Out of all the Alpine resorts to ski, Courchevel is often considered one of the greatest. Set across four villages, the resort offers a range of stunning north-facing pistes with beautiful snow, ripe for carving. Although rental chalets and hotels can very expensive in the resort, it is possible to find a deal and grab some accommodation that gives you access to the diverse array of slopes for varying levels. |
With plenty of inter-mountain competition between ski schools and around a thousand instructors at peak season, beginners could not be better catered for in Courchevel. Learn to turn on the nursery slopes with the biggest school, the ESF (École du Ski Français), or with the two British schools that also have bases on the mountain – New Generation and Supreme.
Take care when organising classes, however: because of the geographical size of Courchevel and the number of other holidaymakers clogging up the most popular routes, long walks or bus journeys may be necessary to attend a class. Once the basics have been mastered there are plenty of green runs to develop your skills further. Again, though, be careful: these runs are amongst the busiest on the mountain.
The Three Valleys are often considered the best place in the world for intermediate skiers, and it’s easy to see why: miles and miles of red and blue runs abound, with great snow and near limitless opportunity for self-improvement. The Courchevel Valley alone contains hundreds of kilometres of these types of slopes.
Those routes are also well serviced by a world-class network of high speed chairlifts and gondola lifts, ferrying skiers all through the day. Better yet, there aren’t that many queues because of the system’s frequency and efficiency.
Advanced in the Alps is about as advanced as anywhere in the world. Three infamous couloirs run down the side of the Saulire cable car, only one of which is a proper piste; they are very steep and not for the faint hearted – even for experts. Courchevel has plenty of other opportunities for advanced skiers, because the mountain descent angles are so conducive to venturing off the beaten piste.
If downhill isn’t your thing – and mad stamina feats are – then Courchevel, in typical all-encompassing style, has some finely-manicured cross-country routes to try. The resort offers 67 kilometres across the valley, much of it free to use, marked and of varying difficulty. There are cross-country facilities close to all the villages at all altitudes. The longest are near the bottom of the valley, near La Praz, with 7-kilometre and 8.5-kilometre courses standing out. Some of the ways also intersect with downhill routes, so it’s imperative to be aware of what’s going on around you at all times!
If you love to ski, Courchevel is the Alpine resort for you – regardless of experience or skill level.
Belinda Smythson works for Ski Amis, a specialist ski travel agency and booking service that has been helping avid winter sports enthusiasts craft their perfect holiday for over a quarter of a century. When it comes to recommendations for where to ski, Courchevel, La Plagne and Tignes are some of their top rated resorts.
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