About Winter Activities in Meribel
Whatever you choose to do on your winter holiday you are sure to find a huge range of activities across the Meribel & 3 Valleys area. From relaxing, to full on adrenaline there is something for everyone, every ability and every age in Meribel. Check out the selection of things to do below for some holiday inspiration!
For the non-skier
From a range of alternative mountain pursuits to more sedate cultural or therapeutic options, you can make it as action-packed or as relaxed as you like! And of course, you can still enjoy the peaks of the mountains by buying a pedestrian lift pass to have lunch with your skier friends, or simply to enjoy the views. In Meribel all of the cable cars, gondolas and most of the chair lifts may be used by non-skiers. If the weather is fine, good places to meet your friends for lunch on the mountain include the top of Saulire (Pierres Plates or le Panoramic restaurant) or the top of Plattieres 3 lift (Bouche a oreille restaurant) as both these summits have fantastic views. If you fancy some walking at high altitude, meet your friends at the Plan des Mains restaurant (at the bottom of the chairlift of the same name above Mottaret) where there are some new walking paths laid out. If the weather is bad, you may prefer to meet your friends for lunch at any of the piste-side restaurants in Meribel.
Meribel is a winter walker's paradise, with lifts giving access to the higher ground and a network of groomed trails in the winter, it's very easy to discover the resort on foot. Don’t forget to check the weather forecast before you set out as conditions can change rapidly in the mountains. 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 which you can buy from most local Sport Shops.
Bowling is a great group activity in both summer and winter, or when the weather's too bad to go outside.
Catch the latest films and releases in Meribel on your winter or summer holiday. Some cinemas open their doors early on a bad weather day, otherwise you'll find most screenings in the evenings. Look out for VOST for English speaking films.
Get back to nature and explore the lovely tranquil cross-country ski trails. There are two different techniques – classic and skating. Classic is the easiest for beginners; you simply place your skis in two parallel grooves, push off and glide around the trails. Skating is more energetic and a slightly harder skill to grasp; you push your feet out to either side as though you are ice skating and use your poles simultaneously to gain momentum. You can hire the comfortable boots and lightweight skis and poles fairly inexpensively from most sports shops and book a group or private lesson to learn the basics from most ski schools or private instructors. A number of adventure companies also offer cross-country skiing guiding, tours and lessons too. Find your way around with the cross country skiing maps.
Also see: Cross-country Skiing in Meribel
There are over 2.5 million people doing geocaching around the world and some of them (perhaps surprisingly) are right here in Meribel! It’s a relatively new craze that started taking the world by storm in May 2000 after a computer geek decided that GPS could be “really exciting”. He hid some treasure at his home in Portland, America, for people to find, broadcast the GPS coordinates and said, “Come and get it”. His only rule: “Take some stuff, leave some stuff”. And that’s exactly what Geocaching is…you go in search of treasure by using the GPS system on your mobile device – once you’ve found it, you write your name in a logbook and replace the treasure you decide to take. It’s pretty simple really and means, as a family, you can be adventurers together. You won’t usually find anything quite as precious as gold, silver and diamonds but nevertheless it’s quite exciting!
Gym / Fitness centres
A public gym & fitness classes can be found at the main sports centre in Meribel and a number of hotels also have their own facilities to keep you trim while you're on holiday.
Handiski / sit-ski
Enjoying the thrill of being on the pistes need not escape you if you're less mobile or have special physical needs. Resorts all over the Alps offer equipment and fully qualified guides to help you get the most out of your experience. Sit-ski, taxi ski, Vertiski, Handiski.. whichever method you're used to, or would like to try there will be at least one ski school or activity company in Meribel that offers this service.
Also see: Disabled Skiing in Meribel
Unfortunately, heli-skiing is not permitted in France, however some of the ski schools, adventure companies, local flight companies 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! Search for trips with ski schools, ski guides and private instructors.
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. Relax and enjoy the stunning views as you fly over the snow-capped mountain tops, glaciers and alpine forests of the Alps.
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.
Be in charge of your own sled and team of excitable husky dogs, driving them along forest paths in winter. After a brief explanation of how to make your team stop and start, you set off following the guide’s team. 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! It's a very popular winter activity, so booking at least 48 hours in advance is a must. They run from early December to the end of April (snow-permitting). You'll have to head over to Val Thorens if you'd like to give this a try.
If you want to try something different in Meribel, other than hitting the slopes, then why not try Ice Climbing. Whether you are an experienced climber or a beginner you can have a go at ice climbing on one of the many beautiful ice falls. If you are a beginner and have never been ice climbing or climbing before then choose an adventure company or ski instructor who will take you out on the beautiful natural frozen waterfalls surrounding the 3 Valleys. Teaching you technique, safety and more you can tackle these spectacular falls. All the equipment is provided such as harnesses, helmets and crampons but just make sure you wrap up warm as it can be a cold start. A truly fun, new and unique experience.
Ice-skating / Hockey
In Meribel you can enjoy ice skating! It's a fun thing to do with the family, or in a group if you want to do something a little bit different for apres ski. Perfect for children and families and those who just want to enjoy the beautiful mountain views whilst playing around on some skates. There may be one or more ice skating rinks in Meribel, find out where the ice skating rinks are and enjoy some icy outings!
If you don't fancy climbing outdoors, or you're new to climbing and want to give it a go in an indoor centre, then Meribel has somewhere for you to go. Climbing equipment is normally provided, or you can bring your own and insurance is normally needed before you hit the climbing wall.
Light Aircraft / Microlight Flights
Take a plane ride in a small aircraft that has been adapted especially for the snow and the Alps and experience spectacular mountain views. Let a pilot take you on a tour of the beautiful mountains whilst giving you local knowledge and most importantly outstanding views! A truly unique experience that you can enjoy in both the summer and the winter it makes for the perfect activity with family, friends and loved ones. Alternatively take a flying lesson and learn how to be in control of the small aircraft.
There are a number of companies who can take you mountaineering in both summer and winter, from local guides to ski schools and activity companies.
Museums & Galleries
If you want to know more about the Meribel Valley's history and traditions, head to the Musée des Allues, open in the winter season 14:00-18:30.
Paragliding / Parapenting
If you’ve never tried paragliding before then Meribel is a great place to learn how to fly. Known as “parapenting” in France & Switzerland, there are a great number of clubs and organisations in the area whose sole purpose is give you the experience of flying. From the heights of the mountain tops you can glide down to the bottom of the valley on a tandem paraglider controlled by the instructor. He manoeuvres the parachute while the passenger enjoys the ride and fantastic views. Top tip: go on a sunny, warm day when the thermals will keep your airborne for longer.
Many people would not automatically think of Meribel as a place to shop. However the town boasts some great stores. As you would expect from an outdoor sports Mecca, there are plenty sports stores where you can get your hands on some of the top mountaineering, ski and snowboard brands but there are also some fashionable clothing stores, and plenty of shops selling traditional mountin goods.
Meribel is popular for ski touring, whether it's going up the pistes that most people normally ski down, or tackling more of a back country route. A number of ski schools, private instructors and companies can show you around, or if you've got all the necessary equipment you can head out in your own group.
Skiing & snowboarding
The main draw for people coming to Meribel in winter is of course the skiing and snowboarding. With the whole of the 3 valleys to ski in, as well as a wealth of off-piste areas, Meribel has something for every level of experience.
For the children, why not try the Inuit village which is composed of whoops, banked turns and slaloms. You will also find a number of fun and enjoyable inuit themed games and a children's entertainer is on hand all season to offer activities to your little ones. The perfect place for your children to enjoy some safe and fun beginner skiing. Access is from the Altiport chairlift or the Rhodos gondola. Located on the Altiport area near the green pistes.
Also see: Ski Areas in Meribel
Sledging / Tobogganing
This is one winter activity that doesn't require a lot of expensive equipment, just grab your sledge and head for the nearest snow-covered hill! You can pick up a sledge at one of the many ski hire shops or sports shops in Meribel or take a look through the adventure companies who might offer something a little different.
In winter S3V offer 'tubing' as a winter activity. Everyday during the afternoon and for apres ski you can whizz and slide down the slopes in an inflatable ring. Definitely an adrenaline filled and fun activity for groups and families. Head to one of the S3V lift pass offices to book your tubing fun!
Raquette à Neige or Snow-shoeing in and around Meribel is a perfect activity for bad weather conditions or for non-skiers. Don't forget to wear comfortable and waterproof boots. Either set out on your own, or join a group led by a knowledgeable local guide and explore the hidden parts of the ski area. Snowshoes and ski poles are provided by most companies offering this as an experience, or you can hire snowshoes from most Sports Shops or Ski Hire 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.
Snowmobile / Skidooing
Those who enjoy speed will love riding a powerful snowmobile (like a motorbike with caterpillar tracks) around Meribel. Discover the different dimensions of driving; carving turns, accelerating in a straight line, ascents and descents. Snowmobiles are a great way to explore Meribel especially as you get to ride them when the resort is at its quietest. Disappear into the woods and blast around empty snow fields on your scooter with your own guide. Remember to wrap up warmly especially if you go after dark, and bring goggles if there is powder.
Where to go to jib, bonk, spin and pop in the 3 Valleys. The Big Air Bag which used to be located in the Area 43 snow park has now been moved to the centre of Mottaret. Take some gnarly leaps off the jump and land on the air bag, the perfect place to practice those big jumps and tricks without having a crash landing on snow. Fun for beginners who are just starting jumping and experts to practice their tricks and skills. Head to any of the S3V lift pass offices for more information and enjoy the big air bag open every afternoon and apres ski.
Also see: Snowparks in Meribel
Spas & massages
If it is calm and relaxation you are after then head to a luxury day spa or book in for massage therapies and beauty treatments. A day spa is also the perfect activity when the weather turns. You can keep warm and revive aching muscles in saunas, steam rooms and jacuzzis or take a refreshing dip in a swimming pool.
Speed-riding / Speed-flying
The idea behind speed riding is to combine the sensations of skiing and paragliding into one activity, and then descend off-piste sections of the mountain using a mini-wing to enable you to access areas that you might not normally go. Learning and having fun with speed riding comes very fast as long as you are a competent skier; you need to be able to ski red pistes with confidence in any type of snow. Speak to one of the companies offering this activity who can show you the ropes (literally).
Whether you like to take a dip indoors or outdoors, you'll be able to find somewhere to go for a swim in Meribel. Most hotels, lots of chalets and apartments have their own swimming facilities, however there are also municipal swimming baths that you can visit, which often come free with your lift pass purchase. In summer and winter you should be able to find somewhere to take a dip, so don't forget your towel and your swimming costume or shorts.
Telemarking is a form of downhill skiing where you are only attached into the binding at the toe, so to turn, you have to lunge and bring your heel upwards. Talk to one of the ski schools or private instructors who can teach you how to telemark and take you out on excursions using this technique.
Location: Meribel Valley