Sit back and admire the mountains from even higher up! Daily panoramic helicopter flights are available (weather permitting) with a number of local flight companies or some mountain guide companies. Relax and enjoy the stunning views as you fly over the snow-capped mountain tops, glaciers and alpine forests of the Three Valleys.
Unfortunately, heli-skiing is not permitted in France, however some of the ski schools and mountain guide companies will offer a pick-up/drop-off heli skiing service for you where you will be taken over the border into Italy or Switzerland. It is expensive, but definitely a once in a lifetime experience!
Flying School in Meribel
The flying school in Meribel is offering you the opportunity to take a plane ride in a small aircraft that has been adapted especially for the snow and the Alps. It is run by the Aero Club Meribel and can be a fun experience offering you views of the vast and beautiful mountains that Meribel calls home.
Let a pilot take you on a tour of the beautiful mountains whilst giving you local knowledge and most importantly outstanding views!
The Aero Club has been around since 1964 but it documents that flying in the Alps has been around since 1910. They have various different packages to suit all budgets and desires so if you are looking for a fun and different activity this could be it.
Husky sledding in Meribel
Traineaux a chiens
Be in charge of your own sled and team of excitable husky dogs, driving them along forest paths. After a brief explanation of how to make your team stop and start (you shout "mush!"), and strict instructions not to let go of the sled if it turns over (the dogs would disappear for hours...), you set off following the guide’s team. Your huskies want to keep up with their doggy mates, so the next hour is a breathless scramble to keep the sled upright, trying to control the speed downhill, and hanging on for dear life when you tear around corners. Going uphill you have to help push the sled, so this is hard physical work.
If this all sounds a bit much you can opt for a less physical outing where you sit in the sled and the guide does all the hard work! Either way it is an exhilarating experience – you can find contact details on our Activity Companies page.
For a truly unique experience, clamp on your crampons and go hiking on one of the many glaciers in the Three Valleys area. The breathtaking views and spectacular crevasses make this an incredible adventure. There are a number of glacial hikes, of varying difficulty, in this region of the Alps. Most mountain guiding companies will run organised excursions to the most accessible.
To read more about glaciers and the environment please go to our Glacier Meltdown article.
Hot Air Ballooning (Vol en Montgolfiere)
Hot air ballooning looks serene, but there are moments of excitement. Once the creaking wicker basket rises off the ground you are uncomfortably reminded that you are suspended hundreds of metres above the ground in a small twig structure! The views are stunning, and as you glide over the forests you may see deer and other animals that are normally hidden from view. The pilot controls the height but the wind determines which direction you take, so the flight can take anything from one to two hours, depending on when a suitable landing site comes into view.
Remember to wear warm clothing and bring your binoculars, see Flying & Parapenting for details of hot air ballooning companies.
Winter Walking Trails in Meribel
The Méribel Valley is a walker’s paradise throughout the year. During the winter season a network of groomed walking trails allow walkers to discover the resort and its surroundings on foot. 25km of trails link Méribel, Mottaret, the local villages and even some of the mountain restaurants. One circular walk enters the Tueda Nature Reserve above Mottaret, and another climbs to la Traie mountain refuge.
These trails are groomed after each snowfall, meaning that no snowshoes or special equipment is needed to enjoy them. A free map can be obtained from the Tourist Office, together with a list of which trails are open and groomed. If you don't know the valley very well you can join a guided group or download the useful trail map and walking guide below.
You do not need any particular equipment, just a pair of sturdy boots and layers of warm clothing that you can take off or put on as necessary. A pair of walking poles will come in handy for extra balance on icy patches and for checking snow depth before you go striding forth! Top tip: buy ‘grippers’ for your walking boots to prevent slipping, all of this can be bought from most local Sport Shops.
Don’t forget to check the weather forecast before you set out as conditions can change rapidly in the mountains. Click here for prices of pedestrian lift passes.
If you’ve never tried paragliding before (…..or maybe you’re not entirely sure what it is!) then Meribel is a great place to learn how to fly. Known as “parapenting” in France, today there are a great number of clubs and organisations in the area whose sole purpose is to get you flying. So, if it is something that you have always fancied trying, or if you would just like to know a bit more about what it involves and who can do it...
Snowshoe Walking in Meribel
Raquette à Neige
Strap lightweight plastic snowshoes to your feet, and walk effortlessly through deep snow. Either set out on your own, or join a group led by a knowledgeable local guide and explore the hidden parts of the valley. On these half day group outings you will get off the beaten track to follow animal footprints, discover mountain flora and fauna and learn the history of the valley. Snowshoes and ski poles are provided. See activity companies for details of guiding companies who do snow shoe walks.
You can also hire snowshoes from most Sports Shops, grab a trail map from the Tourist Office and head off on your own adventure. Be sure to check the weather forecast before you go. This is a perfect activity for bad weather conditions or for non-skiers, and walkers and nature lovers will love these outings. Don't forget to take energy bars and wear comfortable (waterproof!) boots.
Many people would not automatically think of Meribel as a place to come shopping, however the resort boasts a diverse range of stores that are guaranteed to suit sporting lifestyles. As you would expect from an outdoor sports Mecca, there's a choice of sports stores & high fashion labels that offer a good range of clothing in all shapes and sizes for all tastes.
Cross Country Skiing (Ski de Fond)
Get back to nature and explore tranquil cross-country trails at your own pace. more »