Meribel Activity ReportWho needs chairlifts?
1st March 2013
I've had a busy few days in resort. With Tuesday being my first official "day off" of the season I decided to make the very most of it. On Monday afternoon I went and saw the lovely chaps up at Sports Boutique (next to Le Pub and near the big golden sparkly bear) who loaned me three pairs of snow shoes. At 4 o'clock the next morning, I set off with my brother and a friend for a snow shoeing adventure.
We reached the Chaudanne at about 4.30 and set off straight away under a beautiful full moon to race the sun to the top of the mountain. With skis and boots strapped to our bags we began the long and arduous ascent up the 'Olympic' side of the mountain. Our aim was to reach the top of the Olympic chairlift in time for sunrise and be the first people to ski down.
For the first half hour of the hike I berated myself for having even entertained the idea of such a task having only been in resort for a couple of weeks and very unfit. It was difficult to breathe and the top of the piste we were on just wasn't getting any closer - let alone the top of the mountain.
But, after some perserverance, all three of us got into a steady routine. My brother and I divided each slope into 50 step sections between which we would allow ourselves a short breather. Tim, the clear leader of the group (who had already hiked over to Meribel from La Tania to join us), chose a different tactic which was to just keep walking until we couldn't see him in the distance anymore and then just wait for us to catch up.
Our tactics worked and we reached the top at about 7am, with 20 minutes to spare until sunrise. We took the obligatory posing pictures and toasted our success with three very cold beers as we watched the sun come up. We then spent another half an hour trying to get our rigid frozen ski boots on to get back down the mountain!
Ski Boutique rent out great snow shoes at very reasonable prices. If a moonlit hike to the top of the mountain isn't for you then fear not. There are extensive winter walking trails around Meribel and Mottaret. Take the free Morel chairlift up and enjoy some of the many trails on offer. It is a rewarding way to see the mountain from a different perspective.