Ski resorts by train

Les Menuires - slopes

Ski highlights for all levels

Offering 82 runs, Les Menuires’ 160km of sunny local slopes have historically been oddly underrated. Much of the 3 Valleys’ best piste skiing is here in the Vallée des Belleville, and fast efficient lifts make quick work of routes to Méribel, and to Val Thorens, where pistes reach heights of 3230m. A downside is the south-facing orientation of many of the main slopes, which can get very slushy in late season. This also adds avalanche risk, so hiring or at the very least consulting experienced guides is important when venturing off piste. Cross-country skiers have 28km of trails to explore.

Beginners: Beginner slopes are right where you want them, draining down into the resort’s central Croisette area. This area is served too by a long lovely green, La Violette, which is a great first step for newbies ready to make their first move away from the nursery slopes, but within reassuringly familiar territory. And the wide-open network of cruisey blues just south are the ideal next challenge.

Intermediates: In Les Menuires, intermediates are best served of all. Lingering, spacious blue runs fan out above the resort from 3 Marches and Col de la Chambre peaks, and stretch out in the direction of Val Thorens. Mont de la Chambre and Boulevard du Sunny are particular highlights, while the glorious, swooping Jerusalem makes for a very satisfying mission down to the picturesque village of Saint-Martin-de-Belleville. And while most of the higher runs down from Pointe de la Masse across the valley may be outside an intermediate’s comfort zone, the lovely Bouquetin and Vallon provide some less heart-pounding blue descents that mean non-experts needn’t miss out on the area’s stunning scenery and blessed seclusion.

Experts: ThHead high for thrills. The upper reaches on both sides of the valley are rich in pacey reds and some pulse-raising blacks. Rising to 2804m, Pointe de la Masse offers 1000m of speedy vertical drop including some of the 3 Valley’s most challenging terrain, and with north- and east-facing slopes holds its snow beautifully.

But those keen to test their limits will be itching to tick off all the 3 Valleys’ challenges, and the Thorens glacier area, Courchevel’s superb Suisses groomer and perhaps the famous heart-in-mouth Grand Couloir too are all worthy targets.

Orelle, in the ‘fourth valley’, makes for a satisfying distance challenge, and its Combe Rosael run is a thrilling drop down into the bowl’s gentler lower section. Ditto Combe de Caron, which tears back down from a spectacular vantage point into the Belleville valley. 


Head up to Pointe de la Masse for the most satisfying and generally uncrowded off-piste opportunities. There are some good routes down into the Vallon du Lou and also down towards St Martin de Belleville, although you will want to check with a guide about snow conditions before you set off.

Ski schools and guides

The ESF (00 33 479 00 61 43) has a branch in Les Menuires and St Martin de Belleville with around 200 instructors, many of whom speak good English.

If you prefer something different, try the Dutch-run Snowbow (00 33 684 89 04 11), which has international instructors who are fluent in English (and French).

Choose from over 17,000 instructors in 250 resorts across the French Alps


Lift system

The local Menuires and St Martin de Belleville area encompasses 160km of slopes, served by 33 lifts operated by Sevabel. The lifts are a mixture of high-speed detachable chairs, gondolas, slower chairlifts and a small handful of surface lifts, including five magic carpets for children.

Snow reliability and snowmaking

With such volume and variety of terrain at your disposal, you’ll be pretty unlucky not to be able to find grippy, flattering snow to stick your edges in, and Les Menuires altitude means you shouldn’t have to travel far to find it. There are 459 snowmakers covering 51% of the ski area (2587 in the whole 3 Vallees), 74 piste grooming machines in the 3 Vallees, 14 378 hours of piste grooming.

And should spring sunshine give Les Menuires’ local slopes a particularly harsh beating, make tracks for Val Thorens’ higher altitudes and glacier area, whose reliable runs keep it open into May. 

Terrain park

Jibbers once flocked to the Les Menuires area to get their kicks, but the bigger resorts’ terrain parks have edged ahead in recent years. Perhaps the jewel among the 3 Valleys’ 40-plus parks is Val Thorens’ 70,000m2 whopper on the Plateaux slopes, which caters for all skill levels. Managed by DC Snowboarding, Méribel’s Plattières Park is another big hitter, with two half pipes, a boardercross course, and regular ‘DC parties’ with freestyle contests. And watch out for the huge kickers in Courchevel’s Family Park.

But you can get up to plenty of tricks in Les Menuire’s five fun zones, albeit at a generally gentler level. Now rebranded the Pixel Area, Les Menuires’ local park off the Becca chair or Sunny Express lift had a major overhaul last winter and boasts new rails and tables. Meanwhile on la Masse’s lower slopes, you’ll find a slalom course, a boardercross and the new, wildlife-themed Friendly Natural Park, ideal for families with younger children.

Ski area
Village Altitude
Ski Altitude
1450m - 2850
Green Runs
Blue Runs
Red Runs
Black Runs
Total Runs 310
Terrain Park
Cabin Lifts
Chair Lifts
Drag Lifts
Total Lifts 176