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A Beginner's Guide to Skiing in Méribel

Meribel slopes back into Meribel Centre


You’ll find the ski resort of Méribel right at the heart of the famous 3 Valleys. Though as a beginner you can ignore the vast surrounding ski area and focus on your first turns in this attractive, welcoming resort, established by a Brit, Peter Lindsay, back in 1938.

It consists of two main resort villages: Méribel and the satellite resort just up the valley of Méribel-Mottaret. Both have all the facilities and services a beginner needs and we’ll help you pick between the two for your first holiday in the area. You may find, like many others, you fall for the resort so much you return time and time again after learning to ski here.

Let’s explore more about learning to ski in Méribel and Méribel-Mottaret. In this guide, you'll learn:



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Is Méribel suitable for beginners?


Méribel was tastefully and carefully designed, with buildings which are wood-clad, in chalet-style and mainly low-rise. As soon as you arrive, you’ll relax and enjoy the atmosphere, before turning to the fun of learning to ski. 

There is a great area for beginners called Altiport (named after the snow-covered airstrip) where there are long green runs and a fast chairlift to take you back up. A ‘Mini’ lift pass keeps costs down, and the plethora of ski schools means you’ll find an instructor to suit you. It’s a resort known for its fast and efficient lift system, meaning when you’re ready to explore, you won’t be standing in queues to move around the valleys.

A little higher is Mottaret, where there is an enclosed beginner area beside the village with a covered moving carpet, and you can graduate from here to an almost flat green along the valley to the main Méribel lifts. 

There are 8 green runs, and 25 blues. In other words, about one tenth of Méribel’s slopes are green, which is a relatively high proportion. If you’re in a mixed ability group it’s a perfect ski area, with slopes and activities for everyone; families will appreciate the fun areas, the Olympic Centre is a great spot with its climbing wall and pool, and there are regular ice hockey matches to watch. 

Being a little lower than nearby resorts, you’ll be skiing in the trees, on long, wide, winding runs, with clear visibility.


Where to stay in Méribel if you’re a beginner


Of the five main areas you may stay in (Les Allues; Méribel Village; Centre; Les Hauts and Mottaret) the best choice for beginners is Méribel Centre, home to Chaudanne, the central ski hub, and full of fantastic restaurants, bars and shops. 

Stay as close to Chaudanne as possible, as you’ll meet your instructors here who will take you up to Altiport to get started. In general, there are fewer catered chalets around these days, but you’ll still find plenty to choose from in this resort. The free public buses run efficiently around the area when you are ready to explore, and run late for a great choice of après.

Away from the liveliness of Meribel Centre is the 4* Altiport hotel, located in the Les Hauts region. It's perfectly sited at the foot of the Altiport lifts (great for access to the beginner slopes), and smart and luxurious to boot. 

For a quieter holiday, families may prefer Méribel Village, which is out of the town centre, but within walking distance to a shop, the slopes and a good restaurant. Absolute beginners will need to get the free ski bus from Méribel Village to Chaudanne to meet their instructor and get the gondola up to the Altiport beginner's area.

With its own beginner slopes, stay higher in Mottaret, where, in 2016, a huge investment in the beginners’ facilities makes it a good choice.



Is Méribel suitable for a first time family ski holiday?


Family life in Méribel is easy, convenient and most importantly fun. Kids’ zones bring the resort to life for children and the ski schools are well-organised and easy to find. Family chalets are available, but in high demand during school holidays. Head for the 3.5* Chalet Hotel Les Grangettes, just across the road from the main lifts. 

There are two snow parks for maximum thrills: Elements and DC Area 43 park. Kids even get their own mini-snowcross course - P’tit Moon, plus Moon Wild, an animal-themed piste in the forest. There is a small nursery-slope at Rond-Point at the top of Rhodos 1 lift, mainly used by the children’s ski school.

There is an excellent kids’ area on and around the Piste Des Inuits.



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La Plagne is another great beginner ski resort. With its ski in ski out accommodation, plethora of activities and laid back vibe, families will love it there.


What are the beginner slopes in Méribel called?


Try the SkiCool zone at Altiport, where there are a number of greens. How to get to Altiport? From Chaudanne, take the Rhodos gondola. You end up right in the Altiport zone. Or access the area from the Saulire Gondola mid-station. 

The excellent local bus service means you can take Line B and C and get off at stop 34 (last stop on C) for Altiport. 

Check out the SkiCool route starting on Blanchot, at the top of Saulire Express 1 gondola and back to Altiport, or stay on the Foret back to the resort. 

You can return at the end of the day by cable car from Altiport to save tired legs.

Or take the Tougnette 1 up from Chaudanne, hop onto Perdrix into Mottaret, at the bottom head left, through a short tunnel, and onto La Truite into Méribel. 

In Mottaret, a special beginner-only zone has its own magic carpet and drag lift. The new Combes chairlift serves a new green run called Little Himalaya and the Yeti Park. What’s more there are two Zen zones, to practise early turns and get used to equipment.


Meribel piste map

 Local Meribel piste map


Where to head when you’re ready to explore Méribel


The Sittelle blue run from the top of the Plattières gondola back down towards Mottaret is an ideal cruise - gentle and generally in good condition because of its aspect. As confidence increases, beginners can find the runs into neighbouring valleys within their capabilities, opening up many more runs, with great snow conditions.  

Try the Foan piste from the top of Tougnette 2, on the opposite side of the mountain to Altiport, with stunning views. The Foan piste is encouragingly straightforward, and from there pick up Perdrix, a green, back to the middle of Mottaret. 

If feeling confident, try Geai, just above the greens in Altiport.


How much do lift passes cost in Méribel?


For the 2023/2024 season, a one-day adult pass is €63.50 and for a child €50.80. Prices reduce for the very last week of the season.


Is there a free lift pass?


There are eight free beginner lifts, identified by the pink stars on the piste maps - four in the Altiport and Rond Point areas, and four in the satellite resort of Mottaret.


Is there a discounted lift pass for beginners?


Check out the Mini Pass (lifts and runs included in the piste map below) which gives access to a totally secure and well-established area, consisting mainly of green and blue runs at just €35.50 per day. 


Mini Pass Piste Map

 Meribel Mini Pass piste and lift map


How much is a local lift pass?


Indicative for season 23/24 - December 23rd 2023 to April 12th 2024


  13-64 years 5-12 years 65-75 years
4 hours €57.10 €43.60 €49
1 day €63.50 €50.80 €57.10


Low Season April 13th to April 19th 2024


  13-64 years 5-12 years 65-75 years
4 hours €43.60 €34.80 €39.20
1 day €50.80 €40.60 €45.70


Family package passes are available where everyone pays the child rate. Groups or ‘Tribu’ discounts are also available if three or more purchase a pass together.


Can you access après bars and restaurants from the beginner slopes?


Much of Méribel's après scene is resort-based, such as at the legendary Le Rond Point (also known as Ronnie’s) near Méribel Centre, accessible on foot, by bus or on skis and with a spacious terrace overlooking the pistes, and live music. 

Or head to La Folie Douce, accessible by Saulire cable car. A 3 Valleys pass is needed. 

Le Clos Bernard is through the Altiport forest, which can even be accessed on foot. 

Mountain restaurants include Les Rhododendrons, at the top of the Altiport drag and Rhodos gondola, is always popular. The Coeur de Cristal, low down, beside the Adret chair is known to offer generous portions if you choose lunch or dinner there. 

Many regulars descend to one of the excellent slope-side hotel terraces. In the main village try either the Adray Télébar or the Allodis. Or try the Altiport hotel for Savoyard meats, or at Mottaret, the Arolles. 

There’s a picnic room and lounge at Chaudanne, handy for keeping costs low, and keeping warm in the depths of winter, when you’re off the slopes.


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If après is pretty high up on your priority list for your chosen ski resort, take a look at beginner-friendly Val Thorens. On the other side of the 3 Valleys, it offers two incredible piste-side party hotspots and an enviable amount of bars and clubs in the resort itself.


How much do ski lessons cost in Méribel?


There is an excellent range of ski schools in Méribel, including many offering flexible individual tuition, so you choose the style of learning that suits you. 

Beginners usually start in a small group doing simple exercises to raise confidence with their equipment and on very gentle slopes. You’ll typically pay for a 5 or 6-day series of lessons. 

A group lesson starts at €50 per person per session, rising to €105 per 90 minutes for a private teacher. Here are ‘from’ prices, indicative for the 23/24 season. 


Ski School Group lesson per adult per session Group lesson per child per session Private lesson per adult per session Private lesson per child per session
ESF Peak: €52 Non peak: €43 Peak: €52 Non peak: €39 Peak: €122 Non peak: €105 Peak: €122 Non peak: €105
Parallel Lines Peak: €72 Non peak: €69 Peak: €75 Non peak: €74 Peak: €199 Non peak: €179 Peak: €199 Non peak: €179
New Generation Peak: €50 Non peak: €50 Peak: €50 Non peak: €50 Peak: €185 Non peak: €185 Peak: €185 Non peak: €185
Oxygene Peak: €58 Non peak: €58 Peak: €78 Non peak: €78 Peak: €130 Non peak: €130 Peak: €130 Non peak: €130



Is there a beginner-friendly snow park in Méribel?


Head for Elements (previously Moon Park) at mid-mountain on Tougnète, served by the Arpasson drag lift. There are kickers, tables, rails and boxes all made of wood, with beginner lines.

Or choose DC Area 43 park also known as Plattières Park, under the Plattières gondola with lots of features and lines for different abilities.


Overall, is Méribel a good choice for beginners?


You can quickly build a solid skiing foundation in Méribel or Mottaret, in dedicated beginners zones, with free lifts. The choice of tuition is exceptional, as is the lift infrastructure, making getting around easy. The free local bus takes you around the area smoothly, and once ready, this ski area is packed with long, gentle, wide greens and cruisy blues, even criss-crossing the mighty 3 Valleys.

It’s a picturesque resort with a good choice of chalets, hotels and apartments, with plenty of resort-based après. The lure of Mèribel may see you returning year after year, like the many devotees of the resort.


Book your beginner ski holiday to Meribel with Iglu Ski


If you're still a little unsure as to whether Meribel is the right ski resort for you, our ski consultants are on hand to help. With a combined 200 years of skiing experience across over 90 resorts, our team of specialists have unrivalled knowledge when it comes to helping people to choose their perfect ski holiday. Why not give them a call or send them an enquiry today?