Resort Report - St Martin de Belleville


Resort Report - St Martin de Belleville

Started by ParalyticSkiCrazie in France - 7 Replies

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ParalyticSkiCrazie posted Apr-2010

You may or may not know that I have visited this resort regularly over the last few years so I thought I would produce a report.

St Martin is situated at 1450M in the Three Valleys, half an hour from Moutiers (accessible by Eurostar or TGV) by car or bus. Two hours from Geneva and Grenoble, just over an hour from Chambery. It is a traditional Mountain Village that was developed in the late 80's for the 1992 Albertville Olympics. The buildings were created in a traditional style unlike its ugly neighbour Les Menuires.

There is lots of self catering accomodation available from the two main agents Agence des Alpes & Agence Des Bellevilles. There are some private hirers too who generally offer superior quality accommodation. There are two main areas the lower part of the village which is served by a fairly steep slope and a drag up to the top of the village where the 8 seater Gondola takes you to the mid station. From there you take a 4 person chair to the top of Tougnette from where you can ski directly into Meribel or Les Menuires. From Meribel you can access Courchevel and from Les Menuires go to Val Thorens.

From the top of St Martin 2 looking in the direction of Les Menuires

From the top looking down to Meribel (with some St Martin regulars in view!)

St Martin itself has a limited ski area that includes two reds including the amazing Jerusalem and three blues. Whilst there is a small beginners area with a magic carpet this is only really suited to kids and not older beginners. ESF do offer beginners classes but whilst the blue down from the mid station is easy there are few other slopes to progress to. I would recommend St Martin for 2nd week skiers onwards and it is ideal for intermediate looking to get lots of cruisy miles in on Blues and mainly easy reds. In the 3V Courchevel 1650 is probably a better area to learn.

Good Intermediates have the whole of the Three Valleys all 600km + of pistes to explore and on a quiet day it is possible to ski all the four main resorts. We tend to travel over to Courchevel or VT/Orelle in the morning and head back to Chalet des Neiges in Les Menuires, on the red Allemands run at the top of Roc de Trois Marches 1 from Les Menuires for Lunch. It has been open just 4 years but already has an excellent reputation for good food, huge portions at a reasonable cost. For e.g. the Plat de Jour is 10.10, Pizzas start at 9, Steak and chips 10.50. We have tried others but always go back there.

The skiing - My favourite areas are Courchevel 1850, 1650, La Masse, Les Menuires, Orelle and Val Thorens particularly at New Year and Easter. Favourite runs, Courchevel - Creux, Combe de Saulire, Arondiaz, Meribel - Choucas from Tougnette, Le Face and Mont Vallon, Les Menuires - all of La Masse and David Douillet, Val Thorens - I love Orelle's lovely long and steep in places Red Maurienne and this year we did the Black Combe de Rosael from Cime Caron which was amazing.

Val Thorens has lots of long cruisy Blues and Reds and is a great place to ski when snow cover is thin or the temperatures are high. Courchevel has great snow conditions and lots of wide red pistes to progress to for early intermediates.

St Martin is well placed to visit all of the 3V but some prefer Mottaret/Meribel because of the nightlife. One downside to St Martin is that it is pretty non existent. There are only two bars now Brewski's has closed and my teenage daughter whilst she enjoys it because she has met people over the years would like it to be more lively. There are a number of restaurants, the one we frequent most is L'Eterlou - fantastic fixed meal price and cheap Fondue. La Voute is good for Pizzas (Eat in or Take-away. La Montagnard looks devine and there are two newish restauranta Le Petit Creux and Billig that do Pasta/Crepes at a reasonable price. Etoile des Neiges is expensive and not frequented often. Older St Martin visitors swear by Le Lachenel a Chalet/Hotel in the old village. Le Dahlia is open slopeside for lunch and apres ski but it is worth going over to the Alp Hotel instead as the food is better and cheaper and the ambience pleasanter. For a real treat head over La Bouitte in nearby St Marcel although the are building one in St Martin for next year.

The Alp Hotel is on most of the big internet booking sites and do short breaks - it is in a fantastic location next to the Gondola. Other hotels are the Edelweiss in the lower village and St Martin at the top. If you want any advice on self catering accommodation and where it is in relation to the slopes PM me. There are advantages to staying in the lower part of the village - closeness to the restaurants & more authentic but we prefer the upper part because of the access to the Gondola, but it is a steep walk uphill after a drink or meal. There is not much to do for non skiers in the resort.

There are a number of Catered Chalets in the area but the best placed for the skiing is Le Fruitiere. The first time we visited we drove in and gasped with delight it looked so beautiful. What has kept me going back is not only the ambience of a traditional mountain village but the access to such a large ski area and the proximity of acommodation close to the gondola for speedy access. If any fellow Jet2 Skiers fancy joining me next season in the three weeks of New Year, Half Term and Easter Hols week 1 I would be delighted to show them round and partake in some Apres Ski!

Edited 5 times. Last update at 14-Apr-2010

reply to 'Resort Report - St Martin de Belleville'
posted Apr-2010

Thanks PSC,
That was a great report

Maybe we can meet up next year. We're hoping to go back to Courchevel for Feb half-term, and stay in the same place as last time - we really liked it.


reply to 'Resort Report - St Martin de Belleville'
posted Apr-2010

I don't quite know what it is, but every time I look at the 3 valleys I consider my decision not to ski there since I learned in VT a good one. It just looks so bleak, miserable and soul less.

Good report though PSC. Nice green jacket too
www  New and improved me

reply to 'Resort Report - St Martin de Belleville'
posted Apr-2010

any chance those pics or videos can be made visible without having to login to facebook?
Skiing is good for the soul!

Ian Wickham
reply to 'Resort Report - St Martin de Belleville'
posted Apr-2010

Great reports and pics

Dave Mac
reply to 'Resort Report - St Martin de Belleville'
posted Apr-2010

Good qualitive info, PSC, thank you.

reply to 'Resort Report - St Martin de Belleville'
posted Apr-2010

dustyfog wrote:any chance those pics or videos can be made visible without having to login to facebook?

Done - Managed to work it out at last - not bad for an ICT Teacher hey Only 400px though will Admin let us put in 800px?

Tony - Val Thorens can seem bleak and certainly the architecture is soulless - perhaps if that was my only experience of the 3V I might share your opinion but there are some lovely traditional villages to stay in like St Martin and Le Praz, Courchevel that are thoroughly charming mountain communities that also give you access to a huge area and variety of skiing.

reply to 'Resort Report - St Martin de Belleville'
posted Apr-2010

ParalyticSkiCrazie wrote:Only 400px though will Admin let us put in 800px?

400px is fine, 600px would be ok, 800px would make my eyes cry.

Great write-up - cheers.
The Admin Man

Topic last updated on 14-April-2010 at 08:05

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