An expert guide to ski holidays in Les Menuires


After it was founded in 1964, for the first 40 years of its existence, Les Menuires was always dubbed the ugly duckling of European ski resorts.

Now celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2023/24, and while never a swan, it has matured into a pretty presentable drake. What is more, it’s become a mainstream player as a holiday base in the Trois Vallées alongside Courchevel, Méribel and Val Thorens.  It has some top-scoring credentials to its name – the resort is set at 1,850m and links directly into the 600km of piste and 180 lifts in this giant ski area, whose highest runs start at a heady 3,230m.

It is a surprisingly underrated ski area that actually houses some of the best intermediate runs, both on and off piste, in the entire Trois Vallées.

Stay on track with the essential facts from the resort below, and scroll down for our insider guide to a day on the pistes, expert ratings and advice. For further Les Menuires inspiration, see our guides to the resort’s best accommodationrestaurants and après ski.

In this guide:

Inside the resort

When visiting Les Menuires there’s a choice of places to base yourself. In recent years, older buildings in La Croisette, the original resort centre, have been revamped and reclad, while the modern largely ski-in/ski-out satellites of Reberty and Le Bruyères have wisely been constructed in a much more sympathetic chalet style. They’re easier on the eye, have their own shops and restaurants and, compared to their more famous neighbouring resorts, they’re easier on the pocket, too and home to a number of British operators.

The majority of the French clientele is made up of families who tend to take the same apartments year on year and make their own entertainment. It’s less strong on nightlife than some of its Trois Vallées neighbours, such as Val Thorens and Méribel, but is a great base for families or anyone wanting to explore a giant ski area on a limited budget.

les menuires

It’s possible to ski to your door in Les Menuires

Lift links towards Val Thorens and towards Méribel and the rest of the Trois Vallées are fast and efficient (and upgrades are regularly made to lift capacities). The local slopes are great for all standards, and much of the accommodation is ski-in/ski-out both in the original La Croisette sector of the resort as well as in the newer satellites.

On the minus side, many of the slopes are south-facing and quickly lose their snow cover in hot spring sunshine – Les Menuires is not ideal for either an early or a late season holiday, although the resort stays open almost until the end of April and Val Thorens, the highest resort in Europe with guaranteed snow cover from November to May, is just up the road or lift.

On the slopes

Les Menuires is a surprisingly underrated ski area that actually houses some of the best intermediate runs, both on and off piste, in the entire Trois Vallées. Despite its complicated split personality when it comes to architecture, the slopes remain uncompromised. Fast lifts go from resort level from one side of the village towards Val Thorens and also towards Méribel and the rest of the Trois Vallées.

The only problem is that the slopes on the Trois Vallées side of the resort are south-facing. This presents no real problem in mid-winter, but when the fierce sun of March and April rules, the snow quality suffers and the avalanche danger rises. To combat this the resort’s snowmaking facilities are regularly improved.  

In 2021/22, what’s more, the La Masse had a total revamp, with a fast, 10-seater cable car replacing the old bubble lifts, and now travelling to the summit in eight minutes (over three times faster than before). A re-jigged slope layout also means the topmost area is suitable for most abilities.

However, the slopes on the other side of the village are north- and east-facing and consequently hold their snow well throughout the season. Here the lifts go up to the 2,804m summit of Pointe de La Masse, where a separate area offers some quite superb possibilities both on and off piste, with runs that remain uncrowded even during peak season weeks. The main slopes here hold their snow well through 1,000 vertical metres that test the best – it’s some of the most demanding terrain in this whole giant ski area. But there is an easy alternative down – the benign blue Bouquetin run allows enjoyment of the views from the top without the challenges of the more extreme adjoining descents on either side.

les menuires

Les Menuires is part of the giant Trois Vallées ski area

Credit: pascal lebeau

The off-piste opportunities from the top of Point de la Masse towards St Martin de Belleville and to Val Thorens are exciting. To get the best out of them, engage the services of an experienced local guide – the avalanche risk can be high and it’s easy to lose the way.

La Masse’s relative isolation and challenge means that the majority of skiers and snowboarders staying in Les Menuires tend to spend much of their time on the other side of the valley road, using the efficient lift system that connects directly with the rest of the Trois Vallées. There’s an assortment of lifts heading swiftly up to the ridge that separates the Belleville and Les Allues valleys with lovely runs to the neighbouring resort of Saint Martin de Belleville.

From the ridge above the resort it’s also easy to head down to Méribel Mottaret and on towards Courchevel. Or carry on to Val Thorens, at the head of the Belleville valley and onwards again to Orelle in the Maurienne valley, the so-called “fourth” valley of the Trois Vallées. With so much terrain there’s usually not enough time to explore that far – so it’s really worthwhile fully appreciating the delights of what’s on the doorstep.

The runs back down towards Les Menuires from the Belleville/Les Allues ridge are long and mainly gentle – ideal country for intermediates looking to get some kilometres covered. When the snow falls, vast tracts of this terrain provide outstanding powder runs.

Les Menuires used to attract a large number of freestylers, but these days they have largely migrated up the valley to Val Thorens, leaving the resort in the care of families, who find lots to entertain them in the local ski area. The Pixel Area Fun Park has a variety of rails and kickers for beginners and the more accomplished, while there’s also two ski/boarder cross courses and a picnic-cum-relaxation area.

les menuires skiers

Les Menuires offers on and off piste options

Credit: CHP

Who should go?

Les Menuires is largely a ski-in/ski-out resort, in particular the satellites of Reberty and Les Bruyères. The majority of accommodation is in self-catering apartments and catered chalets and while nightlife isn’t a strong point it is a great base for families or anyone wanting to explore a giant ski area on a limited budget. The ski area is Les Menuires houses some of the best intermediate runs in Les Trois Vallées, including superb possibilities both on and off piste, with runs that remain uncrowded even during peak season weeks.

Know before you go

Essential information

  • British Embassy/Consulate: (00 33 1 44 51 31 00;
  • Ambulance (samu): dial 15
  • Police: dial 17
  • Fire (pompiers): dial 18
  • Emergency services from mobile phone: dial 112
  • Tourist office: See, the website for Les Menuires tourist office, for weather reports, lift status, webcams, traffic details and local event listings. Pick up maps, leaflets and other information from the office in the centre of La Croisette or in les Bruyères.

The basics

  • Currency: Euro
  • Telephone code: from abroad, dial 00 33, then leave off the zero at the start of the 10-figure number. 
  • Time difference: +1 hour

Local laws & etiquette

  • When greeting people, formal titles (Monsieur, Madame and Mademoiselle) are used much more in French than in English.
  • The laws of vouvoiement (which version of “you” to use) take years to master. If in doubt – except when talking to children or animals – always use the formal vous form (second person plural) rather than the more casual tu.
  • When driving, it’s compulsory to keep fluorescent bibs and a hazard triangle in the car in case of breakdown. Since 2021, it’s also compulsory to have snow chains in your car or winter tyres from the beginning of November until March.

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