The Three Valleys (Trois Vallees or 3Vs) is the world’s largest ski area with over 600km of linked pistes. It includes the major resorts of Courchevel, Meribel, Les Menuires and Val Thorens plus a number of smaller ones on the periphery.
Firstly, why should the older skier go there at all? Simply because it is the most suitable area anywhere. There are 312 km of blue and green runs to choose from, meaning that if you want to you can cruise around all day without too much pressure on the aching knees and hips, plus 216 km of red ones for the better skiers and 72 km of black ones to test the physique, skill and nerve. There are very few tows left and many of the chairs have a “lid” to keep you out of the weather if needs be.
Secondly, where exactly? As ever it depends on three factors, the snow, the resort facilities and the costs. Whilst Val Thorens is a bit on the noisy side, early and late in the season the snow is pretty much guaranteed so I would choose there. There are 150 km of local runs, so you can keep the costs down, at least for the first few days. If costs are no object then move over to Courchevel 1850 where there will be everything you need as long as there is plenty of credit on your cards. Meribel is “Little Britain in the Alps”, is in the middle of the area, so all the valleys can be accessed easily but the middle of the village is sometimes like one big nightclub. Les Menuires had a reputation for horrible architecture and small apartments but it is slowly improving and is much cheaper. However, I would head down to St Martin de Belleville. It has an upgraded gondola, a fast chair up to the ridge, the return is down one of two great cruises, including the famous Jerusalem run, and the village is just that, a village. Most of the accommodation is relatively new and the evening entertainment tends to be a nice meal in a good restaurant rather than bouncing up and down to a mega base system.
If you are no longer “knocking off the kilometres” then the 3Vs can be expensive but once you reach the magic 65 then the lift passes are cheaper and if you keep going until 75 they are free – only 5 more years!