Many people love the idea of a skiing holiday in the Alps, but the idea of visiting Méribel or other such ski resorts can be intimidating for those who are disabled or suffering from restricted mobility. |
Although that’s understandable, the reality is that resorts such as Méribel have invested heavily in facilities for disabled people, making it possible for most to experience the thrill of snow sports!
Anybody that suffers from a form of disability will know that huge progress has been made in recent years towards moving away from the dated view that physical sports are closed to them. True, things are far from perfect in terms of changing attitudes and assumptions towards people with disabilities, but things are improving radically.
The really good news, as those visiting Méribel will see, is that this resort has been at the forefront of pushing back the boundaries in this respect. Today there is a public commitment to making sure that all visitors get the chance to experience the beautiful mountains and their snow – as well as the thrills that can entail!
Before launching into the exciting stuff, let’s consider some of the basics. There’s little point having excellent, up-to-date sports facilities if basic infrastructure such as accommodation and dining remain stuck in the past.
Here in Méribel, there’s plenty of good news.
Disabled car parking is widely available when visiting Méribel. You can try the Mottaret, Ruitor Bas, Ruitor Haut, Hameau and Tuéda parking areas, all of which have disabled facilities. It’s also worth mentioning the all-important question of ‘loos,’ because those that are adapted for disabled use are widespread including at places on the slopes.
Accommodation can be more variable. There are plenty of options available for people with limited mobility, but some may pose some difficulties because of more remote locations. However, there are plenty of organisations available to offer advice on accommodation that has been specifically designed or modified with such issues in mind.
Of course, things aren’t perfect. You will still come across the odd establishment that seems unaware of the need for ramp access, but these are declining in number. By and large though, if you’re in a wheelchair, you should be able to get into and out of most locations.
When visiting Méribel, you’ll find around 40 ski lifts that have facilities for people with disabilities. Even if you have no snow sports experience whatsoever, the ESF Ski School has a range of specially designed equipment including sit-skis. So, your education can begin at once and so can your fun in the snow!
In terms of equipment and sports, there is a wide range of choice available.
There are sit-skis, where you can go down the slopes seated, often in tandem with somebody standing behind you. You can also use dualskis, uniskis, kart skis and tandem skis. They all have specific characteristics and some are accompanied whereas others can be used solo.
A lot will depend upon your own individual and unique requirements. Don’t worry about thinking all this through before your arrival, as there’s no need. Your instructors will help you to select what’s best for you when you’re visiting Méribel. So, relax and have fun!
Lukas Johannes is a driver for Shuttle Direct, the number one provider of shared and private airport transfers all over Europe and northern Africa. If you're visiting Meribel for a ski holiday, Lukas and his colleagues can make sure that you get to and from the airport swiftly and safely with your luggage and ski equipment.
Related Articles -