The skiing is unrivaled and what sets it apart from other top ski resorts is the choice of runs, super efficient lift system and maintenance of the ski area. This allows you to get around the mountain quickly and easily and it is possible to ski all 3 valleys in a morning and then break for a hearty mountain lunch. Guests return year after year to enjoy the ski slopes.
For first timers to Meribel here is a little taste of what the skiing has to offer.
Meribel is located in the centre of the Three Valleys, the biggest ski area in the world with 600 kilometres of piste and 200 lifts. Meribel sits in the middle which makes access to the other valleys extremely easy. Courchevel can be reached in 12 minutes via the newly installed Saulire Express and Val Thorens (the highest ski resort in Europe) takes just under an hour. The variety and choice of runs is unsurpassed, as it has something to offer every level of skier.
It is worth remembering that Meribel probably has the most extensive artificial snow making system in Europe if not the world and the skiing goes up to 3200 meters in the three valleys. It is therefore as snow sure as you can get and in recent years Meribel has tripled its snow making capacity, which meant we have enjoyed good skiing all winter long. Since then we have had some superb seasons for consistent snowfalls and some of the coldest recorded temperatures since the 1950’s.
You have plenty to look forward to. Here's to another bumper season.
Beginner Ski Routes
Easy gentle slopes
For beginners there are the wide open and gentle green runs of the Meribel Altiport. The runs are tree lined and it is a very picturesque backdrop for learning to ski. It is also a great spot for a picnic or there are restaurants on the piste to give you a break. You can also take a nice trip in the bubble to Courchevel 1850 and enjoy an extensive choice of green runs, again tree lined and with plenty of vin chaud stops.
Therefore the place to head for is the Altiport above Meribel. This can be accessed from La Chaudanne. La Chaudanne is the central lift station in Meribel, this is where all the lifts fan out from and link you to all the Meribel skiing and 3 valley liaisons. From here take the Rhodos bubble to the top which brings you out at the green Blanchot piste. After you have finished your ski lessons in the morning this is an excellent place for consolidating early skills. It is a large wide open tree lined piste, gentle and picturesque. It is ideal for skiers and snowboarders. To return to the top you can either take the new 8 seater Altiport chairlift or the free drag lift. Practice here then either catch the Rhodos bubble back down or take the free bus from the Altiport hotel. I would not suggest skiing back down to La Chaudanne from the top of Rhodos bubble on your first day as it is a blue run and has some steep sections in places. You can either take a picnic lunch or there is the self service Rhododrean.
As your week in Meribel progresses then head for Mottaret. Catch the Tougnette bubble to the first stage and then there is a green run (Perdrix piste) down to Mottaret. It’s a mix of blue and green and quite easy. The very first part is a little steeper but short and wide enough to snowplough across. The middle section is an easy green path.The last section to Mottaret centre is more blue and gets busy so keep to the very left side and drop into the beginners slope by the Doron drag lift just past the Plein Soleil Residence. This brings you to Mottaret centre; you can ski down the green run called the Truite. This makes for a good circuit to practice on.
As your week progresses it is nice to take a trip over to the resort of Courchevel 1850. You can enjoy magnificent views from the summit of La Saulire 2738m. Courchevel is very accessible from Meribel. From La Chaudanne take the Saulire bubble to the top, you will see Mont Blanc in the distance. At the top, take the Saulire cable car down. From here you have a fantastic basin of green runs to explore. The Verdons or Renard piste takes you all the way down into Courchevel 1850. From La Croisette (central lift station in Courchevel 1850) you can take the Jardin Alpin bubble to another peaceful beginner area.To return home simply take the Verdon bubble from La Croisette then Saulire cable and Saulire bubble back down to Meribel. You need to allow 40mins to return home, but it is well worth skiing and seeing another valley.
For those new to the 3 Valleys check out this very comprehensive guide to the 3 valleys, kindly put together by long term 'saisonaire' Rob Smart Meribel Unplugged Beginners ski guide. Useful information to help you get the best of the 3 valleys. Advice for all levels.
Intermediate Ski Routes
The range of skiing for intermediates means you are truly spoilt for
choice. There are 135 blue runs and 119 red runs.
I would be tempted to start my holiday on the sunny east facing slopes of the Meribel Valley. Beautifully groomed overnight and ready to ease you in gently. You can then have a really good blast down to the very picturesque village of St Martin du Belleville, accessed by blues and gentle red runs. You will not be able to ski all the runs in the Three Valleys in a week but certainly you can give it a good try.
These are not particularly challenging slopes but there is something very nice about the feel of them, hard to define but easily recognizable. In the early mornings, the Tougnete area is the best side of the mountain to start your Meribel skiing. It has the morning sun, so in early season will not be so cold and in late season will not be icy, as is the Saulire side before midday. Saulire gets the afternoon sun, so the snow melts and freezes overnight. If you ski the Saulire side too early in spring, the snow will not have transformed and it is like skiing on corrugated iron! The Tougnette side is a great way to warm up, with beautifully groomed pistes. From La Chaudanne (central lift station in Meribel) take the Roc de Fer & Olympic Express superchairs to the top. Take the blue Grande Duc piste, followed by the Cherferie drag, then ski down the blue Choucas piste, with gentle rollovers, thereafter take Caves drag and ski down the blue Grive piste to Tougnette 2. From the top of Tougnette (2434m) there are 2 choices. You can ski the red Pramint piste, or ski along to the Crets restaurant for a great coffee stop (stunning views) and then ski down red Jerusalem piste. Both these runs then join the blue Biolly piste which takes you down to the very attractive hamlet of St Martin de Belleville and is a great place for a lunch stop.
The Saulire side of the mountain offers superb descents for intermediates. The runs are long wide and open and you have a mixture of reds and blues crisscrossing the mountain. From La Chaudanne take the Saulire bubble directly to the top (2738m) and follow the signs into Meribel. You also have the choice to ski into Mottaret. The red Mauduit piste is over 1000m and was made famous by ex world Champion Georges Mauduit (a local) who was runner up to Jean Claude Killy in the 66 Olympics. It is a fabulous run down, and from here you can choose to ski back to la Chaudanne or make a slight detour and ski Meribel valley all the way down the pretty tree lined run to Meribel village. The Lodge du Village is a good apres ski bar at the bottom of the piste for a cool beer & live music.
For some very pleasant cruising on usually uncrowded pistes the area above Courchevel 1650 is excellent. Take the Saulire bubble all the way to the top, from there descend into the Courchevel side down the red Creux. Having rounded the pronounced left hand bend towards the bottom of Creux look out for and take the Chanrossa chair climbing to your right. At the top of this chair you have the ski area of Courchevel 1650 before you, follow it down and explore.
For those new to the 3 Valleys check
out this very comprehensive guide to the 3 valleys, kindly put together
by long term 'saisonaire' Rob Smart Meribel Unplugged intermediates ski guide. Useful information to help you get the best of the 3 valleys. Advice for all levels.
Advanced Ski Routes
For advanced skiers there are plenty of challenges, the Bartavelle bumps in the Meribel Valley will soon sort you out and the Courchevel Couloirs and Chanrossa bumps will put you through your paces. The variety of terrain, from moguls to steep challenging pistes will keep you more than occupied. The Three Valleys has a staggering amount of off piste and it is really worth considering taking a ski instructor to guide you around and show you the best of what is on offer. Make a day of it and enjoy the views, the peacefulness and great skiing off piste.
The steepest readily accessible skiing in the Three Valleys is to be found in the group of famous couloirs dropping off the peak La Saulire into the Courchevel valley. The Grand Couloir is the easiest as it is relatively wide, although you will have to tackle some big moguls on the way down, and the entrance is a little hairy along a narrow path. If you are keen for more, head back up and try the Couloirs directly below the Saulire cable car. To ski the last Couloir in the group, you will need climbing gear and it is advisable to take a guide to show you the way in.
Head for Val Thorens and try some runs off the north facing peak Cime de Caron (3200m) with the black Combe de Caron served by the impressive 150 person cable car Caron, it is a fabulous run down, with great snow all season. Alternatively lower down the same valley above Les Menuires there is some excellent stuff off the peak La Masse (2804m). The black La Masse run usually has excellent snow and is a great route down. This area of the 3 valleys is very often quiet due to it being predominantly red, black and itinerary runs.
You may like to test your Meribel skiing ability on the two Olympic runs in the valley, the ladies slalom and downhill on the Roc de Fer opposite Meribel. This run, La Face, black piste is an excellent run serviced by two high speed quads the Roc de Fer and the aptly named Olympic Express. The best time to test your speed is first thing in the morning when it has been groomed overnight, by the afternoon it tends to get bumpy and icy.
Off piste skiing can be enjoyed all season long. The skiing possibilities are limitless, and the chance to ski anything from waist deep powder to fabulous spring snow in March & April. You can hire an instructor for the day to act as a guide and split the cost between you. The daily instructor rate is 350/400€ per day and equates to around 60€ for 6 sharing. If there is only a couple of you or you are by yourself, the ESF run a daily ski guiding programme called the Ski Hors Piste, 93€ for the day or 62€ for 4hours. They will guide you off piste and give you some instruction tips as well.
For those who enjoy skiing moguls look no further than the black Bartavelle above Mottaret on the right hand side of the Meribel valley. Take the short Combes chair out of Mottaret ski down to the right to connect with the double drag Roc de Tougne servicing Bartavelle. Try also the black runs Suisse in Courchevel 1850. At the end of your busy ski day go and relax in one of our Meribel ski chalets and let the Ski Blanc staff look after you.
For those new to the 3 Valleys check out this very comprehensive guide to the 3 valleys, kindly put together by long term 'saisonaire' Rob Smart Meribel Unplugged Advanced ski guide. Useful information to help you get the best of the 3 valleys. Advice for all levels.
Snowboarders are very well catered for with seven dedicated, and specially prepared snowboarding parks in the Three Valleys. The two snow boarding parks in the Meribel Valley allow you to try half pipes, quarter pipes, table tops and various jumps. They also have dedicated lifts to give you quick and easy access. The Three Valleys has a fantastic choice of Snowboarding Parks, with 7 in total.
Meribel & Mottaret Snowboard parks
There are two terrain parks in the Meribel Valley for riders and freeriders of varying ability, all very accessible from our Meribel chalets.
Meribel Moon Park - Tougnete side
Meribel Moon park has 2 halfpipes. One of them is maintained at competition level. It has plenty of different level jumps, plus 1300m boardercross with a vetical drop of 200m. In addition there is a fun park. To access the park you take the high speed Plan de L'Homme chairlift from La Chaudanne (central liftstation in Meribel). The snow board park is served by its own Arpasson drag lift and is usually kept in really excellent condition for free riding.
Meribel Mottaret Snowpark - Plattieres side
This is the main Snowboard park in the Meribel valley and is very popular with both snowboarders and skiers. Take plattieres gondola from Mottaret and get off at the 2nd station. The board park is situated between Plattieres 1 & 2 station and is served by its own chairlift. It has a vertical drop of more than 300m with 2 half pipes, 2 quarter pipes, 3 tables and 1 spine. It also has a 700m long 4 man border cross plus a test equipment chalet alongside.
A dedicated snowboard park is to be found alongside the Cascades chairlift. Access from the top of Cascades, then take the blue Dalles piste down. This snowpark features a 500m boardercross, with half-pipe, high jumps, tabletops, fun boxes, rails and lots more. It is also open to skiers, if you want to take a break from your Meribel skiing and head out of the valley. There is also a border cross in the 4th Maurienne valley accessed by the Grand Fond Funitel.
It has a superb snowboard park by the Boyes piste at the top of the Doron chair. The half pipe is always kept in god condition and the park has been awarded 'Air Space' quality by the French Snowboarders Association. There are easy table and quater pipes plus the long half pipe that sees real action throughout the season when many major competitions are held here. Well worth making the trip over.
Courchevel 1850 - 3 official snowboarding zones.
The best snowboard park in Courchevel is on the Loze sector between the Plantrey chairlift and the Epicea draglift. The Parc Plantrey has baby and half pipes, tables, hips, and more. There is also some interesting and fun natural bumps to be found by Verdons-Biolley under the Biolley chairlift in the area officially know as Zones Thermatiques du Biolley et des Verdons. There is more of this natural terrain under the Pralong chair nearby. Courchevel 1650 also has good snowboarding terrain with good natural halfpipes and with this area now serviced by high speed chairlifts (all the drag lifts have been replaced) it makes it very accessible to entry level snowboarders.