What's New in Meribel for Winter 2012-13?New Meribel gondola lifts & re-shaping of two main pistes
Méribel’s ski area is undergoing several major improvements this summer, including the building of two new gondola lifts and re-shaping of their two main access pistes.
In Méribel-Mottaret, a new Plattières lift is being erected, replacing the existing 28-year-old Plattières 1 and 2 gondolas. This single lift will be completed by December 2012 and will be the first ten-seat gondola in the 3 Vallées. The replacement lift will carry up to 40% more passengers, transporting up to 2,800 people per hour. Passengers will be whisked up 734m in just nine minutes, compared with a previous journey time of 22 minutes. The lower lift station will be in a slightly different position, on the opposite side of the plateau. The existing Plattières 3 gondola will continue running as before. Lift company S3V has invested 17 million Euros in the new lift.
At the same time, improvements have been made to the blue Martre piste, one of the main access runs into Mottaret. The steepest section of Martre, below the former Plattières mid-station, has been re-shaped and the incline made gentler. The descent will thus be easier for less-experienced skiers and the snow should remain in better condition.
A new bumps slope has been created next to the Martre ski run, ending at the plateau in the centre of Mottaret. This will host top-level competitions, including the World Freestyle Cup in December 2013, and provide a wonderful opportunity to show off your bumps skills to all the passengers on the Plattières lift.
S3V says re-shaping the runs has cost around 2 million Euros. You can see the new pistes on our webcam.
For beginners and children, the Ourson rope tow at the foot of Mottaret’s slopes is also being replaced by a more up-to-date ‘magic carpet’ lift at a cost of 70,000 Euros.
In Méribel, the Saulire Express gondola is being completed (the top section opened last December, replacing the old eight-seat Saulire gondola). This summer, the lower section is being replaced, with a radically redesigned lift station and new entrance ramp to the front. The completed Saulire Express will reach the top of the Saulire in just 12 minutes, compared with a previous journey time of over 20 minutes. This new lift will have eight-seat cabins, and will carry 2,400 people per hour – a carrying capacity which could be increased to 2,800 in future if required. The investment by lift company Méribel Alpina is 20 million Euros.
The main Méribel access piste to the Chaudanne area, the Traversée bourbon, is being made easier. This narrow blue run will be broader and gentler at the bottom, a much-needed change make possible by the removal of the old Saulire pylons.
Other major piste works in the Méribel valley include a re-shaping of the Grand Duc blue run, which is being upgraded for the 2015 Finals of the Ski World Cup Finals. A tunnel will be added where the piste crosses the Gelinotte run, and two sections have been re-shaped.
In town, Méribel’s first five-star hotel, the Kaila et Spa, is nearing completion. The Kaila is due to open this December and will offer 42 rooms and suites and even features a lift to the slopes from its ski room.
Finally, Méribel will boast a brand-new restaurant/après-ski hot spot on the slopes, la Folie Douce. This sister establishment to the existing and wildly popular Folie Douce in Val d’Isere and Val Thorens is being built just below the mid-station of the Saulire Express, on the site of the old Choucas restaurant. Méribel après-ski will never be the same again…