Meribel Ski Resort France
Meribel Ski Resort is nestled in the heart of Les Trois Vallées of France, providing very easy access to explore the other interlinked 3 Valleys resorts which include Val Thorens, Courchevel
, Les Menuires, La Tania and Orelle (the 4th valley even though it’s still called Les Trois Vallées!). The Three Valleys provide a gigantic ski area with 600km of piste, over 330 marked runs, and 200 lifts, and Méribel Resort has the prime location in the central valley.
In its own right, Meribel Ski Resort has many pluses otherwise the Brits wouldn’t flock there each winter! It’s a modern resort with abundant amenities, yet it has preserved its traditional Savoyard style village with low-rise chalet architecture. Meribel France is also party central for the Brits whilst also being rather family friendly.
Méribel Ski and Snowboard Terrain
Meribel Resort itself is very large with 41 lifts, 68 marked runs that form 150km of piste from 1,852 to 2,952 metres of elevation (1,100m vertical), and 2 terrain parks. The runs are typically wide and well maintained, and Meribel Ski Resort (and Les Trois Vallees) is ideal for intermediates who love to cruise for kilometres and kilometres to get to the next pit stop.
Meribel is OK for beginners, although some of the green runs may be a little pitchy. There are moguls for advanced riders (if you’re into bumps!) and whilst experts may lament the lack of steep terrain, there is challenging terrain to be found, particularly if you have a guide. For example there are couloirs that head into Courchevel such as the Death Couloir, which is generally about as unappealingly as it sounds due to crap snow conditions.
Meribel only receives about 5 metres of snow each season on average, and much of the resort gets sun exposure, so the lower slopes in particular often have poor snow conditions. To make up for the natural snow, Meribel Ski Resort has a phenomenal number of snow cannons (in excess of 700!) to pump out lots of fake snow onto the piste.
Where is Meribel France?
Méribel ski resort is situated in the French Alps, 17km south of the town of Moutiers and 178km by road south of Geneva Switzerland. Meribel Resort is part of Les Trois Vallées ski area, and there are also other high profile ski systems nearby including Espace Killy (Val d'Isère
) and Paradiski (Les Arcs, La Plagne).
The closest gateway airport is Chambéry (95km, 1:20 hours), although along with Grenoble (2:15 hours) these airports are not serviced by many flights. Geneva (2 hour transfer) and Lyon (2 hours) are the most popular airport options, and there are numerous companies who offer private or shared airport transfers to the resort.
The other travel option is to catch a train to Moutiers (17km away), from where there are regular buses to Meribel.
Meribel Resort has multiple villages with Meribel and Meribel-Mottaret being the main two. Meribel is somewhat charming with picture book chalets. In the absence of high rise buildings the village has sprawled out somewhat, so many of the chalets require a shuttle bus to get to the lifts. Meribel-Mottaret is purpose built, at a higher altitude and with more ski-in ski-out accommodation options. Mottaret is a rather quiet village.
Meribel has lots of luxurious chalets that are fully catered, and many have in-house babysitting and other services. There are also various Meribel hotels, although these are not as prolific as the chalets.
There are two main options to search for Meribel accommodation:
- If you just need accommodation you can look at Meribel accommodation options here.
- You can look at Meribel ski packages that include accommodation and options for lift tickets etc.
Despite the well preserved chalets and historic look of the villages, Meribel is a modern resort with all the required amenities and facilities. There are plenty of ski rental shops, retail ski shops, and a choice of English-speaking ski and snowboard schools.
Considering the size of the resort, there aren’t as many restaurants and bars as you’d expect, probably due to the abundance of accommodation that has evening meals included. And whilst après-ski drinking can fire up, the bars are often dull during dinner time before they get going again late in the evening. The nightlife can get rather boisterous!
In addition to downhill skiing and snowboarding, other Meribel activities include cross country skiing, dog sledding, snowmobiling, horse sleigh rides, snowshoeing, snow biking, hot air ballooning and paragliding. And the Olympic Centre, which was built for the 1992 Winter Olympics, has a swimming pool, water slide, climbing wall, and indoor ice skating rink.
Summary of Pros and Cons of a Meribel Ski Holiday
- Perfect for intermediate skiers and snowboarders who love to cruise on well groomed reds and blues.
- Meribel is a large resort and additional cruising is easily accessed across the vast Trois Vallées ski system considering the central location of Meribel. You’d be very hard pressed to cover the 600km of piste during your Meribel ski holiday.
- The lift system is outstanding with many of the lifts being modern and efficient, so it’s easy to clock up the kilometres.
- Modern resort with plenty of amenities.
- Family friendly and good English speaking ski schools.
- Whilst not as swish as Courchevel, playing at Meribel can be overpriced and at times extortionate.
- Meribel is very popular and sometimes it’s super busy and lift queues can be a problem. Due to the crowds, moguls develop quickly and powder hounds will have to search really hard to find fresh untracked powder.
Pro or Con Depending on Your Perspective
- Brits own many businesses in Meribel and it’s a popular ski holiday destination for the Brits. If you only speak English you’ll be able to converse freely in English, but this is probably not the place to visit if you’re looking to experience French mountain culture at its best.
- Hordes of Brits go to Le Pub and other British owned bars, which makes for a very vibrant, sometimes raucous, nightlife. Don’t stay in the centre of town if you’re looking for a quiet locale.
- Meribel doesn’t have the best natural snow in Les Trois Vallées. It has plenty of manmade snow, which is OK for those who stay on-piste, but it depends on how snow-vanistic you are!