[R598R, Meribel] lies slap-bang in the centre of the Three Valleys with its 600 kilometres of lift-linked pistes. But this aside, Meribel's own ski area (150km) is big and varied enough to keep all abilities happy. The majority of its slopes are above the treeline but it does offer sheltered runs for bad-weather days, and its well-groomed runs are served by a fast, modern lift system.

Families will find a small nursery slope at Rond-Point, often used by the children's ski school. Mottaret also has three enclosed beginner areas ‘Zen Zones' served by a covered magic carpet and the free village gondola. In the Altiport area, a new family fun park (Acticross) has been created.

The tree-lined green run at Altiport is ideal for beginners. Not only is it sheltered, but it's long and wide, perfect for practising turns, and now a green run link has been created from the mid-station of the Saulire gondola so novices can ski all the way down from this point. The main slope is served by a fast chair and a free drag. After finding your feet at Altiport, head over to the green and blue runs at Mont du Vallon.

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Intermediates will find some of the best slopes just south of Mottaret, in the Plattières-Vallon sector, with its good choice of long reds and blues. For skiing in the sunshine, hit the long cruisers of Tougnete or Mont de la Challe in morning sun and Saulire in the afternoon.

Advanced and expert skiers seeking steep runs can hit the Combe Vallon run from Mont du Vallon or the Ecureuil and Combe Tougnète runs from Tougnète. For the steepest freeriding, head to the highest point in the valley - Mont du Vallon. A short walk between two peaks off the Mont Vallon bubble will lead you to a huge off-piste bowl with some big drop-offs. Another freeriding favourite is the long descent down to St. Martin de Belleville from Roc de Fer (stay left for the best snow).

For freestyle fans, Meribel has the Moon Park and new for 2012, the DC Area 43 snowpark. This 1,200-metre-long snowpark is equipped with 24 snow canons and served by two lifts. Here you'll find one mini-skate ramp, three street lines, 220 metres of rails and an airbag for beginners.

Watch the first shred at the DC Area 43 in Meribel-Mottaret: