Cross Country Skiing in Meribel
Cross Country Skiing
Welcome to our guide to cross-country skiing in Meribel and the 3 valleys!
There are 2 main areas for cross-country skiing in the Meribel Valley - Meribel Mottaret and Meribel Altiport (more about those below). The lessons use both of these areas so if you are booking to ski school do remember to check with your instructor for which one you should meet them at.
For those who have never tried cross-country skiing...
Cross Country Skiing is often called "Nordic Ski", and in French it's "Ski De Fond".
Cross country skiing holds just a fraction of the popularity of its downhill cousin. More favoured by mountain locals, it's not a sport that has ever really connected with tourists from further afield. That said cross-country skiing does offer a few benefits that downhill cannot match. If you've not tried it before then is an experience like going for a good hike. Not a white knuckle ride, like downhill sometimes can be, more, some good exercise whilst getting off the beaten track; going exploring to places that you can see by no other method. My personal favourite part is that getting away from everything.
When downhill skiing there is always other people about, there's mountain restaurants, lifts in view and that constant background hum of a busy place even though you are atop a mountainside. With cross-country however you really get the chance to get away from everything and really feel like you are in an untouched mountain wilderness. You can hike most cross-country tracks, so if that's your preferred method then you don't have to go cross-country skiing to experience this. A set of snowshoes (or indeed most of the time a decent set of walking boots) can give you the same wonderful experience, exploring off to what feels like an untouched alpine wilderness.
Renting Cross Country Skis
Various ski hire shops in Meribel rent cross country skis. If you would like us to arrange any for you please just let us know. You can rent them by the day should you just wish to dabble for one day of your holiday.
You don't need a lift pass, your legs are all the propulsion! That said you may wish to get a pedestrian lift pass if you want to cross country ski over to the Courchevel Valley then take the ski lifts back. Click here to find out more about lift passes.
ESF Meribel offer cross-country skiing lessons. They can be quiet, and sometimes a new group lesson in fact get your own private lesson! remember to check where you're meeting your instructor, they use both of the areas (Meribel Altiport and Meribel Mottaret) for the lessons. Click here for ESF's cross country skiing page.
It can be worth getting at least one ski lesson. It may look like a gentle & easy sport, but going round corners and slowing down on any downhill section is surprisingly difficult!
Cross Country Ski Areas of The Meribel Valley
Cross Country Skiing Area #1 - Meribel Mottaret
About the Area
Meribel Mottaret offers the smaller of the 2 cross country skiing areas in the Meribel Valley. The main part of this is based on the frozen lake "Lac de Tueda", and being completely flat it's a great place for beginners to 1st find their feet. There is a lovely man restaurant on the edge of the lake to for a nice hot chocolate break halfway.
Here you will find a beginner green route, and a longer intermediate blue route which ventures off a little further afield. Map of the Routes
The scenery here is just stunning. On a cold still blue sky morning the frozen lake and towering mountains around provide one of the most magical surroundings I've seen in the 3 valleys.
Exploring on Foot
For those who would like to come from explore but don't fancy the cross-country skiing you can just walk in to the mountain restaurant, it's about a 20 minute walk from Meribel Mottaret. Remember not to tread on the grooves left for the cross-country skis or you will get some disapproving looks from the local cross-country skiers going past!
There are plenty of mountain restaurants in Meribel Mottaret itself near the start of the trails. There's just one out on the trails, a lovely mountain restaurant on the edge of the lake, perfect for a nice hot chocolate break halfway.
You can take the free busses from Meribel centre up to Meribel Mottaret (they run every 10 to 15 minutes during the daytime, you can find the full details here about the Meribel in resort bus service, or just ask us of course!)
The cross-country skiing tracks start at the edge of Meribel Mottaret village on the up-the-valley side. The buses will take you through the village and drop you on the uphill side of the village about 100m from the start of the tracks.
Cross Country Skiing Area #2 - Meribel Altiport
About the Area
Meribel Altiport is the larger of the 2 cross-country skiing areas, and from here you can connect via La Tania up through Courchevel Valley all the way to Courchevel 1850.
Here you will find a beginner green route, which runs all the way down the side of the runway itself. Watching the small planes land on skis is quite a spectacular sight (to find out more about the Meribel Altiport please see this page).
There is a longer blue (intermediate) trail which take you exploring around the forest a bit further. Meribel Altiport is also the hub for the red (advanced rails. There are a few loops around area, and it is a red advanced trail that links through to La Tania, and up the Courchevel Valley to Courchevel 1850. It is a big long route to get to Courchevel 1850. If you fancy doing this route just one way then you can take a ski lift from Courchevel 1850 up to the ridge line dividing Meribel and Courchevel, then jump on another lift and down into Meribel Centre, which is quite a spectacular journey in itself.
Exploring on Foot
For those who would like to come from explore but don't fancy the cross-country skiing you can go hiking along the trails. They are regularly groomed and are wide enough so that you're not be getting in the way of the cross country skiers. Normally just a decent set of hiking boots will do the job, though you can hire snowshoes from several of the ski hire shops in Meribel Centre (handy if you're going on some steeper sections or if the conditions are icy/fresh snowfall).
Remember not to tread on the grooves left for the cross-country skis or you will get some disapproving looks from the local cross-country skiers going past!