A great value ski resort which sits in the gateway to the vast Three Valleys ski domain. Resort Height: 600m (1,968ft), Skiing Range: Snow Range 1300m (4,265ft) – 3200m (10,498ft)
Brides les Bains is the most beautiful of all the connecting resorts, with wonderful oldie worldly buildings and stunning chalets set in the most stunning scenery. Brides les Bains is mainly catered chalets with the choice of ski to door too, on most of these properties.
Brides Les Bains is an old Alpine spa town located on the edge of the Vanoise National Park at the gateway to the Three Valleys. Locally known as “Les Trois Vallees”, this skiing area is one of the largest in the World, with more than 600 km (410 miles) of ski slopes, networked together with over 180 ski lifts. With such a vast and varied domain, it is no wonder that this area offers such great skiing and snowboarding for all ability levels.
The resort of Brides Les Bains was used as the Olympic Village for the Albertville Olympics in 1992. Thanks to the Olympe Cable Car, built especially for the Games, Brides Les Baines now has fantastic links to its close by neighbour of Meribel. Within 25 minutes, you are at the bottom of Meribel’s slopes with direct access to the other main ski resorts of The Three Valleys – Meribel Mottaret, Courchevel, Les Menuires and Val Thorens. However, Brides Les Baines has the bonus of offering greater value accommodation than some of these busier neighbouring ski resorts.
For many centuries, the thermal waters of Brides Les Baines were thought to have special properties. However, it wasn’t until the 19th Century that its qualities for treating obesity were identified. As a result, many local hotels began to specialise in dietary treatments in the late 1870s. By the end of the 20th Century, Brides Les-Bains had become the leading spa resort for obesity treatment in France. Today, many skiers combine their holiday with a trip to Le Grand Spa des Alpes, which is dedicated to health, well-being and pure relaxation.
With no main skiing areas within the resort of Brides Les Baines itself, skiers tend to head out to various locations within The Three Valleys, depending on their level of ability and experience.
Those learning to ski do best to head for Meribel, where they will find good tuition on the gentle runs of the “Altiport” nursery slopes. When ready to progress, new skiers can test their new found skills on some of the excellent blue runs higher up in Meribel. Also popular are the “Zen Zones” in both Courchevel and Meribel – pistes which have been especially designed for both beginners and less confident skiers. Here there are lifts that are easy to access, along with slopes which are very well groomed and mostly uncrowded.
The resorts of both Meribel and Courchevel have some of the best skiing terrain for intermediate skiers. These have the largest percentage of blue and red runs, providing a huge playground to practice on. Try the gentle blue, or steeper red runs, on the ridges of Tougnete and Saulire in Meribel, or amble down from the top of the Roc Merlet in Courchevel 1850 using the blue Pyramide run, then onto the tree lined “La Piste Des Indiens” (The Indians’ Trail) down into Courchevel 1650.
The Meribel Valley has a number of black runs, with one of the famous being “La Face” which was used for the women’s Olympic downhill course in 1992. There is also a good selection of sheer descents from all the top lifts in Val Thorens – Cime de Caron is always very popular. Head to the Suisses and Chanrossa in Chourchevel if you prefer the thrills and bumps of a mogul field.
Like skiers, snowboarders will never tire of the piste choices within The Three Valleys. However, for added fun, boarders can take a day out to one of the many snow parks within the area. Meribel is home to “Acticross”, a fun area of whoops, a tunnel, banked turns and slaloms. It is also home to “The Moonpark” which has over 25 acres of fun with more whoops, tables, rails and boxes. Even more fun can be had in the other snow parks in at Meribel Mottaret, Courchevel, Les Menuires and Val Thorens.
Brides les Bains is a traditional French alpine village, with a friendly atmosphere and a selection of authentic French restaurants, bistros and bars. It does however have the only casino in the Tarentaise region – The Brides-les-Bains Casino. Here you can enjoy a range of traditional card games such as Poker, Roulette and Black Jack, or simply play on the slot machines. It also has a disco, bar and pub and puts on regular shows and concerts.
Whilst many visitors try activities such as dog-sledding, snow-shoeing, climbing, or walking through wooded trails, most make a visit to one of the many spas in the village. The most popular and most well known, being Le Grand Spa des Alpes.
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