Courcheval Valley: One Of Three, But A Great One
This French alpine valley is one of the famed Trois Vallées, the largest linked ski circus in the world. You'll find the resort of Courchevel, of course, as well La Tania, originally built as an Olympic village for the 1992 Albertville Games.
Don't get confused, though it's easy to do. Courcheval includes the towns of Courchevel 1300 (Le Praz is the original village), Courchevel 1550, Courchevel 1650 (Moriond), and Courchevel 1850. Those aren't addresses, they refer to their altitudes in metres.
Courchevel 1850 was the first resort in France to be built from the ground up, rather than based around an existing village. Its couloirs are known across the alpine world for being some of the most difficult black runs to ski or ride. But help is available as this is the base for one of the largest ski schools anywhere.
Think you might get bored? Not a chance. There are 330 runs for 600 km in the Three Valleys. Trails connect to Val Thorens, Les Menuires, Meribel, Mottaret, and La Tania. There are 53 lifts in Courchevel alone. The truth is, be sure and size up all that awaits you right outside your hotel door before making a trip across the valleys.
Lodging can be as expensive or as budget fulfilling as you want it to be. Various levels of the village offer affordable rooms that are a snowball’s from a lift. The region is constantly upgrading, and replacing old chairs with modern gondolas. A report is issued every morning on which runs have been groomed overnight.
Courchevel’s major gateways are Geneva, 146 km miles away, and Lyons, a bit farther. High-speed trains from Paris (four hours) connect with buses at Moutiers for the last leg up the road. There's a bit of panache flying into Courcheval Airport as it is infamous for having one of the shortest runways in the world.
La Tania has limited nightlife – all those Olympians are long gone – but a family atmosphere prevails today.