What’s New in Meribel?
Ski Meribel this season if you’re looking for a beginner ski holiday – a new green run has been created from the mid-station of the Saulire lift so you can now practice your turns all the way back down into resort. Meribel is also an even better destination for a family ski holiday since new family fun park, Acticross, was built at the Altiport in the centre of Meribel, and the Doron ‘Zen’ area in Mottaret was improved last season with a new magic carpet. Meribel ski security has also been improved a little more through of all things, the friendly alpine cows. The valley’s pistes have been re-seeded with these natural lawn mowers favourite flavour of grass so they eat more, cutting it shorter when the snows come and reducing the risk of avalanche (although still not eliminating it completely of course and care should still be taken). Now there’s ski environmental friendliness in action for you!
Overview of Meribel
Meribel ski resort: the convivial warm heart of the legendary Three Valleys ski area. Meribel chalets make a perfect base for exploring these world-class mountains, but the resort also holds its own in the big leagues of must-ski destinations. Chances are you will already know Meribel skiing, the British legacy here runs deep. The resort was conceived by Colonel Peter Lindsay in 1938 and is a prime example of a well-planned purpose built ski resort thanks to strict building regulations and a solid and ongoing investment in its mountain infrastructure and eco-credentials. Add to this the array of après-ski activities and the fantastic nightlife and you could find yourself gravitating back to this resort year after year – and you wouldn’t be alone. The resort is made up of 4 villages: the old village of Les Allues, the quieter ski chalets of Meribel Village, Meribel Centre and ski in/ski out Mottaret, 4km up the hill. Meribel Centre is the resort’s main hub and from here, roads lined with Meribel chalets, beautifully constructed solely of the local stone, wood and slate, snake up the sides of the valley. All the villages are linked by a free efficient bus service (no need even for a lift pass) and well-maintained pavements and footpaths – all part of the town council’s traffic and pollution reducing measures, which also includes 1000 free outdoor parking spaces and the cheapest indoor parking in the Alps. The 150km of pistes that are Meribel skiing are accessed by a world-record breaking system of high-capacity gondolas that gets more skiers up the hill quicker than any other ski resort.
Skiing and Boarding in Meribel
The amazingly efficient lift-system of Meribel ski resort offers one of the smoothest day’s skiing ever and all levels of skier will find pistes to entertain them. The East-West orientation of the valley makes it advisable to start on the west flank and work your way over to the east for the best snow in the afternoon sun. Beginners can find their balance in the Zen Zones, separated from the main trails to avoid distractions, before graduating onto the green and blue pistes of Altiport – take the Rhodos gondola for gently sloping runs but some do get a bit steeper back into resort so you’ll need be ready for this. Intermediates will love the long groomed linking trails throughout the valley. Be sure to check out the classic reds down to Saint Martin de Belleville or for a nice long run, take the Tougnette gondola where you can also test your mettle on the Ladies Olympic Downhill. For advanced skiers, almost every peak in the Meribel valley offers exciting challenges. For off-piste, you can’t beat the slopes down from the Mont du Vallon or there are fast steep trails on either side of the Pas du Lac and massive moguls to the left of the Roc de Tougne lift. When the snow’s fresh, you’ll find natural kickers, rollers and mini wind-lips off the Boulevard de la Loze or open powder coming down from Plattieres and Combes, but as with the rest of the Three Valleys, you’ll need to get up early or you may find it quickly tracked out. Combes is also a good place to head for when the weather starts closing in. Snowboarders and park rats will be keen to try Meribel’s snowparks, the Plattieres Park in Mottaret which has two half pipes and a boardercross, or the freeriders choice, the Moon Park in Meribel where you’ll find a competition and a beginner half pipe plus jumps, boxes, kickers and rails. Children can also practice their skills on the P’tit Moon boardercross.
lift passes IN MERIBEL
The Trois Vallees is arguably one of the largest and most famous linked ski areas in the world. In each of these three resorts it is possible to buy a local area lift pass covering that sole area, these are great for first time beginners or for those that do not want to venture too far. To make the most of the terrain a full area lift pass is available from each resort that covers all three valleys. Due to the great links between resorts and a variety of runs connecting each, anyone fro intermediate ability and above will benefit from the full area lift pass which will allow them to enjoy and explore a world class ski area.
Apres Ski in Meribel
Meribel ski resort is not just about skiing, there are so many activities going on that everyone will find something they like. The Parc Olympique La Chaudanne is the hub for all things sporting if you’re not looking to ski Meribel. There’s an ice rink, which also hosts top level ice hockey matches, a swimming pool, climbing wall, Turkish bath, sauna and bowling alley. The latest releases are shown at the cinema, you can go paintballing, take a scenic flight or a dog sled or relax with a massage and some beauty therapy. Snowshoeing, snowmobiling and paragliding are all available as well, or take a picturesque walk on Meribel’s 20mile network of winter walking trails, the first of its kind in the French Alps, allowing walks right across the Meribel and Courchevel valleys with the help of a few lifts and a cheaper pedestrian lift pass. The hot springs at Brides Les Bains, accessible via cable car, are also rumoured to have healing properties.
It’s impossible to ski Meribel and not get a little caught up with the party atmosphere, after all, this is rumoured to be where that mountain institution toffee vodka was invented. The Rond Point up on the hill is one of France’s best known après-ski venues, where the music starts blasting mid-afternoon and the ski boot dancing is in full swing by lifts close. You can ski straight back down into resort from here and continue the party in Evolution or Jack’s Bar at the base of the lifts, or venture over to Le Pub or Le Taverne which both have après happy hours, live bands and footy. The Taverne also has an internet cafe, Cybar, downstairs. Les Enfants Terribles has a funky 70s theme, while the more stylish Barometer Bar serves fine cocktails and splendid local wines. Later on, it’s got to be Le Loft or Dicks Tea Bar, which attract big name DJs and are packed every night.
Dining Options in Meribel
Although food and drink can be expensive in Meribel, there are a number of notable establishments where you will want to splash the cash. As most guests stay in a Meribel chalet, the best places can get booked up quickly on the host’s night off and early booking is recommended. Lovers of cheese should make for La Fromagerie Chez Fromton or La Kouisena for equally delicious Savoyard fare. Fine dining can be enjoyed in the elegant main dining room of Le Grand Coeur Hotel, which serves specialty meat and fish dishes and excellent wines. Or, for another Meribel institution, pay a visit to Chez Kiki and let her cook you up some legendary beef or a traditional Savoyard fondue – gourmet heaven! For crepes, you can’t beat La Galette or for a few sweet and savory French delights, ski chalets Meribel have a choice of some exceptional bakeries for their croissants. For familiar classics, the resort boasts a Pizza Express franchise or Evolution also dishes up great après snacks, fry ups and roast dinners, for that little taste of home at the bottom of the pistes.
On the mountain, everyone should do lunch at the Rond Point at least once before they die. Les Rhodedendrons at the top of the Rhodos lift in Altiport makes a convenient meeting point for skiers of all abilities, including non-skiers.
This winter we are delighted to offer a private nanny service in partnership with t4 Nanny in Meribel. For more information on t4 Nanny and what they can offer during your family ski holiday, please see our t4 Nanny page.