History of Meribel
One of world’s finest ski resorts, Meribel has adventure and excitement from top to base. Pristine snow peaks, wooden chalet-style architecture, rustic villages, a friendly atmosphere and dramatic surroundings are but a few of the things you’ll experience. In addition to the beauty of the place, Meribel also has a fascinating history behind it.
Everyone enjoying the beauty and brilliance of the Meribel ski resort owes it to the far-fetched vision of a Scotsman named Colonel Peter Lindsay. During the late 1930s when the globe was on the brink of war, the political and ideological closeness between Austria and Germany made it difficult for skiers to enjoy the white slopes of the Austrian Mountains, where many people revelled in winter sports. This is why the Scotsman Lindsay decided to find a location in France where he could design and develop a new ski resort.
Finding the Location, Building the Resort
Along with another legendary skier, Frenchman Emile Allais, Peter Lindsay found the village of Les Allues. He thought the village was the perfect location for a ski resort thanks to its altitude, climate, and orientation. Mesmerised by the place, Lindsay immediately founded the company ‘Societe Fonciere de la Vallee des Allues’ in 1938. Soon, he began buying nearby land from local farmers to build his vision. Unlike other resorts nearby such as the Three Valleys that was built using public money, Meribal was built using private funds invested by French and British developers.
Before the war broke out, the first lift was constructed above the village of Les Allues, and the construction of hotels and chalets also started in Meribel. The development paused during the second world war, but it wasn’t long afterwards until construction started again. Colonel Lindsay, with the help of popular architects Paul Grillo and Chirstian Durupt, built cottages and chalets that were in complete harmony with the rest of the area.
Nestled between Courchevel to the East and Val Thorens in the West, Meribel is one of the most popular and lift-ridden ski resorts in the world. The highest point is the Altiport at approximately 1700 meters, and bringing more people into the resort by bus and gondola are Brides les Bains, Meribel Village and Les Allues – the lower lying resorts. In addition to this, there is a satellite resort at the top of the village called Meribel Mottaret, which is connected to the rest of the neighbouring resorts with the help of the sophisticated Saulire Express. This gondola takes up to 2400 people to the top of the Saulire peak within a few minutes.
Little England Upon the Alps
Meribel ski resort is at 1,450 meters above sea level, and has become a favourite among the British — it is known as ‘Little England upon the Alps.’ (Britons take up more than half of all the visitors.) One of the most interesting aspects of Meribel is that not many high-rise buildings are allowed. This gives it a distinct look of chalet-like architecture that spreads over 10 kilometres along the valley, rather than climbing up the mountain side. And down in the village, it’s very common to see skiers enjoying toffee vodka at the local bars!
Meribel ski resort has excellent terrain that makes it perfect for all kinds of skiers enjoying the location. It poses a challenge to expert skiers while the young beginners can try the more safer routes without too many problems.
Although the Meribel ski resort was founded more than 70 years ago, it is still one of the most popular places among skiers around. Skiing enthusiasts from all over the world have been flying en-masse to this snowcapped paradise. It may be old, but it has kept up with the changing times.
From demanding skiers and sportsmen to beginners and children, the Meribel Ski resort is perfect for all kinds of skiers. With the right dose of enthusiasm and excitement, Meribel is the perfect place for you to glide down its alpine slopes and enjoy this captivating wonderland.