It claims to be the largest ski area in the world, boasting over 600km of pisted runs. Pro rippers will know exactly where I’m talking about: the Three Valleys. Chalets of all kinds are filling up fast ahead of this winter, so if you want to grab a slice of the action you should be booking now! To get you in the mood, here’s my pick of the 5 toughest runs the Three Valleys has to offer – if you fancy yourself as a veteran of the slopes and are always up for a challenge, read on. But before you get too comfortable imagining yourself acing one of these runs, don’t forget to book into a Three Valleys chalet first!
Combe de Vallon
This is an excellent red run that somehow seems to go under the radar of most skiers. It’s hard to tell why, when the view from the top (at a fraction below 3,000m) is so impressive. Their loss is your gain however, so expect an unimpeded and high-velocity run as you skim down the steep slope of Mont Vallon right down to the bottom.
Quite how this red run got its name is a mystery, but you’re sure to be feeling uplifted by the time you complete it! Start at Cherferie, hit the natural rollers that make this piste so special and then carefully navigate the corner before joining the blue Biolley run. Having mastered this run, you’ll be rewarded at the end with the delightful village of St Martin de Belleville and its enticing cafes.
Agility is what’s required for Christine. Sharp turns and a series of chicanes make this an exhilarating red run that demands an extra bit of skill and patience, as you’re not going to be breaking any speed records here. To reach the start, get up to the top of the Funitel Peclet in Val Thorens, exit the gondola, cut across the cat-track on the right and launch yourself into the run where it starts curving left.
This series of pistes takes you from the Saulire peak right down to the bottom and Méribel village. It’s fairly easy to navigate your way and with a choice of several routes and good signs you’re unlikely to get lost! So enjoy this run’s mix of flat and steep sections, with the highlight being the sharp final descent into the village.
Folières is highly recommended for proficient skiers, thanks to its forest route and great views accompanying you throughout. Starting above La Tania, you’ll pick up the pace immediately with a steep section before entering the forest and being greeted with the exhilarating sight of massive sweeping corners and natural rollers. If this run doesn’t make you want to rush out of your Three Valleys chalet first thing in the morning, then nothing will!
Belinda Smythson works for Ski Amis, a specialist ski travel agency and booking service that has been helping avid skiers craft their perfect winter holiday for over a quarter of a century. If you're planning a ski getaway to Paradiski, Espace Killy, Chamonix Valley or any of the excellent Three Valleys chalets , Ski Amis is the go-to company for winter sports fans searching for the holiday of a lifetime.