Meribel offers visitors two different sledging options, one in the evening and one during the afternoons. Having heard about how much fun the sledging here in Meribel really is, we at Delicious Mountain went along to find out what it's really like. We tried the night-time sledging in Mottaret and it is perhaps the most fun you can have on snow. It's surprising how many people will go home within the week saying the sledging was their favourite part, adults and children alike!
Be warned though - sledging down an icy ski slope is dangerous. We see a disproportionately large amount of injuries caused by sledging accidents, so please do be careful! Read on to discover more about Meribel's evening and daytime sledging.
Sledging is a really fun activity for all the whole family. Most people who go sledging are actually adults, not children. Although there is no real fitness requirement for sledging, accidents and injuries can and do happen. If you think that older age or mobility issues might make you more likely to sustain an injury when falling at speed on icy snow, then this might not be the activity for you.
Daytime sledging is available in Meribel Centre for children who are more than 140cm tall or 12 years old. For younger children, the Doron and Kenotte runs are more suitable, and evening sledging is also an option with an accompanying adult.
There is no set age limit on who can go sledging on the evening 'Himalaya' run. However, it is strongly recommended that younger children are accompanied by an adult. Children under the age of eleven go free if they are accompanied.
The family-friendly Doron and Kenotte toboggan runs are reserved for young children who are getting their first experiences of sledging.
Only specific sledges can be used on the Meribel toboggan runs. These have two hand brakes that can be used for slowing, stopping and steering. These special sledges can be rented for the night from local ski hire shops.
For evening sledging, the toboggan run is in Meribel Mottaret. You can rent a sledge from most of the ski hire shops in Mottaret itself, this means you don't have to carry it around all night, and it's easy to get a replacement if anything goes wrong with your sledge. More about night-time sledging...
Daytime sledging in Meribel centre comes with sledge and helmet included. More about daytime sledging...
Even with young children, it is advisable to hire a good quality sledge with metal hand-breaks. To hire one, just head for the nearest ski hire shop or ask your chalet host for advice.
The main daytime and night-time toboggan runs in Meribel and Mottaret are not suitable for very young children. If your children a very young and are just experiencing their first toboggan rides, you might want to head for the family-friendly Altiport, Kenotte and Doron sledging runs.
Situated in Meribel Mottaret, Kenotte is a kids-only toboggan run, reserved for families and young children who want to learn how to ride a toboggan for the first time. It is free to use any time, but it is dependent on recent snow conditions, so check with your chalet host to make sure it is running. To find the Kenotte sledge run, head for the pharmacy in Mottaret.
Open during the day and into the early evening, The Doron sledging run is a great place for kids to get more familiar with sledging. It's also a great way to keep the kids entertained during aprés ski! Served during the daytime by a free-to-use magic carpet lift, Doron is wide, gentle and separated from skiers and others on the mountain. To find the Doron sledge run, head for the pharmacy in Mottaret.
Open throughout the season until the middle of March, the Meribel Altiport sledge run is another great place for young kids to get their first experiences on the slopes. This reserved area is free to use — just head for the Meribel Altiport. Before making your first visit here, check with your chalet host that the sledging slope is definitely running during your stay.
Meribel's daytime sledging is known as "Mission Black Forest". It runs every afternoon throughout the ski season, with the closing time changing slightly during the season to adjust for growing daylight hours.
"Mission Black Forest" is a sprawling, meandering sledge run in the shadow of the Tougnète gondola lift. This exhilarating 3.4km course carries sledgers through no fewer than 28 turns before delivering them to the terminus 470m below their point of departure. The minimum height for anyone taking on Mission Black Run is 1.4m (4.5feet).
Arriving at the famous Chaudanne ski lifts junction in Meribel Centre, you are looking for the departure station of the Tougnète gondola. This is where you can buy your passes and collect your toboggan. Once you have everything you need, take the Tougnète gondola up. At the mid-station (the end of Tougnète 1 on your piste map), exit the lift and look for the "Mission Black Forest" toboggan run.
You can use your regular lift pass to access the Tougnète gondola, so there are no additional charges there. However, participants pay for each descent down the "Mission Black Forest" toboggan run. This costs around €12 per run, with discounts available if you are planning more than three descents. Sledge hire is included in the price.
Sledge and helmet hire is included in the price, but it is essential that you bring suitable gloves with you. Goggles and some form of face-covering are also recommended.
Evening sledging is known as "Himalaya", named after the green ski run which you will be shooting down at speed. The sledging runs once a week (usually on Thursday) all season long. The exact timings may change throughout the season, so ask about days and times when you arrive in resort.
The Combes 1 chairlift in Meribel Mottaret is open up to mid-station, then you sledge down the Himalaya green slope back down into the centre of Meribel Mottaret. This gives you a 2km toboggan run!
The evening sledging takes place in Meribel Mottaret. There are free buses up and back from Meribel Centre that run all evening, it's about a 10-minute ride. You can find information about the free buses around Meribel here (or just ask your chalet host).
Access to the lift is not covered on your normal lift pass. It costs around €6 for one run or €12 for the evening.
Unlike daytime sledging, the Himalaya run does not come with everything provided. So you will need to plan ahead before you leave the chalet.
We'd also recommend taking your goggles, and something to cover your face as you get lots of spray!
For those just wanting to watch, both the daytime and the evening sledge runs terminate in the middle of Meribel centre and Meribel Mottaret, respectively. So there are plenty of places to get a hot chocolate and watch it all going on. However, it's worth noting that, if you enjoy skiing, you will love sledging and this is by no means a children-only event. There will be more adults than children taking part!