Méribel is a ski resort in the Tarentaise Valley in the French Alps, situated near the town of Moûtiers. Méribel refers to three neighbouring villages in the Les Allues commune of the Savoie département of France, near the town of Moûtiers (45.401°N 6.5655°E), called Méribel Centre, Méribel-Mottaret and Méribel Village. The villages are within the Vanoise National Park and a part of the Les Trois Vallées interlinked ski system.
Méribel in January 2014
|Nearest major city||Chambéry|
|Vertical||1,502 m (4,928 ft)|
|Top elevation||2,952 m (9,685 ft)|
|Base elevation||1,450 m (4,757 ft)|
|Runs||76 (8 green, 36 blue, 23 red & 9 black)|
|Lift system||53 (Capacity 75,565ph)|
Méribel Les Allues is a ski resort that was developed adjacent to the traditional hamlet of Morel, with its centre situated at about 1400 metres above sea level. It was founded by a Scotsman, Major Peter Lindsay, who was looking for a new site for winter sports away from the ski resorts of Austria and Germany, because of the growing strength of the Nazi regime. In 1936, he visited the town of Les Allues for the first time. He then imagined how the town could become a ski resort. Firstly, he decided to create a property company in order to develop finances strong enough to build the resort. In 1938, the first lift was placed above Les Allues. A year later, he began the construction of the first chalets and hotels in the hamlet of Méribel. Three years later, the war would stop the development of the resort, but when it was over, development continued. Now a Colonel, Peter Lindsay used specialized architects, Paul Grillo, Grand Prix de Rome (1937), and his partner Christian Durupt, so that all buildings would be in harmony with the Savoyard style, using wood and stone for the walls, with slanted slate roofs. In 1950, the Burgin-Saulire gondola was built to link the resort to Courchevel. Lindsay's family continue to hold a financial stake in the resort. Lindsay's ashes and those of his wife are scattered on the Burgin mountain.
Méribel was home to events of the 1992 Winter Olympics (Albertville). It hosted the ice hockey and the women's alpine skiing events. Until 2011, Méribel was the host to the acclaimed Altitude Festival, with prestigious acts such as KT Tunstall, Marcus Brigstocke and Omid Dijalili performing in the bars and nightclubs around the resort. For 2011, it has been announced that the festival will be moved to Austria, with the organiser Richard Letts citing a reduction in support from the Méribel Tourist Office.
The ski resort is part of the Trois Vallées ski area. The Three Valleys area comprises 180 lifts, 335 marked runs (over 600 kilometres) and over 130km of cross-country tracks. The Three Valleys was expanded in 1996 to incorporate a fourth valley, though the area kept the name Trois Vallées. The area comprises the resorts of Courchevel, La Tania, Méribel, Les Menuires-Saint Martin, Val Thorens and Orelle.
The resort comprises the sub village of Méribel-Mottaret, at an altitude of 1750 m towards the head of the Allues valley, and Méribel Village at 1400 m on the road to Courchevel 1850.
|Name||Type||Persons per hour||Year of construction||Manufacturer|
|Table Verte||Chairlift fixed 4 places||1250||1981||Poma|
|Burgin 1||Gondola 6 places||1700||1982||Poma|
|Burgin 2||Gondola 6 places||1700||1982||Poma|
|Plattieres 2||Gondola 6 places||2200||1983||Poma|
|Plattieres 1||Gondola 6 places||2200||1984||Poma|
|Plattieres 3||Gondola 6 places||2200||1984||Poma|
|Arolles||Chairlift fixed 4 places||1800||1985||Skirail|
|Rocher de la Loze||Chairlift fixed 4 places||1500||1988||Poma|
|Mont-Vallon||Gondola 12 places||3400||1988||Poma|
|Rhodos||Gondola 12 places||2025||1989||Von Roll|
|Mures Rouges||Chairlift detachable 4 places||1800||1989||Poma|
|Roc de Fer||Chairlift fixed 4 places||1460||1990||Poma|
|Olympe 1||Gondola 6 places||920||1990||Poma|
|Olympe 2||Gondola 6 places||920||1990||Poma|
|Olympe 3||Gondola 6 places||920||1990||Poma|
|Olympic Express||Chairlift detachable 4 places||1500||1990||Poma|
|Morel||Chairlift fixed 3 places||700||1991||Poma|
|Côtes Brune||Chairlift detachable 4 places||2070||1991||Poma|
|Combes||Chairlift detachable 4 places||2400||1994||Doppelmayr|
|Pas du Lac 1||Gondola 8 places||3000||1997||Poma|
|Pas du Lac 2||Gondola 8 places||3000||1997||Poma|
|Adret||Chairlift detachable 6 places||2400||1998||Poma|
|Dent de Burgin||Chairlift detachable 6 places||2400||2000||Poma|
|Altiport||Chairlift detachable 8 places||3400||2000||Poma|
|Plan des Mains||Chairlift detachable 6 places||3000||2002||Leitner|
|Plan de l'Homme||Chairlift detachable 6 places||3000||2004||Poma|
|Châtelet||Chairlift detachable 6 places||2200||2006||Poma|
|Chalets||Gondola pulsed 6 places||522||2007||Poma|
|Tougnète 2||Chairlift detachable 6 places covered||3600||2007||Poma|
|Tougnète 1||Gondola 6 places||1500||2008||Poma|
|Golf||Chairlift detachable 4 places||1500||2009||Poma|
|Altiport||Button lift continuous||500||2009||Poma|
|Doron||Conveyor belt covered||2010||Poma|
|Les Loupiots||Conveyor belt||Poma|
|Combe||Button lift detachable||Poma|
|Cotes||Button lift detachable||Poma|
|Escargot||Button lift continuous||2005||Poma|
|Arpasson||Button lift continuous||2006||Poma|
|Roc de Tougne 1 & 2||Button lift detachable||Poma|
|Aigle||Button lift detachable||Poma|
|Sitelle||Button lift detachable||Poma|
|Stade||Button lift continuous||Poma|
- For the 2012 season, the Burgin-Saulire 2 gondola is being replaced, and the new lift will be called Saulire Express 2. It will be constructed by Poma, and will take a new route up the Méribel Couloir, arriving at the same position as the Saulire cable car from the Courchevel side.
- For the 2013 season, the Burgin-Saulire 1 gondola is being replaced, and the new lift will be called Saulire Express 1. It will be constructed by Poma, and will be joined to Saulire Express 2 for a continuous journey up the mountain, first gondola station in France MULTIX to sections decoupled amount of work 24 million.
- Plattieres 1 & 2 are being replaced by a new gondola constructed by Poma, called Plattieres 1. This new lift will cut the journey time from 25 minutes to 9 minutes, and the new cabins will replace the old six seat, back to back gondolas with more comfortable 10 seat cabins. Construction will begin at the end of the 2011 season, and the old lift will continue to run through the 2012 season.
Tarentaise Valley skiing
The Tarentaise Valley has the biggest concentration of world-class ski resorts in the world. Most well known neighbour systems are Paradiski (Les Arcs, La Plagne) and Espace Killy (Val-d'Isère and Tignes). A weekly lift ticket in Méribel/Les Trois Vallées offers a choice to ski one day in each of the other two systems mentioned. There were once plans to interlink all systems and resorts to create the - by far - largest ski area in the world. However that vision was ended with the creation of the Vanoise National Park.
- "Meribel ski resort guide". Alpine Action. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
- "Olympic movement official website". Retrieved 17 September 2012.
- 1992 Winter Olympics official report. pp. 106–109. (in English) & (in French)
- Altitude Festival to quit Méribel
- "Vallées Official".