Closed (end of season)
Season Start/End: 12/ 6 - 4/24
Elevation
:
4429ft - 8982ft
Trails
:
20%| 36%| 35%| 8%
Lifts
:
56
Lift Tickets
:
from €33 to €240
Complete list of skipass prices

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Courchevel ski resort
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Courchevel is a winter playground for the rich and famous – attracting a steady influx of stars from Beyonce to Beckham. Ironically, the resort was originally planned to create jobs and skiing for the masses, but somewhere along the lines it morphed into the luxury resort of The Alps.

There are 50 five-star hotels in the whole of France and nine of them are in Courchevel. As well as top hotels, the resort now boasts three Michelin-star restaurants. The multi-level resort, complete with heated pavements, is dotted with more than 100 boutiques - you’ll find as many diamond dealers here as ski-hire shops. The tourist board does stress they offer a range of amenities for a wider clientele; it’s not all Hermès, Louis Vuitton and Valentino.

The resort consists of four ski villages: Courchevel 1300 (La Praz), Courchevel 1550, Courchevel 1650 and Courchevel 1850. While 1850 has the most high-end hotels and shops, its modern development is decidedly lacking in charm. Fans of the traditional French feel should head to Courchevel 1650.

Courchevel is a good all-round resort. Its ski area offers a good selection of runs for all levels and it is also popular with families, off-pisters and non-skiers. The resort’s 150 kilometres is enough for most, but the avid skier can buy a pass to the vast Three Valleys ski area, opening up 600 kilometres of lift-linked runs. Ski Pass for access to the vast lift-linked ski area in the world (600km).

Courchevel ski resort
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The Mountain

Courchevel's 150 kilometres of local runs combine with Val Thorens, La Tania, Les Menuires and Meribel to make up the largest interconnected ski area in the world, the Three Valleys (600 kilometres/275 pistes). The huge network of lifts and runs extends out from Courchevel 1850. The main access route to the Three Valleys is via the Verdons gondola, leading to the La Vizelle gondola and the La Saulire cable car. Skiing in the Three Valleys reaches heights of 2740 metres.

Courchevel's local ski area offers well-groomed varied runs. You'll find pretty wooded skiing and great views from the upper slopes all the way to Mont Blanc. The resort's northerly orientation, height and abundance of snowmaking means reliable snow down to 1650 so ski-in/ski-out accommodation is often possible. The snow is superior to neighbouring Meribel which gets more sun.

The modern, reliable lift system in Courchevel means queues are minimal. There are only a few lifts to avoid: the Col de la Loze and the drags on the 1650 side of Chanrossa can be slow. During peak season, the Biollay chair serving the snowpark is very popular with the ski school so queues can build here too.

Powder Day

Courchevel offers a huge amount of off-piste terrain. In good snow conditions, it's possible to ski all the way down from La Saulire to Bozelm (2000m vertical). If you're a fan of powder in the trees, hit the runs off Dou des Lanches and head down through the woods where you'll eventually join the Creux piste. To explore more extensive off-piste terrain, a good idea is to hire a guide - the Bureau des Guides runs daily off-piste excursions.

Advanced/expert skiers can explore the infamous shady couloirs at the top of the Saulire cable car - all three Couloirs used to be among the steepest black pistes in Europe, now only the Grand Couloir remains a piste and is reached via a narrow, bumpy ridge. Alternatively, hit the powder fields of Mont Vallon. Other challenging black runs include Suisses, Chanrossa and the blacks above Le Praz with a 1000-metre vertical.

Beginners/Intermediates

Families/beginners: Courchevel is a popular choice for families due to its convenient slope-side lodging and gentle nursery areas. Ski schools are well run and take children from 18 months up: ESF (+33(0)47-0807-72); New Generation (0844-484-3663) and RTM Snowboarding (+33(0)615-485-904) - the latter two run by British instructors.

Courchevel has a good selection of nursery slopes: the 1650 nursery area is located just above the village accessed via draglifts; the 1850 beginner area of Jardin Alpin is accessed by a gondola. You'll also find smaller nursery areas located at 1550 and 1300. The ‘Magnestick' system has been fitted to all fast lifts to hold children securely on chairlifts.

Freestyle for all the family: take the Biollay chair or the Rocher de l'Ombre drag up to the Family Park below Verdons and here you'll find a variety of jumps and obstacles. Two smaller fun zones are being built for the 2011/12 winter. Off the slopes, there's a popular ice rink and a ten-pin bowling alley in the Forum Centre.

Intermediates: There is a good choice of green and blue runs. Intermediates have plenty of long red runs and easy off-piste in Courchevel. There are challenging red runs from Vizelle and Saulire as well as long blue runs above 1650 and 1850.

Freestylers

Courchevel is popular among snowboarders, but more for the freeriding than the freestyle scene. There is however one main park: the Plantrey Snow Park. It is located next to the Dou de Midi piste in the Loze sector of Courchevel 1850, under the Plantrey chair. It is a big snowpark with two pipes and a range of tables and rails for all levels and is served by a free drag.

The Family Park below Verdons grows larger each year. It offers a variety of jumps and obstacles. Two smaller fun zones are being built for the 2011/12 winter.

Snowboarders will find plenty of natural freestyle terrain on the Combe Saulire (particularly around the Saulire gondola) and from La Vizelle to 1850. There are natural pipes, rollers and banks to play on.

Moguls and long flat sections are often disliked by snowboarders. The Suisses and Chanrossa black runs and the Marmottes red which often have moguls while the blue Pralon, Gravelles and Indiens runs have long flat sections where it's hard to maintain speed.

Courchevel ski resort
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Breakfast:

La Table du Jardin Alpin, Hotel de Charme Les Airelles le Jardin Alpine, Courchevel 1850 (+33(0)479-003-839). The breakfast buffet doesn't leave anything out: pancakes, waffles, eggs cooked to order, giant fruit baskets, tarts, and hot chocolate made the traditional way (thick and chocolatey).

Chez Kinou, Rue de la Chapelle, Le Praz (+33(0)479-084-290). Open from 8 a.m, this friendly creperie serves sweet and savoury pancakes to eat in or take away.

Lunch:

Courcheneige, Piste de Bellecote, Courchevel 1850 (+33(0)479-080-259). On the Bellecote ski slope, the Courcheneige brasserie offers hearty lunches on its sunny, south-facing terrace at 1900m.

La Cloche, Place du Rocher, Courchevel 1850 (+33(0)479-083-130). Right at the heart of Courchevel 1850, La Cloche is open for lunch and dinner and serves a special high-energy ski menu for the most active on the sunny terrace.

Dinner:

Le Chabichou, Rue des Chenus, Courchevel 1850 (+33(0)479-080-055). This two Michelin-star restaurant offers a fine fusion of Savoie and international dishes created by chef Michel Rochedy. Mouth-watering mains include the Tournedos steak, smoked over larch wood, with jus of spiced wine, oxtail compote, foie gras marrow and creamy potato puree with truffles.

Le Bateau Ivre, Rue des Chenus, Courchevel 1850 (+33(0)479-001-171). Courchevel is one of the few places where you'll find two-Michelin-star restaurants right next to each other. Le Bateau Ivre, next door to Le Chabichou, is on the sixth floor of the Pomme de Pin Hotel. Chef Jean Pierre Jacob prides himself on creating "inventive cuisine rich in flavour".

La Petit Savoard, Rue du Marquis, Courchevel 1650 (+33(0)479-082-744). This is a great place to head for inexpensive local dishes and wood-fired pizzas.

La Normandise, Rue des Rois, Courchevel 1550 (+33(0)479-081-618).Pancake house serving an extensive selection of sweet and savoury pancakes. Open 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Be sure to try the hot wine.

Après / Nightlife

Bar le Jump, Place du Forum, Courchevel 1850 (0479-080-900). Part of the Hotel de la Croisette at the bottom fot he slopes and the place to be as the lifts close. Great atmosphere, but, like most of 1850, it's not cheap. Open until 1 a.m.

Les Caves de Courchevel, Immeuble Porte de Courchevel, Rue des Tovets 73120, Courchevel 1850 (+33(0)4-7908-1461). This energetic nightclub, open 11 p.m to 5 a.m, up at 1850 is where the high rollers tend to head. It is known for its Jeroboams (3ltrs) of Dom Perignon or, if you are really thirsty, a Nebuchadnezzar (15ltrs) of Moet.

Courchevel ski resort
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Courchevel 1850 has the majority of smart hotels, Michelin-star restaurants, designer boutiques and nightlife, but it also has a lot of traffic and English voices. Courchevel’s other villages make up for this: 1650 has a more pleasant centre with a quiet square off the main road and traditional-style buildings; 1550 is quiet and spacious; and away from the road, La Praz (1300) offers a low-key, friendly atmosphere with rustic restaurants.

The modern, reliable lift system in Courchevel means queues are minimal. There are only a few lifts to avoid: the Col de la Loze and the drags on the 1650 side of Chanrossa can be slow. During peak season, the Biollay chair serving the snowpark is very popular with the ski school so queues can build here too.

Be sure to take the cable car up from Courchevel 1850 to the summit of Saulire (2,700m) and savour the views. Advanced skiers can then take the red and black runs all the way back down.

Fans of cross-country skiing will find a total of 60 kilometres of trails. 1300 is the most suitable village, with trails through the woods towards 1550, 1850 and Méribel. Given enough snow, there are also loops around the village.

Non-skiing activities include the two-kilometre evening toboggan runs (until 7:30pm) between Couchevel 1850 and 1550; snow rafting in an inflatable dingy; as well as snowmobiling, dog sledding, snowcat driving, ballooning; contact White Tracks (+33(0)686-123-417).

Taste the local cuisine: regional specialities include raclette, tartiflette and fondue – all of which are delicious and will replace all the energy you’ve expended on the slopes.

Elevation

  • 8982ft
    Summit
  • 4553ft
    Vertical Drop
  • 4429ft
    Base

Lifts

  • 12
  • 0
  • 6
  • 6
  • 3
  • 0
  • 0
  • 29
  • 56
    Total

Terrain

  • Beginner Runs

    20%

  • Intermediate Runs

    36%

  • Advanced Runs

    35%

  • Expert Runs

    8%

  • Runs

    93 MILES

  • Terrain Parks

    1

  • Longest Run

    6 MILES

  • Skiable Terrain

    1210 ac

Important Dates

  • Projected Opening Ski Season: 12/06/2014
  • Projected Closing Ski Season: 04/24/2015
  • Projected Days Open: 140
  • Average Snowfall: 315"

Courchevel Reviews

  • Painfull


    • 2
    28th December 2009

    Full review

      Visited each year for past twenty or so, but no more : Up the mountain a bottle of mineral water was £...
     
  • brianh


    • 2
    19th March 2009

    Full review

      It seemed they cut down all the trees to make the pistes, and in the majority of cases it is up the...
     
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Common Misspellings

  • 3 Vallées, 3-Vallées, Chourchevel, Corcheval, Corchevel, Coucehevel, Couchevel, Courcevel, Courchaval, Courchavel, Courcherval, Courcheval, Courchevelle, Coursewell, Les 3 Vallées, Les Trois Vallées

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