It`s a little known fact that 300km of the 600km of pistes in the 3 valleys, is in our very own Belleville valley. Sat at the gateway to the Belleville valley and the administrative centre of the valley is St Martin de Belleville. This is followed by St Martin’s brother and sister resorts of Les Menuires and Val Thorens – the highest ski resort in Europe with the longest ski season from November to May and incidentally, voted ‘Worlds best Ski Resort 2013’- not bad family credentials for St Martin de Belleville.
But back to St Martin de Belleville; an authentic, Savoyard farming village which retains its spirit and feel of a bygone age, yet has sympathetically embraced skiing as its new way of life. The rather well kept secret of St Martin de Belleville is how quick and easy the access is to the whole of the 3 valleys and all of the 600km of pistes. From its humble elevation of 1450m, the same height as Meribel, the St Martin gondola, followed by a brand new 6 person, covered express chair, whisks you up to the lofty elevation of 2,434m; you can be skiing in Val Thorens or Courchevel in 45 minutes.
But don’t over look the local slopes and picturesque off piste in your rush to get to Courchevel; you`ll find those ‘in the know’ will be dropping off the top of Olympic to take a leisurely ski past rustic montagnettes, through the trees down to the charming Savoie farm of La Ferme de Choumette, just above St Martin de Belleville.
In our series of 3 valleys itineraries starting from St Martin de Belleville, this is the first itinerary, taking you to Courchevel with a lunch stop at La Casserole restaurant.
St Martin de Belleville to Courchevel 1650
From the top of the new St Martin Express, take the combe tougnete, a quick turn right dahu, wizz down coqs to the centre of Mottaret. Take Pas du lac 1 (use the singles queue as
it tends to be quicker) & 2 to the top of Saulire. Head off down Creux & carry on all the way down to hop on the ROC MUGNIER chairlift and then take the Grandes Bosses blue run down to the SIGNAL chairlift.
This will take you to the top of the Chapelets red piste, from where it is a nice long run down to the bottom of the CHAPELETS chairlift. Take the CHAPLETS lift back up. At the top take either the red Rochers or the blue Ariondaz (they meet about halfway along anyway). Towards the end of the Arondiaz bear left and head for Restaurant la Casserole.
After lunch take draglift PETITE BOSSE and scoot along the short blue Gravelles to reach the AIGUILLE DU FRUIT chairlift.
Take the blue altipot pistes to the bottom of susses chair. From the top of the SUISSES chairlift you can take the long red Maudit run all the way down to Méribel 1450.
Then hop on plan de l’homme lift, turn left at the top and ski down to tougnete 2; At the top take you pick of pistes to ski back into St Martin.