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Skiing options starting from Lyon
Lots of options...I lived 9 months in Bourg St Maurice (an easy funicular ride to Les Arcs) and changed trains in Lyon. Prior to BSM, you could get off the train in Moutiers (bus service to 3 Vallees) and there are others as well.
There are a few hotels in BSM, but most of the lodging is up on the mountain (1600, 1800, etc). On the mountain is a bit more convenient (and probably more tourists looking to party than BSM), but many places book by the week, not night, so BSM might be the fall back option. The nicest place in BSM is a 3 star, but it is not as close to the funicular as you might like. If you do stay in BSM, the most convenient thing to do is rent/store your gear at Polarstar right at the funicular (and tell Rosie and Gordon I say hi.)
Not sure about Moutiers and 3 V.
Thank you all for the advice regarding Bourg St. Maurice. I took a train from Lyon there last Monday and got in two great days of skiing in at Les Arcs. Rosie and Gordon from http://www.polairestar.com/ set me up with the great equipment (Volkl Kendo) and I stayed at an excellent place called http://chillchalet.com/ that was maybe 100 yards from the train station and 500 from the funicular.
I lucked out arriving at the same time as new snow; Tuesday was cloudy with limited visibility and Wednesday was sunny. Given the limited base I stayed mainly on piste but hooked up with some locals to enjoy some soft snow in lower risk off piste areas. I am really glad I had a chance to spend a few days here and I appreciate your guidance.