With journey restrictions to France easing for UK-based skiers and snowboarders, MARK NICHOLLS reviews on what awaits you in Les Menuires this season
The view from La Masse is inspirational. I had travelled up from Les Menuires which nestles greater than 1,000m within the valley beneath.
The panorama is just breath-taking, and even higher information this season is the velocity and ease of entry to this wondrous viewpoint, plus the ski and snowboard choices if you arrive.
A brand new 10-seater cable automobile has changed two older lifts and gives the speedy entry to the excessive level of La Masse.
It arrives immediately on the summit of La Masse at an altitude of two,804m inside eight minutes.
Beforehand, the 2 lifts took 25 minutes to get to the highest. The brand new raise provides an additional dimension to snowboarding and snowboarding in Les Menuires.
As soon as on the high, there are blue, pink and black runs down, however earlier than setting off, benefit from the 360-degree views from the rooftop of the arrival station, or take a break on the ‘Le 2800’ restaurant.
The brand new addition epitomises the attraction of ‘Pleasant Les Menuires’, because it manufacturers itself – accessible snowboarding and snowboarding for all ranges even from the best factors.
Pre-Christmas COVID journey restrictions noticed many Brits disadvantaged of their annual festive pilgrimage to this area.
I used to be among the many fortunate few to ski there at first of the season, arriving actually hours earlier than a rule change and was lucky to benefit from the wonderful climate and uncrowded pistes, which had been in nice form after heavy early snowfalls.
And the altitude of Les Menuires within the 3vallees means a lot of these situations now nonetheless await UK-based skiers trying to make up for misplaced time within the mountains of south-eastern France.
The 110km of piste embrace terrain appropriate for inexperienced persons and intermediates by to superior and knowledgeable skiers who might need to deal with a tough black run or enterprise off-piste.
Longest ski run
Whereas the runs from La Masse into the resort at 1850m above sea degree are lengthy, even longer is the piste all the way down to the standard village of Saint-Martin-de-Belleville close by at 1450m. Because the longest continuous ski run within the resort, the descent from 2704m at ‘3 Marches’ is over 1250m.
Each resorts are a part of the large Les3Vallees ski area which incorporates Courchevel, Meribel and Val Thorens, with entry to greater than 600km of piste, which means you’re by no means wanting a brand new run to expertise.
And the altitude and well-tended pistes ship a protracted season that may run from early December till late April.
Goal-built with a Sixties architectural aura, Les Menuires options the landmark ‘Brelin’ condominium block within the La Croisette district, contrasted by the up to date bell tower and newer properties.
The resort hosted the lads’s slalom within the 1992 Winter Olympics and it’s now a base for brother and sister Guillaume and Margaux Herpin (pictured), who had been World Junior Snowboard Cross Vice-Champions final winter in Russia. They realized to snowboard in Les Menuires and retain sturdy connections to the world.
Take the prepare
To get to Les Menuires, I travelled to Moutiers by prepare from London St Pancras Worldwide. Eurostar, in affiliation with Travelski, runs a Friday night time departure/Saturday return service to the French ski resorts, although for me, departing on a Thursday, meant catching the 9.01am departure to Lille, with additional modifications in Lyon and Chambery.
If you may make the Friday departure and keep away from modifications, taking the prepare is an eco-friendly and relaxed journey with out airport queues and two-hour transfers (usually from Geneva or Lyon).
I checked into my lodging at rustic Ho36, with a pleasant bar and restaurant, and it’s well-placed for exploring the slopes of Les Menuires.
Ski teacher Nicolas Fressard, with greater than 30 years of instructing skiers within the resort, was my information.
“What’s most particular about Les Menuires, is the large ski space,” he tells me. “Lots of the slopes are pink and blue, which is okay for many individuals, however if you’d like one thing tougher there are black runs, with moguls, there are totally different snow situations and off-piste snowboarding as properly.”
Slopes operating down two totally different sides of the mountain, permits sunshine snowboarding all day lengthy.
Bars and eating places
After snowboarding, there’s nonetheless lots to do with spas and sports activities centres, nice bars and eating places – my suggestions could be the L’Alpen steak home in Les Bruyeres and Au Village in La Croisette, the place I ordered a raclette. For lunch on the slopes strive Le Roc Seven and Le Corbeleys.
There are additionally winter walks, snow-shoeing, ski touring, cross nation snowboarding, or you possibly can take the snowy path for a 10-minute stroll from the La Croisette centre of Les Menuires to Les Bruyeres to whizz down the brand new luges sur rails, an all-year-round toboggan run.
Challenges with journey stay, however as restrictions ease, there’s nonetheless loads of snowboarding on provide in Les Menuires this season.
Journey: Mark Nicholls took the Eurostar to Lille and onward to Moutier. For direct Travelski Categorical departures go to: https://www.uk.travelski.com/travelski-express
Ski cross: Les Menuires, €54 a day (six days €267) and Les3vallées €66 a day (six days €330) (https://www.skipass-lesmenuires.com/en/).
Lodging: ho36 (https://www.ho36hostels.com/en/les-menuires-en/) with a mixture of 17 resort rooms, loft residences and dormitory residences.
For extra data go to: www.lesmenuires.com