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)