Courchevel and Méribel are in France’s ‘Trois Vallées’ – the Karl Lagerfeld and Ralph Lauren of skiing. Méribel, dating from the 8th century, credits Scotsman Peter Lindsay for the village’s development. Returning after WWII, he helped design the châlet-style resort in local wood, stone and slate so today it’s the prettiest purpose-built village in the valleys. With a relaxed profile, Méribel is a family skiers’ resort. It has fewer midnight oil burners than its nearby designer-chic sister Courchevel. Its designer shops, gourmet restaurants, discos, and exclusive clubs lure Parisians and elites to this vibrant mountain village.
After the war the ‘Trois Vallées’ planning began; first the runs, then lifts and finally the resorts themselves. Planners created the largest ski area in the world with more than 67,000 acres of ski-able terrain! Méribel, in the middle valley, is the ideal location for all three. Courchevel, atop its three sibling villages, gives skiers 5,000 foot verticals. The valleys’ ten resort network has 360 cruising miles, 155 miles of off-piste couloirs for those with challenge-deficit, 1,100 ski instructors to fine-tune technique, over 2,000 snow cannons, and 182 lifts moving 230,000 skiers/hour! Lift lines? Definitely not here!