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The Three Valley's best-kept secret - Reberty

18 September 2019

If I asked you to cast your mind to the Three Valleys and the different towns and villages it’s made up of, how many do you think you could name? I think anyone with a bit of skiing experience under their belt would be able to name the big three – Val Thorens, Meribel, and Courchevel. The more seasoned veterans amongst us might even be able to reel off Les Menuires, Bride Les Bains, and Saint Martin de Belleville. You could be forgiven for thinking that was all of them, but you’d be wrong.

I recently stayed in what can only be described as the Three Valley’s best-kept secret – Reberty. Sitting at the snow-sure height of 2000m, Reberty is tucked just out of sight above Les Menuires. It’s a small hamlet of traditionally styled chalets where stone and wood have been favoured over concrete to capture the true Savoyard essence. Despite the fact you can’t see Les Menuires from Reberty, you’re still close enough to enjoy all of the amenities of the bigger town as it’s within walking distance. A bus also connects the two areas very well.

The village itself has little to no traffic going through it and you could almost describe it as pedestrianised. If you’re anything like me, you’ll agree that’s exactly how a ski resort should be – covered in snow and skiers, not cars. It is very much geared towards those looking for relaxing escapism. If you lead a busy life and just need to get away, Reberty will wash the stress right out. That’s not to say you can’t head to Reberty if you’re chasing the après scene that the Three Valleys is famed for, as Val Thorens is only a short taxi ride away. You could be dancing on tables in La Folie Douce at 4.30pm, watching the bar staff set the ceiling on fire in Snesko at 5.30pm, and still be back at the chalet in time for dinner.

I think one of the biggest allures of this rustic village is its ease of access to the slopes and the rest of the Three Valleys. From the SkiWeekends chalets, Anthony and Cleopatra, it’s just a few minutes’ walk before you can clip into your skis and get your day started. You can get stuck straight into Val Thorens by hopping on the Bruyères, or you can get to Meribel just as easily by using the Roc 1 and 2. This is what most people that are staying in Les Menuires and Reberty tend to do, but I’d recommend something a little bit different. If you ignore the crowds and go against the grain towards La Masse side of the mountain, you won’t regret it. Much in the same way that Reberty is a hidden gem, La Masse is a mountain that doesn’t get the attention it deserves – but that’s exactly why I loved it. With all the traffic flowing in the opposite direction, it’s very easy to find first tracks there in the morning. Even in the busiest times of the year, you can find yourself on a piste with nobody else in sight.

The ski area immediately around Reberty is made up of wide, open blues and reds that give plenty of space for deep carving turns. If you like to get your knee down, you’re in the right place. Another thing I found with the pistes here is the blues and reds often run parallel to each other. This makes it a dream for groups of mixed abilities as it means you can ski in the same direction without having to compromise on difficulty. I can’t talk about the ski area without mentioning the world-famous Jerusalem run, which is named on many lists as one of the best runs in France. Known for its undulations and banked turns, this run starts at the top of the St Martin Express and finishes down in the charming village of Saint Martin De Belleville.

As I was on a catered chalet holiday, I only needed to venture out for food once. There are a few restaurants dotted about the village but for me, the clear choice was La Ferme de Reberty. As soon as you walk in the staff will make you feel right at home – it’s like walking into a friend’s house. The menu has everything you would expect to find on a menu in the French alps, such as tartiflette, raclette, and fondue, as well as an extensive grill menu. Now, I do have a real sweet tooth, so the stand-out for me here was the huge knickerbocker glory style ice creams that they serve. Come sun or snow, I need my ice cream fix, and this was more than enough to satisfy my hankering. This restaurant can be described as the hub of Reberty and is a great meeting point for the end of the ski day.

They say if you look after the pennies, the pounds look after themselves. It doesn’t quite have the same ring to it when talking Euros and Cents, but there is one restaurant on the mountain that will certainly help with the cause, nonetheless. The Chalet De La Masse is one of the cheapest places in the Three Valleys to grab a bite on the mountain, with a Plat Du Jour coming in at just €12. There are some places in the French Alps where you would be hard pushed to find a beer for that price. Despite being cheap, there is no sacrifice on quality. They even offer fish and chips on their menu, for those Brits amongst us who are guilty of not trying the local cuisine when we’re abroad.

At the risk of sounding cliché, I have saved the best part of the holiday to last. I’ve already mentioned that this resort is perfect for those who are just looking to get away from it all, and there’s one place in particular where it’s impossible to feel anything other than pure, unadulterated bliss. If you’ve been on a ski holiday before, there is a good chance you have been in a hot tub in the snow, but I can assure you all other hot tubs pale in comparison to this one. I’m going to do my best to paint a picture for you here, but some things really need to be experienced. You get back to the chalet with tired ski legs, having skied across to Meribel for the day. You go to the fridge and pull out the bottle of bubbly you bought the day before and grab a glass (or two). You walk out onto the balcony where you find the tub under the eaves of the chalet, with uninterrupted panoramic views of La Masse mountain. That’s not an exaggeration, by the way - there is absolutely nothing blocking your mountain views. You jump into the perfectly heated water and get both sets of bubbles on the go – the ones in the bottle and the ones in the tub. From there, it’s very easy for the minutes to turn into hours, and it’s only when the mountain goes from sunlit to starlit, you’ll realise just how long you’ve been there. When the hands start to prune and the bottle is empty, you go back inside for a hearty three-course meal with wine before getting the board games out and sharing stories of the ski day. I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of a better way to unwind than that.


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