Skiing

Saint Martin 2

Saint Martin 2

St Martin is a great place to access the whole of the Three Valley ski area, the largest in the world.  From the village you can reach the top of the mountain in two lifts. From there you can ski straight into Meribel, over to Les Menuires or back down to St Martin.   It’s only another two lifts from the top to get over to Val Thorens.  That’s a lot of skiing in easy reach!  The lift from the centre of St Martin is an eight-man bubble, ingeniously named St Martin 1.  The second lift, St Martin 2 of course, is a six-man chair up to the top.

There are some nice red and blue pistes back to St Martin, but realistically there’s so much more elsewhere in the Three Valleys you’re better off being more adventurous.   A queue can build up for the St Martin 2 chair lift on busy weeks, so why restrict yourselves? For more experienced skiers, there is a large area of easy off-piste on the northern side of the St Martin pistes.

La Loy

La Loy

Whichever way you come back home, you will have to ski the relatively low altitude Biolley piste down to the village, unless you simply take the bubble.  Biolley is really very nice compared to most lower-altitude runs, and kept in remarkably good condition throughout the season.   It is not steep or rocky, and not flat. The piste home passes the La Loy restaurant, great for a drink or late lunch. I can recommend the chef’s specials, sitting in the afternoon sun on the large balcony.

Skiing for beginners

Some people suggest that St Martin is not that good for beginners,  but in practice it works out well.  There is a short ‘magic carpet’ for absolute starters,  and a range of Blues.  If you want a lot more Greens, you might consider driving the short trip up to Les Menuires or Val Thorens, or take the free bus.  With transport, you can get much more variety without having to ski very far.

ESF run a full range of services, including a Piou-Piou club for children from three to six years old.  There is the Brit-run New Generation ski school, while you can also get private lessons or a guide from the nearby 3 Vallee Ski Loc.

Once you feel confident on simple Blues, the obvious place to ski is Les Menuires.  It is easy to get to on the lift from St Martin, and it has lots of long, cruisy pistes.   You can ski back via Grand Lac or Boulevard de Becca, and then Pelozet.   Pelozet is nice and easy on skis but you might need to give a strategic push, or two, to your friends on snowboards.

Total non-skiers might want to hunt out the pedestrian routes – these are a sequence of lifts that you can take on foot.  You can get all the way over to Courchevel and back.

What can go wrong?

Jerusalem

The best piste?

High wind can be a problem. It doesn’t happen that often but it will close the St Martin 2 chair lift, and a number of lifts in Les Menuires. This makes it hard to get out of St Martin, and worse, can make it tricky to get back home.  However, there are normally plenty of warnings on the information boards at the bottom of the lifts.  Worst case, take the car somewhere else in the morning, or catch the bus back down the Belleville valley to get back to St Martin.

If all of the Belleville valley is shut due to wind or poor visibility, check your 3 Vallees phone app (free and essential) to see what is open in Courchevel. It’s a 40 minute drive, but the pistes are generally more sheltered and quite possibly still open.

If the snow is thin or it is a bit warm, you need to go higher – Val Thorens is the best candidate.  You can easily ski there – Red-run skiers can take the Granges lift, ski down Alloutte and then take the Cote Brune lift.