Courchevel - Ski Resort and Snow Summary
Courchevel - Ski Resort in The Three Valleys, French Alps - 150km of Piste (1300m to 2740m)
Arguably France's most exclusive resort, well located in the world's largest truly inter-connected ski area (Trois Vallées) and with some of Europe's best infrastructure, Courchevel would rate in the top 10 selection of resorts around the world for most dedicated skiers. Courchevel has it's own special Charter which ensures hotels, restaurants, shops and other businesses provide the best possible service and open as advertised throughout the season. The resort is made up of four different base stations, all self-contained villages and all known by their altitudes, except for 1300 which still calls itself Le Praz. The best known is Courchevel 1850.
Key Facts for Courchevel
|66km||Cross Country Pistes|
The French ski resort of Courchevel is part of the Three Valleys ski area with access to 600km of downhill skiing, with 497 individual pistes, served by 200 ski lifts. In addition to the skiing in Courchevel itself (150km of pisted ski runs), the appropriate ski Lift Pass will allow you to ski or snowboard in the other Three Valleys ski resorts of La Tania, Les Menuires, Méribel, Saint Martin de Belleville and Val Thorens.
With pistes above 2500 metres, skiing and snowboarding is assured throughout the season.
Snowmaking :- Courchevel is able to augment natural snow, on 21km of ski runs, with 617 Snow Cannons.
Ski Lift Capacity :- The 67 Ski Lifts of Courchevel are able to uplift 68,350 skiers / snowboarders per hour.
There are five Airports within two hours drive, so ski weekends, snowboard breaks and short ski holidays to Courchevel are perfectly feasible. Chambery Airport is just one hours drive away, in good driving conditions, so you can be on the piste quickly.
Skiing in Courchevel
Courchevel's skiing is, of course, amongst the world's best, its own valley providing 150km (nearly 100 miles) of marked trails for all standards as well as excellent off-piste opportunities with one of the many professional guides. The ski area is especially pleasant having one of the highest tree-lines in the Alps, up at 2300 metres (just over 7500 feet).
The Courchevel Valley, which is a part of the huge lift linked Trois Vallées ski circus, is itself divided in to five sec-tions, nominally at least - Loze, Biolley, Saulire, Tania and Moriond. Beginners will find long wide greens and blues above the resort, including the Jardin Alpin trail served by the gondola lift of the same name. Higher up the mountain green and blues include Plan Mugnier, Montagne Russe and The Pyramide run from the top of Roc Merlet which continue down to 1650 via the Indiens run. There are also 8 free drag lifts for beginners spread over the ski area, 3 of them at 1850, 2 at 1650, 1 at 1550, 1 at Le Prag and 1 at La Tania.
Intermediates will find probably the world's best selection of blue and red trails in the Courchevel Valley and the easily accessed additional terrain of the 3 Vallées, one of the best red runs is 'Park City', named after Courchevel's twin-resort in Utah. The runs from La Saulire are some of the most challenging, and it is here too that experts will discover some of Europe's most challenging couloirs - known as 'The Ugly Sisters' and graded black but in some cases nearly 'off the scale' in reality.
Experts have plenty besides to entertain in the Trois Vallées and around Courchevel in particular. Some of the best loved blacks in the valley in-clude the steep and mogul covered Jockeys or Jean Blanc. Another long black mogul run is accessed from the Chanrossa lift after the huge Les Creux bowl. Off piste opportunities are enormous and guides may take you to the empty expanses beneath Le Signal. Heliskiing is available through the Mountain Guides office, which is also your starting point for courses or tours in glacier skiing, off piste, powder and extreme.
Courchevel boasts one of the largest armies of ski and snowboarding instructors in the world, there are 1000 and teaching all levels of all snow sports dis-ciplines and each able to speak a number of languages. The six ski schools include three branches of the ESF (Ecole du ski Français & Supreme Ski School) at 1850, 1650 and 1550. Most unusual is the Supreme Ski School which employs British ski instruc-tors who are qualified to both British and French standards and approved by the French Ministry of Youth and Sport.
There is a floodlit slope (open until 7pm nightly) above Courchevel 1650.
Snowboarding in Courchevel
There are two specially created areas. The Plantrey park is exclusively for 'boarders and features half pipe, baby pipe, table, hips and a lot of neat stuff. The Verdons canyons is open to all sliders, regardless of what you have strapped to your feet - including skis, boards, blades or Big Foot, the one and only objective is weightlessness. Less official highlights are found by the Biollay chair where a ridge called The Lip is a popular spot for getting big air. Extreme snowboard guiding is available from the Mountain Guides office. Of course Courchevel has huge on and off-piste opportunities to offer the 'boarder also. There’s also a Family Park under Verdon cable car.
Courchevel Aprés Ski
Après ski options vary according to the level of Courchevel you stay at, with by far the most happening at Courchevel 1850 where it's possible to play 'spot the celebrity' most nights (knowing the domestic French ones will be particularly useful for this!).
A bus links all levels of the resort with additional gondolas to 1550 and Le Praz. The night-time emphasis tends to vary between 'sophisticated' or 'quiet' depending on where you are, rarely getting very lively except in individual establishments. Courchevel 1850, in the former category, has the most famous discothèque - Les Caves, as well as the La Grange and Le Club, at 1650, nightclub open until dawn, although some of the bars such as Le Kalico stay open with dancing through to 4am.
Popular places include La Saulire, also known as Jack's, L'Equipe, L'Accord and TJ's. There are cinemas and bridge clubs at both 1850 and 1650 with backgammon and billiards available in 1850. Classical music concerts and piano recitals are staged throughout the season. The weekly evening descents on the 2.3km long toboggan run is usually worth attending, if only for the mulled wine afterwards.
For unique après ski ideas you may consider options suggested by the resort's Animations service who will organise group entertainments including treasure hunts, snow games and themed 'Native American' or traditional Savoyard parties. Be wary of the local Mutzig beer - it's extremely potent!
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Courchevel in brief
Courchevel Ski Resort is:
Excellent for Expert Skiers.
Excellent for Intermediate Skiers.
Good for Beginners.
Very good for Snowboarding.
Courchevel Season Dates
Opened : December 7, 2013.
Closes : April 25, 2014.
Usual opening - Early Dec.
Usual closing - Late April.
NOTE:- Opening subject to Snow Conditions in Courchevel.
Courchevel Piste Map