We have skied in many parts of the World, but it’s hard to equal Meribel for the sheer quantity and variety of skiing, and it remains our favourite resort.
It is the middle valley of the 3 Vallees ski area, which with a claimed 600km of pistes and 180 lifts is one of the largest ski areas of all , and certainly the best joined-up. It is the middle not just geographically, but also in style. Go to the left hand valley, Courchevel, for French fashion and cuisine, or to see how Russians can spend money. Or to the right hand valley, up to Val Thorens, for the highest altitudes, up to 3230m, high speed glacier skiing , and drinking with the Dutch.
Meribel valley has something for everyone . Gentle slopes for beginners, close to on-piste refreshment stops, are particularly good down at Altiport, and many of the children in our family, and some oldies , have learned to ski or ride here. Many good slopes for intermediates as you head up towards Mottaret, with places to stop in the sun for coffee, a drink or lunch. For the energetic and experienced, tackle the long black runs of Mont Vallon at the head of the valley.
The après ski is lively down in the main resort, and at Rond Point in late afternoon. A wide variety of restaurants and shopping is one of the features of Meribel, easy to stroll around and served by good free shuttle bus service which links all parts of the resort and main lifts. It is also easy on the eye, planning controls have enforced a pretty Alpine chalet style of architecture, so there are no ugly tower blocks or experimental architecture.
What do we like most about Meribel?
- It offers huge variety of skiing.
- The resort has invested heavily in new lifts and snow making, so it’s rare for the pistes to be closed.
- Interconnection with Courchevel and Belleville valleys is very good – contrast that with Chamonix where we seemed to spend too much time on a bus reaching another part of the slopes.
- Eating out can be simple pizza or fine dining, there is good variety.
- The resort shuttle bus system.
- TGV stops just at the bottom of the valley in Moutiers. Motorway also runs the whole way from England so it is feasible to drive.
What are the snags ?
- It is not cheap.
- The transfers from Geneva are long, Chambery is the nearest airport.
- It can be too English, and sometimes you may forget you are in France.