Les 3 Vallees
Monday 31 December 2001


Clear skis, but very cold (no warmer than -9C). Some cloud in the valleys.


Early season conditions with thin cover. About 1cm fresh overnight. Conditions started as excellent. Down at resort level, the loose snow was skied off by lunchtime leaving patches of icy hard pack.

Monday (New Year's Eve) was a much better day. When we got up, there was a little bit of cloud in the valley but above that the sky was blue and the sun was shining. There had been a trace of new snow, but not much. From the icicles it was clear that the temperature was much lower than on the previousn 2 days.

Better weather in Meribel


Clearing snow beneath our apartment

Snow below our apartment

The Meribel bus

The Meribel bus

Early morning in Mottaret

The opposite side of the valley

Early morning view towards Saulire

Red skies over Meribel


The "plan" for today involved taking the gondola up to the link with the Valley de Belleville and skiing down to Les Menuires. We started with a cruise down Furet which was immaculately groomed.

Plattieres 1 (1043) :

The first problem was that the gondola wasn't running. We probably had to wait for about 10 minutes in very cold temperatures before eventually it opened. We took all three stages of the Plattieres gondola to the Col des 3 Marches.

Plattieres 2 (1310) :

Plattieres 3 (974) : Grand Lac

It was beautiful at 3 Marches, with the sun shining and cloudless skies and views of snow covered mountains in all directions. It was very cold and the first flaw in our plan was that Grand Lac the run down to Les Menuires was in shade almost all the way down. The grooming was excellent. The run itself is pretty straightforward but with some uphill sections. First time down, we were not able to judge these properly and ended up having to pole and skate in places.

The top of Grand Lac

Cathy getting ready to ski down to Les Menuires

Cathy ready to set off

Mike on Grand Lac

Mike on Grand Lac

Grand Lac and the Valley de Belleville

Sun rising above Grand Lac

Beautiful grooming on Grand Lac

Cathy and Chris stopped in the sun

Gros Tougne

At the bottom of Grand Lac there is a choice. There is a long drag lift back to the Col des 3 Marches, the run itself continues to St. Martin de Belleville and a cat track, Gros Tougne leads down into Les Menuires. We took the track down into Les Menuires.

Les Menuires

Les Menuires

Les Menuires

Combes-V (2026) : Allamands

The main reason for taking the Combes chair was to be able to get back to Meribel. There was an easy run across to the bottom of Allamands lift.

Allamands (1508) :

Allamands was memorable for a number of reasons.

  1. It was very long and slow
  2. It was very cold, with wooden slatted seats
  3. It was painted red
By the time we got to the top, we were cold and ready for a coffee break.

Allamands chair

The outside terrace was not in use, so we were forced to go inside for our coffee. The atmosphere was very French .. Indifferent service and laden with cigarette smoke. We were happy to finish and get back to the skiing.

Sun at the 3 Marches café

Choice of routes from 3 Marches

Bouvreuil, Martre Aliuette

First challenge after the coffee break was to find the nearest toilet. The only one we knew was down by the Mont Vallon gondola, so we headed that way. We pursuaded Cathy to try a red run. Aliuette was maybe a little steeper than the other runs we had tried but by no means difficult. Apart from being a long way down, Bouvreuil posed no problem.

Aliuette .. first red run of the week

Mountains and sun

Chris on Aliuette

Bouvreuil run

Bouvreuil run

Bouvreuil run

Bouvreuil 1 above Mont Vallon

Bouvreuil 1 and Mont Vallon gondola station


Plan des Mains (937) : Rossignol

Cathy was beginning to have some problems with her legs. From the top of Plan des Mains chair, we skied down to the first station of the gondola. Cathy took the gondola down and went back to the apartment, while Chris and I skied all the way to the bottom and squeezed in a couple more runs.

Slopes below Plan des Mains

Slopes below Plan des Mains

Sittelle run

Sittelle and the bottom of Chatelet chair

Mike on Sittelle run

Chatelet chair and Plattieres 2 gondola

The bottom of Mouflon run

The bottom of Sittelle run

Rossignol run

Rossignol run

Looking towards Saulire from Plan des Mains


Combes-M (1630) : Coqs

Combes took us to the middle of the easy red Coqs run.

Looking down from Combes lift

Table Verte (1538) : Furet Coqs

Table Verte took us more or less to the top of the Coqs run. Visibility was altogether different to the previous day. There were great shots of the apartments at Le Hameau from the lift.

Table Verte lift

Le Hameau apartments

Le Hameau apartments

Plan de l'homme from Table Verte

Table Verte (1538) : Combe Tougnete

We made an interesting mistake on our last run of the day. When we got to the top of the Table Verte lift, we thought that the sign showed a red run in one direction and a blue run in the other directions. The poles on the top section leading down to Combe Tougnete were black and the moguls was definitely not blue. We managed comfortably enough and the rest of the run down to the gondola station above our apartment was straightforward.



After lunch Chris and Cathy had a plan, we would go over to the other side of the valley and take the blue run that we skied in the white out on Sunday.

Ramees (1683) : Rameees

We found out during the week that the only real queues were for the gondolas. On this occasion we avoided the gondola queue by taking the Ramees lift.

Le Hameau from the top of Ramees lift

Looking towards Plan des Main


This was not the best run of the week. There were slick patches and Cathy "tightened up" getting her balance all wrong. This caused her feet and legs to hurt and it took us a long time to get down to the bottom .. Cathy stopped lots of times and was very nervous of other skiers on the slope.

Slow going for Cathy on Aigle lift

Ramees (1683) : Ramees

Cathy went back to the apartment, while Chris and I went back up Ramees.

Ramees lift

Slopes towards Grand Rosiere

Grand Rosiere (2089) : Niverolle

This time, we cut across to the Grand Rosiere chair that goes all the way to the Col de Saulire (and runs down into Courcheval). There was a choice of two red runs and one black run back down towards Mottaret. The red runs were showing signs of wear, so we decided on Grand Rosiere the black run. It was mogulled, but there were soft and forgiving and the run was almost deserted meaning that we could pick our own line without worrying about avoiding other skiers. It was the best run of the day. Aigledown to the village was much more difficult because of slick patches and the number of other skiers.

Rocks over Saulire

Saulire from Grand Rosiere



Aigle Grande Rosiere

We met Sue and Cathy in the village with the intention of getting a cup of coffee. It didn't work out. It was far too cold to sit outside and there were no tables in the relatively few cafés at resort level. To cap it all, Cathy dropped one of her new gloves, bought only the previous day.

Mike and Chris

Furet from Mottaret

Arolles (769) : Furet Furet

The end of the day was dramatic. Cathy went back to the boot shop to get some smaller boots (because she thought that would help her cope with the slick patches) and then took one run down into the village to try them out. She came back into the apartment almost screaming, "get then off". We tried another pair which seemed OK, but problems arose on the following day. New Years Eve .. We had an excellent (but rather expensive dinner in the restaurant within the apartment complex) and didn't make it to midnight before crashing out.

Sue in the kitchen

The interior of the apartment

Sue relaxing

Cathy in a very tempting position

Mike recording his runs


Lift Vertical Easy Runs Intermediate Runs Top Intermediate Runs Advanced Runs
Start of day
Plattieres 1 1043
Plattieres 2 1310
Plattieres 3 974 Grand Lac
Gros Tougne
Combes-V 2026 Allamands
Allamands 1508
Coffee break
Bouvreuil, Martre Aliuette
Plan des Mains 937 Rossignol
Combes-M 1630 Coqs
Table Verte 1538 Furet Coqs
Table Verte 1538 Combe Tougnete
Ramees 1683 Rameees
Ramees 1683 Ramees
Grand Rosiere 2089 Niverolle
Aigle Grande Rosiere
Coffee break
Arolles 769 Furet Furet
Close of day
Total vertical 18728

Last updated: 1/15/2002