Tag Archives: twinning towns

Meribel Twinned with Aviemore

Meribel Twinned with Aviemore

If you are keeping up with our campaign to twin Meribel with an British town you may have some of the following opinions.  A Common in London with a ski slope once a year is not what you would consider a sensible option for a place to twin Meribel with.  A sleepy town in Oxfordshire is not a perfect match, despite it being the home of the founder of Meribel or maybe you thought that twinning Meribel with a town in the Lake District was good but not good enough. And it could be that you feel our reasons for trying to twin Meribel with Shoreham-by-sea are a little selfish. Then maybe Aviemore is the sensible suggestion you have been looking for.

Meribel has a ski area on its doorstep and so does the town of Aviemore, let’s go the whole way and admit that they are both ski resorts and have a lot in common. Take a look at the table below.

Aviemore Meribel
Lifts 12 57
Vertical Drop 500 1852
Parks 1 (snow dependant) 2
Pistes 28 74
Highest Point 1245 2952
Alpine Action Chalets 0 7
Restaurants 20 110

Other than sharing some great skiing the two also have another thing in common, great Après ski! That’s right, just like Meribel there are loads of pubs that are full of British people getting drunk. Some people have even compared The Vault night club to the infamous Dicks Tea Bar.

Some people say that a ski resort isn’t a ski resort if it doesn’t have a Funicular, (a steep incline railway). Luckily for both Meribel and the Cairngorms they can both be considered a proper ski resort. But the reason we bring this to your attention is that it is in this area that the Aviemore ski area trumps Meribel. Just take a look at the two Funiculars below and decide who’s is most impressive.


Streatham Twinned With Meribel

Streatham Twinned With Meribel

Now at first glance this may seem an odd choice! If you have to choose a Londonish location, why not choose some where like Hemel Hempstead, at least they have a ski slope. Well that is where you are wrong. Google Streatham piste map and you will find that they too have a ski area. It can be found on the famous Streatham Common. The nearest station is Streatham Common, where trains pass through to Gatwick. So almost like going to catch a plane!

Unlike Meribel the Streatham ski area is probably only open once or twice a year. You can tell when it is open as the rest of London will come to a standstill. Streatham boasts about 2km of trails compared to the 600km of piste that the Three Valleys boasts. The full area of Courchevel, Val Thorens and Meribel have a combined total of 180 lifts, Streatham has none. Unless you count the 249 and the 417 bus routes that runs up the side of the common.


If you are a regular visitor to Meribel then you will have enjoyed the wonderful mountain restaurants that the area has to offer, just check out this guide to gourmet food in the Trois Vallee. The Streatham ski area also has one mountain side restaurant. It is called the Rookery café and if you are a fan of budget all-day breakfasts, instant coffee, and tuna sandwiches then this is a great place for you to visit after a hard day putting in several turns then waiting for a bus. They will probably even microwave you a bottle of Blossom Hill.

When Albertville hosted the Winter Olympics back in the 90’s, Meribel played its part by hosting the Ice Hockey tournament. Team GB didn’t enter a team for this event but if it did you can bet your left ski boot innersole that they would have trained in Streatham. It has one of the UK’s most iconic rinks and other than crime, is the second thing that people associate with Streatham.

Nightlife is a huge part of Meribel’s culture, from Après at the Ronnie, meeting up in Jacks and late nights in Dicks. Streatham also has an exciting array of nightlife. At the bottom of the slopes you will find a selection of pubs to Après in and it has a great late nightclub called the Hideaway. Sadly none of these have had the foresight to install ski racks and leaving your beloved snowboard outside is not something we would recommend.



Meribel Twinned With Windermere

Meribel Twinned With Windermere

So why should you choose Windermere as a place to be twinned with Meribel? There must be more than the reason “just because Ange Jeffery nominated it!” That is exactly what we plan to find out in this blog.

Alpine Action has visited Windermere before, now we are not suggesting that this is a reason to twin it with Meribel, but as we look closer it could turn out to be a key link. During our first visit to Windermere we witnessed a case of amazing stupidity. It was a case of idiotic  littering as we witnessed a woman throw a polystyrene cup into the lake. When confronted she claimed it was disposable, this was back in the 80’s. In some ways the problem of throwing disposable things into areas of natural beauty has become endemic, in a similar way that cigarette butts have in Meribel. There is a link and that anecdote was not for nothing.


Windermere offers a refuge of pubs, restaurants and shops, from the surrounding hills of the Lake District. It acts as a base for many before the step out and explore the vast network of trails and walks, this is in much the same way that Meribel is treated and set up for the skier. Meribel has, like Windermere many shops full of technical equipment for the adventures that lay on the doorstep. For some it is part of the experience to head to the destination and buy the new kit for the weeks activity, this could be hiking or skiing, you could call it shopping with a reason. The shops in both places are also there for the absent minded, who each year forget to pack an essential piece of gear.

Windermere is a great match for Meribel in that people visit for one key ingredient. Ask someone what they expect when going to Windermere and they will tell you, begrudgingly, that they expect it to rain. If we are honest the name Lake District is code for rain, as those lakes don’t make them self.  This is the same reason that people head to Meribel, frozen rain. Without precipitation a winter holiday to Meribel would be a dull prospect, unless you like cold, dark walking holidays!

So there it is a few reasons why Meribel and Windermere could be great together under the international umbrella of the twinning association.

If you can think of more reasons, or want to share your joy or disgust of the idea, then please post your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Twinning Meribel

Twinning Meribel

We would expect very little argument if we said that Meribel is the most British friendly ski resort in France and as such is incredibly popular with skiers coming from the UK. Meribel was one of the first resorts to really understand the value of the British tourist and have since been courting our custom. It hosts numerous UK chalet companies as well as having a good section of British run pubs and restaurants, you can even get a full English breakfast. Meribel is also home to several UK ski competitions and even boasts some all year round expats. Despite all this Britishness it retains the charms of a classic French ski resort.

meribel twinned withYou could even say that Meribel is the ultimate destination for Anglo-French harmony and as such should have the words ‘twinned
with’ on its sign. And that is what we plan to do. We feel that Meribel should have a British sibling and will be trying to get the resort of Meribel twinned with a town in the UK. The problem is we don’t know which one? We don’t know if it is even possible. But we are going to try.

So first things first, we need to choose a town to twin Meribel with. For this we want your help to decide on a town. We want you to nominate a town, it could be where you live, or one that you think is similar to Meribel. We will then compile a short list and then have a public vote on who we should try and get Meribel twinned with.

We don’t think that there are any French ski resorts twinned with a UK town yet, however, Grenoble is twinned with Oxford and Annecy is twinned with Cheltenham, so we have some alpine links already.

To help you start thinking about where you think would be a great place to twin Meribel with, here are a few facts about the resorts.

  • Meribel hosted Ice Hockey and Womens Alpine events during the 1992 Albertville Olympics.
  •  It has its own airport.
  • Meribel is at 1400 meters above sea level.
  • Perminant population is estimated at 2000.
  • Located near the Vanoise national park.
  • Meribel was founded by a Scottish man called Colone Peter Lindsay.


We would like to start the ball rolling with a couple of suggestions.

Our first is naturally Alpine Actions UK home, Shorham-by-Sea. To start with it’s linked by the very fact that we send over 2000 people to the resorts every year from our office based in the Adur Business Center. Our population is around 18,000 which is almost the same as Meribel in the winter when populated with tourists. If they all went on one week we would double the permanent population. We also have a small airport, just like Meribel.

Our second is the Village of Croyde in North Devon, as it is a mirror image of Meribel. It is one of the UK’s most popular surfing destination, giving it that extreme sport link. It also has a small permanent population that swells during the in season time. Like Meribel it sits in the middle of three other similar destinations, these are the beaches of Saunton and Woolacombe. Croyde also has lively night life and has a big reputation for fun.

Nominations for where we should try and get Meribel twinned with must be suggested before the 1st June. You can let us know your ideas and reasons in the comments below, via our Facebook page, or you can tweet us @Alpineactionski or use the hashtag #TwinMeribel.