The Resort Workers' guide to St Martin de Belleville

By adamrowden, 30 Nov '12 at 12:38

St. Martin is a small traditional resort at the bottom of the Vallee de Belleville which hosts the other resorts of VT and Les Menuires.

It is popular with Danish, German and British skiers though it remains a largely French run resort, with character and links to the extensive 3 Valleys area.

The social scene is small but relatively lively and you can have a wicked season here if you try.

On the Piste

The skiing in St. Martin is varied and you also have plenty of access to the huge 3 Valleys area. There is an 8 seater gondola that takes you into the 3 Valleys in only a few minutes. If you are a fan of flatlining and speed then the Pramint run should be your first port of call. It is a vast slope with the perfect gradient for hurtling at full speed. If you can't flatline it by the end of your second week you're really not trying.

If moguls are your thing then you should try heading to Meribel and hitting Le Face in the afternoon, once all of the tourists have torn it to shreds.

St Martin has no park but neighbouring Les Menuires, Meribel, Mottaret and Val Thorens do. The Mottaret one is probably the best kept (due to its high altitude and sun direction) and usually contains a billy killer black jump with 20ft of flat before the downslope

Off-Piste

This seasons snow wasn't great for a lot of off piste routes though most were undertaken.

Pylon 14 - Take the St Martin 2 Chair to the top, go left along the ridge between Pramint and Jerusalem find your way to pylon 14 and drop the gulley straight below it, take care with the rocks at the bottom.

Allamands - From the very slow Allamands (orange) chairlift go far right towards Les Menuires then drop down back towards the chair, usually quite untracked due to the steep gradient of the start.

There are literally hundreds of off-piste itineraries in the Three Valleys so you are best buying the Three Valleys off-piste guide with maps, photos and route finding.

Living in Resort

If you are doing a season here you will almost certainly living in an apartment or chalet, most of which are reasonably comfortable. Just remember people live here so not everyone wants to listen to Rage Against The Machine at 4am, you may find an angry rake-bearing farmer waiting for you come morning.

Bars and Clubs
St. Martin has quite a number of bars for a resort of its size, though no official nightclub. The Joker bar often hosts discotheque nights in the Tardis-like Salle de Fete which can be a pretty intense party if you are up for it!

Brewskis is the hub of St. Martin's nightlife, this British/NZ run pub (and apartments) has events all week from Sumo wrestling and Kareoke to Pillow fighting and hedonistic drinking games, the staff are always a riot (and quite fit too!). Also has a pool table, Sky TV, Internet Access and a very nice restaurant. Another good location for a few drinks is the Pourquoi Pas? (The Piano Bar). This is an old wine cellar type building, with a chilled out atmosphere, friendly staff, karaoke and rock evenings.

Le Joker, the tiny Locals bar run by Eric, a Russian with a permanent grin on his face, serves up lethal concoctions of drinks usually consisting of vast amounts of Picon, Gin or Whisky! (Warning-you will leave here very drunk!) no official opening or closing times! Pool table and pub games machine.

And last but not least is Yokon (Hotel Le Altitude), which is a relaxed family bar, with a nice atmosphere. It has Guinness on tap and British staff along with a pool table, log fire and bar snacks. They host karaoke, a pub quiz, a bar crawl and movie nights most weeks.

Eating Out
When you're tired of eatin' staff food and leftovers here's where you can munch some real food:

- Le Voute - Pizza's and Steak good value for money, tasty food, a seasonaires favorite!
- Le Etoile De Neige -Expensive but quite tasty Savoiyarde Fayre.
- Le Eterlou - Fairly reasonably priced average food, handy for the slopes.
- Le Alp Hotel - Slow service and boring food, expensive.
- L'achenal - Expensive limited menu with garnishing that looks worryingly like rats testes.
- Le Loy (halfway down from 1st lift) - Decent food, decent price, gets the last of the day's sun.
- Le Chardon Blanche (first on left) - Cool Staff, good food, ask for the Genepi Fire extinguisher!
- Les Marmottes (just up from sm2 chair) - Popular with tourists, watch out for snowball bombing - raids from above chair!

Away Days
Moutiers is just a hitch hike away down the hill, and Albertville is not much further. Both have the usual Casino supermarkets and other warehouse style retailers as well as swimming pools, cinemas and train links (should you REALLY want to escape!).

Transfer Day
Changeover day usually goes pretty smooth here, with Geneva, Chambery and Lyon all quite close by and rail and bus links too.

Thanks to Dan Loots for putting the majority of this guide together.

For more resort profiles click here. Or, to find a good transfer company to take you to St Martin click here.

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