Overview of Méribel
Méribel is a beautiful ski resort that’s always popular with skiers and snowboarders from Britain and beyond – if you’re yearning for cosy chocolate box chalets, fresh powder and pristine pistes, welcome home!
Located in the heart of Les Trois Vallées (The Three Valleys), the world’s largest ski area, Méribel Village sits 2km from Méribel Centre on the road to La Tania, while Méribel Mottaret lies above Méribel Centre and offers easy access to the sublime slopes.
From your base in Méribel you can easily explore over 600km of pistes shared with iconic neighbouring resorts Val Thorens and Courchevel, this family-friendly resort is ideal for groups of families and friends with varied skiing abilities, and it’s one of the most picturesque spots in the Alps.
Méribel was founded by British skier Peter Lindsay in 1938 and in the decades since it has expanded to include a huge number of chalets, hotels and self-catering apartments. The various Méribel villages sit at altitudes between 1600m and 1700m and all are conveniently connected by efficient shuttle bus and gondola provisions. There are several green runs for novices, plenty of blue and reds for intermediates, a handful of black runs and ample off-piste opportunities in the local area.
High-altitude runs can be found around the Saulire Peak (2700m), 3 Marches (2704m) and Mont du Vallon (almost 3000m) and snow conditions are good throughout the season, which typically lasts from mid-December to the end of April.
Throw in chic boutiques, cafes and restaurants, fab facilities for children and an outstanding sports centre built for the 1992 Albertville Olympics, and you’ve got a rounded resort that’s tough to compete with.
This ski resort oozes character and combines traditional Alpine culture and modern convenience in a heady mix that keeps visitors coming back for more – once you’re bitten by the Méribel bug, you’re forever smitten!
Skiing in Méribel
You’ll find some of the best groomed pistes in the Alps here, plentiful off-piste action and runs for novices, intermediates and experts. Here are some insider tips on skiing in Méribel:
The lift system from Méribel to neighbouring resorts is very smooth and efficient. The Saulire Express gondola takes you from the centre of the resort to the 2700m Saulire peak in just 12 minutes, the Plattières gondola from Mottaret reaches 3 Marches in nine minutes and the Combes chairlift from Mottaret helps ease congestion during peak usage times.
If you’re a novice, you’ll love building up your proficiency on the flat green runs at Altiport, which are accessed through ski bubble Rhodos 1 and 2 from Chaudanne. There are also moderate blue runs here which you can progress to once you’re feeling more confident.
The Combe de Vallon run at the pinnacle of the Méribel valley on the Mont Vallon mountain is a steep red with stunning views – if you’re an advanced skier you’ll love it.
The Lapin is a tree-lined expansive blue run that takes you back down into the village which offers some good turns and an opportunity for every level of skier to career around and have fun.
Le Face is a thrilling black run that leads all the way down into La Chaudanne. It was the women’s 1992 Olympic Downhill course, so equates to a thoroughly exciting challenge for even the most confident amateur skier.
The Combe de Saulire is a superb wide piste located under the Saulire Express 2 gondola – it offers perhaps the most panoramic views of any local piste, especially when fresh snow has cloaked the trees.
Snowboarding in Méribel
If you prefer snowboarding to skiing you’ll find plenty of magic in Méribel – red, blue and black runs are bountiful, there’s plenty of off-piste action and two main terrain parks where you can mingle with fellow boarders, enjoy the vibe and polish your technique. Here’s the essential info on snowboarding in Méribel:
The Saulire side of the Méribel valley offers some great red runs for boarders, including the Renard, Maudit and Chamois.
The Choucas and Lagopede pistes on the Tougnète side of the valley are also worth exploring – reach the former via the Cherferie drag lift and the latter via the Roc de Tougne drag lift.
You’ll reach The Moon Park from the Plan De l’Homme chairlift – it has boxes, rails and kickers for boarders of all aptitudes.
The Plattiers ski lift takes you to the DC Park, which is the most renowned in Méribel. It’s popular with professional as well as leisure riders and has an expertly shaped superpipe at the top and plenty of suspended bells and hips to jib. The left line has a plethora of box and rail combos, there are lots of cool obstacles and attractions (a shipping container set up as a butter box is just one) and DC will record your run and you can watch it back on their website, which is great fun.
Snow Conditions in Méribel
As discussed, Méribel has an enviable snowfall average of 8m per annum, and although sun exposure occasionally compromises the snow quality on a few slopes, overall it’s reasonably snow-sure. Here’s some more info on snow conditions in Méribel:
The shady runs above the Altiport retain their snow well, but the Saulire to Mottaret slopes are often blasted by the afternoon sun and can be icy in the mornings.
In inclement weather you can head for the woods around the Altiport, but there are also some trees further down the mountain which can provide shelter if needed.
You’ll find the most consistent snow quality on the runs coming down from Mont Vallon but snow quality lower down the mountain is usually good too, and snowmaking facilities ensure you’ll never be disappointed.
In the most recent season, Méribel had a total snowfall of 258cm, a total of 27 snowfall days, largest snowfall of 30cm, maximum base depth of 120cm, average base depth of 72cm, maximum summit depth of 270cm and average depth of 167cm.
Apres-Ski in Méribel
Legend has it that Alpine staple toffee vodka was invented in Méribel and over the years its reputation for awesome après-ski has continued to grow. This is a bustling resort full of lively bars and clubs where you can party all night long – here are some hotspots you shouldn’t miss:
La Folie Douce has outlets across several Alpine resorts and its winning formula of DJs, live bands and cabaret performances always whips revellers up into a frenzy. At Méribel it’s located at the middle station of the Saulire Express cable car.
Jack’s Bar showcases live music and stand-up comedy and it’s always buzzing – opening time of 4pm is accompanied by a happy hour and regular drinks promotions follow as the evening proceeds.
Rond-Point is affectionately known as ‘the Ronnie’ and it’s a Méribel legend which party people flock to for live music every day on its huge terrace between 4:30pm and 7pm.
The Doron Pub has a chilled-out atmosphere in the early evening when people gather for a few beers over a game of pool, but it gets very busy from 10pm onwards – either a DJ or live band provide the soundtrack each night and there are occasional fancy dress theme nights like beach parties.
O’Sullivans is also known as ‘Sullys’ and it’s Méribel’s only late-night club. Open to 5am and just a 10-minute walk from the town centre, there’s live music every night and raucous revellers dance like no one’s watching into the wee small hours.
Facilities in Méribel
Facilities in Méribel are first-rate – there’s a climbing wall, bowling alley, health and fitness centre, sports complex with indoor swimming pool, access to an Olympic ice skating rink, quality cafes and restaurants and professional childcare options.
In terms of alternative activities, you can also enjoy scenic hiking trails, paragliding, snowmobile rides, and snow shoe walks. Read on for more useful information on Méribel facilities.
Ski Hire in Méribel
There are ski hire operators aplenty in Méribel, but sorting out all the gear your group needs on arrival is a headache you don’t need. Erna Low can arrange all of the best quality ski equipment for your skiing level and style and organise a quick pick-up from the closest outlet to your accommodation. Furthermore, through our price match guarantee, you can feel confident you won’t find a more economical deal anywhere else. Contact us if you’d like to add ski hire to your ski holiday package – it’s a pleasure!
Ski Passes in Méribel
You can also save hassle by arranging your ski passes with Erna Low prior to departure and by pre-booking you’ll spend more time skiing and less time standing in a cold queue. We have excellent ski pass offers available through the season, which can include early bird discounts, free child passes, and free upgrades. Talk to us about which special offers apply on your desired dates and use the search facility below to check ski pass rates.
Spa and Pool in Méribel
Some of the accommodation options in Méribel have their own spa and pool facilities, but there are also many outstanding wellbeing facilities open to the public. The Deep Nature Spa in Méribel Village has a lovely luxe interior with wooden beams and stone pillars and offers a range of beauty therapies and treatments, including special treatments for kids, as well as in indoor heated pool, sauna and steam rooms. Alternatively, the Helios Spa has a sumptuous indoor pool with water jets, a steam room, sauna and experienced therapists on hand with a wide range of treatments, and the Cinq Mondes Spa in Méribel Centre has a jacuzzi, relaxation room, pool and herbal tea bar.
Shops in Méribel
Whether you want to pick up daily groceries, bag a bottle of fine wine or shop for souvenirs, retail therapy opportunities abound in Méribel. Don’t miss Les Glaciers Bakery for delicious cakes and pastries and there’s a bijou tea room in the premises if you can’t wait until you get home to satisfy your sweet tooth, while the local market in Méribel on Route de la Chaudanne is the perfect place to pick up local cheese, charcuterie and confectionery – it’s held on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It’s also worth browsing in chic boutique Le Dressing in Galerie des Gentianes, where you’ll find designer labels like Scotch & Soda alongside traditional brands like Arpin, which specialises in gorgeous rugs woven from Alpine wool.
Facilities for Children in Méribel
Méribel is a totally child-friendly ski resort, with plenty of activities for kids on and off the slopes, professional ski and snowboard instruction for all ages and trusted childcare on hand for peace of mind.
Ski Schools in Méribel
Parallel Lines British Ski and Snowboard School provide lessons in English for all ages of students and prides itself on lesson quality and customer service.
The Ski School is another outstanding British outfit that operates in Méribel, La Tania and Courchevel. All instructors are British Association of Snowsport Instructors (BASI) qualified, classes are held in English and they offer a range of customised private lessons for adults, children and family groups.
Cab 9 Snowboard Instructors are based in Méribel but also operate in La Tania and Courchevel. They’re passionate about snowboarding and provide expert instruction to boarders of all ages and aptitudes.
Entertainment in Méribel
Apart from swimming, the cinema and bowling, there are sledging slopes set up for kids at La Chaudanne, Méribel Mottaret and Méribel Village, all of which have crash mats, toilet facilities and picnic areas.
On the slopes, there are several themed ski areas for kids – the newest is an Inuit Village in the Altiport area which has whoops, a mini-slalom and Inuit-themed games, the Moon Wild Piste in the same location has colourful wooden animal obstacles and Le P’tit Moon is aimed at intermediate-level kids aged 6-12.
Childcare in Méribel
You’re spoiled for choice in terms of childcare in Méribel – it has a day nursery for kids aged 18 months to three years and kindergartens catering for children aged three to 12 can be found in Méribel Mottaret and Méribel Centre.
There are also several superb nanny services available too – Snow Bugs Private Nannies are based in La Tania, Méribel, and neighbouring areas and will capably care for your little ones in your own accommodation while you’re out on the pistes, T4 Nannies have earned an enviable reputation for quality child care and operate in Courchevel, La Tania, Méribel, Val d’Isère and Tignes, and Meri Nannies is another excellent childcare service operating across the Three Valleys ski area.
Méribel and Méribel Mottaret are perfectly located in the heart of the Three Valleys and offer wide, gentle slopes for novices as well as numerous intermediate, advanced and off-piste skiing areas.
You’ll find accessible nursery slopes in most areas, there are dedicated children’s skiing areas, and several snow cannons below 1800m.