Meribel is the resort for the serious skier, comprising of three villages in the Terentaise Valley of the French Alps this custom built resort is all about the snow Gleaming white slopes range from those perfect for the beginner to slopes only suitable for the most experienced of skier ensuring that the resort offers the perfect family ski package.

Once just a tiny hamlet this exclusive and thriving resort is part of the Three Valleys Ski Area with over 200 ski lifts, 600km of ski runs and 130km of cross country skiing. It really isn’t hard to see why this perfectly formed, beautiful resort has gained such a fine reputation amongst the skiing community and why people return year after year to this lively cosmopolitan destination.

It is frequently usual to hire a chalet for your stay and the custom built design of the resort ensures that there are plenty to choose from. From small apartments in chalet buildings to grand luxurious chalets with in house chefs the choice is vast. It is important to know that most chalets are situated a way from the lifts and slopes so it is necessary to check the location before booking.

Recently opened is the resorts only 5 star hotel; Le Kaila is a stunning hotel with traditional French materials perfectly complementing the beautiful rooms with their modern amenities. Each room has its own jacuzzi – perfect after a day on the slopes. The hotel restaurant prides itself on its innovative use of local produce and the beauty of the dining surroundings. This hotel really is the last word in luxury and opulence.

Food is hearty from big bowls of melted cheese served with chunks of bread to plates filled with game and potatoes. Refined French dining is available at some of the hotels as is Italian influenced pizza and pasta.

Celebrate the local Savoyard cuisine by eating at La Fromagerie (fromage of course being French for cheese). Great big bowls of warm fondue are served alongside platters of locally cured meats, but fondue isn’t the only cheese on the menu, this restaurant really does celebrate all things cheese, so if you’re not a cheese lover then this probably isn’t the restaurant for you; for everyone else it is cheese heaven.

An honourable mention has to go to Le Rond Point, although serving an adequate lunch menu the attraction of this bar is the aprés ski fun. Famed for serving toffee vodka on the large terrace (heated on the snowiest of days) whilst live bands play, this is the liveliest bar in town.

For a resort with such an intense ski culture Meribel surprisingly has some excellent facilities for non skiers. The Olympic sports centre has an Olympic sized pool and offers other activities such as ten pin bowling, rock walls and even boasts a ice rink. For the non skiers wanting to experience the beauty of the slopes pedestrian ski lift passes can be purchased, these are excellent to access the great restaurants with their sun filled terraces.

The slopes of Meribel and the three valleys are beautiful but it isn’t always possible to appreciate them from the ground, so why not take a short helicopter or plane flight over the resort. Scenic flights are readily available and although not a cheap option give you views of some of the most exciting scenery in the world.

Meribel is all about the outdoors but has more to offer than just skiing, another popular activity is husky dog sledding; although be warned this is harder physical work than you might imagine. Part of the fun is that you have to get off the sled and help push it uphill, but the excitement as you control your team of excitable dogs on the way back down is unbelievable. For an easier ride you can hire a guide to do all the hard work for you, but you do slightly lose the thrill factor.

With slope altitudes of up to 3000m the snow will be plentiful and of an excellent skiing quality between November and May. February can be a very busy month as this coincides with the French school holidays which makes the resort very popular and possibly best avoided if you want a more peaceful break.

The resort of Meribel was cleverly designed at an altitude that makes the most of the winter sun and the cool summer breezes ensuring that it a beautiful place to visit at any time of year – even out of the ski season.