Best Pistes in the Meribel Valley
For beginner skiers, the Blanchot run is ideal. Starting from the Saulire Express 1 lift this easy green winds down towards the Altiport area and is the perfect piste for beginners and children to practice on. Head to the Tougnète/Roc de Fer area to enjoy the loveliest rolling blues in the valley, which are enjoyable for skiers of all abilities. Start with Faon, a swooping, winding blue. Next take the Tougnète 2 lift and head down Crêtes, which is sited on a ridge with spectacular views in every direction. Continue down Choucas, a north-facing blue run which is a favourite with ski schools thanks to its excellent snow. Continue part of the way down Gelinotte then take the Olympic chair and enjoy the competition piste, the Roc de Fer blue run. On the other side of the valley, don’t miss the lovely Lapin run which descends from Altiport to Méribel Village. This is another tree-lined run, ideal in flat light or bad weather.
The red Combe Vallon is one of the longest runs in the valley, starting at Méribel’s highest skiing point, the Mont Vallon (2952m). Mainly north facing, it keeps excellent snow on it all season. Starting out steep and narrow, it twists and turns, widens, and then just keeps on going for a total 1000m drop. Unless you’re very fit you’ll need to stop for several breathers (pretend you’re admiring the view).
The black run, Face was created for the 1992 Olympic Ladies’ downhill. It’s very steep and sometimes moguled, and it’s difficult to believe that humans could straight-line it without dying in the process. (Please don’t try.) The Couloir Tournier is the newest run in the valley, starting from the summit of Saulire Express gondola, this is the steepest run in the valley, with a scary 37 degree slope at the top. Narrow and with no escape routes, this couloir is only for experts.
Pic Bleu is quiet with gorgeous, tree-lined views. Now it’s now been remodelled it keeps better snow on it too. Nominated by Sue Gatenby, AMS Rentals.
Once every few winters there is enough snow to ski all the way down to Brides les Bains. The lower part of the descent is an un-patrolled itinerary, so go with a guide. Start at the top of the Saulire (2738m) and end up at 600m after a long run through forests, terraced fields and orchards. Have a big lunch in Brides, and then take the Olympe gondola back up.