Ski Holidays in the Heart of the Three Valleys
Sitting in the centre of the magnificent Trois Vallées ski area, the largest linked ski resort in Europe, Meribel is the best starting position to access the 600km network of pristine slopes.
Skiing in the Three Valleys has something for everyone. Whether you’re an experienced crooner or a young blossom experiencing life on the powder for the first time, you are guaranteed an excellent skiing holiday in Meribel.
The quaint village also has a varied nightlife. You will find quiet bars, raucous apres-ski parties and an assorted choice of cuisine ranging from fine continental dining to pizza and burgers. There are also plenty of French fashion boutiques and a host of entertainment for the whole family.
With some 600km of linked piste to explore, Meribel is considered one of the premier destinations in Europe for a skiing holiday. There is also plenty to do off the piste so you can be assured there will never be a dull moment.
Meribel is geared towards families with young children and has a wide variety of pistes that will keep skiers and snowboarders of all levels more than satisfied.
The skiing conditions in the Meribel ski areas are as good as anywhere in the Three Valleys but the ski lifts can suffer from overcrowding - mainly due to visitors passing through from neighbouring resorts in both directions.
Thanks to its central location and exceptional network of lifts, exploring other ski areas in the Three Valleys is easy. You can purchase ski lift passes for Meribel only or for the entire ski area.
|No. of Pistes:||64|
|Total Piste:||600 km|
|Cross Country:||90 km|
|Gondolas/ Cable Cars:||14|
Meribel Ski Areas & Slopes
Meribel alone has 150km of ski area which is well-suited to skiers of all levels. You can also find piste guides for Courchevel, Val Thorens and La Tania.
Meribel Mottaret (Zen Zone)
Mottaret is situated at the head of the valley and accessed via the Plattières gondola. There are a couple of slopes dedicated to beginners and intermediates will find some of the best slopes on the south side.
Intermediate-Advanced: Mont Vallon is a must when skiing in Mottaret. From the top chair lift, there are two excellent red routes, both of which connect with a blue to cruise down to the bottom. Mogul fans will want to tackle the ‘Bosses’ run under the Plan de l’Homme chair and the adrenaline-pumping Face piste from the top of the Roc de Fer - created for the 1992 Olympics.
Beginners: Head for the beginner area just above the mid station of the Rhodos lift and you will enjoy fresh powder pistes that are not crowded by experienced skiers knocking you off your balance.
Altiport (Ski Cool Zone)
Altiport is another ski area groomed for beginners that are fresh from the nursery slope. You can access the “Ski Cool Zone” via the Morel chair from Altiport 1600 or directly from the nursery slopes at Rond Point.
Intermediate-Advanced: There is not much in the way for experienced skiers in the Altiport ski area itself but there are a couple of challenging blacks close by, namely Tetra on the adjoining piste. You could also head out to Brides Les Bains. This is an interesting route that starts from the Altiport and takes you through a forested area.
Beginners: There are several gentle greens around the Altiport that are ideal for developing your confidence and perfecting your snow plough.
Saulire is the best piste to take in the incredible panoramic views. To get there, simply take the chairlift from La Chaudanne and the Saulire Express to the top.
Intermediate-Advanced: Saulire boasts supreme descents for intermediates including the red Mauduit piste which is over 1000m long. Advanced skiers might want to tackle the Couloirs in Courchevel which can be accessed from here. The steep blacks on the Couloirs are regarded as some of the most challenging runs in the world.
Beginners: There are plenty of beginner-friendly runs at the Rond Point that are dedicated to children between 7 and 12 years old whilst the Chemin des Ecoliers is ideal for families and in close proximity to the snow park above Mottaret.
Tougnette is another playground for intermediates and is quite a journey to get there from the central lift in Meribel. From La Chaudanne, take the Roc de Fer and Olympic Express super chairs to the top then ski the blue Grande Duc to the Cherferie drag. You then need to navigate the gentle rollovers of Choucas to the Caves drag and ski down Grive to Tougnette.
Intermediate-Advanced: There are two reds from Tougnette. The shorter of the two is the Pramint. Alternatively, head for Crets restaurant then down the Jerusalem piste.
Beginners: There are several blues on the way to Tougnettes, which progressive beginners can handle. It’s a good route to develop your skills and explore more of the mountain.
Ski Holidays in Meribel
Meribel Ski Passes
Ski lift passes are available for Meribel, Meribel-Mottaret or the entire Three Valleys extension. If you’re staying in Meribel, it is recommended that you purchase a one-day extension when you want to explore a neighbouring resort.
Meribel Solo Pass is available for children, adults and seniors with prices for adults varying from €56 for four hours to €361 for seven days.
Meribel Duo Pass is a cheaper option for couples looking to save money on their trip, with seven days available for €351 per person.
Meribel Family Pass covers two parents and between two and seven children, with prices for seven days starting at €288.80 per skier.
There is a fair choice of ski schools in Meribel, most of which have experienced instructors that speak both English and French. The ski schools that typically attract the most pupils are New Generation Ski, Oxygene Ski and the British Alpine Ski School. Subsequently, the classes with these schools are bigger.
There are dozens of stores in Meribel village where you can hire ski equipment. Most service providers offer up to a 50% discount if you order online. They will even deliver your equipment to your hotel so you can save time having to organise ski equipment on your first morning.
Family Fun in Meribel
Meribel is primed for a family skiing holiday. The Olympic Sports Centre next to the Chaudanne offers options other than skiing, so if the kids need a day away from the slopes, they can go ice skating, ten-pin bowling, swimming and pass the time playing arcade games. There is also a chance to go inner tubing, sledding and ride on a husky-drawn sledge.
For families with young children, Meribel has plenty of childcare centres that charge half-day and full-day fees for minding toddlers. Snowbugs and ESF Meribel are highly recommended whilst Mernannies will take your children up the Rhodes bubble (to the beginner ski area) where they can play games such as hide and seek and treasure hunts.
When to Go?
The best time to visit Meribel for a skiing holiday is March and April once the French schools restart (holidays are in February) and prior to the Easter break. January is also an underrated month. Despite being a tad colder, the crowds have dispersed and the snow conditions are excellent for speed demons.
Meribel receives around 224cm of fresh snow throughout the ski season and the deposits are fairly frequent. February is typically the heaviest month but also the most crowded. The average base depth throughout the season is around 70cm. You can check out the daily snow report here.
The weather in Meribel can be a little varied depending on which side of the mountain you’re on. From late December to late February, high winds can cause the pistes to gather ice although this creates perfect conditions for skiers that enjoy travelling at speed.
From mid-March onwards, the sun shines brighter for longer and makes for ideal skiing conditions. Before you head out into the mountain it’s recommended that you check the weather forecast and latest snow webcam images.
Meribel typically opens in early December and runs through to late April. The lifts open at 9am and close between 4pm and 5.30pm depending on the location.