Courchevel

Ski Resort in France

Introduction

Courchevel is a French Alps ski resort. It is a part of Les Trois Vallées, the largest linked ski areas in the world. The most glamorous alpine resort in France, Courchevel features 11 luxury five stars hotels, 6 restaurants awarded with the Michelin star, jet-set and royal clientele, luxury boutiques, 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 glamorous face of the Three Valleys, where celebrities go to be seen and photographed and the Paris jet-set fly in on their private planes. But it's not all glitz and bling. There is also excellent skiing to suit all standards, and in the lower villages it's actually quite affordable.

Courchevel has the most varied skiing in the Three Valleys. It has superb off-piste, wonderful tree-lined runs, a good range of terrain for all levels, and a state-of-the-art lift system. Around 60% of Courchevel's pistes are groomed every day and mosts are north-facing so excellent snow conditions are the norm throughout the season.

There are six resort bases in the Courchevel valley. Courchevel 1850 carries the most allure, both in terms of altitude and star quality. It's also the most expensive place to stay, eat and drink in. Just stopping for a coffee can blow a hole in a normal skier's budget. Although you can tell it's a purpose-built, high altitude resort, it mostly escaped the architectural horrors that were inflicted on other ski resorts iof its era. And somehow, it's retained its veneer of Parisian chic, even though half its visitors come from abroad.

The lower, more family-friendly resorts of Courchevel 1650, 1550 and the pretty old mountain village of Le Praz (sometimes called Courchevel 1300) are much more affordable. Beyond Le Praz on the road to Meribel, is La Tania. Finally at the bottom of the valley is the village of Saint Bon at 1100m. If there is good snow cover, a solitary piste runs down to this, but there is no lift back up, so most people who stay here commute to the other villages by car each day.


Courchevel Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Courchevel is the largest of the Three Valleys ski areas with 150km of piste serviced by 58 lifts, and a massive amount of off-piste skiing and snowboarding. You probably won’t get bored with the amount and variety of terrain at Courchevel, but if you buy a special ski pass, you can explore an amazing 600km of piste across the Three Valleys network. Courchevel is interconnected via the lifts and slopes with Méribel, Les Menuires, La Tania and as far as Val Thorens. Massive would be an understatement to describe the size of the total ski area!

Courchevel has a good range of terrain for all ability levels, but the emphasis is on lots of groomed cruisers and steep reds, so it’s particularly well suited to strong intermediate to advanced riders. In the lower reaches of the resort, the runs are tree-lined, whilst further up there is a huge amount of off-piste delight, varying from easy mogulled up slopes next to the piste to the couloirs that are somewhat testing for experts. To round things off, there’s also a terrain park and bordercross course.

The ski resort has state of the art lift infrastructure. Sure there are a few slow lifts that are a bit of a drag (hee hee), but mostly they’re high tech and efficient, and there’s a good distribution of gondolas for those that enjoy taking their skis off!


Courchevel Beginner Skiing

Courchevel’s ski area includes plenty of easy green and blue runs and the resort has worked hard to improve facilities for beginners of all ages and to ensure that the resort’s mostly wealthy clientele can access the mountain restaurants as easily as possible regardless of ability.

Courchevel's ski area now includes four beginner areas, known as "Evolution Zones," and another beginners' area in La Tania. Best for beginners is the area next to the altiport at Pralong, near Courchevel 1850. Beginner-friendly improvements include lifts and rope tows specially designed for beginners, but novices may find it difficult or intimidating to ski back to Courchevel 1850 as the runs home can be a bit daunting with faster ski traffic coming through. 

Complete beginners would be better off starting at the Evolution Zone sandwiched between the Biollay and Jardin Alpin ski lifts, which provide the best access to a good network of green runs. The green runs here also link to the main runs leading back to Courchevel 1850 so here too after a good day in the beginner zone beginners have to ski back on busy runs with better skiers, which may affect their confidence. 

There's another good network of nursery slopes above Courchevel 1650, which is accessed by riding the Mickey chairlift. Then, when ready to progress, beginners can ride the Ariondaz lift to the top of the wonderfully long Praline green run. This is one of the best greens in the Alps and links up with the Belvedere green run down to Courchevel 1650. Also in the same sector, the Indiens blue run is very gentle run that winds beautifully through the trees.

Both La Praz and La Tania have Evolution Zones, accessed by the Envolee and Troika lifts, but they are small and snow conditions here are not as good as some other beginner zones. 

All lifts to Evolution Zones are free, apart from to the one at the altiport.


Courchevel Intermediate Skiing

Courchevel’s ski area is great for intermediates with plenty of well-groomed, well-linked pistes including wide open blue and red runs for crusiing and some excellent tree-lined pistes, which aid visibility in bad weather.

Intermediate skiers love Courchevel's ski area which has an interesting mix of terrain including tree-lined and high-altitude skiing, all of which is extremely well-linked. The resort also has a good snow record and lots of nice mountain restaurants. 

The central run of Combe Saulire is marvellous when not busy and well worth skiing first thing in the morning before the crowds have chance to trash the snow up and block your route - think empty motorway and get there early! 

Likewise, the red runs off the Creux Noirs and Marmottes chairlifts are spectacular, especially the Creux red run, which takes you all the way down through different cambers and pitches to the base of the Aiguille Du Fruit chair and the link to the Roc Merlet sector. There, the high blue runs accessed by the Pyramide double drag are excellent for improving your turns and are often uncrowded.

The reds of Courchevel 1650, particularly Chapelets, Rochers and Bel Air may be slightly short but are wonderful runs through trees and are blessed by far less crowds. It can often be difficult to get back, particularly for snowboarders, as the Gravelles and Pralong blues are essentially flat for much of the way or you have to take the Aiguille Du Fruit chair and then the Suisses chair if you want to avoid the Altiport blue, which is also flat in places. 

On the other side of the valley Dou du Midi is another stellar red, which is very long and perfect for the return home to Courchevel 1550. The Bouc Blanc red off the Cretes chairlift is a great run down towards the reds leading to La Tania, whose rolling humps through the trees almost lead you to believe that you could be a downhill skier.

Early intermediate skiers and boarders will enjoy the fine blue runs from the Loze/Chenus sector back towards Courchevel 1850 and Folyeres is a pretty blue alternative down towards La Tania.


Courchevel Advanced & Expert Skiing

Although only 8% of pistes are designated advanced, Courchevel has some excellent black runs including steep mogul runs, couloirs reputed to be among the most difficult black runs in the world and plenty of good off-piste.

The steep slopes in the centre of Courchevel's ski area are excellent for strong skiers. There is a huge range of couloirs at the top of Courchevel, particularly off Saulire. The Grande Couloir is a wonderful pisted introduction to couloir skiing (though by no means gentle) and you can increase the difficulty by hiring a guide to show you the many other couloirs descents to Courchevel. 

Many of the runs off the shoulder of Vizelle have an excellent pitch, particularly the black of Combe Pylones and the M black, which is rarely visited. The first 150 metres of Suisses often has some of the steepest and biggest bumps you will see anywhere. The Chanrossa black off the Chanrossa chairlift is similarly testing. 

If the snow cover is good, however, two of the best black runs, perhaps in the whole of the Three Valleys, are from the top of Col de la Loze to Le Praz. Both Jockeys and Jean Blanc black runs wind tightly down through the trees. Jean Blanc was the old World Cup downhill piste when the World Cup tour went to Courchevel. 

Both Jockeys and Jean Blanc usually develop moguls in certain sections and Jockeys in particular features fantastic natural rollers. If you start at the top of the Dou Des Lanches black run from Col de La Loze on the border of Meribel and link up with Jockeys at the base of the Praz Juget lift and the top of the La Tania gondola you can ski nearly 1,000m of vertical black down to La Praz.


Off Piste Skiing in Courchevel

Courchevel has some excellent off-piste skiing including steep couloirs and powder bowls. You will need to be quick off the mark as the local powder hounds track out the best of it within hours of a decent dump, but the local mountain guides can find fresh powder long after the last snowfall.

There is plenty of off-piste skiing in Courchevel and the Saulire couloirs and bowl are an absolute must in good conditions. There's also good off-piste terrain under the Dou des Lanches chair beneath Col de la Loze. Extreme skiers can also hike up to the championship area higher up. 

There are some wide steep slopes either side of the Chanrossa chairlift, but take care here and in the area between Vizelle and Suisses, as the slopes here are avalanche-prone. Some of the best slopes can be reached by skiing from the Chanrossa chair towards the Aguille du Fruit. You can rejoin the Chanrossa black run, which is hard work when covered with moguls, from virtually any point. The off-piste here is a lot more accessible than anything off the Roc Merlet piste on the other side, but there too you can find some testing off-piste. 

The nearby Vallee Des Avals is quite wild and variable including some seriously flat sections and others that are 40 degrees steep and prone to avalanche. There are two good refuges there, both equipped with radio, and if you have ski touring equipment (and a guide) you can skin all the way up past the Chalet Biol 1823 to the top of the Petit Mont Blanc (2,677m) for a fantastic day's touring. 

Go to Courchevel 1650 early after fresh snow and there are lots of nice routes down through the trees and under the lifts. There is also some excellent off-piste skiing from the top of the Creux Noirs chair (2,705m), particularly if you are prepared for a short walk which brings you to a large, secluded bowl. 

Looking right from Saulire to La Croix des Verdons, there's a whole flank of couloirs and cliffs that can all be skied. Starting with the steep gun barrel directly underneath the cable car, there are two other routes before you come to the Grande Couloir. These are accessed along a narrow ridge, where you can also drop off down another couloir into Meribel, and which does not involve any walking. If you can resist the temptation to point your skis downhill, there are several more couloirs that get a lot less traffic further along to the right. 

All of the couloirs are steep with varying widths at the top through the rocks and then open out into the wide flank of steep off-piste leading down to the piste of Combe Saulire. Stay high and continue working your way across the flank, however, and you can tuck in behind a large rocky outcrop to reach a huge bowl of powder, directly above the Lac Bleu chair and visible on the piste map.

When skiing off-piste you should be properly equipped with an avalanche beacon and probes and hire a qualified mountain guide to lead you to the best snow conditions in safety. A good guide will likely help you improve your technique off-piste, unlike your best mates whose powder turns are probably no better than yours and who will not be as helpful to you in an emergency.


Courchevel Snowboarding

Courchevel has plenty to offer boarders and the new school generation of freestyle skiers including three terrain parks, the best of which is the Plantrey Snow Park which includes a half-pipe for intermediates riders and above.

Boarders are well served in Courchevel with three freeride areas for boarders and freestylers, the best of which is the Plantrey Snow Park next to the Dou de Midi piste in the Loze sector. This is the only terrain park with a half-pipe, but it's only open to riders of intermediate level or above. The other two terrain parks above Courchevel 1850 are open to all abilities and include a good mix of jumps.

All the way down the Combe Saulire there are natural pipes, rollers and things to play with, particularly just before the start of the Saulire gondola. Underneath Vizelle is fun, too. Runs to avoid are the Gravelles, Pralong and Indiens blues, which have large flat sections. At the other end of the scale, the blacks of Suisses and Chanrossa often have moguls as does the Marmottes red.

The piste map highlights the more difficult drag lifts, but other than these the draglifts present few problems for most riders.


Snow Conditions in Courchevel

With over 470 snow cannons and 22 piste bashers, the pistes are always immaculately groomed and snow is perhaps more reliable than the rest of the 3 Valleys as most of the slopes are North facing.


Courchevel Ski Chalets

Separated into 4 villages, Iglu Ski has a wide selection of Courchevel chalets to choose from. Book a luxury Courchevel chalet in the exclusive resort of Courchevel (1850), enjoy a family skiing holiday in Courchevel Le Praz with a family or discover the buzzing nightlife of Courchevel Moriond with a group chalet, whatever your choice Iglu Ski has a Courchevel chalet to suit you.


Family Skiing in Courchevel

Courchevel is a fantastic resort, especially for beginners. There are lots of smooth wide blue runs which are perfect for new skiers or snowboarders and children. Courchevel is a family friendly resort with many non-ski activities, including bowling, ice skating, hot air balloon rides, shopping and sledging. There are many ski schools to keep children well looked after during the day and to help them progress through their first turns.


Après-ski, Restaurants and Activities in Courchevel

There are plenty of things to do in Courchevel to keep the whole family entertained off the slopes. There are over 20 bars across the villages for lively après ski, after dinner drinks or late night dancing. Adults will enjoy the varied boutiques and shops while children will love the play areas and exciting activities to do in resort.

Other activities include:

  • Big Air Bag
  • Bowling
  • Cookery Courses
  • Fat Biking
  • Gym and Fitness
  • Hand Gliding
  • Heli-Tours
  • Hot-Air Balloon
  • Ice-Skating
  • Language Courses
  • Library
  • Micro-lighting
  • Paragliding
  • Private Functions
  • Sightseeing
  • Skydiving
  • Sledging
  • Snow Cat Driving
  • Snow-Scooter
  • Snowmobiling
  • Snowshoeing
  • Themed Evenings
  • Torchlight Decent
  • Ski Visits

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

Transportation - Get In


By plane

The nearest major airport is in Geneva, 149 km away, but there are regular flights to the smaller airport of Chambery and also many visitors fly to Lyon or Grenoble. It is also possible to fly into the resort by private plane or helicopter although the airport is one of the most dangerous in the world as it has a very short runway of only 525 m.

  • Heli Securite provides executive helicopter transfers to/from Courchevel. Heli Securite's pilots have years of flying experience and are highly skilled in landing in Courchevel. Helicopter charter is the best way to get to this hip resort. Getting to the French Alps by car is time-consuming and often challenging, whereas the helicopter will get you to a destination of your choice in no time and in the lap of luxury. For more information, visit Heli Securite website.

Airport Transfers to Courchevel

There are lots of companies offering private or shared transfers to Courchevel from Geneva, Chambery, Lyon and Grenoble airports and it's worth checking transfer arrangements and prices before booking your flights. If you're flying during the week, especially to Chambery or Lyon, you can end up paying through the roof for a transfer if there are no other groups to share with, and public transport alternatives are not always available.


By train

The nearest rail station is Moutiers, which is just 24km from Courchevel. There are direct trains to and from Moutiers from London, Paris, and Chambery. Eurostar operates a ski service from London to the French Alps - Bourg St Maurice, Aime-la-Plagne, Moutiers and Bride-les-Bains) - from mid-December to mid-April, with direct trains departing London and Ashford (Kent) on Friday evenings for the overnight service and on Saturday mornings for the day service. Return trains leave the French Alps on Saturday mornings and Saturday evenings. For rail travel outside these times, take the Eurostar to Paris then the TGV to Moutiers. 

Accommodation & Hotels


Property Location: With a stay at Hôtel Le Strato in Courchevel (Courchevel 1850), you'll be minutes from Etoiles and Jardin Alpin 2 Gondola. This 5-star hotel is within close proximity of Jardin Alpin 3 Gondola and Jardin Alpin 1 Gondola.

Rooms: Make yourself at home in one of the 25 guestrooms featuring minibars and flat-screen televisions. Rooms have private balconies. Complimentary wireless Internet access keeps you connected, and satellite programming is available for your entertainment. Bathrooms have shower/tub combinations and hair dryers.

Amenities: Pamper yourself with a visit to the spa, which offers massages. You're sure to appreciate the convenience of ski-in/ski-out access at this hotel, which also features a health club and an indoor pool. Additional amenities at this hotel include complimentary wireless Internet access, concierge services, and babysitting/childcare (surcharge). Guests can catch a ride to nearby destinations on the complimentary area shuttle.

Dining: Satisfy your appetite at the hotel's restaurant, which serves breakfast and dinner, or stay in and take advantage of room service (during limited hours). Quench your thirst with your favorite drink at a bar/lounge.

Business, Other Amenities: Featured amenities include a business center, express check-in, and express check-out.

LE STRATO SUMMARY
  • With an excellent TrustScore of 99, this hotel is one of the top 9% in its city. Guests highly recommend it because of its service.


Hotel Manalil is located in Courchevel 1650 with direct access to the ski runs. It features a heated indoor swimming pool, a sauna, a hammam, a hair salon and a gym. Guests can enjoy a drink on the sun terrace.

  • GOOD TO KNOW
    • Friendly service
  • HOTEL MANALI SUMMARY
    • With an excellent TrustScore of 94, this hotel is one of the top 1% in its city. Guests highly recommend it because of its service, location and Vibe.


L Apogee Courchevel is located in an extraordinarily pretty location on the very top of the former Olympic ski jump with fabulous views all the way down the valley. The 53 rooms are designed with chic individualism and combine a cosy warmth with spaciousness. Our penthouse and chalets are designed to a level beyond luxury with a rooftop Jacuzzi and private Spas. The worlds most enthusiastic skiers and their families can enjoy the finest holiday imaginable-at this premier French resort-with our ski in ski out facilities and a first class Ski Room. For non-skiers there are plenty of other snowy activities from sledding to snowshoe safaris and stylish shopping in our own arcade- while Le Spa de L Apogee is a destination in itself with pure therapy and a beautiful pool. For the children we have created a VIP club which is the largest and the most fun in Courchevel 1850. Dining is a relaxed and sociable scene with acclaimed cuisine-a French menu in Le Comptoir de L Apogee and Japanese in Koori. Le Bar de L Apogee is an attractively sophisticated rendez-vous and there s also a snug Cigar Lounge. L Apogee Courchevel is an alpine retreat where guests can relax in effortless style.

  • GOOD TO KNOW
    • Friendly service
  • L'APOGEE COURCHEVEL SUMMARY
    • With an excellent TrustScore of 90, this hotel is one of the top 19% in its city. Guests highly recommend it because of its service.


Property Location: Located in Courchevel (Les 3 Vallees), Le Saint Joseph is minutes from Skateway Forum and Chenus Gondola. This 5-star hotel is within close proximity of Verdons Gondola and Jardin Alpin 1 Gondola.

Rooms: Make yourself at home in one of the 16 air-conditioned rooms featuring iPod docking stations and minibars. Complimentary wireless Internet access keeps you connected, and flat-screen televisions are provided for your entertainment. Private bathrooms with bathtubs or showers feature designer toiletries and hair dryers. Conveniences include phones, as well as safes and desks.

Amenities: Relax at the full-service spa, where you can enjoy massages, body treatments, and facials. Skiers will be in heaven, but there are recreational options available for non-skiers as well, which include a spa tub. This hotel also features complimentary wireless Internet access, concierge services, and ski storage. The complimentary ski shuttle makes getting to the slopes a breeze.

Dining: Grab a bite at one of the hotel's 2 restaurants, or stay in and take advantage of room service (during limited hours). Quench your thirst with your favorite drink at a bar/lounge.

Business, Other Amenities: Featured amenities include dry cleaning/laundry services, a 24-hour front desk, and an elevator (lift). Self parking (subject to charges) is available onsite.

  • GOOD TO KNOW
    • Friendly service
  • LE SAINT JOSEPH SUMMARY
    • With an excellent TrustScore of 92, this hotel is one of the top 4% in its city. Guests highly recommend it because of its service, location and breakfast.


The hotel offers a comfort-class stop-over in one of the hotel’s 20 rooms. They are spacious and welcoming, their brushed aluminum and wood decor is reminiscent of the subdued atmosphere. Each room is equipped with modern and avant-garde facilities. The hotel offers the guest the Seizena Hotel Restaurant. Inside this spacious cabin you’ll find comfortable tables or a large raised table where you can eat standing. At each gastronomic stop-over, savor the excellence of an international meal where the five continents’ savory delights are highlighted.

  • GOOD TO KNOW
    • Friendly service
  • LE SEIZENA SUMMARY
    • With an excellent TrustScore of 92, this hotel is one of the top 7% in its city. Guests highly recommend it because of its service and location.

 


  • GOOD TO KNOW
    • Rooms could be larger
    • Friendly service
    • Nice building
  • WHITE 1921 COURCHEVEL SUMMARY
    • This hotel has an excellent TrustScore of 91. Guests highly recommend it because of its service, location and amenities.

 


Ideally situated in the heart of Courchevel in the City Centre; at the foot of the slopes and a stones throw away from all the restaurants and luxury shops; the 5 Star Hotel Les Suites de la Potiniere allows you to benefit from and participate in the lively atmosphere of the resort. Our 15 spacious suites; inspired by contemporary decor; our exceptional penthouse apartment; our lounge bar and Spa; using only innovative 100pct natural products; enable you to appreciate all aspects of a luxury mountain stay in an enchanting resort full of surprises. Situated at a height of 1850m; the resort of Courchevel offers a perfect balance between those passionate about their skiing and those more passionate about their apres ski-650kms of slopes for the former; and shops; gourmet restaurants and a pulsating night life for the latter. The service is like that of years gone by - personalised; warm; friendly and attentive; yet discrete - all there to make you feel privileged and pampered. The hotel shuttle is available to you for your trips to the Courchevel Resort and Internet access; soft drinks from the mini bar and a video library are all included in our prices. The apres-ski in Courchevel is something worth discovering; either as a family; amongst friends or as a couple. Our concierge will be able to advise you on the best shopping; gourmet restaurants and night life depending on your individual desires. Les Suites de la Potiniere is your gateway to the vibrant life of the resort. The hotel has paid private covered parking and there is also free outdoor public parking nearby.


Les Monts Charvin is an eco-friendly hotel set in an old Savoyard chalet, ideally located in the heart of Courchevel 1850 in the 3 Valleys ski domain. This hotel offers comfortable rooms with a simple and modern decoration.

  • WHAT KIND OF HOTEL
    • Guests recommend this hotel for solo travelers.
    • This is a wonderful boutique hotel, as guests say.
  • GOOD TO KNOW
    • Beautiful architecture
    • Stylish hotel
    • Comfortable beds
    • Friendly service
  • LES MONTS CHARVIN SUMMARY
    • This hotel has an excellent TrustScore of 89. Guests highly recommend it because of its service, location and breakfast.

 


Stop at Hotel de La Loze to discover the wonders of Saint-Bon-Tarentaise. Both business travelers and tourists can enjoy the hotel's facilities and services. To be found at the hotel are free Wi-Fi in all rooms, 24-hour front desk, facilities for disabled guests, luggage storage, Wi-Fi in public areas. Designed for comfort, selected guestrooms offer slippers, internet access – wireless (complimentary), air conditioning, heating, desk to ensure a restful night. Entertain the hotel's recreational facilities, including sauna, skiing, steamroom. Friendly staff, great facilities and close proximity to all that Saint-Bon-Tarentaise has to offer are three great reasons you should stay at Hotel de La Loze.

  • GOOD TO KNOW
    • Friendly service
    • Rooms could be larger
    • Impressive bathroom
  • HÔTEL DE LA LOZE SUMMARY
    • With an excellent TrustScore of 87, this hotel is one of the top 12% in its city. Guests highly recommend it because of its location, service and breakfast.

 

Ski Area

Courchevel's ski area is a well-balanced mix of different terrain and runs with intriguing contours. Courchevel’s well-groomed pistes (150km) are especially good for beginners (59%) and intermediates (33%) and there’s plenty of good off-piste for experts.

Courchevel's ski area is a well-balanced mix of different terrain, clearly defined ski areas for different levels of ability and runs with intriguing contours both above and below the tree-line. The heart of the ski area is Courchevel 1850, which has a range of different gondolas and chairs heading south, east and west out of the resort base known as La Croisette. 

Saulire (2,738m), directly above Courchevel, is accessed by the Verdons gondola and then either the emblematic Saulire cable car or the 12-man Vizelle gondola. Between and around these two lift stations lies a playground for stronger intermediates and advanced skiers, giving access to a whole range of couloirs and steep reds and blacks. Off the back of here is also the primary way down into Meribel and the rest of the Three Valleys network.

There are several different ways to get from the centre of the resort to Col de la Loze (2,274m), which is on the right-hand side of the piste map. The Chenus bubble is quite slow so you are better either taking the higher Coqs chair or skiing down through the village to catch the Plantrey chair. This gives access to some excellent reds and a couple of black pistes that are amongst the best in the Three Valleys, all of which drop down 1,000 vertical metres through the trees to La Tania and Le Praz respectively. The Col is also a path which links round to Meribel above which stands the imposing cliffs of Rocher de la Loze (2,526m) where the extreme ski championships are held.

The other side of Courchevel 1850 can be subdivided into two areas. There is the Creux valley, overlooked by the towering Aiguille du Fruit (3,051m) which can be accessed from the top of the Vizelle and Saulire lifts along the lovely Creux red. Alternatively, hang skier's left and drop down the wonderful black of Suisses. On the opposite side of the valley is the Chanrossa chairlift with a couple of nice steep runs and good off-piste running adjacent to it. It is also an ideal way to drop off the back into the Courchevel 1650 ski area. The 1650 ski area is perfect for intermediates with lots of well-pitched fast reds through the trees. It is generally much quieter than the rest of Courchevel, but can be difficult to get back from if you're boarding as the returns are flat.

Ski lifts

Courchevel is famous for many things including its generally excellent lift system which is almost invariably free of queues and forms part of the largest connected ski area in the world, Les Trois Vallees.

Although Courchevel's modern ski lift system is extremely efficient, several lifts, particularly the gondolas coming out of Courchevel 1850 get very busy in the early morning and just before afternoon ski lessons start. However, these gondolas can easily be avoided at peak times by riding surrounding chairlifts and not dropping fully down into Courchevel 1850 unless you plan to ski through and down. The chairlift going up to Signal in Courchevel 1650 has reduced the number of drags in that area.

COURCHEVEL RESORT LIFT TICKETS

DAYCHILD 
(5-13)
 ADULT 
(13-65)
SENIOR 
(65-75)
Weekday€41.60€52.00€46.80
Weekend€41.60€52.00€46.80
Half Day€35.20€44.00€39.60
2-day pass€81.60€102.00€91.80
6-day pass€205.00€256.00€231.00

Activities & Things to do

Courchevel is a ski resort, so it is recommended that that you do ski - there are many slopes for all abilities and it is part of 'Les 3 vallées', a group of ski resorts consisting also of Merébel and Val Thorens, so if you are bored of the slopes in Courchevel, you could always ski there!

There are plenty of non-skiing activities in Courchevel and provided your wallet and credit cards are fully loaded you can have a great time off the slopes including sightseeing flights, hot air ballooning, ice-driving, skidooing and horse drawn sleigh rides, then shop until you drop. Courchevel likes to market itself as "the place where dreams come true" and Tourist Office literature lists as many as 38 other activities as well as downhill skiing. While Courchevel is undoubtedly one of the best ski resorts in the Alps, but to meet the needs of its high end clientele it necessarily focuses on luxury and, therefore, is mostly very expensive. If you have to ask the price of anything or care much about the cost of living, then you may struggle to have a good time when not enjoying the skiing.

For instance, Courchevel boasts 39 hotel spas, 27 of which are accessible to non-residents if they can afford it, but a day of blissful relaxation does not come cheap. Courchevel has its own altiport, which is handy for the rich and famous as well as for those keen on short sightseeing flights or for tandem skydives. Paragliding and hot air ballooning are other ways to get an aerial view, but none of these aerial entertainments are inexpensive. There's a good climbing wall, an ice-driving circuit with cars and snowmobiles and several English language cinemas. Dog-sledding, skidooing, horse-drawn sleigh rides and snow-shoe walking are also available.

A more relaxing non-ski activity is shopping and the nature of the resort means there are plenty of high-end shops to browse at your leisure. If you an emergency means being without Fendi, Gucci and Givenchy, or just like window shopping, you're in good company as there numerous designer boutiques selling top fashion brands including Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Valentino, Prada, Zilli and Chanel to name just a few. Courchevel is not just for fashion, however, and all the best mountaineering and ski shops also have a presence in the resort.

Restaurants & Nightlife


Courchevel Apres Ski Bars

Courchevel understands apres-ski in a way that nearby Meribel, with its heavy reliance on chalets and dinners at a set time, does not. Once the ski lifts stop churning, there are plenty of bars that kick-start the evening's entertainment.

In Courchevel 1850 the liveliest bars to go are Le Tremplin, in the Place du Tremplin, or Le Milk Pub in the Place du Forum, both of which are affordable. If you want somewhere that will stay open until dawn, Bar Le Jump near La Croisette is a good destination. Kudeta, which is part of the famed Le Kalico nightclub, gets things going with live music from 4pm and is a legendary haunt for both holidaymakers and seasonnaires. Le Kalico fills up later in the evening with a mostly beer-drinking crowd and stays open for live music, cocktails and raucous partying until the early hours of the morning.

Others apres ski venues of note are the Purple Cafe on the Rue des Tovets which offers cocktails as well as S'no Limit and Bar Le Schuss, which is one of the newer arrivals on Courchevel's bar scene. Piggy's Pub is a very cosy bar, the sort of place you may want to light a big cigar and seems far removed from the Alps.

Courchevel 1650 is much smaller and quieter than 1850, but includes a good selection of bars and restaurants, which are pleasingly cheaper than their 1850 equivalents. Popular bars in Courchevel 1650 include Rocky's Bar, the Signal Bar, the Bubble Bar and, for late night festivities, the Space Bar and the By Night Tavern, which stays open until 4am.

Further down the mountain in Courchevel 1550 the Chanrossa is an Anglicised bar, which serves Guinness and has an appealing happy hour until 6pm to help draw the the best apres-ski crowd and regularly has live bands.


Courchevel Restaurants

Courchevel has more Michelin starred restaurants than any other ski resort and is renowned for its fine dining. A total of 7 restaurants share 11 Michelin stars, including three restaurants which have been awarded two Michelin stars.There are three restaurants in Courchevel that boast two Michelin stars, Le Chabichou, La Bateau Ivre and Pierre Gagnaire pour Les Airelles. Each has considerable merits, but of the trio it is the exquisite service at Les Airelles that tips the balance. The chef, Pierre Gagnaire, had three Michelin stars when he worked in Rue Balzac in Paris, so from that point of view, the food could be seen as value for money, too.

Le Strato, L'Azimut in Le Praz, Le Bateau Ivre in the Hotel Pomme de Pin and the restaurant in the Hotel Kilimandjaro all have one Michelin star, while Il Vino offers something a little different. Set up by Enrico Bernardo, who held the title of best sommelier in the world in 2004 at the age of 27, you choose your wine from an extensive menu. Then, the chef does the rest and tailors the food to complement your wine.

More reasonably priced gastronomic restaurants are the Saulire, which is a favourite, and the Genepi. La Cendree serves stylish Italian cuisine and for those who just want to get away from French cuisine for a night Aux 3 Bo, in Porte Courchevel, has a decent Japanese restaurant downstairs but is not cheap.

Further down the price ladder the La Mangeoire is popular and both the Cafe de la Poste and Le Passage are reliable cheaper options. Some of the best raclette and fondue in Courchevel can be eaten at the appropriately named La Fromagerie, while Kalico does the best junk food for cost-conscious diners and those who flock there for apres-ski from 4pm and beyond.

In Courchevel 1650 the Petit Savoyard is a good option and La Boite a Crepes serves pizza and pancakes until 11pm. Le Bistot in La Praz (Courchevel 1300) is famed for its traditional French cuisine and extensive wine list. Around the corner the Ferme de la Tania serves excellent traditional mountain food in La Tania.

The choice of restaurants for dinner extends beyond Courchevels' villages as many mountain restaurants are also open in the evenings and then generally less crowded. Skiing back down to Courchevel after dinner is also an option.

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