Ski Report #2: St Martin De Belleville, Les 3 Vallees, France

5 Feb

Special report by Stuart Elliott

St Martin is a favourite family ski base; an unspoilt village attached to what must be one of the best alpine ski areas in the world. Serviced by a bubble lift to the massive Three Valleys area of the French Alps; incorporating Courchevel, Meribel, Les Menuires and Val Thorens, St Martin and the surounding villages enjoy all the benefits of the 600 kms of pistes and endless off piste opportunities without the expense of Courchevel and the high rise of Les Menuires / Val Thorens.

We wanted to try the B + B alternative to a catered chalet at Martyn Clatworthy’s Ski St Martin Le Vieux Chalet. Located just 50 meters from the lift and within a snow ball’s throw of a couple of decent restaurants and bars, Le Vieux Chalet is very conveniently positioned. Renovated just two years ago by its British builder-owner Martyn, the chalet is extremely comfortable with a fireplace, sauna and exterior hot tub, and run like a luxury catered chalet but without providing dinner. This allows guests to experience local restaurants or call up the nearby pizza restaurant for an easy meal.

Other recommendations: Brush up your Russian if you plan on visiting the up market Courchevel, stop by Ronnies (Le Rond Point bar) to see UK’s Sloan Rangers at work on their Apres ski activities, and lunch at Le Bouc Blanc mountain restaurant (near La Tania) to experience fantastic French food and endless snowy peaks.

Photo note: We left just as Le Grand Froid was sweeping across Europe.The person half buried in snow putting snow chains on our rental car is our host Martyn. Without them and Martyn’s assistance we would still be in St Martin five days later. Merci Martyn!

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