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Overview

Meribel (1450m) is located slap-bang in the centre of the largest lift-linked ski area in Europe - the Three Valleys (600km). The majority of Meribel's local slopes (150km) are above the treeline, but there are also sheltered runs for bad-weather days. Meribel's well-groomed runs are served by a fast, modern lift system (mostly chairs and gondolas).

Best suited to? The resort has enough varied terrain to keep all abilities happy: good, steep freeriding, plenty of long cruising reds and blues, as well as gentle tree-lined runs for beginners. Advanced and expert skiers who want to stretch their legs can invest in a Three Valleys Pass and hop over to Courchevel or Val Thorens to cover some serious ground.

Freeriders - Mont du Vallon - the highest point in the Meribel Valley - has some of the steepest and best freeriding which manages to stay relatively untracked. 

Families/beginners will find a small nursery slope at Rond-Point used by the ski school. Mottaret also has three enclosed beginner areas covered magic carpet and the free village gondola. In the Altiport area, a family fun park (Acticross) has been created. The tree-lined green run at Altiport is ideal for beginners. Then head over to the green and blue runs at Mont du Vallon.

Intermediates - Tougnete or Mont de la Challe offer quiet red and blue runs leading back down to Meribel in the morning sun. The Plattières-Vallon sector has long reds and blues. For afternoon sun, take the gondola from Meribel to Saulire, for a good choice of long red runs.

Advanced/Experts - In the Meribel valley, head to Mont du Vallon for its long, steep red Combe Vallon run. From Tougnète, there's a good selection of steep runs back to Meribel. Mogul fans should head over to Mont de la Challe for the mogul run down the side of the double Roc de Tougne draglift.

Freestylers - A DC Area 43 snowpark was set up in Meribel-Mottaret. This 1,200-metre-long snowpark is equipped with 24 snow canons and served by two lifts. Here you'll find one mini-skate ramp, three street lines, 220 metres of rails and an airbag for beginners. The Moon Park, Meribel Alpina's snowpark, offers lines for beginners, intermediates and experts.

What's the resort like? This purpose-built ski resort is a firm British favourite. Meribel's clientele are around 50% British.  Accommodation is largely made up of attractive, wood-clad chalets, as no high-rise architecture is allowed. Eating and drinking out in the resort can be expensive, but hit the bars at happy hour (4-7pm) and stock up on food in out-of-town supermarkets.

Advanced and expert skiers should consider staying in the village of Mottaret, just up from Meribel, which is better placed for access to the huge off-piste bowl in Mont Vallon, the DC Area 43 snowpark, and lift access to Val Thorens.

Non-skiing activities: The Meribel Olympic Sports Centre has a swimming pool, ten-pin bowling, ice skating and a climbing wall. There's also a cinema and a twice-weekly market in the square sells cheese and meats.

Downside? Snow on the west-facing side of the mountain suffers in the afternoon sun and the resort runs can get very crowded during peak season. 

Nearest airport(s): Chambery (1.5 hours), Geneva (2hrs)

Inside Scoop

Advanced and expert skiers should consider staying in the village of Mottaret, just up from Meribel, which is better placed for access to the huge off-piste bowl in Mont Vallon, the DC Area 43 snowpark, and lift access to Val Thorens.

Those aiming to cover a lot of ground should bear in mind that the six-day Three Valleys Pass (€244) is only €45 more than a six-day Meribel Vallee Pass (€199) and offers four times the ski area.

A few downsides to Meribel’s ski area: snow on the west-facing side of the mountain suffers in the afternoon sun; lower runs leading into the resort can lack snow due to the altitude and tend to be icy especially at the beginning and end of the season; and runs can become crowded especially close to the resort during peak season.

Going out for a beer can be stupidly expensive in the Three Valleys (well you are in the largest lift-linked ski area in the world!). Expect to pay £5-£10 for a pint, unless you hit the bars at happy hour (usually 4-7 p.m.) or shop at an out-of-town supermarket. 

Restaurants

Breakfast

Le Grand Café des Pistes, Rond Point des Pistes (+33(0)479-084-767). Bar-restaurant at the top of Méribel. Tuck into a buffet-style mountain breakfast on the large sun terrace or in front of the open fire. Open 8-10 a.m.

Bibi Phoque Creperie, La Chaudanne (+33(0)479-003-093). Grab a takeaway pancake or crepe on your way to the lifts or eat on the south facing terrace. Open 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. (winter only).

Lunch:

Le Coeur de Cristal, Rhodes gondola mid-station (+33(0)479-224-609). Located at the crossing point of the Rhodes and blue Marmottes run, 300 metres above the Rhodos gondola mid-station. This traditional mountain restaurant serves fresh pizzas and Savoyard specialities for lunch. Also open for dinner Thursday and Friday evenings (transport by snowcat in the evening).

Lodge du Village, Meribel Village 73550 (+33(0)479-010-355). Authentic Italian restaurant with a lively bar upstairs. Enjoy pizzas, panninis, salads and bruschetta for lunch on the large sunny terrace. Open from 10 a.m to 1 a.m. (live music in the evenings).

Dinner

Grand Coeur, Chemin du Grand Coeur - 73550 Meribel (+33(0)479-086-003). This fine dining establishment, set within the four-star Grand Coeur hotel, offers an innovative take on Savoyard cuisine. Choose something from the gourmet fixed or a la carte menu, but leave room for dessert. The dessert trolley offers a dizzying choice of pastries and beautifully decorated cakes.

Kouisena, Hotel L'Eterlou, Chaudanne (+33(0)479-088-923). This rustic, intimate restaurant serves up traditional, local dishes in a real Savoyard atmosphere, complete with open-fire cooking. We recommend the entrecote steak with roasted potatoes.

Orée du Bois, Hôtel L'Orée du Bois , Route du Belvédère, Rond-point des Pistes (+33(0)479-085-752). This is the all-French experience. Tuck into bold, refined fare made from fresh, local produce in an elegant dining room. The wine cellar is a voyage through the vineyards of France - ask the waiter to recommend a bottle to complement your meal.

Zig Zag, Mottaret - Chatelet, Meribel  (+33(0)479-004-740) is a good cheaper option, tucked away near the Plattières lift. Open for lunch and dinner, this small, friendly restaurant serves simple, tasty dishes. The set menu changes every day, but a firm favourite is the steak and chips.

Apres/Nightlife

Rond Point, 73550, Meribel  (+33(0)479-003-751). The Rond Point, or the Ronny as it's known, is the place to go for live music and a piste-side beer. It's famous for its raucous dancing and partying, as well as spectacular views from the sunny terrace bar at 1,600 metres. Be sure to try the staple - toffee vodka - but avoid bar queues by heading to the top-floor bar where waitresses will fetch you pitchers of beer for no extra charge. At closing time (7:30 p.m.) you can ski down from here to the Chaudanne or (if a little too wobbly) take the bus.

Le Pub,  Meribel Centre (+33(0)479-086-002). Le Pub, although rather unimaginatively named, is actually one of the liveliest bars in town and one of the most spacious. Because of its size, it offers a good choice of live music. It also offers special promotion nights and regular happy hours. You can play pool, watch any big live sporting event or just dance the night away on toffee vodka. There is also a nice sun terrace out the back for a relaxing après-ski drink. Live music is on seven nights a week.

Transportation

Airports

Chambery - Savoie Airport (95km/1hr) Rue Antoine Montagnole, 73420 Viviers-du-Lac, France. Snowjet flies from London Gatwick and Flybe from from Belfast, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Norwich and Southampton. Bus transfer takes 1 hour 15 minutes.

Geneva International Airport (135km/2hrs) Route de l‘Aéroport 21, 1215 Genève 15, Switzerland. easyJet and SWISS fly to Geneva. Bus transfer takes 3 hours 15 minutes. 

Lyon St. Exupery Airport (185km/2hrs) 69720 Saint-Laurent-de-Mure, France. easyJet and British Airways serve the airport. Bus transfer takes 3 hours 30 minutes.

Airport transfers

By bus: Mobi Savoie (+33 479 242158) from Chambery takes 1hr15; Alp-ski bus (altibus) from Geneva takes 3hrs (+33(0)4 50-436-002); Satobus from Lyon takes 2.5hrs (0820-320-368)

Shared/Private transfers: From Geneva/Lyon, expect to pay around €80-€90 return per person; Ben's Bus (online booking form; Alp-Line (+33(0)450 743 842); Mountain drop-offs (+44(0)207-043-4874; ResortHoppa.com (+44(0)134-230-5677).

By train

Rail Europe's (Eurostar Direct) has ski trains with Friday afternoon departures from mid-Dec to mid-April departing from St Pancras station to Moûtiers (Méribel/Three Valleys). Moutiers rail station is 20 minutes by bus from Meribel.

From Geneva Airport, change at Geneva Central, and take a train to Moutiers les Salins. Trains are also possible from Lyon and Chambery. From Lyon Airport, take the shuttle bus to Lyon central station, followed by a train to Chambery. From Chambery, change for a local train to Moutiers. Check out www.sncf.fr for details.

By car: A43 motorway to Albertville. RN90 (dual carriageway) to Moûtiers. D90 to Méribel : 11.5 miles (snow tyres and chains recommended).

Getting around

In the resort: free "Méribus" shuttle buses connects the different areas of Meribel: Méribel Centre, Méribel Village, La Raffort, Méribel La Chaudanne, Les Allues, Altiport, and Belvedere. Buses run from 8 a.m. to midnight - see the Meribus winter timetable. With a Three Valleys Ski Pass you can ski over to the neighbouring resorts of Courchevel, Les Menuires, La Tania, Val Thorens, Orelle, Sainte Martin and Brides les Bains. For taxis call: Easycabs (+33(0)609-49-09-88), Access Alpine Taxi (+33(0)614-81-26-26), Altitude Transfert (+33(0)609-44-15-95)

Best Time for Snow

Average Snowfall

113cm
71cm
47cm
24cm
9cm
37cm
Nov
94cm
Dec
82cm
Jan
52cm
Feb
56cm
Mar
27cm
Apr
Beginners Runs
11%
Intermediate Runs
37%
Advanced Runs
39%
Expert Runs
13%
Runs in Total
71
Runs in Total
150 km
Longest Run
1.1 km
Skiable Terrain
150 km
Night Skiing
9 ha
Night Skiing
2.3 km
Snow Making
217 ha
Snow Making
80 km

Total Lifts: 42

Gondolas & Trams
14
Eight Person Lifts
1
High Speed Sixes
9
High Speed Quads
5
Quad Chairs
1
Surface Lifts
12

Elevation

Base
1100m
Summit
2952m
Vertical Drop
1852m

Important Dates

December 02, 20232023/12/02
Projected Opening
April 21, 20242024/04/21
Projected Closing
140
Projected Days Open
140
Days Open Last Year
86
Years Open
0cm
Average Snowfall
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