Northern Alps

Meribel Overview

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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 - 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)

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)

High-end:

Grand Coeur & Spa (+33 (0) 479 08 60 03)

The four-star Le Grande Coeur, one of the oldest hotels in the resort, has earned a reputation as the high-end choice of accommodation in Meribel. It is particularly well-known for its innovative Savoyard cuisine at the hands of Marc Dach. Indulge in pampering treatments in the spa or unwind in the hot tub, hamman and sauna. Rooms start at €217.50 per person with half-board.

Mont-Vallon (+33 (0) 479 00 44 00), MERIBEL-MOTTARET – Chatelet

This four-star hotel set in a beautiful wooden chalet oozing plenty of Savoyard charm. The hotel features 92 guestrooms and three suites. Two restaurants serve gourmet and brasserie-style fare. There’s also a bar with large fireplace and a gym, swimming pool, steam room and sauna. Rooms start from €200 per person with half-board.

Mid-level:

Alpen Ruitor MERIBEL-MOTTARET - Centre

This three-star hotel is right in the centre of Méribel Mottaret with a privileged ski-in ski-out location. A traditional mountain atmosphere in warm wood. Restaurant La Table du Mottaret serves traditional Savoyard cuisine. The hotel also has a bar and spa. Rooms start from €170 per person with half-board.

Economy:

Télébar Hotel (+33 (0)479 086 026) 73550 MERIBEL LES ALLUES

This two-star hotel has an enviable piste-side location with 29 rooms at 1,650 metres. Located near the base of the Adret chairlifts, the hotel is reached by foot, skis or on snowmobiles. This cosy hotel boasts a warm atmosphere, spacious terrace, two large fireplaces, spa and restaurant. Rooms start from €145 per person with half-board.

Apartment/Chalet rentals:

Meribel has more chalets on the British market than any other ski resort; the widest choice is bookable through Ski Total. There are also plenty of apartments to choose from; one-bedroom apartments with kitchens, TVs, and balconies cost between €200 and €500 per week (sleep four). A couple of the best apartments are Pierre & Vacances Premium properties – Les Fermes de Méribel and Les Crêts up at Mottaret. Book through Ski Amis, Erna Low or Ski Collection.

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.

Terrain

The Mountain

Meribel 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. 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. Meribel's well-groomed runs are served by a fast, modern lift system (mostly chairs and gondolas). 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.

Powder Day

Meribel offers a good choice of powder faces. Mont du Vallon - the highest point in the Meribel Valley - has some of the steepest and freeriding which manages to stay relatively untracked. A short walk between two peaks off the Mont Vallon bubble will lead you to a huge off-piste bowl with some big drop-offs. Beware of avalanches here. Alternatively, take the Olympic Express chair to Roc de Fer then get off and ski straight until you drop into a 845-metre off-piste descent towards St Martin de Belleville; for the best snow, stay left. First-time off-pisters should head to the freeride learning areas - off-piste zones which are avalanche-controlled and made safe where necessary, such as the Moon Ride.

Pistes

First-timers/Children: Families will find a small nursery slope at Rond-Point, often used by the children's ski school. Mottaret also has three enclosed beginner areas ‘Zen Zones' served by a covered magic carpet and the free village gondola. In the Altiport area, a new family fun park (Acticross) has been created.

Beginners: The tree-lined green run at Altiport is ideal for beginners. Not only is it sheltered, but it's long and wide, perfect for practising turns, and now a green run link has been created from the mid-station of the Saulire gondola so novices can ski all the way down from this point. The main slope is served by a fast chair and a free drag. After a few runs at Altiport, head over to the green and blue runs at Mont du Vallon.

Intermediates: For morning sun, heading up to Tougnete or Mont de la Challe are the best bets. Here you'll find relatively quiet red and blue runs leading back down to Meribel. Some of the best slopes in the resort are just south of Mottaret, in the Plattières-Vallon sector at the head of the valley, with its good choice of long reds and blues. The Côte Brune fast quad from near here goes up to Mont de la Chambre, giving direct access to Val Thorens. For afternoon sun, take the gondola from Meribel or Mottaret up to Saulire, for a good choice of long red runs leading back down to Meribel.

Advanced/Experts: In the Meribel valley, head to Mont du Vallon for its long, steep red Combe Vallon run. Alternatively, take the off-piste run in the neighbouring valley, next to the main pistes, which leads back to the bottom of the gondola. From Tougnète, there's a good selection of steep runs back to Meribel - particularly the black upper Ecureuil piste and red Combe Tougnète. The Face run on the north side of the valley is served by a fast quad and is a good cruising slope. Mogul fans should have over towards Mont de la Challe for the mogul run down the side of the double Roc de Tougne draglift.

Park/Pipe

New to 2012, 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.

Watch the first shred at the DC Area 43 in Meribel-Mottaret:

The Moon Park, Meribel Alpina's snowpark, is accessed by the Arpasson chairlift and offers lines for beginners, intermediates and experts. You'll find an  intermediate boardercross (red), whoops, tables, rails, boxes (all made from wood) and a Chill & Grill area. Freestylers can purchase a three-day Moonpark pass for €50 (days don't have to be consecutive).

Watch the action at Moon Park:

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. 

Plan Your Trip

Meribel Lodging
Ski Lessons

Best Time for Snow

Average Snowfall

95cm
60cm
40cm
20cm
14cm
29cm
Nov
79cm
Dec
75cm
Jan
47cm
Feb
51cm
Mar

Terrain Overview

11%
Beginners Runs
37%
Intermediate Runs
40%
Advanced Runs
11%
Expert Runs
70
Runs in Total
150 km
Runs in Total
1.1 km
Longest Run
150 km
Skiable Terrain
9 ha
Night Skiing
2.3 km
Night Skiing
217 ha
Snow Making
80 km
Snow Making

Total Lifts: 42

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

Elevation

2952m
Summit
1852m
Vertical Drop
1100m
Base

Important Dates

December 04, 20212021/12/04
Projected Opening
April 22, 20222022/04/22
Projected Closing
140
Projected Days Open
140
Days Open Last Year
84
Years Open
0cm
Average Snowfall
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