Les Menuires has been working to improve its provision for beginners, and now has one of the best nursery slope areas in world skiing, thanks to the creation of a separated-off area in the Tortolet area at the heart of the ski area. This has a state-of-the-art carpet conveyor lift, the easiest to use for first timers, operating free of charge. Once you’re ready to leave the park there’s a low-priced beginners only lift ticket too which covers key lifts in the wider area around the resort.
The lift company has an excellent section of their website where it suggests a day by day list of itineraries a beginner skier could progress through during a week in Les Menuires (sevabel.com/Beginners).
Although tuition is dominated by the French ski school (ESF) there are three other choices in resort, including English language tuition from The Ski School (the other three also offer teaching in English).
Obviously Les Menuires sits in the middle of the largest valley within the largest lift-linked ski area in the world, with more than 200 blue and red runs to choose from, so it would be difficult for it to be anything but an amazing place for the recreational skier to enjoy. Long cruising runs up to 8km (five miles) long are among the big choice of descents to be found, with the local lift network including half-a-dozen high capacity chairlifts.
There are 160km (100 miles) of runs around Les Menuires alone, more than the majority of resorts offer, so you may wish to save about 20% on your lift pass bill and just buy a local area pass. However, more determined intermediates may feel frustrated to keep taking the lift up to the ridge with runs leading down into Meribel's Valley, and not having the requisite 3 Valleys pass to be able to ski down and get the lift back up.
If you’d like a more relaxed day on the slopes the local lift company recently launched a ‘use anytime’ four hour pass costing about 25% less than a day pass. The ticket is activated as soon as you board your first lift.
Obviously the 3 Valleys present a vast store of riches for the advanced skier, both on and off piste. The closest steep slopes to the resort are found on Le Masse which is predominantly black and red piste terrain.
Popular routes include heading to Méribel via Tougnete. Take the black Ecureuil and Chevreuil pistes then climb up to Roc de Fer using the Roc de Fer and Olympic chaiflifts to join the famous black Face.
If you want to make the outing a bit longer and wind your way through the forest, take the pistes Villages and Raffort and then the Olympe 3 chairlift to get back to Méribel Alpina.
Snowboard / Freestyle Skiing
Along with tonnes of great freeriding terrain and the obvious excess of opportunities in the wider 3 Valleys, Les Menuires has an extra fun park aimed at all ages and stages – the BK Park which is accessed by the Becca chairlift.
The park has three zones. The first, Roller Coaster, has easy and intermediate level runs each with one or two jumps and four rails, as well as a boardercross and freestyle area.
The second, named ‘The Slide’ has a second boardercross course at intermediate standard, while the third, called Mini Rodeo has small rails, jumps and tabletops as well as a boardercross that families can enjoy as much as hardcore freestylers.
Cross country skiers have 28km of marked-out trails for both classic and skating styles in the surrounding Belleville valley. Trails start from the lake of Les Bruyères in Les Menuires, then follow the side of the Doron river and ultimately reach the villages of Châtelard and Saint Martin de Belleville down below the resort, so it’s uphill coming back (or take the bus). The trails are groomed regularly and are free to use.
Average Snow And Weather Conditions
At 1815m, Les Menuires is one of the highest of the purpose-built ski villages, but the local ski lifts rise much higher still to 2,800m and the linked ski slopes above Val Thorens to 3230m, nearly 1400 vertical metres above. There are also many north facing slopes and overall the resort, which annually receives an average of around 7.5m (23 feet) of snow, has a very good snow record. They back up natural snow cover with extensive snowmaking, and more than 400 snow cannons cover the resort’s full vertical.