Meribel - Resort Review
A favourite with the British as well as the French, Meribel's position in the heart of the world-famous Three Valley ski area gives access to 600km of unchallenged pistes. Unlike many purpose-built French resorts Meribel has retained its Alpine charm, consisting entirely of chalet-style wood and stone buildings, and the resort offers superb nightlife and varying activities.
At the heart of the 3 Valleys ski area, where gentle ski runs meet the looming Mont Vallon and larger peaks further on, Meribel was a always a natural place to build a ski resort. Skiing had been taking place in this part of the world long before Peter Lindsey, the founder father of Meribel, was born let alone skiing. In fact the 12km off piste run known as 'Sauluire to Bride' was already a famous ski route at the turn of the century. However, it was this man that had the vision to build on this area and really make it what it is today - a traditional, charming and attractive alpine resort.
Peter was born in 1900 and was in love with skiing from a young age, after skiing the area in his young adult life he decided to buy up lots of the land where Meribel now sits and installed one of the first lifts, the 'Red Dragon', going from where the Doron Pub now sits to the Rond Point. The Second World War put a hold on proceedings for a while as France was invaded, but Peter continued to buy up land around Meribel, putting him in a great position to continue once the war was over. He enlisted the help of architects to create a master plan of both the town and the overall lift system, but his love for the area was so strong that he insisted on local building materials and building that would not scar the beautiful area. This mantra still exists today with new developments in Meribel, which helps to keep the character and charm of the resort.
Peter's overall vision was Meribal Alpina, a lift system dedicated to the Meribel area, and as lifts were completed he started to sell or even give land back to the local people, with the one condition that they would develop the resort by opening businesses that would bring visitors to the area such as hotels, ski shops, and chalets. Meribel did indeed start to grow; the first links to Courchevel were put in by 1950, Mottaret was opened in 1972, and the rise of tour operators exploded in the 80's.
Peter Lindsey died of a heart attack in 1971 and so never managed to see the beautiful resort that Meribel has no blossomed into or the amount of visitors that arrive year on year to ski the tree lined slopes he fell in love with. He was such a generous and kind character for both local people and the land, but he saw the potential the area had and wanted others to come and see it. His ideals and character do live on today and we would definitely recommend taking Peter's advice - visit Meribel.
Working in Meribel or Mottaret, you are assured of getting a great taste of the wonderful atmosphere that makes Meribel such a popular ski resort. Not only will you experience this world renowned ski area on your doorstep, but there is also plenty more on offer off the slopes during the season from the Altitude Comedy Festival to the Three Valleys X-Wing Rally!! This stunning backdrop provides a superb base for 5 months in the snow, experiencing a whole new way of life.