Welcome to the definitive Meribel skiing guide. Here you will find everything you need to orientate yourself in Meribel resort, and track down the best runs for you.
The Meribel Valley sits at the very heart of the 3 Valleys ski area, both literally and figuratively, making it the ideal base to explore everything that the 3V has to offer. All skiing levels are catered for, from beginners to advanced off-piste. There are plenty of high-altitude runs above the tree line, as well as some lovely winding tree-lined runs further down the valley.
Located centrally in the world-famous Three Valleys ski area, Meribel gives amazing access to some of the best skiing found anywhere on the planet.
Yup, it's a bold claim. But, you don't have to take our word for it. Just ask any serious skier, and Meribel will be right at the top of their bucket list. Powder-seekers from all over the world travel here to experience the incredible skiing (both on- and off-piste).
And, it's not just for those looking to backflip off the first lift. Meribel offers something for everyone, regardless of your background, budget or experience level.
The Meribel Valley is a closed valley, running roughly north to south through the French Alps. It is closed to the south, with the huge Mont Vallon and Mont du Borgne dominating the end of the Valley. It is open at the north end, with access via the village of Les Allues.
There are four major ski "regions" in the Meribel Valley:
These areas can be divided down further, but for the purposes of this guide, it's best to stick with these four. Tougnete, Saulire and Altiport are all accessible directly from what is known as La Chaudanne in Meribel Centre. Mottaret, which is further up the valley, is accessible by either skiing or taking the free bus that runs through the valley.
You can see the major ski areas and also the top stations of all the major lifts. Please note that this only shows the "Local Area" ski areas covered by the local area ski pass.
The next valley over, to the west, is the Belleville valley. Home to the resorts of St Martin, Les Menuires and Val Thorens. To the east, you will find the Courchevel valley. Home to the resorts of Courchevel and La Tania. All of these are included in the full 3 valleys lift pass and can be skied to directly from the Meribel.
The first and most important thing to note about Meribel is that everything starts and ends in La Chaudanne. La Chaudanne generally refers to the junction of lifts that converge around the Olympic Building. Lifts to all the main areas of Meribel and the 3 Valleys start here.
Chaudanne is where most of the Meribel Centre ski schools meet in the morning. Most people passing from one side of the 3 Valleys to the other will pass through La Chaudanne, so it can get quite busy. All Meribel bus routes also pass through La Chaudanne.
The Altiport area of Meribel is a beginners and improvers paradise, and the best place to start your skiing journey. Crammed with wonderful cruisey greens, blues and reds, Altiport is our favourite place to take anyone who is still finding their feet. There is an excellent kids area on and around the Piste Des Inuits. Even though we describe it as a beginners' area, it is also ideal for experienced skiers — with some interesting red runs. There is also some great off-piste, found at the top of the Dent De Burgin lift.
From Meribel Centre, take the Adret chairlift. Or, from La Chaudanne, take the Rhodos gondola. Both of these lifts will put you right into the Altiport area. The Saulire Gondola mid-station is also great for accessing the Altiport region.
It's also possible to access this area via Line B and Line C of the free "Meribus" ski bus, in Meribel Centre. Get off at stop 34 (the final stop on Line C) for Altiport.
There are some great dining options in the Altiport region. We love Le Clos Bernard, tucked into the trees north of the actual Altiport. They offer a nice selection of traditional Savoyard dishes. Another great stop is Le Blanchot A wonderful place to end your Altiport day. Located in the lively Lodge Du Village, in the heart of Meribel Village.
The top of Col De La Loze (2305 meters), above Altiport, was the finish line for stage 17 of the 2020 Tour De France. Now that is some serious pedalling!
The Tougnete (pronounced "toon-ette") area is the next step after Altiport. It's a great next step for beginners and improvers. Not too advanced, but still with plenty of adventure to be had. You will find a great mix of levels here, for good all-around family skiing. This area is the best way to access the ski areas of St. Martin and Les Menuires in the next valley over, covered by the full 3 Valleys pass. This is also the start of the Val Thorens loop if you don't wish to take your skis off.
For those looking for something a little different, there is the "Back To The Wild" area, found at the top of the Roc de Tougne chairlift. A dedicated free ski area that is purposely not groomed. It makes an ideal safe place to practice your off-piste before heading into the real backcountry.
Two great features of this area are the "Whoops" boardercross section and "Elements" park. The boardercross section is ideal for beginners, kids or anyone just looking to just dip their toe.
There are two pistes at the bottom of the Meribel ski map, named Raffort and Daguet, that lead the villages of Le Raffort and Les Allues, respectively. Both pistes offer some lovely skiing. Unfortunately, due to lack of snow, and/or grooming, they are not always open. If you wish to take these two runs, be sure to check their status before committing — as you may be in for a bit of a walk, should you run out of snow.
From Altiport, Saulire or Meribel Centre, head straight to La Chaudanne, then take the Tougnete 1 gondola or the Legends chairlift. Both of these lifts will put you right into the heart of the Tougnete area. If you are in the Mottaret area, then head towards the Combes 1 and Combes 2 Chairlift, which will also get you close to the centre of the Tougnete area.
To get to Tougnete by bus, take any of the free ski buses that stop at La Chaudanne. Which, at the time of writing, is... all of them, easy!
One of the best coffees in the 3 Valleys can be found in the Tougnete area. To try it, head for L'Arpasson, located at the mid-station of Tougnete 1 -2 gondola. There is an epic viewing platform at the top of the Olympic Chairlift — the summit of Roc De Fer. There are picnic benches at the top, so it's an awesome spot to stop for a packed lunch, complete with full 360° panoramic views. For eating in a restaurant, the options within the Tougnete area are pretty thin on the ground. It may be better to ski down to the village, and head for Les Castors. It's truly epic and a bit of a hidden gem.
Mission Black Forest is the main dedicated sledging run in Meribel. Accessed via a lift (no walking up to sled here!) it's a big long purpose-built sledging haven. For more details, see our Meribel sledging page.
Mottaret (pronounced "mott-are-eh") is the area where intermediate and advanced skiers go to play. It features an excellent selection of red runs to suit all styles and tastes, along with a few choice blue runs to warm-up. Mottaret is located deep into the Meribel Valley and has skiable slopes on three sides. It straddles the Tueda National Park (though skiing is not allowed in this area).
For the adventurous, you will find some excellent off-piste on the right-hand side of Campagnol piste. Take a look at this video of Mont Vallon off-piste skiing to get an idea of what's available.
If you are heading for Val Thorens for the day (full 3 Valleys pass only), then we suggest you take the Cote Brun Chairlift to get there. Ski back on the wonderful Lac De Chambre piste coming home.
Snowpark 43 is the name of the large snow park on the eastern side of the valley, next to the Chatelet chairlift.
It's possible to ski directly to the Mottaret area from Altiport, Sauliere and Tougnette.
To get to Mottaret by bus, take Line D of the free "Meribus" ski busses in Meribel Centre or Chaudanne. Get off at stop 16 for the centre of Mottaret.
We absolutely love the Plain Des Mains restaurant at the bottom of the Mont Vallon Gondola. It's the perfect spot for lunch after completing the longest run in the Meribel valley; Combe Du Vallon.
There are stunning views from the top of Mont Vallon, which is the highest lift in Meribel. There are stunning vistas from the almost 360° view at the top, including Mont Blanc to the north — which is over 50km away, as the crow flies.
Saulire is great for all levels. It has an excellent mix of runs, with difficulty levels for everybody. The Saulire Express 1 and 2 gondola is where most people start first thing in the morning. The area below the Saulire Express 1 and 2 gondola are perfect for beginners, as the majority of its runs are blues and greens.
The Saulire Express 1 and 2 gondola is also used by pedestrians heading from Meribel to Courchevel for the day, as it is by far the fastest and most efficient route. The top of Saulire is where you'll find the parapenting in Meribel. The high altitude and steep sides make for an ideal launch point.
Top Tip: The Adret chairlift is a nice quiet chair. It takes you relatively high, and there doesn't tend to be much of a queue. A great option during busy periods.
From Tougnete or Meribel Centre, head straight to La Chaudanne and then take the Saulire Express 1 and 2 gondola. This will put you right at the top of the Saulire area. From Altiport, take the Dent Du Bergin chair or the Adret chair, and ski down to the Saulire Express mid-station. If you are in the Mottaret area, then head towards the Pas Du Lac 1 and 2 Gondola and get off at the top. Here, you can take the Biche run, bringing you to the centre of the Saulire area.
To get to Saulire by bus, take any of the free ski buses that stop at Chaudanne. Which, at the time of writing, is... all of them, easy!
Saulire is the best area in Meribel for Apres Ski. It has The Folie Douce and the Rond Point, (know locally as "The Ronnie"). You may be tempted to head to the top of the Saulire Express 2 gondola for lunch at Panoramique. The view is amazing, but we wouldn't recommend the food. Not great. Instead, you could head for Les Pierre Plates, a little further along the ridge. They also have a great view and much better food.
The village of Meribel has an altitude of 1450 meters. This makes it a relatively high-altitude resort. A lot of the skiing in Meribel is above the tree line, which typically makes for great snow conditions. You will find the height of the mountains surrounding Meribel in the table below.
|Meribel Village||1450 meters||Base Altitude|
|Dent De Bergin||2739 meters|
|Mont Vallon||2952 meters||Highest lift point in Meribel|
|Mont De Borgne||3153 meters|
|Col De La Chambre||2850 meters|
|3 Marches||2704 meters|
|Mont De Challe||2573 meters|
|Roc De Fer||2294 meters|
There will be full-week skiing from Saturday 4th December 2021, snow permitting. There may still be some lifts and pistes that are not open.
The lifts officially open full-time for the season in Meribel on Saturday 18th December 2021. It may be brought forward to Saturday 4th December 2021, if there is sufficient snowfall.
Ski lifts in Meribel close on Saturday 16th April 2022. Some lifts may close earlier, depending on snow conditions. As always, these dates are snow-dependent and could change.
Ski lifts in Meribel open at 09:00 each day, throughout the season. Ski lifts in Meribel close anywhere between 16:00 to 17:30, depending on the lift and the time of year.