Meribel Skiing & Snowboarding Guide For Advanced
All the information on these pages is free for private use and has been written by us personally. We have skied here for 20 years so trust us, you really have chosen one of the very best resorts in the world for intermediates/advanced skiers. Our team are mainly advanced skiers (although we have boarded too) ,so although we try , specific snowboarding tips are slightly limited. It might be a good idea to also read the beginner section to warm up and maybe the intermediate section which covers many of the red runs in the 3 valleys.
Definitely buy a 3-valley pass. It's worth every cent. You have an unbelievable area of over 600km (375 miles +) of pisted runs to explore without ever taking your skis off. Between us we have also probably skied every single black run and off piste route in all 3 valleys and can assure you that there is certainly enough advanced skiing here for all but the most experienced extreme skiers. Just hire a mountain guide or join an off piste ski group and discover all the goodies for yourself. On piste you can ski every day, all day in sunshine (weather permitting of course). In a one week holiday you need never ski the same run twice. If it's your first time coming to Meribel it might be a good idea to e mail the Meribel tourist office www.meribel.com or the Meribel lift company, www.meribelalpina.com and get them to immediately send you a hard copy of the Meribel piste map. This article will make far more sense to you when combined with the map. You may then decide to print out these pages and bring them with you. Feel free. Have good read at breakfast in your chalet or apartment, make some brief notes then head off for a great day on or off the slopes. We promise you that will find all this information very useful although for reasons of avalanche safety we will not describe most off our piste routes. These you should do only with a qualified instructor or mountain guide. However if you do feel confident enough to go off piste without a guide then your best bet is to buy "les 3 vallees hors piste". This is an excellent off piste book written by two local mountain guides. You will find it in the local book stores in Meribel.
Also try :
Ski Discovery. ESF daily off piste adventure. Highly recommended.
Skiing & Snowboarding.
Take the Roc de Fer chair from Chaudanne then the Olympic chair to the peak, also called Roc de Fer (2294m).La Face is a very easy black early morning if groomed but it gets worn, bumpy and icy later. From this run you also can take the off piste itinerary to either Raffort or ski down to Les Allues village snow permitting. The Olympe gondola brings you back from both to Chaudanne.
Combe Tougnète is a black that runs from the top of the Gondola of the same name right down to Chaudanne. This is a fabulous run in new powder as it never gets groomed. The same applies to the "Les Bosses" black run directly under the Plan de L'Homme chair lift. This 2nd one is worth getting out of bed for if we have had heavy snow overnight. Heavy snow
means the top lifts are closed till about 11am but Plan de L'Homme always opens as usual. If you doubt this just ask Dion Taylor..MD of Snow and Rock. He was spotted making first powder tracks at exactly 9.15am directly under the chair in a half meter of fresh snow last April during the British Land championships! Eventually Les Bosses develops in to a major mogul field.
("Bosses" is French for "bumps")
Bartavelle:Take the Combes chair out of Mottaret then the Roc de Tougne double drag lift. This is one of the best mogul fields in the 3 valleys and was the venue for the famous "Cocktail Shakers" a few years ago. This was a bumps competition open to all and the highlight each year was a "Naked shaker" when bids were offered for a chalet girl to ski/board the course without a stitch on. Ski Cocktail went out of business and sadly the "Naked Shaker" died with them. (But the memory lingers on). Just to either side of the drag are also enjoyable powder possibilities after a new snow fall.
The other blacks in the Meribel valley are Tetras by the Altiport and Grand Rosiere and Sanglier above Mottaret. All three get afternoon sun so new snow does not last long. However after a fresh dump they are wonderful and either side of all of 3 provide excellent spring snow skiing during March and April.
If you are lucky enough to have a really big fall of snow all the way down to the valley floor then the itinerary through the forest to Brides Les Bains is extremely interesting. This run starts at the Altiport area. We were lucky enough to do it back in "87" in more than a meter of fresh powder with the ESF ski discovery group. (In those days called "Rally Savage"). Quite an incredible experience! In those days it also meant an expensive taxi back up the mountain.
Reservations essential for VIP section: Tel 04 79 00 45 11
In Brides les Bains have lunch at les Cerisiers, just by the base of the Olympe gondola. Excellent. We had an excellent 4 course meal in 2004/5 season for just 22 euros.
in Mottaret use the Zig Zag. Excellent value and super food.
Reservations:Tel: 04 79 08 38 09
Val Thorens is fantastic for advanced skiers. But see also the intermediate section.
Take the giant Cime de Caron cable car for the Combe de Caron. This is a black run that always has excellent snow. It's a long run right down to the base of the cable car. There is also a very interesting itinerary over here called Lac du Lou. However do not attempt it in bad visibility, as there are numerous dangerous areas in this valley. Again it's best to shell out for a guide who knows the route. This area has fantastic off piste possibilities in all directions. Now there is also a long black run "Combe Rosael" down the back side to Orelle that used to be off piste.
La Marine just below the Cascades chairlift. Great food especially the Coq u Vin. Approx. €15-€16. Tel: 04 79 00 03 12
Another choice is Chalet Les Sonnailes which is actually in Reberty but accessed from VT. This is a super little restaurant on the Boulevard Cumin and has a daily plat du jour for €10. This is a perfect lunch stop on the way back if you ski the Lac Du Lou itinerary.
Tel 04 79 00 74 28
There is an excellent itinerary for good weather at the back of La Masse. Tracks are usually easy to follow and lead round to the valley of Lac du Lou. Dame Blanche is another testing run down, accessed by the Masse draglift. There are excellent off piste routes from the top of La Masse to Le Bettex, St Marcel and St Martin De Belleville but in the interest of your safety I am not going describe the routes here. They are too tempting but also complicated so it is worth hiring a qualified guide/instructor for these, especially after a new snowfall. Or alternatively purchase the book as mentioned above."les 3 Vallees hors piste". Within this book is every off piste route in the 3 valleys.
3 of the best. Les Ferme. Reberty Village. Plat du Jour €10.
Chalet 2000. Reberty. Plat du Jour €12
Hotel L'ours Blanc: Excellent a la carte menu. Famous for it's steaks.
So an incredible amount of skiing for advanced levels. I can't emphasize enough the value of a good mountain guide for off piste adventures in this area. Having spent 3 seasons skiing with them we learnt enough to know that we know so very little. These guys are real specialists and if you want to push your skills to the limit hire one of them or join the daily group courses.
Ski Discovery group lessons from the Meribel ESF. (all day) and Meribel Mountain Guides office. (all day or half day). Ski Sensations have mountain guides for private groups. All ski schools also have private instructors for 3 Valley off piste excursions. Try it. It's the next best thing to Heli skiing.
Be Careful: Off piste can be extremely dangerous especially in new deep powder or warm afternoon sunshine. Wear a helmet. One 17-year-old English boy sadly died in 2005 of head injuries in full view of Mottaret ski lifts. A helmet may well have saved his life. We also have one friend who was literally scalped by hitting her head off piste on a sharp rock last season. She lived but only just!
So once again we hope you have enjoyed these articles and find them helpful. We welcome feedback. firstname.lastname@example.org