Three valleys make a winter ski paradise. In other words, the ski resort with no competition in the world.
Look at the numbers: 600 kilometres of ski slopes with 328 tracks, more than 1,500 hectares designated solely for skiing and 166 ski lifts on the said property – it all makes for a harmonious system operated and maintained by 2,000 employees.
Famous centre is located in the three valleys: in the first valley stands Courchevel, the middle one is a home to Meribel and Mottaret, and the highest is the most famous for Les Menuires and Val Thorens.
Meribel is in the heart of the three valleys
Middle valley is my favourite. The best ski tracks are right here and it’s easy to get to other valleys. The one who has ever descended down the Mt. Valon or Saluire slopes will always keep them in fond memory, which will make those in Austria and Italy seem like more appropriate for the kindergarten level of skiing.
In the summer, Meribel is very lively. There are a lot of events and the potential of engaging in various recreational sports does not lag behind the winter part of the year. There are not as many tourists as in wintertime, which makes the atmosphere better. Last year, Meribel celebrated 80 years of tourism. The Englishmen are to be thanked for the development of Meribel as well as many other alpine centres in this part of Europe. They devised a plan for the creation of a new place, elaborated them and in line with urbanism plans started investing in lifts and hotels. This is one of the reasons why Meribel looks so attractive today. All the buildings and the houses are put in wood on the outside and all have the same grey roof colour that fits very well into the environment. Garages are all underground and there is almost no outdoor parking.
In the summer, you can take a ski lift to Togogne. From that peak you can descend to Saint Martin de Beleville by another lift. There are also numerous walking trails and marked mountain bike trails. From Mottareta, a gondola takes you to Saluire from where you can catch a glimpse of the highest peaks of the Alps.
Mt. Blanc is the highest one of all, but similar peaks are in dozens. Additionally, many glaciers are very close or so they seem. Saluire offers a spectacular view of the Alps in both summer and winter periods. From this peak you can descend with two lifts to the fashionable Courchevel, which is, however, much more interesting in the winter. Daily card for pedestrians and bicycles is available for the lifts.
There are numerous hiking trails in the valley around Meribel. One of the most beautiful goes high up to the alpine lake of Lac de Tueda. It can also be accessed by bicycles. Though the climb is not manageable for all, modern style bicycles make it much easier, almost as if the terrain is flat. I can verify it since I have tried it.
A particularly nice trip is by plane. Altiport is situated next to the town itself, in the woods. The small airport from which the planes take off on panoramic flights and to nearby places. Namely, other ski resorts in the area have such small airports as well. Panoramic flights range from 49€ per person, which is not that expensive for such an experience. In the winter the airplanes use skis instead of wheels because the track gets covered by snow.
Meribel is a great choice for an active vacation and an escape from summer heat and crowds. In two days, I have passed about twenty miles on foot and almost the same on a bicycle. I have flown on an airplane, reached the top of three peaks, eaten Savoyard specialties like Raclette and Fondue and enjoyed myself on a temperature of 20 degrees Celsius. What could be better than that? Instead of lying on the beach I pretended to be Iron Man.