Courchevel resort guide Ski area, apres-ski, things to see & do in Courchevel
Ski holidays in Courchevel are not all about the chic top resort of 1850. It comes as a suprise to many people that Courchevel is actually a collection of 5 villages starting with Saint Bon at 1100m. This is where the modern Courchevel was born and has been attracting guests in its first hotel since 1925. While there are no ski lifts starting from the village, there is a free shuttle service running every 20 minutes to the heart of the ski area but you can ski back on a red run. Then there is Courchevel 1300, 1550, 1650 and finally 1850.
Courchevel ski area guide
Courchevel has 150km of pistes served by 62 chairlifts which is more than enough for any beginner. However, for the slightly more advanced, Les 3 Vallées opens up a whole new world where you can ski all day and never ski the same piste twice - the skiable area is simply vast.
Les 3 Vallées boasts 330 runs covering 600km of runs within 400km² of stunning mountain scenery and linking to resorts such as:
And, if that isn't enough, the Tarentaise Valley is also home to some other famous ski resorts such as Les Arcs and La Plagne. Armed with a weekly lift pass for Meribel/Les Trois Vallées, you can ski a day in each of them.
|Key information (whole area)|
|Longest run||8 km|
|Cross country||66 km|
|Season||Dec - April|
|Apres ski||Sophisticated, Lively & Fun|
With 85% of the ski area above 1800m and a third of the area covered by 728 snow cannons, snow is virtually guaranteed which is a big plus if you are going early or late season meaning the resorts runs will be open. There is nothing worse than having to queue up at end of the day to get the lift back down!!
The level of difficulty of the pistes are split between 13% green, 39% blue, 38% red and 10% black, which means that practically half of the runs are easy and half are for experts.
If you’re a beginner, the “ZEN” and fun zones are for you, with 27 green runs and 44 blue runs to get you skiing in a safe environment.
There are literally so many blue and red pistes to choose from you'll be spoilt for choice. One of the best day trips is a ski over to the Maurienne Valley via Val Thorens but make sure you leave plenty of time to get back!!
Courchevel offers much steeper skiing than it's neighbouring resort of Méribel. For long challenging decents however, you need to ski over to the glacier at the top of Val Thorens which around 2 hours.
Around Courchevel, there are 66km of prepared cross-country tracks that wind through the forests.
Beginner and intermediate snowboarders will love the long blues and reds whilst the more advanced have virtually unlimited options throughout the Les 3 Vallees.
Things to see & do
For those days where you simply don't want to put skis on or the weather conditions aren't that great, there are plenty of other outdoor activities to hand:
- Snow shoeing
- Dog sledding
- Ice climbing
- Ice skating on the Olympic rink
- In-door swimming pool with flumes
- Go-karting on ice
Quiet and relaxing to extreme partying is what the various villages have to offer - there is literally that much choice. If you are planning a night out in 1850, be prepared for the hefty bar bills!
There are stacks of restaurants throuhout all the Courchevel villages that serve a wide variety of cuisine ranging from hearty local specialities to fine gourmet dishes from Europe and around the world. There are also plenty of cafés and pizzerias.
Featured ski chalets
The accommodation ranges enormously in terms of quality and price. Courcheval 1850 is certainly the most expensive and has the glitzy lodges and chalets whereas Courchevel 1300 is more of a traditional, value for money all year round village.
1300 - Le Praz
Le Praz is a real traditional mountain hamlet oozing with atmosphere through it's narrow winding streets. Surrounded by dense forests, there are some great tree runs around the village but also direct access up to Courchevel 1850.
Great for families and excellent value for money with fast direct access to 1850. The sledging run starting from 1850 and ending back in the village is a must and great fun with the kids.
The skiing around Courchevel 1650 is largely green and blue runs and perfect for beginners and families. This is very much a ski resort in its own right and it's centre is busy with shops, some excellent restaurants and some great bars.
Chic and luxurious with a rich international clientele - not a place to go out if you are on a budget!
Our view on Courchevel
A collection of villages all with their own style and characterbut the the key thing they all have in common is the superb skiing throughout Les 3 Vallees. A few suggestions...
- In just a couple of hours you can ski to the summit of the the Trois Vallées massif, the Pointe de Thorens (3266 m) at Val Thorens. This is a great touring trip for the day but make sure you leave enough time to get back
- Courchevel 1850 is seriously expensive and if you are looking for your money to go further, we would recommend Courchevel 1550 or 1650
If you like skiing in Courchevel, also worth looking at are the all year round ski resorts of Beaver Creek and Vail in the Rocky Mountains, Colorado. Chic and sophisticated with a huge amount of skiing on your doorstep and the resorts are only 15 minutes away from each other.