Is Meribel or Val Thorens better?


Is Meribel or Val Thorens better?

When it comes to choosing between two fantastic ski resorts like Méribel and Val Thorens, the decision can be challenging. Both Three Valleys resorts offer an exceptional experience with a variety of terrains, ample amenities, and unique features. This article will explore all the essential factors you need to consider, including terrain variety and difficulty, amenities, cost, learner facilities, and accommodation options, to help you make an informed choice.

An Overview of Méribel and Val Thorens

Méribel and Val Thorens are both situated in the Tarentaise Valley, in the heart of the French Alps. They form part of the world’s largest ski area, the Three Valleys. Méribel is known for its traditional chalet-style architecture and family-friendly atmosphere, while Val Thorens, the highest ski resort in Europe, is renowned for its snowsure slopes and vibrant nightlife.

Unique Features of Méribel and Val Thorens

Méribel’s charm lies in its picturesque setting and the homely ambiance of its village center. It offers a balanced mix of leisure activities both on and off the slopes. Val Thorens, on the other hand, is famous for its high-altitude skiing and lively après-ski scene. It’s a dynamic resort that attracts a mix of families, groups, and solo travelers.

Terrain Variety and Difficulty

Brides-Les-Bains ski resort guide piste map

Unveiling the scenic landscapes of Méribel and Val Thorens requires exploring their diverse terrains. This section will delve into the variety of slopes each resort offers, their difficulty levels, and which resort provides the best terrain for beginners, intermediates, or expert skiers.

Terrain Variety in Méribel

Beginner Slopes: Méribel offers a good selection of green and blue runs for beginners. The Altiport area is particularly suitable for novices, with gentle, tree-lined slopes and a relaxed atmosphere.

Intermediate Slopes: The resort boasts a wide range of red runs, perfect for intermediates looking to challenge themselves.

Advanced Slopes: For advanced skiers, Méribel’s off-piste terrain offers exciting opportunities. The Mont Vallon sector, with its steep and long runs, is a must-try.

Terrain Variety in Val Thorens

Beginner Slopes: Val Thorens is also beginner-friendly, offering numerous green and blue runs around the resort’s lower area. Its high-altitude ensures good snow conditions for much of the season.

Intermediate Slopes: With a majority of red runs, intermediate skiers can enjoy a vast range of options in Val Thorens.

Advanced Slopes: Val Thorens’ off-piste terrain is fantastic, with the Glacier Peclet area being particularly popular among skilled skiers.

Comparison and Analysis of the Terrain Difficulty in Both Resorts

Both resorts cater to all skill levels, but Val Thorens’ high altitude may be a slight advantage for beginners, as it guarantees good snow throughout the season. For advanced skiers, both resorts provide exhilarating off-piste options, making them equally appealing.


A ski trip is not just about the slopes; it’s also about the amenities that make your stay enjoyable and convenient. In this section, we’ll examine the amenities offered by Méribel and Val Thorens, including their dining options, ski schools and lessons, and equipment rental shops.

Amenities in Meribel

Amenities in Meribel | Unsplash

Dining Options: Méribel offers a delightful array of dining options, from cozy mountain huts serving traditional Savoyard cuisine to elegant restaurants offering gourmet dishes.

Ski Schools and Lessons: Méribel’s ski schools cater to all skill levels and ages. Both group and private lessons are available, making it a flexible choice for visitors.

Equipment Rental Shops: The resort has several rental shops, where you can find everything from beginner gear to high-performance equipment for advanced skiers.

Amenities in Val Thorens

Dining Options: The culinary scene in Val Thorens is vibrant and varied. Whether you’re craving a quick snack on the slopes, a hearty Savoyard meal, or a fine dining experience, there’s a place for you.

Ski Schools and Lessons: Val Thorens offers a wide selection of ski schools and lessons. Its ski schools are well-known for their experienced instructors who provide lessons in various languages.

Equipment Rental Shops: Just like Méribel, Val Thorens is well-equipped with rental shops offering gear for all ages and skill levels.

Comparison and Analysis of Amenities in Both Resorts

Both resorts excel in providing top-notch amenities. However, your personal preferences will play a role here. If you prefer a more traditional, cozy atmosphere, Méribel’s dining and amenities might appeal to you more. But if you’re after a vibrant and dynamic environment, Val Thorens could be the better choice.

Cost Considerations

Budget often plays a critical role in determining the perfect ski holiday destination. This part of our comparison will focus on the cost factors associated with both resorts. We’ll provide a detailed breakdown of ski pass prices, ski lesson costs, and equipment rental prices to help you make an informed decision based on your budget.

Cost of Skiing in Méribel

Ski Pass Prices: Méribel offers a range of ski pass options, with pricing varying based on duration and age group. Discounts are usually available for families, groups, and early bookings.

Ski Lesson Prices: The cost of ski lessons in Méribel depends on the type of lesson (group or private) and the duration.

Equipment Rental Prices: Equipment rental prices in Méribel can vary, depending on the quality of equipment and rental duration.

Cost of Skiing in Val Thorens

Ski Pass Prices: Similar to Méribel, Val Thorens offers a variety of ski pass options. Given its high altitude and longer season, prices can be slightly higher.

Ski Lesson Prices: The price of ski lessons in Val Thorens is comparable to Méribel, with various options based on group size and lesson duration.

Equipment Rental Prices: Rental prices are quite comparable to Méribel, although you might find more high-end equipment options in Val Thorens.

Learner Facilities

For those new to the sport, the availability and quality of learner facilities can significantly impact the skiing experience. Here, we’ll compare the beginner slopes, ski schools, and children’s facilities in Méribel and Val Thorens, providing insights into which resort might be the most beginner-friendly.

Learner Facilities in Méribel

Beginner Slopes: Méribel’s Altiport area is perfect for beginners with its gentle, tree-lined slopes and magic carpet lifts.

Ski Schools and Lessons: Méribel’s ski schools offer lessons tailored to beginners, including children, making it an excellent option for families or first-timers.

Children’s Facilities: With dedicated children’s zones, a toboggan run, and daycare facilities, Méribel is a great choice for families with young children.

Learner Facilities in Val Thorens

Learner Facilities in Val Thorens | Unsplash

Beginner Slopes: The lower area of Val Thorens offers a good number of beginner slopes with easy lift access.

Ski Schools and Lessons: The ski schools in Val Thorens provide beginner-focused lessons. Their high-quality instruction ensures learners get the best start.

Children’s Facilities: Like Méribel, Val Thorens has children’s zones and childcare facilities. It also offers a fun snowpark for children to enjoy.

Which is better?

Both resorts cater well to beginners and children, but Méribel’s charming, family-friendly vibe might give it a slight edge for families or those new to skiing.

Accommodation Options

A comfortable place to rest after a long day on the slopes can make your skiing experience even more memorable. This section will examine the accommodation options in Méribel and Val Thorens, including their proximity to slopes, the amenities and services they offer, and their price ranges.

Accommodation Options in Méribel

Proximity to Slopes: Most accommodations in Méribel are conveniently located with easy access to slopes.

Amenities and Services: Méribel’s accommodations offer a range of amenities, from spas and heated pools to restaurants and bars.

Price Range: Méribel offers a range of accommodation options to suit various budgets, from affordable apartments to luxury chalets.

Accommodation Options in Val Thorens

Proximity to Slopes: Val Thorens is a compact resort where most accommodations offer ski-in/ski-out convenience.

Amenities and Services: Accommodations in Val Thorens offer a wealth of amenities, including wellness areas, onsite dining, and childcare services.

Price Range: Like Méribel, Val Thorens caters to different budgets, with a range of accommodation from cost-effective apartments to high-end hotels.

Comparison and Analysis of Accommodation Options in Both Resorts

Both Méribel and Val Thorens offer a wide range of accommodations. Val Thorens’ ski-in/ski-out convenience might be a deciding factor for some, while others might be drawn to Méribel’s traditional chalet-style accommodations.

Other Factors to Consider

Accessibility and Transportation: Both Méribel and Val Thorens are easily accessible from major airports and train stations. Regular shuttle services are available for transfers.

Apres Ski and Nightlife: Méribel offers a laid-back après-ski scene with some lively spots, while Val Thorens is known for its vibrant nightlife with numerous bars and clubs.

Family Friendliness: Both resorts cater to families, but Méribel’s traditional charm and dedicated children’s facilities might make it a more attractive choice for family trips.


Both Méribel and Val Thorens offer excellent skiing opportunities and amenities. Your choice between the two will depend on what you value most in a ski resort – whether it’s the charm of a traditional ski village, the convenience of ski-in/ski-out accommodation, vibrant nightlife, or a family-friendly atmosphere.

Whether you choose Méribel or Val Thorens, you’re guaranteed an unforgettable skiing experience. The most important thing is to choose the resort that best aligns with your preferences and expectations. Happy skiing!

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About the author

Nick is a seasoned skier and passionate about the Three Valleys region in France and likes to share expert advice on resorts, accommodations, and local gems, based on his personal experiences. Nick is dedicated to supporting local businesses and promoting the authentic French skiing culture for a memorable experience on the slopes.