Resort of the week: Courchevel
Located in the once-sleepy French region of Savoie, Courchevel has made a name for itself as one of the best places for the jetset to head in search of both skiing and luxury. Courchevel is famed as the upmarket place to ski and be seen for the world’s rich and famous and while the resort is brimming with mega-chalets, Michelin stars and designer shops, there’s much more to it than that – it’s an incredible ski resort to improve your skills, no matter your skiing ability. Part of the legendary 3 Valleys – the largest ski area in the world – skiing in Courchevel gives you further access to La Tania, Meribel, Val Thorens and Les Menuires.
Courchevel combines 5 villages, Courchevel 1850, Courchevel 1650, Courchevel 1550, Courchevel 1300 and Courchevel St Bon 1100. Undoubtedly the most expensive of the three valleys so if you are looking for luxurious hotels and restaurants then Courchevel is a great spot! It is also a remarkably scenic resort, with 150km of slopes of varied difficulties. The north-facing slopes in Courchevel provide great snow conditions for perfectly powdered slopes and excellent off piste skiing.
Explore the Courchevel and the Three Valleys ahead of your trip by downloading the slope map here.
Lowest point: 1300m
Highest point: 2700m
Total ski area: 160km
Green runs: 27
Blue runs: 40
Red runs: 42
Black runs: 10
Snow Parks: 2
Open from: December – April
Geneva airport: 2hrs30
Chambery airport: 1hr45
With many renowned ski schools such as ESF, Prosneige, Ski Cool and ESI, your children can learn to ski alongside other children of similar ages and abilities whilst being taught by top instructors!
Children under 12 can make the most of their discounted ski passes and children under 5 go free!
With great nursery areas and facilities, Courchevel has earned the right to be named a ‘Famille Plus’ ski resort. Not only will you find a great selection of hotels serviced with children-friendly facilities but the resort itself has lots of great activities on offer for you and your family to enjoy together. The Aquamotion Aquatic Center is a definite star of the show with water slides, pools and jacuzzis you are guaranteed to have a great time. The Family Park in Courchevel 1850 is another highlight with inflatable obstacle courses or Le Forum Courchevel 1850 has an ice rink, arcade and bowling alley!
Over 50% of the slopes in the three valleys are suitable for beginners and Courchevel 1850 is a particularly beginner-friendly resort given its abundance of gentle slopes. With 5 free ski lifts and lots of green and blue slopes, this is the ideal spot to take your first steps as a skier.
The Three Valleys offers many ‘zen’ zones which are safe areas created specially for beginners to practice their tricks away from the hustle and bustle of the advanced skiers. In Courchevel 1850 you can check out the Pralong Zen or the Golf Zen areas, in Courchevel Village the Roys zone is also great or if you are staying in Courchevel Le Praz then the Envolèe Zen area provides a drag lift and beginner slope area where you to learn to ski!
A benefit of Courchevel is that many of the home runs are beginner friendly so you can enjoy your lunch on the mountain with your friends and family and take a gentle green or blue run all the way back home.
In Courchevel intermediate skiers can make the most of the endless blue and red runs especially in Courchevel 1650. This area provides great snow conditions and nice wide, long slopes for you to cruise down and practice your skills. For the slightly more advanced intermediates we recommend Courchevel 1850 which has some more challenging slopes on offer.
The Creux blue run is a fantastic and popular wide run which is great for the less confident intermediates!
Combe de la Saulire is definitely one of the highlight pistes for intermediate skiers. This wide red run takes you to the center of Courchevel 1850 and will give you plenty of space to practice your long turns all the while admiring the brave advanced skiers tackling the moguls of the Grand Couloir. Another great wide red run is the Grandes Bosses which takes you down to 1650 and is definitely worth a shot!
Courchevel is home to the Grand Couloir, this challenging ungroomed black run is definitely one for the brave expert skiers. You can count on this route being mogul-filled unless you are lucky enough to be the first to ski down and mark the untouched powder yourself.
Some other great black runs for the advanced skiers are the Chanrossa, easily accessible from both 1850 and 1650, or the Eclipse run which finishes in La Praz – the latter slope will even be hosting the 2023 World Championships!
In Courchevel 1650 you can enjoy a delicious and affordable lunch – for Courchevel prices anyway – at Le Bel Air restaurant or some traditional food in the sun terrace at La Casserole restaurant.
In Courchevel 1850, Cap Horn restaurant is a must for great food and even better wines. Gaston in 1850 village is a great option for those on a budget providing great food at decent prices.
To save some money on your lunches look out for the snack bars dotted around Courchevel such as Waikiki, Bouc Blanc Snack Bar and Polar Cage in 1850.
Of course Courchevel prides itself on its gourmet mountain restaurants and so this guide would not be complete without a few suggestions for some luxury mountain food. La Soucoupe Restaurant at the top of La Loze serves some excellent food with a great traditional atmosphere. If you venture to Meribel then the Le Blanchot Mountain Restaurant in Meribel valley is definitely one to checkout offering some of the best gourmet food in the three valleys. In Courchevel 1850, you can head back down to the valley and right next to the main lifts you will find Le Tremplin Mountain restaurant if you fancy lunchtime seafood.
It goes without saying that Courchevel is home to La Folie Douce, an infamous après ski venue which hosts excellent parties with great live DJ’s; expect table top dancing and expensive drinks. If you would rather enjoy an afternoon cocktail on the slopes then the Waikiki Beach Bar is a great choice. Or in 1850 you will find Le Tremplin with live music and deck chairs.
In 1650 both La Boulotte and Le Scuss are great choices with young crowds and live music!
And of course, for the true luxury après ski experience you will be spoilt for choice with all the slope side hotels and restaurants. Chalet de Pierres is definitely a popular venue as well as Mangeoire Ski Club.