While Meribel is known as a world-class ski holiday destination for families, it is also held in high regard for its abundance of non-ski activities that will keep your kids entertained throughout. Meribel has been awarded 'Famille Plus' status, in recognition of its commitment to ensuring that all age groups are catered for.
Family-focused accommodation, dedicated areas for children, and state-of-the-art childcare facilities have all played their part in cementing the resort's family-friendly reputation.
If your children are coming along to ski in Meribel, the path to follow is pretty well-worn. However, from our experience, we know this isn't always the case. On this page, we're going to run through the best options to keep your non-skiing little ones entertained!
A great way to spend some time on the slopes, that doesn't involve a set of skis or a snowboard. If your children are new to snow sports in general, or if you're just looking for something a little different, sledging is the way to go. For more information, see our in-depth guide to sledging in Meribel.
The daytime sledging in Meribel takes place in Mottaret, as is a themed run called "Mission Black Forest". Here, kids (Elves) are asked to help the Wizard Galdwick in stopping the oncoming goblin revolt. Mini-games and challenges are set for the Elves before they grab their sledges. The run is 3.4km long and has 28 corners. The minimum height for this run is 1.40m (4.5 feet), and the minimum age is 12. The reception area is located in the departure station of the Tougnète gondola (a regular lift pass is valid). On average, the whole mission takes about an hour. Sledges are provided.
There is evening sledging in Meribel once a week, usually every Thursday throughout the season. It is known as the "Himalaya" takes place on a pacey green run in Meribel Mottaret. In total, the toboggan run comes in at 2km. Your regular lift pass is not valid here, and it is priced per run or for the whole evening. You will need to bring your own sledge.
Snake Gliss, or Slippery Snake, is a method of sledging that combines up to 10 sledges in one long and winding snake tail of madness. Anyone from seven years and older can join but — as the back of the snake tends to get whipped and slid about more often — it's advisable to have the youngest at the front. Available throughout the winter season, from Sunday to Friday. In total, the ride takes about 30 minutes, with an instructor leading the way in the front sledge.
The runs of Meribel and Mottaret are not designed with very young children in mind. The runs of Altiport, Kenotte (kids-only toboggan run) and Doron are more suitable, and a great fun for all the family.
For Day-time sledging (Mission Black Forest), gloves, goggles and plenty of layers. A helmet and sledges are provided. For safety reasons, only the sledge provided can be used.
For Night-time sledging (Himalaya), also gloves, and plenty of layers. You will need to bring your own helmet, goggles and sledge with metal brakes.
For Snake Gliss, gloves, and plenty of layers. Sledges are provided.
For Day-time sledging (Mission Black Forest).
For Night-time sledging (Himalaya).
For Snake Gliss.
Although not on everyone's list of things to do in a ski resort, swimming can be a great activity to keep in your back pocket for a rainy day, or if the kids just want a change of scenery. There are two options for indoor swimming in the Three Valleys. The Olympic Centre in Meribel, and if you're in the mood for a trip out of town, Aquamotion in Courchevel — about a 30-minute drive from Meribel. Both are open every day during the winter and summer seasons.
The Park Meribel Olympic is located in La Chaudanne. There's a 25m indoor pool for the adults, and there's a paddling pool and a large slide for the kids.
In Courchevel you'll find Aquamotion, The largest mountain-based aqua centre in Europe. Featuring a paddling pool, a five-slide zone and a small jump diving pool for children, and a 25m pool for adults. Swimwear must be worn at all times, including in the sauna and hammams.
While swimming caps are not compulsory, they can be rented at both centres.
At Park Meribel Olympic, Speedos must be worn by men.
At Aquamotion Courchevel, Speedos or shorts are fine. Children under 3 years must wear aqua-layer (on sale at reception).
It would be advisable to bring your own towels, you can ask for a loan from your accommodation provider.
The skiing equivalent of the kids discarding the gift and playing with the wrapping paper, cable car rides have become an unexpected children's favorite in Meribel over recent years. It's a great way to see the resort, while spending some good old family time in your own private bubble. Thanks to the super-comfy seating and spectacular views, all you need is to bring is your lift passes, and maybe a good set of binoculars.
It's very tempting, after a day of skiing, for you and the kids to lounge on the chalet couch and watch a movie, with a cup of hot chocolate. But, if you're looking for something a little more active, Ice-skating is a great way to partake in some good old-fashioned family bonding/competition. From our experience, while mom and dad might be aces on the slopes, the ice rink can be a more of a level playing field. The kids get to see the grown-ups take a tumble, for once. And, as the rink is indoors, it's another good option should the weather not be suitable for an evening stroll through the resort.
Located in the Olympic Park at La Chaudanne, the rink is easily accessible for anyone staying in Meribel and is open from 4pm throughout the winter season. There are lessons available for beginners (booking ahead is advised), and there are skating aids to help keep you upright out on the ice.
If you have them, your own skates. If not, all equipment is available from reception.
A kids and adult favourite for generations, the sleigh ride. In Meribel, your mode of transport options include horse, pony or dog.
The horse-drawn sleigh will bring you through Lac Tueda and the magical surroundings of Meribel Mottaret. The steady trot of the horse is barely felt from within the comfy carriage. A truly unique experience, and one that the kids will never forget.
This is a sleigh ride in its purest sense. One pony, one small sled and one person (although very small children must be accompanied by an adult), and you're off! This is hugely popular with families throughout the winter season, so booking well in advance is definitely advisable.
A dog sleigh ride is a totally different ballgame compared to its equestrian counterparts. Here, everyone onboard needs to pull their weight in order to steer. So, it's more suitable for teenagers and adults than it is for younger kids (the age limit is 12+). Because it relies on every member of the crew, it's a great family-bonding activity and a truly rewarding experience.
Comfy, warm clothes and a good camera.
An old-school family favourite, in the heart of Meribel. Bowling is a sure-fire way to get the family bonding and showing off their skills, in a fun environment.
Part of the Park Meribel Olympic complex, in La Chaudanne. Featuring specially adapted lanes for three-year-olds and up, allowing pretty much everyone to take part. Open from 4pm till late every day and, in case the weather is particularly bad, from 10am onwards. If any of your kids are celebrating their birthday during your stay, then bowling, combined with a trip to the cinema, is the ideal way to mark their special day.
Just yourselves, shoes are provided at reception.
The ideal family night out, with the added bonus of giving your muscles a good rest after a day's skiing.
Located in Mottaret, this one-screen theatre is warm, comfortable and intimate. During school holidays, there are screenings of children's movies every day at 6pm. Kid's booster cushions are available from reception. English original language movies are marked with a "VO" on the brochure.
While anywhere with enough snow is great for building a snowman, Altiport, La Chaudanne, and the Ront Point regions are the best spots in Meribel. The areas are tailor-made for bumboarding, sledging and creating Jack Frost masterpieces.
Ront Point, as well as having a designated children's area, also has the family-friendly Rond Point restaurant. Possibly, the best location for a post-snowman building ice-cream sundae.
Other spots around Meribel that get deserve an honourable mention, for their ice-cream sundaes, include:
For an activity that the kids will never forget, and send your social media notifications into a frenzy, hot air balloon rides are a must. Most ski resort are easy on the eye from ground level, in the air their beauty is taken to a whole new level. Zip over pistes and sail above snowy trees and chalet rooftops. The photos ops are sensational! Make sure to bring a camera or a phone, with a safety strap attached if possible.
In the Three Valleys, hot air balloons take off from Courchevel Altiport, about a 45-minute drive from Meribel Centre. You can also get there by using your ski pass, but, if your take-off time is very early, you may not make it, as the lifts open at 9am. In total, the flights can take anywhere between an hour and an hour and a half, depending on the wind and weather conditions on the day. Due to the take-off altitude, flights can only take place in the morning. While the experience is unlike most other high-altitude activities, in that it is peaceful, and it feels like you're just calmly floating by, it can be particularly cold — so make sure you bring plenty of layers and gloves.
Lots of layers, gloves, a camera (with safety strap) and sunglasses.
Santa Claus comes to Meribel every Christmas Eve to meet all the kids that are spending Christmas in Meribel. You'll find Saint Nick on the Chaudanne, from 9:30am to 11am, and at various other locations throughout the day. Make sure you're at the Inuit Village at 2pm, where Santa makes an entrance on-board his dog sled. In the lead-up to Christmas, you'll also find Santa walking through the village, as well as out and about on the slopes. Feel free to have a chat with him and remind him what you asked for this year!
If you're looking to fill a whole day with a non-skiing child, but you don't want to move across Meribel from one activity to the next, a trip to the family-friendly and self-contained areas below could tick all the boxes.
Starting at the Mid-Station of the Saulire Express Gondola, and ending at the bottom of the Altiport area. The Altiport has a self-contained area known as 'Family Cool'. Made up of free activities, themed sections, forgiving pistes and a sledging area, it's the perfect location to bring the family and enjoy the full snow day experience — without the dangers of pro skiers whizzing past.
A park that's fully focused on families with young kids, Petit Yeti Park is located in Meribel Mottaret. As well as having a great introductory green run, there's also a series of tunnels, igloos and a grotto to explore. For the more adventurous, there's a tyrolienne zip line.
Not so much an activity area as a rest and recuperation zone. With a fully equipped kitchen, WiFi, couches and phone recharging ports, it's the ideal spot to just get away from it all, get fed, and get ready to head back into the action. Located underneath the Pas du Lac gondola, in Meribel Mottaret.
All of your regular ski clothes, plus skis and snowboards for anyone who'd like to try out the super-gentle pistes.
Taking the best aspects of video games and outdoor pursuits, Explor' Games Meribel combines the two in creating a fun and exciting mission in the depths of the Vanoise National Park. Set out to find the 'Heart of Meribel' in teams of one to eight players. Using elements of geocaching, escape games and puzzle-solving, you and your team must work together to complete your journey. Children under six can help in spotting markers along the way, while everyone older can focus on the more complex hunting and puzzle-solving aspects. A fun and rewarding experience for all the family, and a chance to get your names on the coveted leaderboard.
The usual cold-weather gear, good hiking shoes and a fully-charged mobile phone or tablet.
A fun and relaxing walk through the forest, with added games and colourful animal statues dotted along the way. The trails invite kids to use all five senses to identify the local Three Valleys' animals, including marmots, chamois and ibex. You can access the trail free of charge from the Family Cool Area, either from the Saulire Express 1 gondola or the Altiport chairlift.
Good hiking shoes, and plenty of layers. Maybe a pen and a pad, or a mobile phone to track your findings.