Tuesday, January 25, 2022
Courchevel Travel Guide - Travel S Helper

Courchevel

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Courchevel is a ski resort in the French Alps. It is a component of Les Trois Vallées, the world’s biggest connected ski region. Courchevel, France’s most glamorous alpine resort, features 11 luxury five-star hotels, six Michelin-starred restaurants, jet-set and royal clientele, luxury boutiques, and exceptional SPAs in the heart of the 3 Valleys, the world’s largest ski domain, with 372 miles of trails and slopes and 198 lifts.

Courchevel is the Three Valleys’ glossy face, where celebrities go to be seen and photographed, and the Paris jet-set arrives on private jets. However, it is not all glam and bling. There is also fantastic skiing for all levels, and it is really pretty reasonable in the lower resorts.

Courchevel offers the most diverse skiing in the Three Valleys. It boasts excellent off-piste, beautiful tree-lined lines, a decent choice of terrain for all abilities, and a cutting-edge lift system. Every day, around 60% of Courchevel’s pistes are groomed, and the majority are north-facing, ensuring good snow conditions throughout the season.

The Courchevel valley has six resort bases. In terms of height and star quality, Courchevel 1850 has the highest allure. It’s also the priciest spot to stay, dine, and drink. A regular skier’s budget may be blown just by stopping for a coffee. Although it is obvious that it is a purpose-built high altitude resort, it has mostly avoided the architectural nightmares that plagued other ski resorts of the period. And, despite the fact that half of its guests are from outside the country, it has managed to keep its Parisian stylish veneer.

Lower, more family-friendly resorts such as Courchevel 1650, 1550, and the charming ancient mountain town of Le Praz (also known as Courchevel 1300) are much more cheap. La Tania is located on the way to Meribel beyond Le Praz. Finally, at 1100m, the settlement of Saint Bon may be found at the valley’s bottom. A lone slope goes down to here if there is enough snow, but there is no lift back up, thus most people who stay here travel to the neighboring towns by vehicle each day.

Courchevel info card

Resort Altitude1300m
Highest Lift2740m
Total Piste150km
Longest Run9km
Directions of SlopesN, E, S/E, W
Total Lifts67
Gondolas/Cable cars12
Chairlifts17
Drag Lifts29
Snow Parks1

Courchevel Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Courchevel is the biggest of the Three Valleys ski regions, with 150km of piste served by 58 lifts and plenty of off-piste skiing and snowboarding. The breadth and diversity of terrain in Courchevel is unlikely to tire you, but if you get a special ski pass, you may explore an incredible 600km of piste throughout the Three Valleys network. Courchevel is linked by lifts and slopes to Méribel, Les Menuires, La Tania, and even Val Thorens. To say the overall ski area is massive would be an understatement!

Courchevel contains terrain to suit all skill levels, but the focus is on groomed cruisers and steep reds, so it’s best suited to strong intermediate to expert riders. The routes in the lower sections of the resort are tree-lined, but higher up there is a wealth of off-piste fun, ranging from simple mogulled up slopes parallel to the piste to challenging couloirs for specialists. There’s also a terrain park and a bordercross course to round out the experience.

The ski resort boasts cutting-edge lift infrastructure. Sure, there are a few sluggish lifts that are a bit of a drag (hee hee), but for the most part, they are high tech and efficient, with a reasonable distribution of gondolas for people who prefer taking their skis off!

Courchevel Beginner Skiing

Courchevel’s ski area features several simple green and blue routes, and the resort has worked hard to enhance amenities for novices of all ages, as well as to guarantee that the resort’s largely rich customers can reach the mountain restaurants as readily as possible regardless of skill.

Courchevel currently has four novice zones known as “Evolution Zones,” as well as another beginner area in La Tania. The region close to the altiport at Pralong, near Courchevel 1850, is ideal for novices. Lifts and rope tows specifically built for beginners are among the improvements, although novices may find it difficult or terrifying to ski back to Courchevel 1850 as the paths home may be a little daunting with faster ski traffic going through.

Complete novices should start in the Evolution Zone, which is located between the Biollay and Jardin Alpin ski lifts and provides the greatest access to a good network of green slopes. The green routes here also connect to the major runs that go back to Courchevel 1850, so after a nice day in the novice zone, newbies must ski back on crowded runs with stronger skiers, which may impact their confidence.

Above Courchevel 1650, there’s another nice network of nursery slopes accessible by the Mickey chairlift. When they’re ready, novices may take the Ariondaz lift to the summit of the fantastically long Praline green run. This is one of the nicest greens in the Alps, and it connects with the Belvedere green, which runs down to Courchevel 1650. The Indiens blue run, which is also in the same region, is a very pleasant course that flows delightfully through the forests.

Both La Praz and La Tania have Evolution Zones, which are accessible by the Envolee and Troika lifts, however they are tiny and the snow conditions are not as excellent as in other starting zones.

Except for the one at the altiport, all lifts to Evolution Zones are free.

Courchevel Intermediate Skiing

Courchevel’s ski area is ideal for intermediates, with a variety of well-groomed, well-connected pistes, including large open blue and red lines for cruising and some good tree-lined pistes for visibility in poor weather.

Intermediate skiers like Courchevel’s ski area, which offers a diverse range of terrain, including tree-lined and high-altitude skiing, and is exceptionally well-connected. The resort also boasts a solid snow record and a variety of tasty mountain eateries.

When it’s not crowded, the core run of Combe Saulire is fantastic, and it’s definitely worth skiing first thing in the morning before the masses have a chance to trash the snow and obstruct your course – imagine empty highway and get there early!

Similarly, the red runs from the Creux Noirs and Marmottes chairlifts are excellent, particularly the Creux red run, which takes you all the way down over various cambers and pitches to the foot of the Aiguille Du Fruit chairlift and the connection to the Roc Merlet sector. The high blue routes accessible via the Pyramide double drag are good for perfecting your turns and are often uncrowded.

Courchevel 1650 reds, notably Chapelets, Rochers, and Bel Air, are little shorter but provide excellent runs through woods and are blessed with significantly less tourists. It may be tough to return, especially for snowboarders, since the Gravelles and Pralong blues are practically flat for most of the trip, or you must use the Aiguille Du Fruit chair and then the Suisses chair to avoid the Altiport blue, which is similarly flat in spots.

Another magnificent red on the opposite side of the valley Dou du Midi is a very lengthy and suitable for the return to Courchevel 1550. The Bouc Blanc red from the Cretes chairlift is a terrific route down to the reds heading to La Tania, with its rolling humps through the forests that almost make you imagine you might be a downhill skier.

Early intermediate skiers and boarders will like the excellent blue routes from the Loze/Chenus sector down towards Courchevel 1850, while Folyeres is a lovely blue option down towards La Tania.

Courchevel Advanced & Expert Skiing

Despite the fact that just 8% of the pistes are classified as advanced, Courchevel boasts several superb black lines, including steep mogul runs, couloirs believed to be among the most challenging black runs in the world, and lots of terrific off-piste.

The steep slopes in the center of the Courchevel ski region are ideal for advanced skiers. At the summit of Courchevel, there is a great variety of couloirs, notably off Saulire. The Grande Couloir is a great pisted introduction to couloir skiing (though it is not for the faint of heart), and you may enhance the challenge by hiring a guide to teach you the numerous other couloir descents to Courchevel.

Many of the runs off Vizelle’s shoulder have great pitch, notably the black of Combe Pylones and the infrequently frequented M black. The first 150 metres of Suisses can include some of the sharpest and largest bumps you’ll ever experience. The Chanrossa black from the Chanrossa chairlift is also difficult.

If the snow is good, however, two of the greatest black runs in the Three Valleys, if not the best in the world, are from the top of Col de la Loze to Le Praz. Both the Jockeys and the Jean Blanc black runs wind down through the woods. When the World Cup series moved to Courchevel, the former World Cup downhill slope was Jean Blanc.

Both Jockeys and Jean Blanc often grow moguls in certain regions, with Jockeys featuring particularly impressive natural rollers. Ski over 1,000m of steep black down to La Praz if you start at the top of the Dou Des Lanches black line from Col de La Loze on the boundary of Meribel and connect with Jockeys at the foot of the Praz Juget lift and the top of the La Tania gondola.

Off Piste Skiing in Courchevel

Off-piste skiing at Courchevel is fantastic, with steep couloirs and powder bowls. Local powder hounds hunt out the best of it within hours following a solid dump, but local mountain guides may discover new powder months after the previous snowfall.

Off-piste skiing is plentiful in Courchevel, and the Saulire couloirs and bowl are a must in excellent conditions. There’s also some nice off-piste terrain behind the Dou des Lanches chair, which is located beneath Col de la Loze. Extreme skiers may also climb up to the championship area, which is located higher up.

There are several broad steep slopes either side of the Chanrossa chairlift, but use caution here, as well as in the region between Vizelle and Suisses, since the slopes here are avalanche-prone. Skiing from the Chanrossa chair towards the Aguille du Fruit will take you to some of the greatest slopes. From almost any point, you may rejoin the Chanrossa black run, which is difficult to navigate when covered with moguls. The off-piste here is much more approachable than anything off the Roc Merlet slope on the other side, although there is some challenging off-piste there as well.

The neighboring Vallee Des Avals is fairly wild and unpredictable, with some seriously flat areas and others that are 40 degrees steep and avalanche prone. There are two decent refuges there, both with radios, and if you have ski touring equipment (and a guide), you can skin all the way up beyond Chalet Biol 1823 to the summit of the Petit Mont Blanc (2,677m) for a spectacular day of touring.

If you go to Courchevel 1650 early in the morning with new snow, there are several wonderful paths down through the woods and beneath the lifts. There is also some fantastic off-piste skiing from the top of the Creux Noirs chair (2,705m), especially if you are willing to go a little distance to a wide, remote bowl.

From Saulire to La Croix des Verdons, there is a whole flank of couloirs and cliffs that may all be skied. There are two more paths before reaching the Grande Couloir, beginning with the steep gun barrel just under the cable car. These are reachable through a short ridge, from which you may also plunge down another couloir into Meribel without trekking. If you can resist the urge to point your skis downwards, there are numerous additional couloirs to the right that see much less traffic.

All of the couloirs are steep with varied widths at the top via the rocks and then stretch out into a broad flank of steep off-piste descending down to Combe Saulire’s piste. However, if you stay high and make your way over the side, you may tuck in behind a big rocky outcrop to reach a massive bowl of snow immediately above the Lac Bleu chair and visible on the piste map.

When skiing off-piste, you should be adequately equipped with an avalanche beacon and probes, and you should employ a competent mountain guide to safely direct you to the finest snow conditions. A competent guide will most likely assist you improve your off-piste technique, unlike your closest friends, whose powder turns are likely no better than yours and who will be less useful in an emergency.

Courchevel Snowboarding

Courchevel offers a lot to offer boarders and the new generation of freestyle skiers, including three terrain parks, the greatest of which is the Plantrey Snow Park, which contains a half-pipe for intermediate and above riders.

Courchevel has three freeride zones for boarders and freestylers, the greatest of which is the Plantrey Snow Park in the Loze district, near to the Dou du Midi line. This is the only terrain park having a half-pipe, however it is only available to intermediate and above riders. The other two terrain parks above Courchevel 1850 are accessible to all levels and provide a diverse range of jumps.

There are natural pipes, rollers, and other items to play with all the way down the Combe Saulire, especially immediately before the start of the Saulire gondola. Underneath Vizelle is also entertaining. The Gravelles, Pralong, and Indiens blues should be avoided since they feature long flat stretches. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the blacks of Suisses and Chanrossa, as well as the red of Marmottes, often feature moguls.

The piste map emphasizes the most challenging drag lifts, although apart from these, most riders will have no trouble with the draglifts.

Snow Conditions in Courchevel

The pistes are always impeccably groomed thanks to over 470 snow cannons and 22 piste bashers, and snow is possibly more dependable than in the other three Valleys due to the majority of the slopes being North facing.

Courchevel Ski Chalets

Iglu Ski, which is divided into four communities, offers a diverse range of Courchevel chalets. Book a luxury Courchevel chalet in the prestigious resort of Courchevel (1850), experience a family skiing trip in Courchevel Le Praz with a group chalet, or explore the pulsating nightlife of Courchevel Moriond with a group chalet; whatever your preference, Iglu Ski has a Courchevel chalet to suit you.

Family Skiing in Courchevel

Courchevel is an excellent resort, particularly for novices. There are several smooth, wide blue routes that are ideal for first-time skiers and snowboarders, as well as youngsters. Courchevel is a family-friendly resort that offers a variety of non-ski activities such as bowling, ice skating, hot air balloon flights, shopping, and sledding. There are several ski schools to keep youngsters safe throughout the day and to assist them in making their first turns.

Après-ski, Restaurants and Activities in Courchevel

Off the slopes, there is enough to keep the entire family occupied in Courchevel. Over 20 bars can be found throughout the towns for exciting après ski, after dinner cocktails, or late night dance. Adults will appreciate the variety of boutiques and stores, while children will enjoy the resort’s play areas and entertaining activities.

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