ridge is slightly inclined, a little exposed at times but straightforward. Drop in off to the left and enjoy pure powder pleasure over 600 m vertical drop. Keep going along the ridge to access the Col du Fruit (2516 m) where you can ski down to Courchevel or to Mottaret with a 20 minute walk out along the shore of Lac de Tueda (1700 m).
Col de Chanrossa (2544 m)
The Chanrossa chairlift takes you up from the Creux to the Col de Chanrossa at 2544 m. A 15 minute bootpack up a steep incline brings you to the summit of Pyramide (2626 m). From there you can ski the north face down to Courchevel 1650. The Col de Chanrossa also provides access to the beautiful Vallée des Avals where you’ll get a true backcountry feeling. Ski all the way to Courchevel 1650 without a ski lift in sight. A nice way to extend the run a little is to hike or skin up to Roc Merlet from the lift station and drop into the Vallée des Avals from there.
Dou des Lanches (2274 m)
From Praz-Juget, take the Dou des Lanches chairlift up to 2274 m and get direct access to Courchevel’s extreme couloirs and steep skiing. These descents should only be attempted in very good conditions. From the top of the chair, a 45 minute bootpack or 30 minute skin takes you up to the summit of Rocher de la Loze (2526 m). From here there are a number of long, north-facing couloirs often with great snow, and the view over the mountains is superb. This is where the Courchevel Freeride Competition takes place.
Epic off-piste skiing on Combe du Borgne from Mont Vallon | © Ski Progression
Olympique Express (2294 m)
Take the Olympic chair from Méribel up to Roc de Fer and access some beautifully gentle off-piste terrain down to Saint Martin de Belleville (1450 m). The descent is straightforward and never too steep making it ideal for anyone heading off-piste for the first time. Traverse across to the Roc de Fer and ski the off-piste through a mixture of open powder fields and sparse forest to Le Raffort (1300 m) or all the way to Les Allues (1100 m) if the snow’s good enough.
Mont du Vallon (2952 m)
The Mont Vallon cable car in Val Thorens whisks you up to 2952 m where you can drop in near the summit to a sequence of superb powder-filled valleys. It’s a full 850 m of vertical drop back down to the lift and with loads of possibilities, you could easily find yourself looping round this run multiple times.
Cime Caron (3195 m) or Pointe de la Masse (2804 m)
A nice long descent through the vast Vallon du Lou down to Les Ménuires (1850 m) or Val Thorens.
If you’re keen to head off-piste in The 3 Valleys, make sure you take a guide who will know where to find the best and safest descents on the day, including Mont du Vallon, Combe de Caron and the Col de Chanrossa.