The fact that this subject always starts with…”where do we start?!”. The world’s largest ski area. SnowSkool's ski-to-the-door chalets. Skiing four or five world-class resorts on one pass. Dancing on the table at Ronnies. The off-piste underneath the Loze chairlift. The Mottaret Mountain Burger. DC’s Area 43. The wee hours in Dicks Tea Bar. The view from the top of Saulire Express. Sitting with a vin rouge in the sun outside Lodge du Village. All-but-nakedness at La Folie Douce. First tracks on the corduroy down Les Creux. Hot chocolate and cake at the Adray Telebar. Choosing from almost 200 lifts. Smiling at the camera before edging into Couloir Tournier. Skiing from Cime de Caron at 3230m to Brides les Bains at 600m.
There are short ones, there are long ones, there are steep ones and there are easy ones. There are high ones and there are low ones, there are open ones and there are narrow ones. There are bumpy ones and there are groomed ones, there are snowy ones and there are icy ones - and there are even some rocky ones. There are busy ones, there are quiet ones, there are windy ones and there are sheltered ones.
It is fair to say that there is a good deal of diversity for skiers & snowboarders in the Three Valleys, indeed describing the skiing in the Three Valleys is a challenge, it is like describing the surfing in the Pacific Ocean or the nightlife in London!
Video credit: Méribel 2 Vallées
Facts & figures can help; the world’s largest ski area has 183 lifts that can transport more than a quarter of a million skiers to over 600km of pistes EVERY HOUR! Even though the Three Valleys can boast Europe’s closest ski village to the sun – Val Thorens @ 2300m – it is as snow-sure as they come. And, in spite of this all-but-guaranteed snowiness, there are almost 2000 snow cannons! There are also 425 ski patrollers and 1500 ski & snowboard instructors employed in the area.
But some would argue that, although offering a compelling reason to visit, the facts & figures do scant justice to the overall appeal of the Three Valleys. On your way from the airport or train station, you’ll drive through Moutiers and see signposts for villages called Méribel, La Plagne, Tignes, Les Arcs, Val Thorens, Val d’Isere, Courchevel and onwards to Mont Blanc and Chamonix. It is a magical part of the world but, having beaten this path and having her pick of these resorts, Victoria Beckham plumped for the Three Valleys, and who would argue with the wisdom of Posh Spice?!
Being such a popular destination, Meribel has something to offer everyone. The aprés-ski infrastructure is extensive with world-famous slopeside bars but, for the more wholesome there are non-drinking activities aplenty in Méribel:
Avalanche awareness talks
Ski & snowboard tuning workshop
Winter first aid training
And if you fancy heading a little further afield, your SnowSkool rep can look into organising trips to other resorts including Val d’Isere, Tignes, La Plagne and Les Arcs.
As mentioned above, there are myriad venues in Méribel for you to while away an evening. Finishing your day's skiing/ snowboarding by dancing on the tables to live music is tough to beat and the location, Ronnies, is a constant in the list of top-ten apres ski bars in the world. Half-way up the Saulire Express and just off the Biche piste, La Folie Douce can’t be far out of the top-ten either.
When the chairlifts stop running, the options only widen. Locals-favourite, La Tsaretta, is good for a relaxed night out, whereas the bars located along Route de la Montée from the round-about up to the Tourist Office buzz a little louder. You'll reach Jack's first but, further from the slopes, Bar-o-Meter, Le Pub, La Taverne and Le Poste are worth the short walk.
If you want to carry on and do something that feels so right now / so wrong in the morning, there are plenty of wee-hours venues in Méribel. Opening at 11pm, O’Sullivans is the most popular with seasonnaires but Le Loft and Les Saint Peres are also worth checking out!