Les Trois Vallées
|Les Trois Vallées|
A ski track in Val Thorens, part of Les Trois Vallées
|Nearest major city||Chambéry|
|Top elevation||3,230 m (10,600 ft)|
|Base elevation||600 m (2,000 ft)|
|Skiable area||600 km (370 mi) of runs|
|Longest run||12 km (7.5 mi) Cîme de Caron|
Les Trois Vallées (French pronunciation: [le tʀwɑ vale]; The Three Valleys) is a ski region in the Tarentaise Valley, Savoie département of France, to the south of the town of Moûtiers, partly in the Vanoise National Park.
Since 1971, it has been possible to ski the interlinked valleys using a single ski pass. Thus, Les Trois Vallées is the largest ski area in the world which is connected solely by ski lifts and slopes. It claims to have about 600 km (370 mi) of ski slopes, resulting in 18.5 km² of groomed runs, while an independent expert measured about 493 km. In addition, there are 120 km for cross-country skiing. Les Trois Vallées has 183 ski lifts, which can transport 260,000 skiers per hour. Other equipment owned by the operating companies include 2,300 snow cannons and 73 snow grooming machines operated by 160 snow groomers who work in shifts during the night. Other employees in the area include 424 ski patrollers and 3,000 ski instructors.
As implied by its name, the area originally consisted of three valleys: Saint-Bon, Allues, and Belleville. The skiing area has since been extended into a 'fourth' valley, the Maurienne valley. It is adjacent to Val Thorens, but can also be accessed using a long gondola lift from Orelle. The following ski resorts are in Les Trois Vallées:
|Valley||Resort||Established||Skiable range (m)||Sub-resorts|
|Saint-Bon||Courchevel||1946||1300 - 2738||Courchevel-Le Praz, Courchevel-Village (1550), Courchevel-Moriond (1650), Courchevel 1850|
|Allues||Méribel||1939||1400–2952||Meribel-Village, Meribel, Meribel-Mottaret|
|Belleville||Les Menuires||1964||1850–2850||Les Menuires, Reberty, La Masse|
Tarentaise Valley Skiing
Within the Tarentaise Valley, there are various other resorts such as Paradiski (Les Arcs, La Plagne) and Espace Killy (Val d'Isère and Tignes). A weekly lift ticket in Les Trois Vallées allows one to ski one day in each of the other two systems mentioned. There were once plans to interlink all systems and resorts to create the – by far – largest ski area in the world. However that vision was ended with the creation of the Vanoise National Park.