St Martin de Belleville
St Martin de Belleville Ski Resort Guide
Sitting on a steep slope in the heart of the Three Valleys ski area St Martin de Belleville is an attractive village that retains a traditional atmosphere. Originating as a small farming village, it wasn’t until the 1980s that St Martin was connected to the neighbouring resorts of Les Menuires and Val Thorens by ski lift. Since then the village has developed at a steady rate but, in a rare move for a French resort, all modern developments have kept to the traditional style.
The ski resort of St Martin centres around a small village square along with a beautiful old church. The surrounding wood and stone farm houses and winding streets provide one of the very few truly authentic village resorts in the Three Valleys. Complementing the beautiful woodland scenery, St Martin village has a feel of a traditional Christmas village and had the honour of being nominated as one of ten ‘picture perfect’ ski resorts.
While a picturesque Alpine village may be some people’s idea of a dream ski holiday – St Martin is definitely a quieter resort. Facilities are limited opposed to what is in the neighbouring Les Menuires, and apres-ski drinking in bars is definitely a more sedate affair than nearby Val Thorens. That being said, there are a few venues which get lively plus two swimming & spa centres. One thing that St Martin de Belleville does do particularly well though is food. There are some great traditional Savoyard restaurants, as well as the famous 3 Michelin Star La Bouitte Restaurant in a nearby hamlet.
If you are searching for a quiet holiday in a pretty village – with excellent links to the biggest connected ski area in the world then St Martin de Belleville should be high up on your list.
Skiing in St Martin de Belleville
With long, open blue & red runs surrounding St Martin village, the local ski area is best suited to intermediate skiers and those looking to improve their technique without pushing things too hard. A dedicated beginner slope sits at the foot of the slopes, but past that the runs for new skiers and snowboarders can be a little limited. More advanced holidaymakers will want to take advantage of the ‘Liberty Ride’ patrolled off-piste zone near to St Martin de Belleville in which they can sample freeriding in safety under the right conditions.
Of course one of the best things about skiing in St Martin though is the fact that it is a central part of the 600km of pistes which make up the Three Valleys (or Trois Vallees) area. Connecting with Val Thorens, Les Menuires, Meribel & Courchevel – this is the largest ski area in the world with more than enough varied terrain to keep any party happy for a week. From St Martin’s relatively low altitude it is necessary to take ski lifts up to the higher, and more connected, Les Menuires and Val Thorens but these lifts are quick and provide only a minor inconvenience.
Sitting at 1,450m St Martin de Belleville’s local slopes do suffer a little when snow conditions are less than perfect. They also get the afternoon sun on them which can make for slushy and patchy pistes at the end of the day. St Martin does run a very good artificial snowmaking programme though which makes up for this as best they can. For a tranquil base from which to explore the huge ski area from, St Martin de Belleville provides everything you could need for a great ski experience.