The almost parallel valleys in the Savoie region of France, the Saint-Bon, Les Allues and Belleville valleys are linked together by ski runs and ski lifts, with 600 kilometers of interconnected slopes and 180 ski lifts. Thus - Les Trois Vallees, the largest ski area in the world.
The Saint-Bon ValleyThe Saint-Bon valley area was the first to be developed for winter sports. As you enter and drive up the Saint-Bon there are a progression of four resort villages delineated by elevation. From 1300m to 1850m the four altitude indicators make up Courchevel.
Courchevel 1850 vies for the title of the most fashionable of European Alpine resorts with luxury hotels and chalets and a pulsating night life.
Les Allues Valley
Les Allues is comprised of the resort of Meribel - Coeur des 3 Vallees - "Heart of the 3 Valleys" and sister resort Meribel-Mottaret.
Logistically ,the center (or heart) of the vast 3 valleys is at 1500 meters elevation, Meribel, and Meribel Mottaret, at 1750 meters. I found Meribel and Mottaret to be the easiest base areas from which to navigate and explore Les Trois Valleys.
Almost as a sidebar, the small La Perrière valley sits between Saint Bon and Les Allues and nestles the resort of La Tania, at a low elevation of 1350 meters. It is a small community that allows quick access to Courchevel or Meribel.
The Belleville Valley
The Belleville valley is largest valley in the ski area and home to three resorts: St-Martin-de-Belleville at 1400 meters, Les Menuires at 1850 meters and Val Thorens, the highest ski resort in Europe sitting up at 2300 meters.
How Big is the Largest Ski Area in the World?
Really, how big is "the largest ski area in the world?" The moniker "largest ski area in the world" begs the question "largest ski area in the world" compared to what?
Charlie Leocha, author of Ski Snowboard Europe, has done some research and found that the former Snow Country magazine once calculated that Killington, Vail, Heavenly, Steamboat, Squaw Valley and Park City Mountain Resort could all fit inside the space covered by Les Trois Vallees with almost 10,000 acres left over.
So, you can also throw in Jackson Hole, Taos, Sun Valley, Keystone, Crested Butte, Alta, Solitude, Cranmore, and Stowe and Les Trois Vallees would still has room left over.
Les Trois Vallees Resorts
Les Trois Vallees has so much to see and ski. There are eight resorts, all with restaurants and shops to visit, not to mention a couple of dozen on-mountain restaurants for sunning and lunch. I'd bet you could camp out in Les Trois Vallees for a whole season and not cover all the mountains.
But, it would be the thrill of a lifetime to try!