What’s new for Winter 2019/2020 in The 3 Valleys

16th September 2019 | Trois Vallees

It’s that time of year again, the nights are closing in and the fires are being lit as we all get cosy for winter approaching. The countdown is now on, with Courchevel and Méribel lifts opening on 7 December. The summer is always a hive of building work across the resorts which we cover here at Free Spirit Alpine. These resorts are constantly evolving, growing and improving; ever conscious to reinvest and reinvent the resorts. The resorts we choose to represent property in are hand-picked for their ever-changing development and unique approach to ski holidays. They offer that little bit more, that little bit better.

This week we’re focusing on The 3 Valleys. Still the largest ski area in the world, with a whopping 600km of pistes across 8 villages. Now guaranteeing the largest number of linked open pistes in Europe with 2500 snow making machines that cover more than 50% of the area.
There seems to have been an even bigger influx of builders in the 3 Valleys this summer, with buildings and developments popping up all over the place. There are a number of reasons that this could be, but one of the strong pointers is the 2023 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships coming to Courchevel and Méribel. Investment for this event ranges from new apartment buildings, to new lifts and new pistes ahead of the world championships returning to the valley.

Developments are an exciting time in a resort; faster lifts increase your ski time and new pistes means new adventures!



Méribel’s newest additions this winter is mainly to do with dining (with some new runs thrown in for good measure!)

  • The first of which is to the little village of Raffort. The second stop on the Olympe lift which links Meribel to Brides les Bains, this is the first restaurant/bar to come to the village. L’Atelier is a former carpentry workshop that will seat just 25 people for traditional family cuisine. Specialities include Osso Bucco – homemade gnocchi – and steaks cooked over the centrepiece grill. Ski in and bubble out for lunch or dinner.
  • If you follow us on Instagram or Facebook, you’ll have seen the progressions of the brand new Refuge de la Traye above Meribel Les Allues over this summer and last. Featuring individual refuge suites, restaurants and glorious treatment rooms, the pictures certainly look idyllic. La Table de la Traye boasts amazing views and can seat 20 people inside and 35 on the terrace. Look out for more information coming soon on The BeefBar and The Bianca Neve.
  • Now for the new pistes! Meribel is welcoming two new red runs this winter. Accessed from the top of the legends, is the Gypaete and the Daguet. Funky terrain and a new route to test those legs.
  • You may have heard that the spa in Brides les Bains has been closed this summer. Following a €15million refurbishment, it is now one of the biggest spa centres in France.


  • If you’ve visited Courchevel in the last couple of years, you’ll have seen the Aquamotion Centre that sits just before you reach Courchevel Moriond and Village. Just opposite, is the brand new l’Ecrin Blanc. The beautiful white-slatted building cannot be missed as you drive up towards Courchevel, and the new Grand Combes chairlift will whisk you back up in 5 minutes. They’ve also built a blue piste so that you can ski directly down to it, whether you fancy a lunchtime swim, a dip in the spa or are staying at the new hotel.
  • The Creux Noirs lift and area has been replaced with a 350m drag lift. The whole area accessible from this lift has been redesigned into the ‘Freeride Lab’. The red and black lifts in the area will stay ungroomed to provide a controlled area on powder days.
    ‘Welcome to Freeride LAB, Courchevel’s powder snow laboratory, the perfect place to become an unparalleled all-terrain skier! This demanding high-altitude sector leading to renowned off-piste areas and unique panoramic views is adopting a new look; reachable on foot or ski touring skis (100m difference in height) to the 2 red runs and the black run, which will be left ungroomed but made safe throughout the winter.’
  • The Stade in Courchevel has received a well-deserved new clubhouse. The new building covers 3000sqm and includes admin offices, a function room, a sports hall, changing rooms and a small car park. Funded by the owner of the Portetta, who’s daughter is in the Courchevel Club de Sport.
  • Lastly, the Jockeys piste has been chosen for the mens events in the 2023 World Cup Finals. As such, it’s receiving some re-shaping and grading to make it more viable for the high-speed expected. The run will also be used as a training area for the Courchevel Club de Sport
Freeride LAB courchevel

Le Praz

  • The new 10-seat gondola will reach near the top of the Tovets chairlift (Courchevel 1850) will take less than 6 minutes. But the lift is just a part of the huge development in Le Praz. The new base station (which cost €27m) called ‘The Alpinium’ will contain a tourist office, lift pass office, function rooms with kitchen & bar facilities, 120 ski lockers, children’s play area, public toilets and 500 space car park underground. If that wasn’t epic enough; the car park will double up as an electric go-kart circuit during the off season. The 2023 world-championships will even see the men’s races finish on the roof of the building!

Val Thorens

  • Outstanding news in Val Thorens this winter, as they become the first ski resort in the world to have a self-driving electric shuttle bus. The funny-looking bus holds 15 passengers, is free to use and hits a magic 25kmph.
  • If you do one thing in VT this winter, make sure you also visit the new igloo village which includes hotel rooms and an ice bar (of course!).
  • Last winter saw the Cime Caron out of action due to ice damaging the cable. This has now been replaced and it’s expected to be back to full working status this winter. St Martin-de-Belleville
  • St Martin are going ‘upmarket’ with the new ‘Premium Ski’ location. Containing 300 lockers, changing rooms, toilets and hair dryers, this will be especially helpful for those wanting to take the hassle out of skiing.
  • New outdoor spa ‘Lys Spa’. With 3 hot tubs, wellness area and even a herbal tea room, this sounds like a perfect après-ski activity to us!
  • Saint Martin 1 gondola has also been upgraded, giving riders an increased capacity of 30% and now able to carry up to 2400 people per hour.

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20th August 2019

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A Guide to Ski Touring in The 3 Valleys

30th September 2019

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