The service runs from December through until April and offers swift and hassle free access to Meribel, La Tania and other resorts in the 3 Valleys.
Why catch the ski train to Meribel?
Anybody looking to save money on travel, make the most of their time on the snow and benefit from free ski carriage would be well advised to give the train serious thought.
Plus of course with the recent increase in media coverage, skiers these days seem more aware than ever of the ‘carbon footprint’ they leave behind them during their week on the slopes – taking the ski train is a great way to reduce yours.
The first advantage that Ski Train advocates will tell you is how you can use the timetable to your advantage to get an extra day on the slopes. By leaving on Saturday night and arriving early on the Sunday you can be on the slopes by mid morning!
The return journey on the following Sunday departs at 10am from Moutier and arrives back in London at 4pm the same day.
Where to catch the ski train from
Train travellers to the Alps can either start their outward journey at London’s St Pancras International station, or Ashford or Ebbsfleet in Kent, before onward travel to a range of Alpine stations including Aime la Plagne, Bourg St Maurice or to access Meribel or otheer resorts in the 3 Valleys alight in Moutiers.
Perhaps most importantly, the range of resorts serviced by the Ski Train is superb! Highlights in France include iconic resorts such as Meribel, Courchevel, Tignes, Val Thorens, les Arcs and Val d’Isere and over in Switzerland ski trainers have easy access to stunning resorts like Zermatt, Saas Fee and Verbier.
With a small connection at places like Aigle and Martigny you can also branch off to resorts like Chatel, les Gets, Morzine and Chamonix.
The choice is seemingly endless! Moutiers train station, for example, is spectacularly well located for access to the resorts of the Three Valleys. Upon arrival into Moutiers it’s an onward drive of approximately half an hour up the mountain road to Courchevel le Praz and the upper Courchevel resorts, plus la Tania and Meribel too.
Carbon Foot Print
A train journey to the Alps can reduce your carbon foot print by nearly 90%.
An average flight to the Alps produces 180kg of CO2.
Drving to the Alps will produce arround 450kg per car.
A train journey to the mountains only creates 20kg of CO2.
If you find your time away from the slopes too long, then you might want to know where you can watch skiing and snowboarding on the TV.
What’s the longest you can go without thinking about skiing? If you are like us, it might not be very long.
So in the long months between spring and winter, we have to get our fix online and on TV.
Here are some of the best places to find and watch skiing and snowboarding on TV and online.
Skiing and Snowboarding on Netflix
If you have a Netflix subscription, you probably won’t find your ski fix here but can get a small dose of alpine life watching the documentary Mountains. There are some feel-good ski based movies to watch such as Chalet Girl and Eddie the Eagle.
There is also The Chalet a revenge thriller where a group of friends head to a chalet in the French Alps for a wedding, or there is The Frozen Dead a police crime investigation mystery based in the Pyrenees.
Skiing and Snowboarding on Amazon Prime
Prime subscribers have a wider selection of more traditional ski and snowboard movies that feature actual skiing and snowboarding. For the race fan, there is the documentary Streif about putting on the classic Hahnenkamm race in Kitzbuhel.
Other ski films include White Wedding, Antagonist, Gunni Season and Japow.
For snowboarders, there is a little less to watch on Amazon Prime with just Yugen and Travis Rices’ Roadless of note. However, there is MXP: Most Xtreme Primate a film about a snowboarding chimpanzee and few episodes of Paw Patrol that feature the pups boarding.
Skiing and Snowboarding on Redbull TV
For anyone looking for a serious does of incredible skiing and snowboarding movies and TV shows look no further than the free online and digital channel from the energy drink company.
This is the media house that brought the world the game-changing Art of Flight, also on the channel are all of Rices’ other movies including The Fourth Phase.
There are load of ski films on there too, as well as live streams and replays of events like the Kings and Queens of Corbets. Dig deeper and find athlete session and behind the scene clips. There is also a documentary about an alpine search and rescue team called The Horn.
You will find La Tania ski resort nestled in the trees on the lower slopes of the 3 Valleys ski area, just below the legendary alpine resort of Courchevel.
The village is much smaller than it’s neighbours of Val Thorens, Courchevel and Meribel, but it is its size that gives it that familiarity and charm that keeps skiers returning to it every winter.
La Tania was developed into a ski resort in the 1990s. Its original purpose was to host the press and athletes during the 1992 Albertville Winter Olympics. Which is why the centre is focused around the large apartment buildings. Once the games had passed the village grew into a more traditional alpine village full of small chalets.
Today La Tania ski village is a busy place in the winter with a car-free centre with pistes that run into the village allowing you to ski close to your door. It has also built a reputation as a less expensive place for ski holidays while still having access to the 3 Valleys.
Season Opening dates – You can ski La Tania from the middle of December to the third week in April.
La Tania Ski Village
The resort centre is a snowy pedestrianised zone that catches the afternoon sun. The three main ski runs converge here. It is where you will find the bars, restaurants and shops. There is also a free drag lift for beginners.
Other popular amenities and services you will find in La Tania are Tourist office, bakery, deli, Tabac, min market, ATM/cash machine and ski hire. For other services and a wider range of shops head up to Courchevel.
La Tania Ski Area
One of the big attractions of La Tania is the access to the Three Valleys. From the village, you can catch the gondola to the bottom of the Bouc Blanc red piste, it is from here you have plenty of options to access the rest of the ski area.
Catch the Dou des Lanches to drop down into Méribel or ski down a bit and get on the Bouc Blanc chair for direct access to Courchevel 1850. For the more adventurous you can tackle the amazing Jockeys run down to the new bubble in Courchevel Le Praz.
Skiing or snowboarding back into La Tania is great fun and you have to choice of 3 pistes to choose from. There is the blue run called Folyeres that snakes through the forest. The Moretta Blanche is a red that is great fun, you can combine it with the higher up Lanches or Bouc blanc for one of the areas epic descents. For the newer skier and children, there is the Plan Fontaine green slope that weaves into the resort from the top of the gondola.
The other great thing about staying in La Tania is the proximity of the pistes to most of the accommodation. There are plenty of ski in ski out properties lining the runs and down in the centre. But if you aren’t staying in one of these you are unlikely to be any more than a 6-minute walk to the lifts or runs.
Snowmaking and Snow Condition in La Tania
Due to its unique location on the mountain snow is pretty much guaranteed on the slopes as the trees help to shade the snow keeping it fresh throughout the season. The lower slopes in La Tania have a season average coverage of around 85cm.
For added reassurance, all the ski runs in the La Tania area are covered by snow cannons which allows ski holidays to be book throughout the season without the worry of not being able to ski into the resort.
Aprés ski in La Tania is dominated by the Pub Le Ski Lodge. You will find this popular bar at the foot of the slopes into the resort. At lunchtime, it is the perfect spot for sunbathing and eating. Then of the slopes, it is a great aprés spot, with happy hour (4pm to 6pm), drinks promos and live music every weekday. There is also live music in the evenings. Opening times 10 am- 2 am.
The Chrome bar is a no-frills bar close to the slopes that is popular with locals. It has a range of beers and cocktails. There is live music occasionally throughout the week.
Eating Out in La Tania
The Three Valleys has a good reputation for eating out and despite its sizes, there are some nice spots to eat.
Up on the slopes try the Bouc Blanc. During the day the restaurant and terrace can be found drenched in sun at the top of the La Tania gondola. Look on any review site and this place gets five stars every time. It serves traditional alpine food at but a better price than many of the other slope-side restaurants in Courchevel.
Down in the resort of La Tania, you can head back to Pub Le Ski Lodge where you can get a Full English in the morning or pick from one of its infamous burgers during the lunch break.
In the evening you should book a table at La Taiga. An intimate restaurant that you can find opposite the La Trokia lift. The food on offer is a mix of traditional Savoyard, local produce and modern dishes. You could eat here many times and feel you have had a different style of food every time. Take a look at their menu.
Don’t forget you can access all the bars and restaurants in Courchevel and La Praz via the free bus service that runs until late at night.
Accommodation in La Tania
There is a wide range of accommodation in La Tania. You will find small self-catered apartments, hotels and chalets.
We have four amazing cater chalets located in the trees of the resort.
Cote Coeur – A 14-bed chalet with a hot tub that is just a two-minute walk to the piste.
Chalet Attilaa – Sleeps 12, has a hot tub and is located next to the piste
Location is the key to a beautiful Insta feed and the towns in the 3 Valleys proved that perfect backdrop.
La Tania is an alpine dream. The sunny village is below the tree line and many of the traditional chalets are located in the spruce forest with branches heavy with snow to make the perfect winter wonderland.
Here are some selfie facts: Snow makes you look cool (literally). Snowsports make you look cool. Goggles, hats, and sunnies make you look cool. Ski and snowboard clothing make you look cool. Being on a mountain/chairlift/skis makes you look cool. Being in a ski chalet/mountain restaurant/ski resort makes you look cool. In short a ski trip is cool.
The 3 Valleys is so Instagram perfect it even provides selfie spots!
Instagram your 3 Valleys Chalet
All our chalets are Instagram compatible. Some are postcard perfect with rooms that ooze alpine style. While others have incredible views to post your morning wake up.
And don’t forget the mountain hot tub update!
Sunshine, smiley faces, parties, funny goggle marks and more snow than you might expect. Just a few of the things we love about Spring skiing in the Three Valleys.
In fact, Méribel in the spring comes with more than just a few perks.
In this blog we’re taking a closer look at the pros of a late season session on the slopes that’ll have you searching for all the Spring Ski deals and stocking up on the Factor 50 before you can say ‘have I got any annual leave left?’
Spring skiing is all about Location, Location, Location
Méribel’s enviable position, at the centre of the largest lift-linked ski area in the world with over 600km of marked pistes and 200 ski lifts serving a 110 square mile area, is a great base for exploring the tail-end of a season. Méribel, like La Tania, is of course well connected via lft and piste to the third valley of Val Thorens.
With 99% of its ski area above 2000m, it’s Europe’s highest major resort and one of its most snowsure from the start of the season right through to May. It even comes with a snow guarantee…
The Snow…there’s more than you might expect.
With a winter’s worth of snow as a base, accumulations on Méribel’s upper slopes can regularly reach depths of 2 meters by March and April. We took a look at the spring snowfall records for the last five years and found that an average of almost 50cm fell during the last six weeks of the season, easily matching the snowfall recorded in December in those same seasons.
With the warmer temperatures and stronger sunshine though, snow quality can be more unpredictable, but fear not! Spring skiing just calls for a little pre-planning. We recommend taking to South facing runs such as Jerusalem in the morning and switching to the North facing ones, such as the Cote Brune, in the afternoons.
The Pace of Life
Skiing on a bluebird day in the spring takes on a quality different to that of the winter. It becomes less about the standard adrenaline-fuelled stuff and more about an awe-filled exploration of the mountains.
The longer, warmer days mean that you can take the time to ‘smell the flowers’ as it were. There’s a sense of new growth, a natural unfurling of the summer to come which brings with it the inevitable buzz and potential of a seasonal shift. And this is what those mountain-top bar terraces were made for…
A World Away from the Piste
If you do get the odd day where conditions are less than perfect, it’s handy to know that there are some great alternatives to the slopes.
There are some really good non-ski activities that include paragliding, Ice skating, water parks and Ice Karting on offer in Meribel and The Three Valleys. And oh, did we mention the lovely, sunshine-filled Apres?
There are a lot of parties
There’s always something going on in the Three Valleys but it’s March and April that see the focus lie heavily on parties, charity music events and top notch festivals. Firm favourites such as March’s Ronnie Loves Music Festival and the legendary Three Valleys Charity day in April are just two great examples that complement a whole host of closing parties and the inevitable ‘drink the bar dry’ nights that see the season drawn to a very merry close.
Spring time skiing in Meribel and the Three Valleys is basically about excitable early mornings on the slopes and leisurely lines back towards an especially awesome apres scene that starts in the afternoon and continues late, late into the night.
For intermediate and advanced skiers, the beauty of Méribel is that it’s a perfect springboard resort for the Three Valleys Ski area as a whole, the largest ski area on earth in fact, with over 600km of accessible pistes.
But that’s not to say those new to skiing are overlooked or left too far behind. With a wide choice of English speaking ski schools, two separate nursery areas, 8 green runs and 25 blues to tantalise. There is plenty of places to practice those turns and work on technique.
“The master has failed more times than the beginner has ever tried”
It’s also worth saying that the friendly, welcoming and easy-going nature of the resort in general, lends itself well to those strapping on their ski boots for the first time. Because everyone’s gotta start somewhere…
The two designated beginner zones are found in the centre of Meribel Mottaret (Zen Zones) and at the Altiport area in Meribel itself. In Mottaret, the beginner-only area has its own magic carpet and drag lift, and the Combes chairlift serves the great fun green run known as Little Himalaya.
In Meribel there’s a magic carpet lift at Rond-Point and the quiet and safe slopes of the Easy Rider beginner area are great for children and adults alike to practice.
Think Snow Parks are out of bounds for beginners? Think again! Both Méribel’s Elements Park and Mottarett’s DC Area 43 have specifically designated learner zones, and they’re not just for kids!
Sourcing a Great Ski School
It goes without saying that ski schools get particularly busy during peak times and school holidays so it’s worth doing some research before you arrive and get yourself or your kids signed up. Check out our guide to some great Méribel Ski School here, all of which are English speaking and run by highly experienced skiers that know Meribel and The Three Valleys inside out.
Consolidating those skills.
After the nursery slopes comes the gentle greens, of which there are several to choose from. We love the wide, tree-lined Blanchot piste, accessed by the Rhodos Bubble Lift from the Altiport; it’s great for newbie skiers and snowboarders alike. You can return to the top via the draglift or, if you’ve had enough of falling off those for the time being, there’s a chairlift too! And remember, regular pit stops and time-outs on sunny terraces are highly recommended!
Our top tips for beginners:
Catered Chalets over Self Catering
For those coming skiing for the first time, booking a fully catered chalet is by far and away the better choice. Ski resorts can be overwhelming. Having the helpful advice of chalet staff on tap is a huge benefit. Check out our Meribel and La Tania catered chalets here.
If you can, spend some time prior to your holiday doing some preparatory exercise. We’re not talking hours in the gym here, but taking the stairs over the lift, walking the dogs a bit further and faster, and practising the classic ‘flat back against the wall with bent knees’ pose, will all help build the stamina and endurance that six days straight on skis will call for.
Practice on an Indoor Ski Slope
For those of us that like to have a teeny bit of experience before our first lesson in resort, there are 100’s of indoor slopes dotted around the UK, some big and some very small. You can find a full list of slopes on the Ski Club of Great Britain web site.
Be prepared for the cold
We’d recommend for first-timers, that wherever you can, it’s best to borrow kit rather than shell out a lot of money on clothing, helmets and goggles you may not use again (Ok, you will probably use it again, because one ski trip is rarely ever enough, but, you know, just in case). However, you need to make sure you are fully prepared for the extreme temperatures. Because nobody wants to cut short their slope time due to frozen fingers. Check out our in depth guide here.
Watch some videos
From full-length films and YouTube Ski Technique guides and tips, there’s a wealth of ski and snowboard related content out there. You could even subscribe to our channel and get a proper feel for an Alpine Action catered chalet experience. All of this will get you super keen and excited to get started on your own skiing or snowboarding journey.
(Just don’t overdo the ‘Best Ski Fails of All Time’ vids…)
Check out our current pricing and availability for your Merbel or La Tania catered Chalet holiday here.
Looking forward to seeing you shredding it very soon…x
Our guide to what’s on in Meribel & the Three Valleys this season.
7th December: The Three Valleys ski area opens for the winter.
The day also includes a laser and light performance to mark the opening from 5 pm.
25th December: Christmas celebrations kick off on the night before Christmas with fireworks, a torchlight descent and an appearance by Father Christmas.
31st December: Straight from the slopes there are parties at the main lift areas in Meribel and Motteret from 4.30 pm. Then wrap up warm for the open-air late-night party down at the Chaudanne area until 1.30 am. Or find a bar you like and party there.
28th & 29th January: Men’s Europe Cup, Giant Slalom. GS races held over two days on the 2023 World Cup slope. Winners of the event will be eligible for the WC circuit.
30th January: Winter Film Festival. An evening of short films from legends like Jeremy Prévost. The showings take place at the Auditorium by the Tourist office.
1st February: Yooni Moon Trail Run. All the best ski resorts now have a night time trail running race and Meribel is no exception. Get your head torch charged and choose between the 8km and the 15km trail. Register here https://www.meribel-sport-montagne.com.
7th March: Have you ever wanted to have a go at competitive skiing? If you have why not try the Roc de Fer. Live the life of an alpine racer by entering this competition and turning your hand at Super G, GS and Slalom. Enter here… https://salomon.win-in-sports.com/rocdefer2020/
9th – 13th March: Piste Bash Festival. A 5-day festival packed full of music, comedy and freestyle action. Acts are still being confirmed, but if we go based on past performers, it will be a great week.
14th March: The streets of Meribel get turned into a snowpark for the Jib Sessions.
27th March: The mogul’s competition is always impressive during the Olympics, but if you are in the resort this week you can watch the French Championship live in Motteret.
5th April: The Enduro des 3 Vallees is not what it sounds this is an inclusive event aimed at giving everyone to take part in multiple activities, From Biathaoln to boardercross, there are events for everyone.
Our guide to how you can help your body recover from a day skiing or snowboarding : Get the most out of your ski trip.
Do you plan to get ski fit for your next trip only to put it off and then suddenly you’re on a plane and you haven’t done any relevant exercises?
Skiing and Snowboarding work parts of your body that you don’t use in everyday life.
If you aren’t “ski body” ready there are going to be parts of you that will ache after a day on the slopes.
There are things that you can do during the evening in your chalet to make you feel ready for the next day on the slopes.
Stretching is one of the best ways to help your body recover after skiing, it will help you to avoid sore muscles the next day.
Stretching after a day of riding helps muscles return to their original position by removing the tension.
During your post ski stretching the circulation of blood will return to your muscles allowing them to recover and repair. Make sure that you focus on stretching your leg muscles, glutes and lower back.
Here is a handy warm down guide from ski expert Warren Smith.
Warming your muscles up a few hours after exercises can really help ease the pain and get your body back to it’s full potential.
In most of our ski chalets you will find a hot tub or a sauna. Don’t mistake these for novelties that add a level of sophistication to your holiday, these are important bits of kit that can help your post-ski recovery.
Warming your body in a hot tub or sauna increases blood flow and allows more oxygen get to your muscles.
Experts advise that you wait for several hours before hopping into a sauna or a hot tub after skiing or snowboarding and to make sure that you are thoroughly hydrated.
Many sports therapists also suggest that you should wait until your a few days into your trip before indulging your muscles as the heat can also inflame your muscles and slow down the recovery.
… & in the morning
If you are an early riser or you don’t rush out onto the slopes you may want to use the time to warm up in the hot tub, sauna or shower. Warm muscles are less likely to be damaged during exercises.
A great way to make sure you are ready for the next day on the slopes is to get a sports massage that works on the soft tissues around the most worked parts of your body.
A massage after skiing should focus on your lower back and knee area. Having your body looked after like this will aid your relaxation and increase your recovery.
Out of all the techniques, this is probably the best at ensuring your muscles recover overnight.
The chances that your chalet will have enough ice on hand to do this is unlikely but don’t worry.
All you need is a bath at normal cold tap temperature, between 8°C and 10°C. The cold temperature will slow the inflammation and help get the recovery process working faster.
You should go for two sessions of five minutes with a warm-up in between. If there is a fresh dump of snow you could always jump in that.
All the above will be a waste of time if you don’t hydrate effectively at the end of the day.
We all know that at altitude you lose water from your body faster than at sea level. If you are then taking part in a strenuous activity such as skiing or snowboarding you will become dehydrated even quicker.
Your body needs liquid to help with repairing muscles as well as to extract the nutrients from your food during the digestion process.
Taking a drink directly after skiing will also lower your heart rate faster and ensure that you don’t spend the evening feeling fatigued. Please note that chalet wine is not an acceptable way to hydrate yourself!
As we mentioned at the start one options is to be ski fit for your trip.
As more and more of us want freeride to be easier to access and safer Courchevel and Meribel are introducing such zones.
Meribel is upgrading its “Back to the Wild” freeride zone that can be found on the north-facing Mont de la Challe sector. Skiiers can access area that is area via the Roc de Tougne chair.
Courchevel is revamping the Creux Noirs area that was closed for the 2018/19 season.
It will reopen as an ungroomed controlled freeride area under the name The Freeride Lab and will be accessed by a new 350m drag lift that replaces the very dated chairlift.
Starting at the 2700m peak will be two red runs and one black run, but it also means better access to some of the areas best off-piste. This is a welcome return.
New Ski lifts in the Three Valleys.
In addition to the new Creux Noirs new drag lift Courchevel are making it easier for skiers to commute from Le Praz.
A new €27 million lift will depart from Le Praz and arrive directly into La Croisette complex in Courchevel centre. This will make it easier for skiers to get to the Plantrey chairlift, the slopes and the resort
The base of the lift will also feature a multi-use centre that includes parking and a children’s activity zone.
St Martin de Belleville is upgrading Saint Martin 1 gondola that is the main lift out of the village.
It will replace all the old cabins and increase lift speed further, and capacity will rise from 1,800 to 2,400 people per hour.
More snowmaking in Meribel
To serve the growing army of snowmaking machines that keep the ski slopes white more water is needed.
Meribel has expanded two reservoirs to help increase snowmaking on the Bouvreuil Rouge, Mûres Rouge, sections of Combe du Vallon, Choucas.
New for Families in the Three Valleys
The Yeti park in Meribel-Mottaret has introduced a no skis area so children can run around, play blow Himilyan horns, have a snack and chill out.
And in the Family Cool area near the Meribel Altiport, there will be a load of free entertainment during the school holidays.
Activities will include eagle shows, ice carving, biathlon taster sessions and other surprises.
More picnic areas in the Three Valleys
After the success of the log cabin picnic spot, Cabane des Trappeurs, Meribel are introducing the Refuge at the bottom of the Lagopède piste.
Its worth remembering that the Cabane des Trappeurs doesn’t just provide seating there is also glove-warmers and smartphone chargers.
New Bars in the Three Valleys
Val Thorens is opening a new Igloo village that will be home to an ice bar for drinks and a restaurant serving mountain classics like fondue.
Meribel welcomed the return of the popular Jacks bar. It’s absence last winter was noticed by all.
This winter it will open in a new home across the road from the Chaudanne in the building that previously housed the Meribar.
If you are thinking about skiing in the Three Valleys this winter take a look at our accommodation in La Tania and Meribel.