The hat-trick winter challenge
Adventure junky? First lift up and last run down? Go hard at après? Love experiencing what each ski village has to offer? Then do it in three different ski areas all in one week!
The proposed Alpine Legends Superpass lets you do just that: combining Espace Killy (Val d’Isère and Tignes), Paradaski (La Plagne and Les Arcs) and Les Trois Vallées (Val Thorens, Méribel and Courchevel). Unfortunately, as reported by Edge Magazine, the Superpass has been delayed for this year.
However, fear not! This doesn’t mean that skiing the three areas in the same week is out of the question; it just requires a pinch of planning and an ounce of adventure…
After some cheeky digging, we’ve discovered that the proposed ‘Superpass’ was priced at 340€ for 6 days. But, a two-day adult pass for the week commencing the 10th January in Val d’Isère is 94€, 112.50€ for Paradaski and 115€ for Les Trois Vallées. In total, 6 days of skiing would amount to 321.50€ and is, in fact, cheaper than the ‘Superpass’!
There is the slight hassle of having to order the passes individually, but for anyone contemplating skiing all three areas – it’s merely a hiccup. Highly recommended for snow-lovers who want to get more out of their week in the mountains, this is a sure guide to discovering more off-piste, restaurants and après-ski than ever before.
Val d’Isère and Tignes are renowned for their challenging pistes (where cheeky blues could quite easily be reds), their substantial off-piste in Le Fornet and Grand Balme, as well as an intense but dynamic après scene with hip hang-outs such as the Folie Douce and Dick’s Tea Bar drawing in the revel. Val d’Isère village has the feel of an actual town, rather than a purpose-built ski resort like so many others, thus offering something different to Paradaski and Les Trois Vallées. Ski hard, party harder is certainly the motto here.
Les Arcs and La Plagne offer a more gentle skiing experience with long, curving descents, whilst still offering steep slopes. Much of its skiing is below the tree line, unlike the majority of l’Espace Killy, thus offering a crucial refuge during white-outs. The après is mainly located in Les Arcs 1850 and la Plagne but it’s more of a family-orientated ski area than the others, both on and off the piste.
With 600km of pistes, Les Trois Vallées has huge diversity in its own right. Cruise down the blues into Courchevel 1650, test the backcountry in Vallée des Avals and then make you way to the Val Thorens snow park via Méribel.
However, ironically, it’s the time spent out of your ski boots where you really gain value from your ‘mountain-hopping’ – make sure you head to Courchevel 1850 to waltz down the streets, pretending you’re Mr. Moneybags shopping in all the expensive boutique stores. Après hard at either the Courchevel-Méribel or Val Thorens ‘Folie Douce’ bars, ticking another iconic venue off the bucket list! Go sledging down the 6km toboggan run in Val Thorens, the longest in Europe – les Trois Vallées has it all.
Often finding accommodation for a short stay is troublesome and fairly expensive, but we’ve rustled up a great solution to prevent you from splashing the cash. Make base in Bourg St Maurice: there’s a funicular up to Les Arcs and it’s situated just 45-minutes from both Tignes and Méribel so that you can easily drive up there in the morning to benefit from a full day on the slopes.
What’s more, it’s possible to ski from Tignes to La Plagne so, if adventure is your middle name, make your way home to Bourg without driving! Or, during spring, take a campervan as a portable base for some epic powder chasing!
By staying in Bourg St Maurice, or by using a campervan, you have access to a huge amount of terrain. It also acts as a safety net incase of poor snow coverage, with access to 5 glaciers. Last winter, the snowfall was more consistent and the dumps bigger over in l’Espace Killy, although, this is not to say Paradiski and Les Trois Vallées suffer from a lack of snow. In fact, they regularly feature high in the snowfall charts!
So for all those powder junkies, do the hat-trick challenge this winter season, not forgetting to whip out all three of your lift passes whilst table dancing to Stromae – just don’t miss the last bus back to Bourg!
Alternatively, if you’re not ready to tackle all three ski areas in the same week, but have been enticed by one of them, Le Ski have catered chalets in both Val d’Isère and Courchevel and the Ski Club Freshtracks holidays also go to all three areas.
James Connor – Contributing Writer