News Headlines     |     


LES 3 VALLEES OPENS FOR WINTER - James Cove, Les Menuires, Les3Vallees
Friday December 7, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

PlanetSKI was in the largest ski domain in the world at the weekend as it fired up its lifts. What a start to winter!

Les Menuires is less well-known than its neighbouring resorts of Courchevel, Meribel and Val Thorens in Les 3Vallees.

And this always rather baffles us at PlanetSKI as it ticks many boxes and is where we often stay:

  • Snow sure.
  • Great for families.
  • Easier on the finances.
  • Fantastic location in the largest linked ski area in the world.

At the weekend the resort decided to open with a 24-hour party:

Opening Time in Les MenuiresOpening Time in Les Menuires

Les Menuires has 86 runs out of the 327 in Les3Vallees, 50% of its ski area is covered by snowmaking and it has 160kms of runs.

New for this winter is moonlight riding on a piste basher with a special panoramic cabin.

It has beefed up its environmental credentials and is the first French resort to join the resort alliance of the group 'Protect Our Winters'.

Last season it opened a special budget hostel HO36 that is low on price and high on value - this winter is it expanding is  party nights with DJ sets, karaoke nights and much more.

New for the winter is the Bruyères gondola, it claims to be faster, more ecological and more comfortable:


We hope to be returning to Les Menuires in January to find out more about the resort, so look out for our updates in the New Year.

Here at PlanetSKI we blogged about our arrival on Friday ( see lower down this article) and then posted across Saturday as the 24-hour party got underway:


There is good news and bad news.

First, the bad news: the links from Les Menuires to Val Thorens are closed due to high winds.

Second, the good news: the links from Les Menuires to Val Thorens are closed due to high winds.


On the one hand that means we can't get to the highest resort in Europe, that is just a short lift ride and ski away.

But it also means the thousands and thousands of people in VT cannot come and ski in Les Menuires where the snow is better, mostly untracked and we are protected from the winds.

We had the slopes pretty much to ourselves as we set off from Reberty 2000, above Les Menuires with the 24-hour party getting underway.

Opening Day, Les Menuires, Les3ValleesOpening Day, Les Menuires, Les3Vallees















Now, I am not going to exaggerate and say we had fantastic powder and it was the best start to a season ever.

It didn't and it wasn't.

But considering it has been a below average start to winter in this part of the Alps, it was a corker of an opening day.

There were 4 big lifts open, about 15cm of fresh snow and temperatures down to -4C.

Heading upHeading up
















Coming downComing down
















It is always good to see snow shovelling going on first thing.

And once we got up top:

And we even had a bit of powder.

One of our number got a bit too into it.

Sampling the powder at close quartersSampling the powder at close quarters















I just about managed to stay on top.

First powder of the winterFirst powder of the winter















And after the day on the slopes?

At 7PM we set off to sample the resort's evening offerings.

Fortunately our chalet run by PowderNShine, Chalet Bramble, was just a couple of minutes from the open, and floodlit, piste.

Les Menuires, FranceLes Menuires, France

Les Menuires by nightLes Menuires by night

And on the slopes local ski instructors came down in light suits.

Les Menuires, FranceLes Menuires, France

Others did a more traditional torch-lit descent into town.

Les Menuires, FranceLes Menuires, France

Les Menuires, FranceLes Menuires, France

And greeting us all were bands and DJs. 

Les Menuires, FranceLes Menuires, France

Les Menuires, FranceLes Menuires, France

Les Menuires, FranceLes Menuires, France

And then it was dinner with my companions and journalist friends.

Fiona Sweetman from Mad Dog Ski, Cathy Murphy from The Irish Times and the wonderful Francesca Smith from PowderNShine.

Where did my life go so horribly wrong?Where did my life go so horribly wrong?

I will be updating this blog later with more details about Les Menuires and what is new for this season, so do check back and see if you think a holiday here would be worth it.

But in the meantime that was my first day of the 2018/19 European ski season.

It's good to be back.

Very good...


This part of the Alps in Savoie region of France has got off to a poor start this winter with precious little natural snow.

I am delighted to say that as I arrive in Les Menuires that this is changing before my eyes.

It is already snowing.

As we arrived in the resort in darkness on Friday night the snow began to come down.

Not much, but it is a start and there's more to come.

Arriving in Les MenuiresArriving in Les Menuires














Les Menuires, Les3ValleesLes Menuires, Les3Vallees














Check out our latest full and detailed PlanetSKI snow report that was filed on Thursday 6th December.

Les3Vallees needs little introduction as it is one of the most well-known ski areas in the world.

More than 600km of inter-connected doorstep ski runs and 8 different resorts.

In fact, Les3Vallees could be doing itself down. Its ski area actually extends into a 4th valley.

Its surface area  - at more than 105 square kms - is similar to the size of Paris.

You will have heard of Courchevel, Meribel and Val Thorens.

La Tania too.

Probably Brides-Les-Bains, Les Menuires and St Martin de Belleville.

But, have you heard of Reberty 2000? It's where I'm staying this weekend.

Many haven't, so let me enlighten you.

It sits at 2,000m above Les Menuires and is on the way to Val Thorens from the other areas.

It has some fabulous snow, great slopes and does less damage to your finances than some of the other areas.

It is one of my favourite places to stay in Les3Vallees - not least because I usually stay with PowderNShine that has a number of chalets in the hamlet.

Its van quickly covered in snow as we arrived in Reberty.

A welcome sightA welcome sight


"It is simply fantastic to see the snow falling and right on time for the resort opening and the season starting," said Francesca Smith from PowderNShine.

"This weekend I'll be making my first turns of the season and I simply can't wait," Francesca added.

Francesca Smith in the snowFrancesca Smith in the snow















And I'm pleased to report I'll be skiing with Francesca on Saturday on the first day of my European winter too.

The slopes will be open, there's night skiing too and a band playing in town in the evening.

Over the course of the next few days I'll be exploring Les3Vallees as its main ski areas open with fresh snow falling, though there are also forecasts of strong winds and not all the runs are open.

Do check back over the weekend for more.....


Saturday morning.

And this is the view from the breakfast room at Chalet Bramble.

Overnight snow and still falling...

Reberty, FranceReberty, France
















Reberty, FranceReberty, France











Lets go...Lets go...


Powder n Shine offer 7 nights in Chalet Bramble from 875 euros pp gourmet chalet board.

Resort information:

For ski rental: Intersport.

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news

Related Articles

SEPTEMBER SKIING SECRETS (Friday September 20, 2019)
PLANETSKI HITS JAPAN (Friday September 20, 2019)
SPOT THE TYPO... (Thursday September 12, 2019)
AUGUST SKIING SECRETS (Thursday August 29, 2019)
IF SKI RESORTS WERE BISCUITS... (Saturday August 10, 2019)

With thanks to our main sponsors...

Platinum partners

Bronze partners