Keen skiers often rate January as their favourite time to visit Méribel. This month often gives us some of the best skiing conditions of the entire season, with low temperatures keeping the snow in great condition while the slopes are beautifully quiet, especially at the start of the month.
After the Christmas holidays are over, January is the quietest part of the main winter season in Méribel. This means you have the slopes to yourselves, rarely have to queue for a lift and can enjoy pistes in great condition.
The quiet conditions on the mountain don't translate into quiet nights in the resort. There are fewer families and more adult visitors, meaning it can be easier to get a table at a restaurant, and the bars are buzzing with plenty of live music and party nights to keep you entertained whilst you warm your hands on a glass of vin chaud.
Read on for a look at what we like to do in resort throughout January.
What are the weather & snow conditions like in Méribel in January?
January weather can vary from bright sunshine to heavy snowfalls, and temperatures may be low. There is on average 12 days snowfall, and subzero temperatures keep it nice and fresh. In January, the average daytime temperatures generally fall between a high of 1°C and a low of -7°C. Definitely pack those thermals!
What's on in Meribel in January?
You can enjoy Christmas all over again when Méribel celebrates Orthodox Christmas for its Russian visitors on 6th January. La Chaudanne is the place to be for fire dances, juggling and illusions, rounded off by a firework display. You can even take part in the traditional ski instructors’ torchlight descent (contact the ESF for details).
Roc de Fer
Watch professional ski racers in action on Méribel’s Roc de Fer competition piste, the site of the World Championships. This European Men’s Giant Slalom Cup event is hotly contested: successful skiers move up to the World Cup Circuit. Watch from the Roc de Fer piste or at La Chaudanne.
Winter Film Festival
Méribel’s annual Winter Film Festival is held in the Auditorium. Films are in French and English and you have a chance to meet and question their creators.
January is the ideal month to make the most of the world’s largest ski area. With virtually no lift queues and blissfully empty slopes, this is the perfect time to explore every corner of the ski area with its 600km of pistes.
Our top tips: take advantage of the lack of lift queues on the popular Cime Caron cable car in Val Thorens end enjoy the magnificent red runs from its 3,200m summit, venture to the furthest point in distant Orelle – the ‘fourth’ valley – to enjoy its spectacular scenery, and make the most of the stunning wooded pistes above Courchevel le Praz while there is great snow cover on these lower slopes.
Things to Do
Fun and thrills are assured on Méribel’s themed sled run, the Black Forest Mission. Don’t be put off by the Wizard-Elf storyline – this run is sufficiently steep and long to thrill any adult! Simply pick up your sled from the Tougnète gondola lift and ride the hair-raising 3.5km run, with its 470m vertical drop and 28 hairpin bends
Or bring out your inner child on Mottaret’s Himalaya by Night sledding evenings. You’ll have the entire 2km Little Himalaya green run to yourselves. Whizz down the floodlit slope, warm up at the bottom with a free hot drink and toasted marshmallow, then do it all again!
Before heading off the marked ski runs to enjoy the fresh powder, all skiers and boarders should learn how to avoid potential dangers. Méribel’s mountain guides offer an original après-ski activity: a two-hour introduction to avalanche rescue techniques at the beginning of the month (all equipment is included in the fee). For more in-depth knowledge, join a day-long course on to learn about snowpack stability and avalanches, and to practice rescue techniques. Book at the Bureau des Guides.
Ski touring evening
If you’ve been bitten by the ski touring bug, why not take part in a fun evening timed climb? Set out on skis from Méribel-Mottaret early evening and climb to the Arpasson mountain restaurant. Lit by a headtorch, you’ll walk up a marked route and will be rewarded with a hot meal at the summit, then a fabulous moonlit descent. (Meal included in price).
Bars & Clubs
At this time of the season we are looking forward to some live music sessions, whether from local bands or even one of the open mike nights and jam sessions that the local bars often hold. So, whether you fancy yourself an Adele, Bob Dylan or a Satriani, there's definitely somewhere you can 'entertain' the crowds.
Of course, that's if we've made it home from one of the many après-ski events taking place every evening across town.