New To Ski

Is Méribel Good for Beginner Skiers? Alps Ski Trip Planning

by Kenny Jarvis | Published: October 31st, 2022
Meribel

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Are you looking for one of the best beginner spots for learning to ski in France? If Méribel is on your radar, then we’ve got some great news for you!

Méribel is a great option for beginners, while also offering ample skiing for intermediate and expert skiers too. There is a good range of ski schools and plenty of varied terrain for beginners and for more advanced skiers alike.

There are plenty of reasons to ski in Méribel. Not only are the surroundings beautiful but also the locals are friendly and the quality of skiing is among the best. So what makes Méribel a great choice for beginner skiers?

meribel ski
Photo by Nick Butcher under CC BY 2.0

Your Guide to Méribel

Méribel is a french ski resort with access to Les 3 Vallées – a very large interconnected ski area. It’s well renowned for being a friendly place that is great for families. It has an upmarket feel with plenty on offer in terms of entertainment and a wide range of facilities.

Away from the skiing, you’ll find many quality bars, restaurants, and traditional chalets to spend your evenings. What’s more, the skiing is fantastic too.

Founded by British colonel, Peter Lindsay, in 1938 Méribel has remained a British stalwart, where in peak season you will find more than 50% of the clientele are Brits. So, if you’re looking for an authentic French experience best look elsewhere.

The popularity of the resort isn’t in doubt although this can lead to overcrowding on popular runs. Méribel prices can be steep too, with the town rated as the fifth most expensive resort in the Alps.

Fun Fact: There are 8 free beginner ski lifts in Méribel; four near the Altiport & Rond Point areas and four in Mottaret

Five Different Districts in Méribel

The Three Valleys (Les Trois Vallées) is the largest connected ski area in the world, which includes eight resorts in total. Méribel is one of the eight resorts and it sits right in the heart of Les Trois Vallées, in the Allues valley.

Méribel itself is huge and consists of three interconnected villages, along with a few outlying areas. There are five main ski areas serving the resorts and each of them has its own identity, offering something slightly different.

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1. Méribel Les Allues

Méribel Les Allues is the original Meribel village before there was a ski resort. It has a more traditional feel and is ideal for those looking for a self-catering vacation. As it’s a little further down the mountain, it’s often cheaper than in other areas.

2. Méribel Village

Those who prefer the village atmosphere will find Méribel Village an amazing place to ski. It’s perfect for families, especially considering it has a chairlift to the Altiport area. You’ll also have plenty of facilities here too, such as restaurants and bars, as well as a supermarket.

3. Méribel Center

If you want to be in the heart of the hustle and bustle, then Méribel Center is the ideal spot. It has a wide range of accommodations with all the facilities, restaurants and shops you could need. The center area is split into four areas of La Chaudanne, Morel, Le Rond-Point, and Belvedere

4. Méribel Les Haut

Just up from Méribel Center is Méribel Les Haut or Upper Meribel. It offers stunning far-reaching views, as well as great hiking or snowshoeing if you fancy a change from skiing. While it’s undoubtedly beautiful, this probably isn’t the best spot for beginners.

See Also:  What To Look For When Buying Ski Poles? (New Skier Guide)

5. Méribel Mottaret

Méribel Mottaret is the highest point in the valley which almost guarantees perfect snow conditions. It often provides great value and there is easy access to Courchevel, where many Russians ski. The purpose-built accommodation is ideal for any skiing vacation.

Best Skiing Areas in Méribel

For first-timers, to Méribel the choice can be confusing. So, for simplicity, we’ve narrowed down the best skiing areas into our top three picks.

Méribel has some designated beginner areas that are ideal for new skiers. You can practice and perfect your skills in these areas before moving on to the more challenging slopes. Let’s check out what they are.

1. Méribel-Mottaret

Meribel Mottaret
Photo by Richard Allaway under CC BY 2.0

Méribel-Mottaret is an area that was completely redesigned for beginner skiers. Located just above the center of Méribell, it’s perfect for anyone on a first-time trip. The Little Himalaya green run is ideal for novices and Mottaret also has two ‘zen zones’, which are easy slopes devoted to those learners who prefer peaceful and quiet places to practice.

2. Méribel

Moon Park
Photo by Matt Squirrell under CC BY 2.0

If you don’t want to stray too far from the main area of Méribel, then you don’t have to. There are many easy slopes here, including P’tit Moon, which is perfect for kids. There is also the main Méribel Moon Park, which is located at the entrance, and is a good option for adults but still suitable for kids.

3. Altiport

Altiport
Photo by Matt Squirrell under CC BY 2.0

There are two areas of Méribel that are designed solely for beginners. One is Méribel-Mottaret, as mentioned, and the other is Altiport. Easily accessible by the bus or the Rhodos lift, Altiport has several wide green runs. This area is particularly good for novices who are anxious about skiing, as the gentler slopes will help to calm any nerves.

Skiing Guide for Méribel

ski resort Meribel
Photo by Matt Squirrell licensed under CC BY 2.0

A skier has to go through several different learning stages for skiing. Méribel offers a wide range of ski schools so you can find the ideal fit for your needs.

While Méribel is a great destination for beginners, it also offers everything you need if you’re an intermediate or advanced-level skier. You can evaluate your skills yourself or ask for some advice so you can choose between beginner, intermediate or advanced training.

Here we have a quick overview of what Méribel offers for different skiing abilities.

1. Beginner

Méribel has excellent nursery slopes and ski schools for beginners. If you are in a group with more experienced skiers, you do not have to worry. There are many areas that have green slopes next to more difficult terrain, so you can still stay quite close together as a group.

2. Intermediate

There are over one hundred red runs in The Three Valleys area, while the lift infrastructure enables you to easily travel across the valleys. Méribel l is categorized as world-class terrain for regular skiers, who are always looking for a challenge.

3. Advanced

For advanced skiers, there are more than 30 black runs.  The Couloir Tournier is the newest run in Méribel, starting from the summit of the Saulire Express gondola. It is very steep, with a scary 37-degree slope at the top. Narrow and with no escape routes, this couloir is only for experts.

Guide for Beginners in Méribel

As a beginner, there is some key information you need to know before you visit a ski resort. Here we’ll go through how to identify the right ski runs for you, the best areas for beginners, and what services are available.

Colored Runs

We’ve already mentioned it in passing but each slope at a ski resort is allocated a color. Green is the gentlest slope and then it’s blue. In most of Europe, it’s then red, then black. However, in North America, after blue, it’s black diamond and then double black diamond.

See Also:  Can You Ski Down Mount Fuji in Japan? (Resort & Off-Piste Skiing)

As a beginner, you only need to think about greens and blues. Méribel has plenty of these slopes, so you’ll have plenty of choices. If you progress well, you can start to challenge yourself on blue slopes after mastering the greens.

Starting Points for Beginners

Advice: There are two areas specifically designated for beginners; the Altiport area of Méribel (aka Ski Cool zone) and Méribel Mottaret (Zen zone).

Services for Beginners

Méribel has all the essential services for beginner, intermediate and advanced skiers. You can find plenty of hospitality, bus services, and ski lift services. You’ll discover you will be able to find most of the facilities you need during your vacation, making Méribel a place to come to again and again.  

Best Schools for Skiing in Méribel

Mottaret
Photo by Jérôme Decq under CC BY 2.0

Your choice of ski school is important to learn the techniques and tricks of skiing. A good instructor should have a patient disposition and be able to provide professional instruction to their students.

As Méribel is large and well-known globally, you’re not short of options. A professional instructor with good communication skills shouldn’t be hard to find. Méribel has some of the most skilled, and multi-lingual instructors to teach people from many different parts of the world.

Some of the best ski schools in Méribel with teachers that have a good reputation are:

These schools are best for all age groups and particularly for beginners. Most ski schools offer classes in groups, as well as for individuals.

ski resort in Meribel
Photo by Matt Squirrell licensed under CC BY 2.0

Guide to Getting the Best Ski Equipment in Méribel

As a beginner, you might not know exactly what equipment you need to start skiing. Here we’ll give a quick overview of the gear you should have and where you can get it from.

Check Price on EVO.com

Ordering Equipment

Tip: In order to save time, it is better to pre-order ski gear online through recommended providers.

This way, the equipment can be delivered to your accommodation doorstep, and you don’t need to worry about it when you arrive. You will often get a much better price when you order online in advance as well.

Check Price on EVO.com

What Equipment Do You Need?

ski equipment

Before hitting the slopes, it is important to have the right equipment. First and foremost, you will need a good pair of skis. Beginners should opt for wider skis that are easier to control, while more experienced skiers can choose narrower skis for greater speed and agility.

In addition, you will need a pair of ski boots that fit snugly and provide support for your ankles. Ski poles are also essential, as they help with balance and can be used to push off when starting down the hill.

Finally, don’t forget to dress warmly! Skiing in cold weather can be uncomfortable, so make sure to wear layers of man-made clothing that will keep you cozy on the slopes.

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Best Shops to Get Ski Equipment

Every district in Meribel has shops for ski hire equipment and clothing. Some of the well-known stores are:

Meribel ski resort
Photo by Matt Squirrell licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Bottom Line

Key Takeaway: Méribel is a gorgeous place to ski and brilliant for beginner skiers. Not only can newbies enjoy skiing peacefully, but there is a good range of terrain to choose from.

Schools with highly qualified, multi-lingual professionals ensure it is easy for anyone to learn to ski in Méribel. Be warned, the town and pistes get busy during peak times and its prices are often steep too.

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NewToSki.com is where over 1 million people a year come to learn more about skiing. I share everything I wish someone had told me when I was learning to ski. My name is Simon & I've been skiing since 2005. This winter, our family is taking a 3-month camper ski trip across the Alps. If you enjoy our articles, please join the free email club. We'd love to have you.
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