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.
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?
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.