Your experiences of riding in the 3 valleys (Courchevel/Meribel)?

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  • Your experiences of riding in the 3 valleys (Courchevel/Meribel)?
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    Me and some mates have booked a trip to the 3 valleys with Pleisure in July. Has anyone else been there? Got any videos/photos to share?

    Premier Icon MussEd

    Went with them in 2009. Had a blast. Trail network was still developing then, but I believe much more work has been done. You’ll have a great time…


    Sunny afternoon? Hit the Folie Douce about 3 o’clock 🙂

    Edit: doh – missed the July bit sorry.


    Been there the last two summer and it was great.

    Stayed in Les Allues the first year and Mottaret the second year, next to Lac Tueda which was gorgeous.

    The riding is great in my opinion, a great mix of different stuff. Lift network works great once you sue out what open and what’s not (I know the network from winter so takes some adjustment)

    All in all we love it, and will be going back for sure.


    Apologies for the slight hijack, but what is the riding like in the 3 valleys? Am I correct in the assumption it is less DH motorways and storm troopers, and more XC/AM pedally singletrack?

    How easy are trails to find- is this an area where a guide is a good investment (more like Les Arcs)?


    I’ve stayed with Pleisure an number of times in winter and I have to say they’re a great bunch of people. I’m sure they’ll know somebody who can point you in the direction of some good riding.


    One thing to point out with Pleisure and anywhere courchevel lower than 1850. The free busses (every 30mins in 2009) around each hour in 2012 have 8 bike spaces on the rack, so if people get on lower down thatn you, or pleisure has a load of guests can cause issues

    If you don’t mind my asking when in july (and how mnay of you) are booked into pleisure as I was thinking of making a return this year with a decent (for the bus) group? Not got round to it yet but maybe

    “Lift network works great once you sue out what open and what’s not”
    Thats a good point. Check all the lift time openings and work out what is possible and on what days. The courchevel and meribel/mottaret lifts are open sunday-friday? there are some only open every other day (la tania, st martin de belleville) others only the monday (bruyeres) and others open in the les menuires/val thorens (‘3rd’ valley) that open on other days but you’ll find you can’t get back onto the top of the ridge to drop back into the middle/meribel valley

    “correct in the assumption it is less DH motorways and storm troopers, and more XC/AM pedally singletrack?”
    DH motorways, can’t think of any off the top of my head, though I can think of stupidly fast staight line stuff. Its just not had the (ab)use to widen it I guess
    re: pedalling. Buy an IGN (OS map equivalent) and check those contours. There’s pedalling to be had certainly but put some effort into checking out the map and it can be minimised quite a bit

    Pleisure can*(/has?) give some showing you around trails if you wish though you’ll not neccesserily get the most from the area, at least not all week as I guess your unlikley to get the most experienced guy all the time, some mountain boarders/others at other times?
    They’ll not neccessirly show you the stupid stuff either perhaps?

    I’d highly recomend buying an IGN, learning the key (I got caught out with differing solid black lines and black bordered yellow lines both being fireroads on the ground), but if its a dashed black line it’ll be singletrack and chances are pretty good. Just make sure you don’t misread the contours and give yourslef a (massive) climb back upto a lift

    Manmade trail network is up and down. in 2009 courchevel appeared to have more going for it. when i went in 2012 (both times with pleisure) the courchevel track into 1850 had had the ladder drops, wallride and wooden tables removed, though the top and lower berms were better. There was a manmade trail dropping from the courchevel/meribel ridge into courchevel but it was closed in 2012 (you could still get to and ride 95% of it) though there was a newly constructed ski run runnign trhoguh it. As with a few other points from lifts, it was the only singletrack way to drop into one valley, same goes for the drop into merible on the other side. the upper section I think we rode every morning getting into the second valley

    Whereas merible had almost nothing in 2009 and now boasts a couple of ‘red’ downhills and a couple of blues with some building (unfinsihed) what looks more ‘black’ downhill stuff leading toward the very steep downhill track as used in the 2010/2011 french DH nationals. The jumps in it are bonkers, though I’ve never ridden down a proper Dh track before so. This one is off the beaten track a bit, took some finding and I guess they’d prefer peoeple didn’t know about. The 4X track was at least partially taped off and I never worked out a decent way to get to it without a load of fireroad descending
    The 3rd valley has an amazing bermed trail into St martin, well the top section is. Bottom section is okay in betwen the cow fields with some small gaps. Another high wall bermed trail drops into les menuires though this takes quite a bit of fireroad to countour roudn the hillside to

    *How does the french ski chalet showing guests roudn court case thing with the french ski school/guiding people affect chalets and mountain bike guiding?

    In some ways meribel valley might make more sense as it gives you the option not to have to make full days riding all the time and still ride some of the more remote stuff. Styaing in courchevel means you have to get up the mountain drop into meribel before perhaps going up again and dropping into the 3rd valley before getting out of that and back to courchevel before the 4.30/4.45 last lift entry cut off point to make it back to the chalet. It can be done with ease IF you’re the sort of person/group that can get yourself onto the 9.30 bus each day (and not say the 11.30 … ) Having a bus to stick to will help get you out the door though, not thinking ill just lay in another 10 mins, the lift will still be there kind of thing


    Also, if you’re willing to put in say 30m climb here and there it’ll open up a few more options. If you put in the odd 100-150m climb/push it’ll open up some excellent stuff. I put in a 265m which paid off. If you’ll put in more I’m sure you’ll find more but I wasn’t up for that

    Anyway some pics, some of which may take some finding, (some which aren’t to pleisures tastes):

    I fell off here

    that DH track I mentioned …

    forks had collapsed by this point hence riding a little low


    apologies, but not sure hwy they’re coming up so big

    anyway, quite enjoying trawling through holiday snaps:

    EDIT: Whoops, didn’t realise quite how many I’ve just screendumped onto here …


    I can’t comment about the riding, as I’ve only ever been there snowboarding however Pleisure are great…the other half and I spent six weeks staying with them in 2006. Great people, good food and god times.

    I’d love to go back there on my bike.


    Basically I’d echo what has been said about the IGN maps. The MTB trails are getting better and more development happens each year but a lot of the best riding is done off the beaten track.

    Meribel lifts are open everyday except Saturday and the trails here are the most developed of the 3 valleys. Flowing singletrack can be found from the Pas Du Lac mid station down into the woods by the golf course. You can then either head back to Meribel and get a lift back up Tougnete, carry on down the black 5 run to Les Allues through the woods, or head all the way down to Brides Les Bains which is an excellent steep, shutey, rocky ride. A word of warning about the buses up from Brides though, they do get busy with MTBers and it can be a scrum to get on.

    There is a new run down from the top of Tougnete back to Motteret which was bedding in nicely last summer, steep at the top and more flowing further down.

    The DH track is just that, steep with some huge jumps and drops lower down, we tend to leave it to the pros (see below) but it is ridable for the most part.

    The trails down to St Martin are open on Tuesdays and Thursdays (maybe more subject to confirmation, could be more this summer) and have an awesome DH/enduro run down to the resort from the top of Tougnete 2.

    For off the beaten track fun I’d recommend the footpaths/trails through the woods above 1650 (signposted Moriond now I think) and down to Bozel. Think there are buses back up from there and you can chill out by the lake while you wait. Alternatively you can take the trail from Bozel to above Brides on the right hand side of the valley. It’s full of surprisingly big lizards and a little heart thumping exposure.

    Our favourite ride in the valleys is down the St Martin run until you get to a cross roads with a French VTT sign post directing you up towards the ridge between the Meribel and St Martin valleys. Its a 40 to 60 minute ride up to the Croix Jean Claude, then on to the Col de La Lune. From there it’s rooty, flowy, rocky, jumpy, occasionally steep, singletrack heaven through the woods back to La Villard (above Les Allues) or further down to Le Villaret and then a quick pedal to Brides for the bus.

    Hope that helps!



    Thanks for all the info. Photos look really good.

    Is this the map I need? If not would anyone mind getting the isbn number from theirs for me?

    I found the summer trail map: Are any of the above mentioned trails marked on here?


    “down to Brides Les Bains which is an excellent steep, shutey, rocky ride”
    missed this
    “up to the Croix Jean Claude, then on to the Col de La Lune. From there it’s rooty, flowy, rocky, jumpy, occasionally steep, singletrack heaven through the woods back to La Villard “
    and this

    Yesm my IGN is 3534OT as per the pictured one on amazon
    ISBN: 978-2-7585-1066-6

    Premier Icon wallop

    IGN maps all available in the supermarkets when you’re out there. I bought one in the UK from Stanfords before we went, but I came back with about six 😆


    Just back from skiing there again and really thinking about riding there in the summer with my family, thanks for all the info and great pics.


    Thanks James. We are going for the last week of July. Is there any standout trails on the trail map I posted above or is all the good stuff found with the IGN maps?


    Some great pics there. Must explore one day…


    Got the Map now. If anyone has any GPS files from the area that would be really nice? Thanks in advance.

    Premier Icon granny_ring

    Great photos James. I got scared after the 5th one. 🙂


    Great photos James. I got scared after the 5th one.

    Some of the pictures above are just blokes on bikes in the middle of a load of rocks! No trails in sight!

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