The resort of Meribel is located in the beautiful ski region of the Three Valleys (Les Trois Vallées), close to the Vanoise National Park, at an altitude of 1400 meters above the sea level. It is known for having a large number of excellent and varied pistes, pleasant chalet-style architecture, developed infrastructure and a friendly cozy atmosphere. Lying at the top of the Tarentaise Valley, the resort is surrounded by breathtaking views of the Alpine peaks and the pristine forests of a nature reserve. The skiing season opens at the beginning of December and lasts until the very end of April.
How to get there
The easiest way is to fly to Geneva which is located 135 kilometers from Méribel and where you can take a bus, order a private transfer or choose an even more exclusive option in the form of a small modern helicopter.
An alternative route is possible also – take the high-speed train, which stops in the city-commune of Moutiers and then get to the resort by taxi or bus. TGV express trains run from Paris, Eurostar trains – from London. Such a trip will not only allow you to get to your holiday destination fast and comfortably, but at the same time you will enjoy the picturesque landscapes of European countries.
The resort of Meribel is designed for skiers of all ages and skill levels. It will definitely appeal to families with children looking for a safe fun holiday and for young freeride enthusiasts as well. The difference in elevation on the slopes is one and a half thousand meters, the highest skiing point is at the level of 2952 meters. Currently, the resort has 74 open tracks with a total length of 150 kilometers, as well as 33 kilometers of cross-country skiing tracks.
There are in total:
– 16 km of green slopes;
– 69 km of blue slopes;
– 45 km of red slopes;
– 20 km of black slopes.
The longest slope is 5 kilometers long. The slopes are served by 60 modern lifts of three types: drag lifts, chairlifts and gondola lifts.
The Blanchot piste is an ideal choice for beginners. It is wide, without sharp turns and also has a free lift. And those with a bit of the experience will appreciate the blue and red slopes in the Rond-Poin, Platiers and Paz du Lac areas. Georges-Mauduy is particularly interesting, which got its name in honor of the multiple winner of the alpine skiing competition. The height difference on it is more than a thousand meters.
The Combe de Thuns piste is located on the other side of the Tarentaise Valley from Mauduis. It is marked in black, however, the descent from the one is not so difficult and many skiers who have successfully mastered the red pistes can try their hand here. Not everyone is able to conquer the famous Combe du Valon, where the descent starts from the highest point of Méribel. But on the other hand, the athletes who choose this track will be able to enjoy the dizzying speed, steep turns and magnificent landscape – the descent is laid right through the Plan de Tueda reserve, it goes around the lake and the forest. But the most difficult in the resort is the La Fas track which is known for the fact that in 1992 it hosted competitions for skiers during the Winter Olympics. The average slope degree of La Fas is 30 percent. All slopes are equipped with snow cannons in the lower part of them, so that skiers can go almost to the hotels at any time of the season, regardless of the weather and the amount of the precipitation.
In addition to the slopes, Meribel is famous for its snowboard parks. Snowboarders love Moon Park and DC Area 43. The first is considered as the best in the Les Trois Vallées region. It is adapted for slopestyle competitions, there are tracks for skiers of all levels, including a border cross track. The second claims to be one of the best snow parks in Europe and primarily is focused on professionals. DC Area 43 has many jumps, ramps, a halfpipe and an airbag. The length of this park reaches 1200 meters.
For those who come to ride for the first time, there are five ski schools, including a children’s ski school, which teaches children from the age of 4.
Ski pass and equipment
The cost of a ski pass in Meribel this season is 55 euros per day for an adult and 44 euros for a child. Naturally, it is more profitable to buy a subscription for several days. For example, a seven-day ski pass will cost € 305 for an adult and € 245 for a child. There is also a seasonal ski pass for adults and children, priced at € 1155 and € 920 respectively. The family ski pass can be also purchased for € 920 and includes electronic passes for four people: two adults and two children. Please note that children under the age of 5 years and elderly people over 75 years can use any of the lifts for free.
Few enthusiasts come to the resort with their own equipment, while most prefer to rent all the necessary equipment. The cost of renting skis starts from 15-20 euros per day (depending on the model), renting a snowboard will cost an average of 5 euros more. Popular rental points include Sport Boutique, Alp Attitude, Skishop and Mottaret Ski Republic.
The resort offers a wide range of four and three star hotels. Le Grand Coeur & Spa is considered one of the best. The luxury hotels such as Hotel Le Coucou and Le Mont Vallon are not much behind it. The latter is equipped with a wellness center and an indoor pool, moreover, it is in close proximity to the slopes.
The three-star hotel Allodis is located in the Belvedere, it is more affordable and at the same time offers a fairly high level of comfort. You can also stay in cozy chalets such as Les Chalets de Morel, Chalet Moguls or Chalet Le Brames. If the budget does not allow you to settle in the center of the resort, it is worth considering accommodation options in the village of Les Allues or in the small town of Brides-les-Bains.
Recreation and entertainment
Even the most avid slope aficionados sometimes want to take a break from skiing. There is always something to do in Meribel for holidaymakers. Sports center that is equipped with a gym, a bowling alley and a climbing wall, different kinds of fitness classes, yoga lessons, climbing the Via Ferrata mountain, ice skating, horseback riding to Lake Tueda, fat bike rides, dog sledding trips, flying over the valley on an airplane or on a hot air balloon, an adventure quest with the elements of geocaching and augmented reality – the choice of entertainment is very wide as you can see. Pony rides and evening snow igloo construction are organized for children. Families can take part in the family Olympics, which include snowshoeing, SNAG golf, laser rifle shooting, blind tasting and much more (the program is individually tailored, depending on the age and wishes of the participants).
Gastronomically, Méribel offers a wide range of establishments with a wide variety of cuisines as it befits a French resort. Families and large companies tend to go to Le Tremplin, foodies go to Michelin-starred L’Ekrin and seafood lovers go to Cote 2000 on the mountainside.
The busy life does not subside at the resort until late at night. Bar Le Pub attracts with its spacious dance floor, comfortable seating area and billiards and is open until 02:30. The hotel’s restaurant, La Taverne, is equally popular with its live music, although it closes an hour and a half earlier. The O’Sullivans nightclub entertains guests almost for all night – famous DJs and musicians regularly come here from major cities in France and other European countries.
Meribel is a first-class resort with a convenient location, a large ski area, an elaborate cable car system and an extensive entertainment infrastructure. The few disadvantages include the high cost of living, frequent queues at the main lifts and a relatively small number of training slopes.