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Meribel in January 2020 - What weather to expect & what to do

Top events in resort for the coming month

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| Caroline Sayer, Meribel Reporter | Published
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Keen skiers often rate January as their favourite time to visit Méribel. This month often gives us some of the best skiing conditions of the entire season, with low temperatures keeping the snow in great condition while the slopes are beautifully quiet, especially at the start of the month.

Here is our pick of the highlights this month – keep checking our events calendar as more events are added all the time.

What are snow conditions like in Méribel in January?

The weather has been exceptionally snowy over the Christmas period, giving us impressive snow depths of 160cm on the summits and 70cm at the bottom of the ski area. With this solid base, virtually every piste is open and off-piste possibilities are infinite. Sunshine is forecast for the first week of the new year, with perhaps a little fresh snow next weekend.

Meribel Snow Report & Forecast

What weather should we expect in Méribel in January?

January weather can vary from bright sunshine to heavy snowfalls, and temperatures may be low. Remember to bring thermals if you are skiing this month! After the end of the French holidays on January 5th, the resort suddenly becomes extremely quiet, with relatively few French visitors willing to face potentially cold weather.

Weather in Meribel

What are the big January events I shouldn’t miss in Meribel?

You can enjoy Christmas all over again when Méribel celebrates Orthodox Christmas for its Russian visitors on Monday, January 6th. La Chaudanne is the place to be from 17:30 for a show including fire dances, juggling and illusions, rounded off by a firework display. You can even take part in the traditional ski instructors’ torchlight descent (contact the ESF for details). Over in La Folie Douce Meribel/Courchevel, their Fruitière Restaurant is offering a Russian-inspired menu to celebrate the day along with their signature performances.

On January 28th and 29th, you can watch professional ski racers in action on Méribel’s Roc de Fer competition piste, the site of the coming 2023 World Championships. This European Men’s Giant Slalom Cup event is hotly contested: successful skiers move up to the World Cup Circuit. Watch from the Roc de Fer piste or at La Chaudanne.

Méribel’s annual Winter Film Festival will be held in the Auditorium on January 30th. Shown will be a series of short films shot in Méribel by pro-freerider Jérémy Prévost, a film about the history of skiing in the neighbouring Belleville valley and a fascinating insight into skiing for visually handicapped skiers. Films are in French and English and you have a chance to meet and question their creators. Starts at 20:00.

Events Calendar for Meribel

January adventures for keen skiers in Meribel

Before heading off the marked ski runs to enjoy the fresh powder, all skiers and boarders should learn how to avoid potential dangers. Méribel’s mountain guides offer an original après-ski activity: a two-hour introduction to avalanche rescue techniques on January 7th or 14th (all equipment is provided, the cost is €40). For more in-depth knowledge, join a day-long course on January 8th or 15th to learn about snowpack stability and avalanches, and to practice rescue techniques (€105, at the Bureau des Guides).

If you’ve been bitten by the ski touring bug, why not take part in a fun evening timed climb? Set out on skis from Méribel-Mottaret at 18:30 and climb to the Arpasson mountain restaurant. Lit by a headtorch, you’ll walk up a marked route and will be rewarded by a hot meal at the summit then a fabulous moonlit descent. (€7, meal included).

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Family fun in Meribel this January

Fun and thrills are assured on Méribel’s themed sled run, the Black Forest Mission. Don’t be put off by the Wizard-Elf storyline – this run is sufficiently steep and long to thrill any adult! Simply pick up your sled from the Tougnète gondola lift and ride the hair-raising 3.5km run, with its 470m vertical drop and 28 hairpin bends (open every afternoon from 13:00, €12). Or bring out your inner child on Mottaret’s Himalaya by Night sledding evenings on January 9th and 16th. You’ll have the entire 2km Little Himalaya green run to yourselves. Whizz down the floodlit slope, warm up at the bottom with a free hot drink and toasted marshmallow, then do it all again! (17:30-19:30, €12 for adults and free for children under 11).

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Top tips to enjoy the vast 3 Valleys ski area to the full in January

January is the ideal month to make the most of the world’s largest ski area. With virtually no lift queues and blissfully empty slopes, this is the perfect time to explore every corner of the ski area with its 600kms of pistes. Our top tips: take advantage of the lack of lift queues on the popular Cime Caron cable car in Val Thorens end enjoy the magnificent red runs from its 3,200m summit, venture to the furthest point in distant Orelle – the ‘fourth’ valley – to enjoy its spectacular scenery, and make the most of the stunning wooded pistes above Courchevel le Praz while there is great snow cover on these lower slopes.

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