Meribel – On the piste
Beginners are well catered for on the small nursery slope at Rond Point and access to the longer green and blue runs is easy from there. Intermediate skiers will find that they can explore the entire Trois Vallées easily, with the Platières area above Mottaret being a great local option. Experts will never get bored of this area either and the run down the side of the Roc de Tougne drag is a challenging mogul field. The off-piste is excellent and mostly accessible from the lifts, but expect it to get tracked out very quickly! If there is a fault to Meribel it would be the slightly political piste grading system with a few greens that should be blue, blues that should be red etc. This is a very minor gripe in an otherwise near perfect ski area though. Nothing can prepare you for the vastness of the Trois Vallees, and don’t be surprised if you get hooked!
The Altiport area of Meribel is by far and away the best area to find your feet on the snow. Wide, flat, tree-lined green runs serviced by a fast 8-man chair lift make it great for adults and kids and there are so many different ways down it never feels too crowded.
Another area is the Piou Piou ESF area by the Rond Point. It is a protected area reserved for littler ones and is situated right by the Rond Point restaurant for those valuable hot chocolate stops! There is also a new covered conveyor belt-style lift in Mottaret for beginners, so you don’t have to master tricky lifts before being able to go anywhere.
Intermediate and advanced skiers
Meribel is right in the heart of the Three Valley ski area with a vast number of wide blue and red runs that link up the areas very nicely. The great thing about the links between the valleys is that you don’t have to be an expert to enjoy the whole ski area and you will find you are able to get just about anywhere on a blue run or an easy red. One of the best areas for intermediate skiers is the area around the top of Saulire; it has lots of reds and blues, the Renard and Géai pistes being particular favourites.
The off-piste skiing in Meribel is surprisingly extensive for somewhere with so many lifts and pistes runs! There are lots of tree runs to the side of the Mauduit piste on the Saulire side and lots of fun to be had underneath the Platières lift in Mottaret. The area around Mont Vallon is also a fantastic off-piste area, although prone to avalanche in certain conditions. If you are going off piste be sure to take a guide or instructor with you as the off-piste areas in Meribel, as in all of France, are not patrolled or secured at all.
Freestyle skiing and snowboarding
Meribel plays host to the DC park in Mottaret with a monster halfpipe and dozens of kickers and rollers and boxes and rails to suit all levels of adrenaline junkies. Val Thorens is also an excellent place to go for pro snowboarding and freestyle ski events with competitors coming in from all over the world to compete in numerous events throughout the season.
There are plenty of ski schools in Meribel, with a particular emphasis on the English speaking clientele. The main ski schools operating are ESF, Magic Academy, Parallel Lines and New Generation. For more specialist private lessons, as well as advanced kids groups, consider: Marmalade, BASS and Cab 9 for snowboarding. For people with disabilities ESF run the Handiski scheme in Meribel enabling everyone to get out on the mountain in some way or another.