© Caroline Sayer
Méribel is an intermediate skier’s paradise and relative novices can visit every part of this stunning valley on gentle green and blue runs. Follow this day-long itinerary to find the best pistes and the most gorgeous views.
This itinerary follows the sun as it moves around the valley, finishing on the eastern, Saulire, side where you can enjoy après-ski in the afternoon sunshine. All pistes are blue, unless otherwise stated.
Start at la Chaudanne in Méribel.
Take the Tougnète 1 and 2 lifts to the ridge, from where you will enjoy a fabulous view over the Méribel valley with le Mont Blanc in the background. Start off along the Crêtes run and after a hundred metres or so, turn right onto the Faon piste for a gentle warm up.
At the bottom of Faon, take the Tougnète 2 again, and then ski all the way down Crêtes. This run follows the ridgeline, offering great views on both sides. (Note: just after you pass the Crêtes restaurant on your left, the piste splits: take the left fork to avoid poling up a short uphill stretch. Don’t worry this is signposted as the Jerusalem run, it will rejoin the Crêtes in a couple of hundred metres). Continue straight down the ridge onto the Choucas piste, and then take the Gelinotte piste.
Part way down the Gelinotte piste, take the Olympic chairlift. At the summit, you can admire the view, take a picture in a giant photo-frame and identify the surrounding peaks at the viewpoint table. Ski down the legendary Roc de Fer piste, on which the World Cup Finals were held in 2015. At the bottom of this run, take the little Caves draglift then continue straight along the Grives green run. (For a bit of fun, take the easy line of whoops in the Elements Park which borders this piste). Continue underneath the Tougnète 2 lift station, and follow the green Perdrix piste into Mottaret centre.
Take the Plattières gondola lift and then the Bouvreuil blue run (make sure you don’t turn left onto the red Bouvreuil variant by mistake).
Now take the Côte Brune chairlift and at the top, turn left along a path which takes you to the top of the Lac de la Chambre piste. Follow this run through the most wild and remote part of the Méribel valley.
After a brief stop for lunch, take the Plan des Mains chairlift. From the top, keep left to find the slightly hidden start of the Jn’bee, a fun run which resembles a mini-bordercross.
Next, continue down the Sitelle and Martre runs into Mottaret centre. Once in Mottaret, take the Pas du Lac 1 gondola. Here you have a choice of options:
- Get out at the mid-station, turn left and walk 50m to the Chardonneret piste and ski down this very easy, panoramic run towards the Saulire Express mid-station. This is the best option if your legs are tired, or the slopes are busy
- If you are still feeling energetic, carry on up Pas du Lac 2 gondola to the summit of Saulire. Avoid the steep red run immediately to your right as you come out of the lift. Instead head straight ahead to take the easier, alternative blue path. Follow signs to Méribel and take the Biche run to the Saulire Express mid-station. Note that these top pistes are often busy in the afternoons and the snow may become worn.
As you reach the Saulire Express mid-station you will hear the music of Méribel’s après-ski hotspot, la Folie Douce, located just below the lift building. Stop here to drink, dance in ski boots and a watch the spectacular outdoor cabaret.
Return to Méribel Centre by taking the Marmotte, green Rhodos and Doron pistes. Alternatively, if your legs are tired, or you have drunk one beer too many, take the Saulire Express 2 gondola back down to the resort.
And if the slopes are busy, at the end of your day you can ski down the quiet route into Méribel Village, rather than take the busy main route into Méribel Centre.
To get to Méribel Village from the Folie Douce, follow the green Blanchot run that takes you past the Altiport and down the tree-lined Lapin green piste to Méribel Village. From here, there are regular free buses (every 20 minutes or so) to Méribel Centre.