Meribel does have good nursery slopes and several excellent ski schools, but getting to them may be an issue if your accommodation is not nearby, so you may have to rely on a shuttle bus, which might not be ideal for your first days on the slopes. On the other hand, if you are part of a mixed ability family or group with experienced skiers in your party, Meribel is a great choice for all abilities to have their needs satisfied at one resort.
Mottaret has one of the most convenient nursery slopes within walking distance of much of the accommodation there at Plattieres. For those staying in one of the lower parts of the resort you are most likely to have your first lessons near the Altiport – a shuttle bus and/or chairlift ride away from most accommodation.
Once you’re moving (and more importantly, know how to turn and stop!) there are ten easy green runs to progress on to.
With more than 100 red runs in the Three Valleys and more gondola lifts in the Meribel Valley than anywhere else on earth, this is world class terrain for regular recreational skiers who could ski on and on all season long.
More advanced intermediates will enjoy The Women's Downhill course from the 1992 Olympics. Easier popular routes include the 3.6km (2.2 mile) long red run down the Combe du Vallon or the wooded Pic Noir descent from Col de la Loze.
Although the terrain is enough to last most skiers all season long, a six day pass entitles you to ski free on 900km of neighbouring terrain at the other 1992 Olympic venues. These include a day each in the Espace Killy (Val d’Isere and Tignes), Paradiski (La Plagne and les Arcs) or at Prolognan or Les Saises.
Experts again have world class terrain to explore on and off the piste. There are more than 30 black runs including the famous Les Bosses black, as well as extensive off-piste terrain, including the famous Mt. Vallon face above Mottaret.
The Bureau des Guides (+33 (0)4 79 00 30 38) organises off piste guiding in the Three Valleys or the wider area of the surrounding Tarentaise region as well as ski touring expeditions.
Snowboard / Freestyle Skiing
As for skiers, boarders of intermediate and advanced ability level will find Meribel and the wider Three Valleys area hard to beat. There’s the hundreds of miles of fast piste, the huge freeride opportunities and terrain parks.
In Meribel’s case the local terrain park is the Elements Park, designed towards beginners and intermediates. The park has grown in status and in size over the past few years and it boasts a great selection of rails, jumps, boxes and kickers – all of the range and quality you’d expect.
There is also the Plattieres park, currently managed by DC snowboarding which is always well-maintained and great quality. Among other features, there are two half-pipes - one for intermediates and one for experts only, with the latter being used in freestyle competitions and events!
Meribel has around 25km of cross country trails and these divide up as suited to all standards with 5.5km of easy trails (mostly up around the Altiport), 18km of intermediate standard tracks (for example the loop around Lake Tueda at Mottaret) and 8.8km of advanced level terrain, which includes a trail over to neighbouring Couchevel.
Average Snow And Weather Conditions
Meribel’s own central valley of the Three Valleys extends up to 2950m, so snow cover is rarely a problem, especially given that the valley is lift-linked to Val Thorens which offers another 2650m of vertical and glacier skiing. At resort level it’s a slightly more mixed picture.
The resort’s bases range from 1100m to 1800m in altitude, with the upper accommodations clearly more likely to have good snow cover at resort level. That said, the base of the lifts only goes down to 1450m and more than 50km of the key runs are covered by nearly 700 snow cannons – one of the largest snowmaking operations in the world - which provide a snow guarantee so long as temperatures are low enough.